Hillcrest Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
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Hillcrest Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
PTA website: http://www.hillcrestpta.org/
Parents' Reviews of Hillcrest
If we move to Hillcrest neighborhood will we get in?
We found a house we love in Upper Rockridge, walking distance to Hillcrest School,
and have heard great things about the school. However recently I've heard that
Hillcrest is oversubscribed, and that living in the school district doesn't guarantee
your kids a spot in the school. I'm told there are families living in the
neighborhood who's kids didn't get in to the school and have to go to a different
school while on the wait list. Can anyone who lives in the neighborhood or knows
about it tell me your experience? Whether you were easily able to get into the
school or had to send your kids to a different school? We love the neighborhood, the
house, and the school, but the idea of putting our life savings into a house and then
our kids not being able to go to Hillcrest, and having to drive to a different
neighborhood and go to a different school is not what we want. (And after buying a
house in Upper Rockridge we wouldn't be able to afford private school.) We're also
looking at Alameda and Piedmont where the schools are guaranteed, (or Crocker
Highlands which isn't oversubscribed), or moving someplace where houses are much less
expensive so we could afford private school if necessary. We love Rockridge and
would prefer to be here, but taking the risk of our girls not being able to go to
Hillcrest when we live there is discouraging. All input from people who live in the
area or know more about OUSD enrollment appreciated.
If your kids are going into kindergarten next year, there is a very big chance they
will not get in. Next year OUSD plans to reduce the incoming K class to 27 kids
(from the usual 45, due to an extra large class that will be in sixth next year),
and there are at least 20 siblings that will get first dibs. But if your kids
aren't going into K next year, you'll probably be OK. The last few years have not
We live in the Hillcrest district and after our visit, we chose to go to Chabot. We
had to go to the district office to enroll since it was out of our area. I am so
glad we went to Chabot. In comparing notes with neighbors I think we made the right
choice. The principal is great and we had excellent teachers with reasonable
(20-25) class sizes throughout.
Happy Chabot grad
Is Hillcrest Overcrowded?
We never thought we'd have the option to live in Rockridge, but we
just bid on a house zoned for Hillcrest. Unfortunately, I know 2
families who've recently moved their kids out of Hillcrest due to
overcrowding ... If you have children there, what's your experience
My child will be in kindergarten Fall 2011 ... is it jammed? any
sense of whether there will be space? If you were redirected to
Thornhill or Chabot, what's your experience there? I met with the
principal at Thornhill last week and wasn't too impressed. Any recent
experiences much appreciated!
Overcrowding? I'm not sure what this means exactly...30 kids in a
class 29, 31? The teacher' ''contract'' says that there can be 31 in
a 4th or 5th grade and 29 (I think) in K-3. If you haven't already
heard measure L didn't pass (400 votes kept the goal out of reach)
so there is NO money in OUSD. There will be large class sizes in
every grade at every school throughout the district,possible school
closures and layoffs of 800 mostly new, high energy, excited and
interested teachers. So, brace yourself, Chabot, Hillcrest, all the
schools are ''overcrowded''.
Is 30 overcrowding?
Considering a move to the Hillcrest district
We need to move before our kids (twins) start elementary
school, and are considering moving to the Hillcrest
district. But, I've read a lot on BPN and have heard from
others that there have been problems in the past few years
where families in the neighborhood have not gotten into the
school. Does anyone know how things are going now? Has
this improved at all?
Our kids will start K in Fall 2012, so we plan to move in
about a year (Fall 2011) in order to get into a house before
enrollment in Jan.
getting into Hillcrest is not guaranteed due to high number
of requests and limited space. priority is usually given to
incoming children who reside in the attendance area with
siblings at the school and goes on from there.
