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Cornerstone Family School

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > East Contra Costa County School Districts > Cornerstone Family School


Dec 2007

Some additional information about Cornerstone Family School, in case anyone is considering it. I was initally attracted to the school because of the small class sizes and the parent involvement. When I researched Cornerstone, I was told about the required 2 hours of classroom time each week and committee involvement but was also assured that it would work out, even though both my husband and I work.

We've been there 4 months now and it has been quite difficult. I am lucky enough to have a very flexible employer who allows me to take 2 hours off (unpaid!) every Wed. morning. However, almost all the families seem to have one parent who stays at home, so almost all the committees meet during school hours. In addition, there are a TON of Saturday and evening events. No one has outwardly scolded us for not participating in most of the social events, but I am definitely getting a negative vibe. I don't want to attend school events EVERY weekend, I just want to reconnect with my husband and son, clean the house, grocery shop, get some exercise, get my drycleaning, see my parents, maybe even my friends!...well, if you work full time, you know how little time that leaves.

I really think Cornerstone is a great program that offers a lot for families who are interested in that sort of environment. I just wish that someone would have painted a more realistic picture for us. Overbooked Mom


Nov 2006

Re: Eagle Peak Montessori or Cornerstone Family School
We're interested in hearing about others' experiences with these charter schools in the Mt. Diablo District. Thanks in advance.
anon


Cornerstone is the best kept secret in Mt. Diablo School District! I have to smile as I read the debates on choosing public vs. private school thinking I've got the best of both worlds: small school feeling, parent involvement, small class size, FOR FREE! Being an educator myself, I am very picky about, well, everything that has to do with my kids and their education. Cornerstone does a great job of balancing the academic requirements (we are a part of the dist. and therefore must adhere to the same standards/testing) and making learning fun and hands on. My son is in first grade so K-1 is really my only experience so far but they have a great art teacher who comes in twice/month, field trips once a month and a wonderful music teacher they see every week. What makes Cornerstone unique is the mandatory parent involvement. Having Mom's and Dad's in the classroom allows the teacher to work with small groups and one on one. This allows the teacher to give extra support to those who need it and extra challenge to others. My son LOVES school and the best part for him is having the same friends he had last year, same classroom, same teacher. It would be very stressful for him if he didn't know who his teacher would be next year and which of his friends he might have with him. We're trying to get our test scores seperated from YVE for publicity purposes but I can tell you from being there, there is a significant difference between the two. I had heard two negative comments about Cornerstone before we started, neither of which were true. So I suggest you come and check it out to see if it's right for your child. You can call our president, Ilana at 671-7758. School almost feels like an extension of home because we feel such a part of it. If you want to be involved in your childs education, I highly recommend Cornerstone. By the way, I also looked at Eagle Peak and I know fabulous families that go there and hear great things. It's just a matter of your childs' learning style. My son gets overstimulated by noise so he wouldn't have done well with the large classes but it's an option for my willful, independently minded daughter. Good Luck and feel free to email me for more info!
Torie
As a former Cornerstone parent, i feel compelled to counter a posting that was made in the November 13 newsletter by another parent. We had a disastrous experience at Cornerstone and we we were only there for one year. My son had been in private school from Jr. K to 3rd grade and started Cornerstone in 4th grade. We were attracted to the prospect of a small school with lots of parent involvement, small class sizes, and a more child centered way of teaching, where kids learn in a variety of ways and manners. Yes, there was a lot of parent involvement and the parents and Cornerstone board members were great, but the rest was not so. Small class sizes ends in 3rd grade, they need to fill 30 or so slots for their 4th/5th combinded class, so even when all 3rd graders move up, there are openings that could not be filled. My understanding was that the school needed to fill all 30+ spots to continue operating with state funding (this how it was explained to me but I could be wrong)so they took a lot of ''overflow'' kids from Ygnacio Valley. To clarify, Cornerstone is a 3 classroom school that operates within the YVE school. They share playground, cafetaria, and all other resources, so in a sense, Cornerstone is a ''school within a school.'' The parents of the YVE kids did not seem to work in the classroom, as was required by Cornerstone, and generally were not involved. If there was an issue with one of the Cornerstone children, parents talked about it which was great. When there was an issue with one of the YVE children, I did not feel comfortable calling these parents, they did not seem very approachable because they did not care as much about Cornerstone and they were often hostile. Since there were more than 30 kids in the class, it was chaos. My son's father worked in the class and he told me that the majority of the teacher's time was spend with disciplining the kids and keeping them in line. Also, the teacher often favored the girls and made it very clear to the boys that they were much more trouble. I always pride myself on teaching my son that girls can be and can do anything boys can do too, so it was hurtful for me to see a teacher that clearly thought boys were a nuisance and not as quiet, smart, etc. as the girls. Furthermore,it was very hard for my son to concentrate due to the size and chaos in the class and he fell behind, especially in math and writing. Furthermore, YVE is a large school with a large playground, with very little supervision, and my son was constantly beaten and bullied. He once came home with a bruises on his neck and lip from being physically harrased. I can go on, but I wrote a reply to ''Public vs Private School Regardless of Cost'' also in the November 13 letter so you can read this too if you want. Again, this was our personal experience, which might be different from others.
happy in private school
March 2004

I've heard about a few alternative schooling opportunities for K-5 in Mt. Diablo Unified School District, and wanted to get input from others. Has anyone heard of Cornerstone? I would love any advice because I'm not happy with the neighborhood school my son will have to go to in Kindergarten. Thanks!


My daughter goes to Cornerstone Family School and she is in the 1st grade. I love the program because it is a parent co-op and I have never seen any other program like this for public school. There are 3 classrooms, each one is a grade combo: K/1, 2/3, 4/5. The connection to the other families in the program is magnificent and my daughter is doing so well there. I highly reccommend it! It is available to anyone who resides in Mt. Diablo Unified School District and it is located in Ygnacio Valley Elementary. You can call (925)682-9336 for more information, or email me directly. Good luck! ilana
Re: Pleasant Hill Elementary Schools

I don't know anything about those schools in particular, but I can highly recommend an alternative school in Mt. Diablo Unified called Cornerstone Family School. It is located at Ygnacio Valley Elementary in Concord and open to anyone residing in MDUSD. Briefly, Cornerstone is a parent participation program where parents are required to co-op once a week in their child's classroom for 2 hours. This participation allows for a lot of small group work and the teachers get a lot of help that they don't ordinarily get in other schools. We also have one field trip a month, monthly park play days, monthly parent meetings and required participation on committees such as fundraising, field trips or family functions. There are 3 classrooms in the program, one for K/1 (10 students each grade), one for 2/3 (10 students each grade) and one for 4/5 (15 students each grade). It is such a wonderful school and my daughter is so happy there! My son will start in Kindergarten next year. Please email me with any more questions or you can call the school directly to arrange a visit. Good Luck! Ilana


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