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Re: How hard is it to get into a charter school?
Charter schools accept students through a lottery. I believe the only exception to that in Oakland is the Oakland School for the Arts, where students must audition. Some schools like Lighthouse Community Charter are K-12, so students coming from the middle school are given preference. I would highly recommend Lighthouse. It's a great school and great community. If your children got in during elementary they'd be set all the way through!
Re: Affordable Neighborhoods in Oakland
The trick is not so much affording a decent neighborhood, but that neighborhood having good schools. The good news, in my opinion, is that Oakland has a few really great charter schools (and in case you are unfamiliar with these, they are free). Millsmont is our neighborhood - a little known gem, on the wooded side of Mills College near the top of Seminary, by hwy 13 and 580. This area is affordable and very attractive.
My son's charter school is quite close by - about 12 minutes away by car (on the streets - no freeway driving). This is K-12, Lighthouse Community Charter School. They've just had their charter renewed - and they have a beautiful new facility at 444 hegenberger, next to the Marriot. I can't praise the school enough - a truly wonderful education - my sons has been there for nearly 4 years. S
Re: School for 11 year old who speaks Mayan & Spanish & no English
Please let your friends know about Lighthouse Community Charter School in downtown Oakland as a possibility for their 11 year old, whether for now or next year. There may not be anyone there who speaks her home language (tho it's possible that there is, I just don't know), but many of the young people and/or their families have experienced coming to the US and learning english as a second or third language. Our 13 year old started there midyear (february) in 6th grade a year and a half ago and the school culture (compassion, respect, responsibility) made the transition much better than I'd thought it might go. An LCCS parent
I am wondering if any parents out there have feedback or would like to chat offline about their experiences at LCCS. My daughter is due to start kindergarten there this fall and I would love to hear from you. Thank you!
On our tours of Lighthouse, we were very impressed by the philosophy and academic programs. They do project-based learning through a highly-praised program called Expeditionary Learning (see their website at http://www.elob.org/). They do looping (kids stay with the same teacher for two grades), which means that teachers really know their students well. They also have a home language program which allows students to spend a chunk of time each day gaining/maintaining language and literacy skills in their home language (English enrichment or Spanish classes for English-only students). These are all things I remember from the tours and website, so I hope I'm not getting any facts wrong.
We have two concerns about Lighthouse: 1) their after-school program is very limited and only open to students needing enrichment, which will be a logistical problem for us, and 2) more importantly, they are planning to move before the 2007- 2008 school year, and I have no idea what part of Oakland they'll end up in. As a north Oakland resident, I really do not want to get on the freeway each day to take my daughter to school. Hopefully they will stay downtown, but I don't think anyone knows at this point.
I, too, am interested in hearing from current parents at Lighthouse, as well as meeting incoming kindergarten parents. Feel free to contact me! Tawnya
Looking for people's experiences with this fairly new charter school. Any info. would be of interest. lisa
The school's mission is college preparation for all children. Most of the kids currently at the school are from east Oakland, and not from wealthy backgrounds, but all the kids and parents are super motivated.
Things you may like or dislike about Lighthouse:
* location downtown is a seedy neighborhood but 1/2 block to BART and really accessible by bus
* school only takes new Kindergarten and 6th graders each year, but will eventually fill up to K-12 school
* very small in size, you get to know the staff really well, and lot of the parents & kids
* school day is 8:30am-5:30pm
* if you are a lazy parent or have a lazy kid, this is not the school for you.
* all kids learn Spanish at their own language level (whether beginner or fluent Spanish speaker)
One more thing about Lighthouse, the school has very high expectations about behavior and integrity from all kids and parents. It is a really beautiful sight to walk into the school and see sparkling bright walls with not a speck of graffiti, and kids work proudly displayed everywhere on the wall. Kids are in school green polo shirts and t-shirts and look and act very respectful. I wish all the public schools in Oakland looked the picture of order and learning that this school does.
Best Regards! Tiffany
I've seen many inquiries about charter schools lately. I am director of the Lighthouse Community Charter School located in downtown Oakland. We are in our first year of operation this year and next year will serve students in grades K/1 and 6/7. Eventually, our school will serve K - 12. Our mission is to prepare students for college or a career of their choice by holding each child to high expectations for student achievement, getting to know each student and family well, serving the whole child, and ensuring that teachers are constant learners. Our student population is very diverse - ethnically, socio-economically, and linguistically. Students learn through expeditionary learning which allows them to dive deeply into a subject area over a long period of time (i.e. Lake Merritt water quality, ''My Family,'' etc.) For the 2003 - 2004 school year, we are enrolling Kindergarten and 6th grade. Interested parents must attend an enrollment meeting. Call 510-271-8801 for more information. Check out our website at www.lighthousecharter.org Jenna
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