OUSD has an ''options'' program that you should look into
before determining if you want to move into the neighborhood
for the school. here is a quick summary:
Hillcrest Alum Family
There is never a guarantee that if you move to a specific
district that your children will be able to attend the
school. I have represented many buyers that moved to
Upper Rockridge specifically for Hillcrest and their
kindergartners were sent to Chabot because there were too
many incoming children. All of the families have been
happy with Chabot, but as you probably realize it only
goes up to the 5th grade as opposed to Hillcrest that goes
up to the 8th grade. If you really want Hillcrest, I
would suggest that you rent a home in the neighborhood
district first to see if there is enough space. That way
you can keep you options open.
Best of luck!
Denied entrance to Hillcrest though we live in the neighborhood
We just received notice today from OUSD that we were denied
entrance to Hillcrest Elementary, although we live in the
current school boundaries and purchased our home at a premium
because of the school. Although we knew about last year's
fiasco, as of January we were told at a school meeting that
there might be 47 spaces available for the fall and
approximately 60 some children in the neighborhood wanting a
spot. Does anyone know how many spots are available for
kindergarten this fall and how many children in the neighborhood
applied? How did OUSD choose which kids in the neighborhood got
in and which didn't? What are the chances of getting into
Hillcrest via their appeals process? We applied to private
schools as a backup, but even if we get accepted to any next
week, we're not in a financial position to accept unless we want
to go into heavy debt and not have any retirement or college
While it is unfortunate that your child was not selected in the
lottery for Hillcrest, (and you are correct that there were
over 60 applicants), your only other option is not private
school. The two other schools to which students were
redirected were Chabot and Thornhill. Chabot has API scores
that rival Hillcrest's and frankly, Chabot has a much nicer
campus than Hillcrest especially with the $13 million building
project they are undertaking. Also, Chabot is a great
community and is very close to the Hillcrest neighborhood. If
your child was admitted to Thornhill, that school was awarded
the California Distinguished School Award in 2006 (which is the
most recent cycle for elementary schools), an award that is
given to just a handful of the over 9,000 schools in
California. Given these facts, I just don't get your
question. Surely driving to a private school would be just as
far or farther away than Chabot or Thornhill and these schools
are as good as any private school your child would go to in my
If you appeal, and someone who was admitted to Hillcrest does
not choose to go, then your child might be admitted. I would
guess they would do a lottery among the appeals to fill any
slots that open up.
I encourage you to visit the school to which you were admitted
and at least research it a bit. Hillcrest is a good
school but the world isn't going to end if your child attends
Chabot or Thornhill. In fact, those schools might be a better
fit for your child. The other schools to which students were
redirected are the next closest neighborhood school and have a
lot to offer. Open your mind to the possibilities and make the
kindergarten choice with your child's well-being in mind.
Boy, do I understand what you are going through. I went through
it last year. We were denied our school in the hills as well,
after owning here for 9 years. You should follow the appeals
request process, it worked for me. Fill out the form and be the
first one in line at the appeals office on the start date, even
if you have to be there at 6:30am. Be the first one to get your
paperwork stamped with the date and time for proof of placement
on the waiting list for Hillcrest. Get names of all the people
at the appeals office, introduce yourself and tell them your
situation. Be nice but firm. Go visit these folks every week.
Be the polite squeaky wheel. Write a letter to the principal at
Hillcrest - introduce yourself, explain your situation and
describe your intentions of participation at the school. Visit
the school secretary, let him/her know who you are, inquire how
the waiting list is going - every week. Go back to the appeals
office,inquire again about your placement. Phone calls get you
nowhere. After four weeks, our appeal was accepted and our
kindergardener was placed in our local hills school. What a
stressful event and I'm sorry you have to go through this. It
is possible to get in - good luck.
Mom on a mission
There are other good elementary schools in Oakland, you were
probably re-directed to one of them. You might even like these
schools better than Hillcrest once you check them out. I would
consider other public schools before spending more than you want
to on private.
my understanding is that 40 kindergartners were accepted at
Hillcrest for the fall of 2008.
