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Manzanita SEED Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
We are considering Manzanita SEED for TK next year. We are an English-only, middle class, caucasian family. We love the expeditionary learning and dual immersion approach of the school. However, we are wondering if the school makes efforts to make all students and families feel included in the school community. When I visited the school, it seemed like my child would definitely be a minority student at the school. What sorts of efforts are made to help non-neighborhood families/students feel like they are part of the school community? Interested prospective parent
This is definitely not a hills school. Most of the kids are on the free lunch program (free lunch and breakfast for all the last two years because of this). Onsite programs focus on nutrition and education. And the afterschool programs is very inexpensive. They do also focus on neighborhood integration and community partnership. They offer lots of programs that hill schools usually need to fundraise for-music, science, enrichment after school. There is fundraising but it is nothing like the hill schools (I can say this having recently attended the Joaquin Miller crazy bidding auction fundraiser).
There are lots of opportunities to volunteer and participate and this is probably your best avenue at integration. That said, as we are a middle class family, sometimes I do feel bad that we have more than many families at the school. But I also know my daughter is in an environment where kids are not competing to have the latest toys, tennis shoes, clothing, cell phone, etc...
And I've really enjoyed all of her teachers thus far so I cannot complain about the education. non-hood manzanita family
Re: How many kids in your K class?
Our daughter just started at Manzanita SEED. I think they over-enrolled and expected a lot more kids to not show up to register. They were up near 30 as the demand for the school has skyrocketed this year. They managed to open a fourth kindergarten class and now she has 22. Happily surprised at this hidden gem with lower than average class sizes. NikNik
Re: Oakland elementary that values creativity, peace, fun, learning
Have you looked at Manzanita SEED? It is a public OUSD school that is a hidden gem! My son is a kindergartner this fall and I have been observing the school for the last several years. They have a wonderful community that really promotes family. It is a dual immersion program so your child has the chance to be bilingual! We are an english only family & my son loves the spanish aspect and thinks he is so cool to be able to interject spanish words into his everyday speaking. Ms. Carter, the principle, and all the teachers are AMAZING! They were even featured in the Tribune a few weeks ago on their gain in API scores to 842. Please feel free to email me with any specific questions!
Re: Spanish immersion school with strong art program
Have you visited Manzanita SEED in Oakland? My son began there in K and is now in 2nd grade. He is very artistic and it has been a great place for him to learn and grow. SEED has had a resident artist teaching art once a week to each class since the school began several years ago. The art teacher also provides art instruction during the After School Program. The After School Program is free. Along with art, students can also choose to join a choir, learn expressive dance, or work with an amazing theatre arts teacher. SEED has a partnership with MOCHA so that artists come into each classroom to do several projects with each class every year, and also provide teacher training. I have seen the quality of art instruction improve among the teachers, and art is integrated often into writing, science and social studies projects across all grade levels. The Spanish instruction is wonderful and fully integrated so that students are learning science and math concepts as they improve their Spanish literacy and oral language skills. I feel I must tell you that I am both a happy parent and a teacher at SEED. I discovered SEED when I was looking for a school for my older son who is now in middle school. I was so impressed with the school and principal that I applied to work at the school myself, and I continue to be very pleased with the high level of instruction my son receives along with the opportunity for him to continue developing his artistic, social, and Spanish language skills. I feel that my older son also benefitted greatly from his instruction at SEED. anne
I know that there are openings at SEED for Kindergarten this Fall. So I wanted to write to agree with what was posted here by another parent. Manzanita SEED is an excellent program. I think it is a wonderful option for any parents who need to put their children in public school - and even for parents considering private school.
I have been very pleased with both the dual immersion (all kids spend half the day in Spanish and half the day in English) and the exploratory curriculum. They really encourage the kids to see themselves as scientists - at school and through a series of educational field trips.
In addition, the API scores have been continually improving. When you consider that Oakland School District as a whole is the most improved urban school district in the state, and that these kids are learning many subjects in their second language, this is a huge achievement. There are no low expectations for kids at SEED. The teachers support them and give them homework and class activities that prepare them for success.
The school has taken many steps to increase safety on and around campus and I have found them responsive to my input and concerns. In addition, many parents are involved at the school above and beyond the 2 hours a month that the school asks for. (Through Parents Council or just volunteering on campus.) Even though many public schools are suffering from funding cuts and removing programs and services, so far SEED has continued to find ways to thrive and grow. The cafeteria food is supplemented with a fresh fruit/vegetable salad bar, Sports 4 Kids runs recess and after school programs and there are community celebrations held about 3-4 times a year.
If you are thinking of ''bilingual'' education for your child/ren, please look into SEED. Other ''bilingual'' programs in the public schools are designed for Spanish-Speaking children and phase them out of Spanish. (Due to a ''no-bilingual Education'' law passed in CA a few years back.) In Dual-Immersion at SEED, all children are expected to speak, read, and write *both* languages fluently by the end of 3rd grade.
There's also a celebration of the diversity of the school/students throughout the curriculum and other activities that's really great. My kids are friends with children of all different races/ethnicities from the ''hills'' to the ''flatlands'' and everywhere in between. I highly recommend Manzanita SEED.
(By the way, Manzanita Community School is on the same campus. Also a great school, but I'm describing Manzanita SEED in this post.) Another Manzanita SEED Parent
Can anyone give me more information about Manzinita SEED's bilingual immersion program since they started in 2006? Since they are so new, I'd like to know current parents' opinions on the teaching, on how their kids are doing... advancing, if safety is ever a consideration, and if this program is comparable to private school immersion programs like that offered through The Renaissance School or EBI. Thanks! anon
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