The options/open enrollment priorities for incoming
kindergartners are the following:
1. Neighborhood siblings
2. Neighborhood students and re-directs from overcrowded
3. Non-Neighborhood siblings
4. PI status of neighborhood school
Assignment letters will be mailed out by March 1st, after which
families will have an opportunity to submit an appeal. Appeals
will only be accepted for one school, and waitlists will be
generated for neighborhood students and siblings. Students will
be moved off of the waitlist through the first three weeks of
the semester. The assignment letter will also inform elementary
families that they have to confirm registration at the school
sites by a specific date in May. Elementary families which do
not confirm their registration by the May deadline will forfeit
this and additional information may be found at:
I am a current Hillcrest parent and I have a child who will be
in Kindergarten in the fall. I am sorry to hear that your
child did not get placed at Hillcrest. The enrollment issue
has been upsetting and disruptive to the whole community and
yes, it has hit your home especially hard. If you are not
already on the waiting list for Hillcrest - get down to the
OUSD offices and get on the list. There will be some children
who were admitted who will not attend (I personally know of 2)
so there is hope in that area. Also, I suggest you stick out
the waiting through to the fall, even if you have to pay some
non-refundable fees to private schools. There is always a
chance someone will decide closer to the start of school to
hold their child back a year. As far as numbers go, there is
some info on that at the Hillcrestpta.org website in the
enrollment planning section. Basically, they admitted 40 kids
and redirected 22. 40 is the number the principal said she
expected to admit when she spoke at the Kindergarten
orientation in January. At that time she also said that the
group may be divided into one class of 27 and one split class
of 13 Ks combined with first graders. I have since spoken to
her and she said she does not at this time know how the classes
will be split and won't for sure until just before school
starts. She also said that she fully expected to admit people
off of the waitlist to keep the total number of K kids at 40.
I hope that helps.
Is Hillcrest gay-friendly?
I am one mom of a two mom family. We have a child who is about
to start Kindergarten at Hillcrest Elementary, a public school
in Oakland. I am wanting to know anything anyone knows about
gay friendly teachers, parents, environment at Hillcrest. For
instance, are there other gay/lesbian parents who currently
have kids in the school, are there gay/lesbian teachers, what
is done in the school to celebrate and embrace this sort of
diversity? All feedback would be very welcome. Thanks in
regarding you question about Hillcrest and whether or not it is
gay friendly, it may be best for you to speak with the principal
so you can get some reassurances. in my opinion, Hillcrest has
been a very open and welcoming school. i know we've had
gay/lesbian parents and there may have been staff as well (not
sure though). i also know that EXPOSURE, a new parent group at
the school is looking into showing the film, ''It's a Family'' (a
film about different families -- divorce, two moms, two dads,
grandparents). i think the staff and parents look forward to
celebrating and embracing diversity at Hillcrest. if you choose
to come to our school, you may want to join and participate in
People usually rave about Hillcrest because of test scores and
parental involvement in this small community.
We probably are a 'minority' voice, but our family has found
the school to be sorely lacking any diversity in family
structure or socio-economics. I am a single parent. In my
daughter's grade (approx 48 kids), there is only one other
single parent. There are no gay or lesbian parents, there are
no adopted or sperm donor kids. Nor are differences in kids
overtly welcomed in any way. Parents have privately
expressed 'puzzlement'and vague 'concern' to me that my
daughter was conceived by sperm donation; some classmates have
told her that she is ''lying'' about not having a father.
Needless to say, there is no visible gay or lesbian
population. Everyone pretty much looks and acts the same, and
if you're different it is not seen as an enrichment to the
Though the academics are absolutely solid, there are a lot of
sahm moms who volunteer, and the fundraising is off the charts,
if you're looking for a diverse or gay-friendly community, this
school does not make any list.
We have lived in other neighborhoods and gone to cool schools
(we have an older son who has never gone to Hillcrest) that
truly are welcoming and broader communities, both public and
private. We too moved here for the school but had no idea what
social program we had signed up for (and no, you can't tour
ahead of time).
This is not just a rant by the way. We applied for and just
got into a private school so that my child can actually --
ironically -- experience a diverse, real world that
this 'hills' school could never have. The money is worth what
it will provide my child in the long run.
Is it worth it to move to the Hillcrest neighborhood?
We're outgrowing our tiny house in outer Glenview and are looking
to move into a neighborhood with a good school. Although I hear
positive things about Glenview Elem, since we have the
opportunity to move into one of the top school zones we'd like to
take advantage of it. We would love to be able to get into
Hillcrest, but my understanding is that after this year's
enrollment chaos there will be no guarantees for kindergartners
who live in the catchment area going forward (my oldest will
start kindergarten Fall 2010). So, we wonder if it's really worth
it to move into Upper Rockridge when there's a chance we may not
even get in our neighborhood school?? I can't imagine how
frustrating and disappointing that would be. I heard that the
kids who originally didn't get into Hillcrest were put into
Chabot or Kaiser, which are apparently decent? If we put our
money toward a home in Hillcrest and don't get into a good school
we won't be able to afford private. I know we have a few years,
but we'd like to act now before rates and prices go up again.
We've thought about Piedmont, but for what we can afford we could
probably only get something smaller than what we already have. My
husband wants to scrap it all and move to Marin (I know, super
expensive), but I really like Oakland. Someone suggested renting
and see if we get in Hillcrest before buying, but I don't know if
that area has a lot of rentals. Any advice/opinions/experience
Stressed, Confused & Frustrated
I moved to Upper Rockridge a few years ago and my child attends
Hillcrest. I love the neighborhood, it's safe and convenient and
beautiful. Hillcrest is a very nice school but it is having
significant overcrowding issues, not just at the kindergarten
level. Contrary to what you heard it is not at all clear how this
will be handled in years to come. This year the district
originally accepted 40 kindergarten students for Fall of 07 but
gave in to pressure from redirected families and currently there
are slated to be 65 coming in. A committee has been formed to
make recommendations for the 08 year and beyond but that work is
just beginning and it is a purely advisory committee. So by the
time your child enters kindergarten it will be all sorted out,
one hopes, but it is too soon to say how. I have a younger child
who will start kindergarten in a few years and I have to say that
I am feeling more and more comfortable with the thought of Kaiser
or Chabot particularly if they are not overcrowded, but like
everyone else I'll just have to wait and see..
Don't move for Hillcrest -- or at least not if you think you
absolutely must go to your neighborhood school. There is
simply no guarantee that you will get in and now that there is
better notice being provided to parents early on in the
enrollment process, it is likely that your child could end up
in a lottery where they may or may not get in. Of course, this
all depends on how many kids there are in any particular K
class that are also in the neighborhood and want to attend the
school. Glenview is a great school, so are Chabot and Kaiser.
There are so many things that make a school special and I think
it makes no sense to just rely on some statement that X or Y
school is the best. There are several schools in Oakland that
score an 8-10 on the statewide tests, meaning that they are
doing a great job in meeting state standards. But, a school is
a lot more than a test score. It is the teachers, the other
kids, the other parents, the effort they all put in, the
outdoor space, and the programs. Chabot is not just a good
school. It's terrific. Glenview is also an up and comer, so
are Temescal and Peralta. So my advice is take a broader view
of your child's education, realize that where they go to
elementary school does not dictate their future, and look for
the up and coming areas with high parental involvement. In
those areas, you'll get better value for a home (with enough
room) and when your child gets old enough for school, your
neighborhood school will be a great option for you.
Advantages: Great Parental Involvement, High Test Scores,
Principal who is aware of community resources (for gifted kids,
remedial students, sports, science, etc.), K - 8 so the kids
really know each other. Nearly everyone at the school lives in
the neighborhood. More money for ''gifted'' kids because many have
been identified as such.
Disadvantages: High pressure on the kids to perform on tests and
to get tutors so they can if they are not ahead. Kids are
called ''gifted'' because they are not tested for giftedness for
given the designation because of standardized test scores. Few
children of color or different socioeconomic backgrounds attend
the school although some live in the neighborhood.. Because 6 -
8 grade students make up such a small population there are fewer
teachers with ''in depth'' expertise simply because there are
fewer teachers for fewer students. I also found the attitude
of ''We are the best'' a little off-putting.
In the end, I chose to send my son to St. Paul's Episcopal
School even though I am only a few doors down from Hillcrest.
The pressure to perform and the lack of diversity were the main
factors in my decision.
Qualify for Hillcrest but chose No
I can't really speak to any of your questions regarding
Hillcrest but was wondering if you've considered Orinda, Moraga,
or Lafayette? All three have excellent schools and are only
about 10-15 mins away. I grew up in Oakland, and we were
originally looking for homes in the Hillcrest area as well. We
had the same issue with not being able to afford private school
after putting our money into a house. So we decided to move to
Moraga instead. Our rationale was that they had excellent
schools all the way through to college. With Hillcrest, we knew
we would probably have to consider private school for high
school. My kids are in elementary now and we absolutely love
their school! All the schools here are equally good, so it was
such a relief to not have to worry about whether we would get
into the school we wanted or not. We are also very relieved not
to have to struggle with the question of whether to stay in the
public school system or move to private after elementary, as our
friends who have stayed in Oakland are doing. Moraga has a small
town feel too, which we love. It really feels like a community,
which is great. Hope this helps and good luck with your
Dear Stressed, Confused and Frustrated,
As a current Hillcrest parent my advice to you would be that if
you love the neighborhood and want to move here because of that,
then you should do so. If your only reason for moving to the
neighborhood is for Hillcrest, I would say that this is not
worth taking the chance on since there is no guarantee that your
child will be admitted to the school.
As you know, the 2007 kindergarten enrollment process for
Hillcrest was a complete fiasco. Neither the incoming
kindergarteners, or the current children will be served well by
this ''child surge''. Hillcrest has very limited facilities in
terms of space, playground, bathrooms, etc., and admitting that
many new students only results in over crowding and less than
optimal teaching/learning environment for all involved. The
school is way over capacity, and the children at the lower
grades will continue to be most impacted for a longer period of
time by this recent decision.
Regarding Chabot and Kaiser; both of these schools are good, and
Chabot's API scores rival Hillcrest's. Kaiser is not far
behind. I think you should have a look at these schools for
yourself, talk to some parents at the school and see what you
think. You may be pleasantly surprised and decide you want to
move to the neighborhood after all as you will have 3 choices,
not just 1! There are many good schools in Oakland, they just
aren't on parents' radars for a variety of reasons. I have
learned that API scores don't tell the whole story about what a
school has to offer its students.
You may not know this, and you should know that currently at
Hillcrest there are 2 classes each for grades K-3, then 1 class
in 4 and 1 class in 5. The middle school, which is a primary
reason for Hillcrest's popularity, has 2 classes. Admitting
more children than the school has capacity for will not only
continue to result in overcrowded classes (the class reduction
act of 1996 of 20 or less in K-3 isn't happening at Hillcrest
any longer) but will also result in split (combination) classes
from grades K-5 as the ''surge'' spills over to other grades and
there isn't physical classroom space to accomodate all the
As you can see, admitting more kids than the campus has room for
is negating many of the reasons (one of them being smaller class
sizes) that have made Hillcrest a great school. Rather than
stuffing Hillcrest to the brim, it would be more productive to
replicate the successful Hillcrest K-8 model at other Oakland
schools. Hopefully OUSD will seriously consider this and
parents will become involved to make it happen.
Good luck in your decision.
The advantage of Hillcrest is that it is K-8 (my impression is
that it also offers more extracurriculars as well). The
enrollment process for this year's incoming kindergarten class
was messy, but at the end everybody that wanted to get in did in
fact get in. There is a school committee being formed right now
tasked with coming up with a long term solution to the enrollment
issue. As I understand it, one option is to install portables
but there is opposition because they just finished a wonderful
two story building to get rid of the old portables. Another
option under consideration is redrawing the boundary lines for
the catchment area and it would seem logical to draw it at
Transferring to Hillcrest as a 6th grader
Can anyone provide insight or advice on transferring to Hillcrest
as a 6th grader? We live in Rockridge and my daughter is
currently at Chabot and our local middle school is Claremont
which is a low performing school. I have heard that many
Hillcrest students leave for private schools after 5th grade, but
does this mean there are openings for middle schoolers? If so,
how likely is is that my kid could get in and what can I do to
improve her chances. We would have to sell our second born in
order to send our oldest to private school and I would hate to do
that- he is really cute!
mama looking for options
Hello. You can always request Hillcrest middle school via the
OUSD options program (applications are due now). Because
Hillcrest is so small, space is very limited at the middle
school (2 teachers, each teach a combination class made up of 6-
8 graders). Very few children leave Hillcrest after 5th grade,
so I doubt there will be many openings for middle school, but it
never hurts to give it a try. Good luck!
Hillcrest vs. private school
We are debating between Hillcrest public school and several
private schools (admittance unknown yet, of course). We are
particularly interested in hearing from parents of Hillcrest
kids in the upper elementary grades: 3,4,5. The kindergarten
looks great but we have uneasiness beyond that.
Our two children, who are now in second and fifth grades,
have attended Hillcrest since kindergarten. Our experience
has been great! I love the school and love how it connects
our family to our neighborhood. The classes are
challenging, the teachers are committed and the principal is
dedicated, smart and resourceful. No school is perfect -- I
wish we had more performing arts and a bigger grassy
area. But we are committed to staying through middle
school. I would be happy to talk with anyone about the
Would be very interested in hearing families' firsthand
thoughts about their child's experiences at Hillcrest
School in Oakland. I've also heard it's very difficult to
get into the school, even if you live in the zone (which we
don't). Anyone know about that and/or how those decisions
We are new HC Kindergarden family this year. The
school has been excellent, and Principal Beverly R
made clear the commitment to admit (to K) every child
who wanted to come who lives in the districted area.
Once in, I think (not sure) you get to stay thru upper
grades. Large dropoff at 6th grade as many students
migrate away to private middle schools.
Hillcrest is a very small, high performing K-8 public
school of 283 students. (YES! We have a middle school!) We
are one of two Oakland schools with API scores of over
900. Our academic performance often surpasses Piedmont
schools. Our PTA is very active and supports us by
providing computer, art, dance/drama/music, librarian and
aides. The Hillcrest Language School offers Spanish and
French classes before and after school. Adventure Time
provides before and after school child care. For a fee, we
have after school classes such as Rythm and Drums, Mad
Science, Art, Chess Club, and American Sign Language.
Because of our small size, we are not an Open Enrollment
school. We do all that we can do to enroll all of the
entering Kindergarten students who live in our attendance
area. After Kindergarten, we have very little space and
sometimes must divert students who move into our area to
other Oakland schools with openings. Realtors are told to
inform prospective home-buyers that living in the Hillcrest
neighborhood does not guarentee enrollment at Hillcrest.
Our community is close. You'll find that your best
friends will be the parents of your children's friends.
Feel free to call the school should you have any questions
at 879-1270. But please be reminded that because of our
size, we do not enroll students outside of our attendance
I'd like to hear any general feedback about Hillcrest
Elementary School. Also, I've heard that enrollment is
not necessarily guaranteed for students, even if they
live in the surrounding neighborhood--anyone have any
further information on this? Is it really a problem?
future Hillcrest parent
We're trying to decide between Hillcrest and Head-
Royce/Bentley for Kindergarten. We're concerned about the
difference in class sizes at Hillcrest starting in 4th
grade, as well as the potential for class sizes to increase
in earlier grades as schools get hit with the Oakland/CA
Any information would be appreciated.
In response to inquiries regarding Hillcrest. I have a
Kindergartener there now, as well as a 1st grader at St.
Theresa. While I still plan on my Kindergartener moving
over to St. Theresa, it is with great regret that we will
leave Hillcrest. Alice Rochester and Ann Henderson run
the most incredible Kindergarten class I have ever seen.
My daughter loves school (that is saying a lot) and she is
learning so much. The academics are much more that I
thought they would be (that is a good thing in my
opinion). I cannot comment on other grades as I do not
have students attending them.
My sons attend Hillcrest (first and second grade), and my
sister attended the school for nine years; she's now a
junior at USC. Let me touch on some of the pluses and
minuses of Hillcrest.
I am very pleased with both the educational and social
envoronment at Hillcrest. The principal, Beverly Rothenberg,
is an absolute gem. She is committed not only to the
academic achievement of her students, but she's also
tireless when it comes to community building.
The schools boasts an incredibly active group of parents,
and many of the teachers welcome parental involvement in the
classroom; I've been able to read in both of my sons
classrooms on a weekly basis, for example. As one might
expect, the PTA does a great job of fundraising, and there
are a number of very innovative ideas in the pipeline.
I've also been happy with the teachers there, but I'll
only mention the ones who we've had direct experience
with. As noted in a previous post, Alice Rochester is
fantastic with the kindergardeners. Missy Callaghan teaches
first grade, and while I've heard some parents find her a
bit strict, I (and my son) really like her and her classroom
atmosphere. Melissa Catalano is new to the school, and my
second garder adores her. She does a great job of giving
the kids interesting assignments, and she's very energetic.
As for the minuses...the community is more ethnically
diverse than I expected (given that my kids are
African-American and Mexican-American, that's important to
our family), but there's not a whole lot of economic
diversity. I fear that some of the kids may have a skewed
perspective on our capitalist society; one child, upon
hearing that I returned from a business trip, asked me if I
flew first class! (Um, well, no.) The parental playground
grapevine among parents have mentioned a split between folks
who live in pre-firestorm and post-firestorm housing, but I
don't think that's a significant problem.
All in all, I'm thrilled that my sons are fortunate enough
to attend Hillcrest, and I'm sure we'll be there through
I have two children in Hillcrest (K and 1st grade) and I am
also involved in the PTA.
Where to start: the teachers are wonderful, very patient,
very witty, they keep the children challenged and are great
persons to talk to. Any issue is immediately addressed no
matter how insignificant it seems. The principal is great
both as a person and as a ''manager'', is always on top of
things, she makes a real effort to bring new extra
curriculum programs, quality teachers and promote positive
life skills and values in our children. In addition to
music, art and P.E we have a language program that offers
French and Spanish. The parents are very involved in
classes and PTA and the different events. There is a new
additional building that will start to develop this summer.
Only positive things happening through the combined effort
My children and I are very happy, it's a great community,
great school and very good academics. We are proud to be
part of Hillcrest School.
my son will start kindergarten at hillcrest elem (oakland) in
fall 2003. right now he goes to a full-time preschool (8am to
6pm). this is convenient since my husband and i work full-
time. what do hillcrest parents (who work full-time) do with
their kids during the hours that kindergarten is not in
session? are there before and afterschool programs on campus?
private daycare centers that transport kids?
Yes, Hillcrest Elementary School has on-site daycare between the
hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. It's called Adventure Time and
they can be reached at 658-7412. You should sign up now to be
sure your child has a spot in the Fall. Also, see the web site
See you at Hillcrest next year!
- Sharon (mother of a Kindergartener and 2nd grader at
Hilcrest Elementary School in Oakland
I'm doing the school tour thing these days for my prospective
kindergardener, and our public elementary school is Hilcrest in Oakland. I
would like to know what folks think about the school, and in hearing from
both parents who chose the school as well as from those who opted for
private rather than send their kids to Hilcrest.
I have two children currently at Hillcrest School in Oakland
(Kindergarten and second grade). It's a fabulous neighborhood
public school. We looked into private schools before deciding
on Hillcrest (we were pretty sure about Hillcrest, but just
wanted to explore all the options) and came to the conclusion
that Hillcrest was just as good as the private schools.
There is a *very* active parent community (PTA) at Hillcrest
and great teachers. If there is anything specific you would
like to know, feel free to contact me.
After-school Programs at Hillcrest
Adventure Time or JCC Aftercare?
I posted this question once before, but only rec'd a couple responses.
Hillcrest parents: Does anyone have any comments, pos or neg, on the
aftercare program there? Adventure Time. I am a f/t working mom who will
need aftercare at least 4 days/week.
I am sending my son to JCC's Camp Tzofim for a session this summer bc I've
heard great things. I don't know anything about the year-round aftercare
program. I feel concerned about having my kindergartner take a bus to a
program. Does anyone do this? Have there been issues? Any comments
Any other options I should consider? I am beginning to worry about this,
as I just have no option, my little one needs to be in aftercare most
days. I'd love him to be outdoors. Any suggestions?
Thank you so much.
My kids also went to Camp Tzofim in the summer and had excellent
experiences, and I do think the JCC has very good aftercare,
but...AT was definitely the place where their friendships
solidified. I also remember that the few kids that did go elsewhere
after school (home or the JCC) were actually a bit out of the
social loop. My kids went to Chabot, so I can't speak to
Hillcrest's AT program, and I would never suggest that a child
should be anywhere that might damage his/her psyche... so if that's
the case, then find a safe place for your kid... but it's ok for
them to have to adjust, work through a bit of loneliness etc... My
kids really benefited from long term everyday play time with other
kids from their own school.
- just my observations
I don't have any feedback about Hillcrest AT but my son has been at
the JCC afterschool program
in Oakland for 2 years and it has been
great. The counselors are great. Lots of enrichment programs are
offered (arts and crafts, drama, sports, cooking). When my son was
in K he was picked up at school in the van and taken to the
afterschool site. We never had a problem with it and it felt very
safe. (Now its close enough to his school that he walks with a
counselor to the new site.) He does ride the van occasionally if
the weather is bad or for fieldtrips. We have been very happy with
the program, the community, the communication with parents and our
son loves it. He is continuing there next year.
After-school options for kindergartener
My son starts kindergarten at Hillcrest in the fall, and I need
aftercare. I've visited Adventure Time there and it was okay but I
wasn't wowed and don't think I want him there 5x/week. Love to hear
your comments on that program! Especially for kindergarteners.
I'm thinking of putting him in AT 2-3 days a week, and looking for
another option 2-3 days a week ... I don't want an academic
program, just fun playtime with little outdoor adventures if
possible. I'm a f/t working mom and need care every afternoon. I
work in Oakland and have some flexibility, but picking him up and
taking him somewhere during the day would be hard more than
What do other Hillcrest working families do? What programs do you
recommend? Is anyone with younger kids interested in a p/t
afternoon nanny share? We could rotate houses, etc.
Thanks for any ideas!!
As a working professional mom, I felt compelled to respond to your
post. We had experience with other AT programs at other schools for
our kids and no issues. But my youngest daughter was in Hillcrest AT
in K and 1st grades - and it was unique. I hired a babysitter to pick
up my kindergarten daughter 2 days/week to minimuze her exposure to
the AT director's myriad rules, disciplines, punishments for minor
'infractions' (eg you wiggled in your seat, you reached too soon for
snack, you ran inside). Many punishments involved being publicly
humiliated, outdoor time being taken away, wearing a punishment
bracelet, or sitting in a chair publicly for a long time. The director
would criticize her in front of me and other kids, and expressed no
affection for any of them. Our kid was anxious and miserable. AT was
one (but only one) of the main reasons we left Hillcrest, and I told
them that when we pulled her. My daughter then thrived- and her
teachers and after-school folks loved her - at her new school
immediately. Unless you have a quiet and docile child, please make
some plans ahead of time.
Still Upset For My Kid
Wow, that sure doesn't sound like the Adventure Time we know and love.
Our extremely active son who will be a first grader thrived at Hillcrest
AT. The staff is caring and affectionate towards the kids. My son really
likes the director and I appreciate that she runs a tight ship,
coordinating dozens of afterschool schedules. I am able to work knowing
that my child is loved and well-cared for during the afterschool program.
He is a very picky eater but he has been encouraged to try new foods at AT
and came home asking for chili.
Happy Hillcrest AT mom
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