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Peralta Elementary School (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > Oakland Public Schools > Peralta Elementary School (Oakland, CA)



Aug 2013

Re: Are there any progressive PUBLIC schools?
I think you are describing Peralta Elementary, in north Oakland. Arts integration? Oh my gosh, yes! Social-emotional development? Yes! They use both Second Step and/or MOSAIC in all grades. Play? Yes, they all get three recesses a day, as well as free time in the classroom. Peralta has a strong sense of community, a diverse population (both ethnically and socio-economically), as well as sky-high test scores. The neighborhood is very walkable; we live about four blocks from Peralta and we have a walk-score of 96. The only downside to Peralta is that the class sizes are large; this is because it is a highly sought-after school, so OUSD packs them in. Not everybody who wants in, gets in, unfortunately. I heard that this year even some neighborhood kindergartners were denied spots, so if you want a spot for your son, it would be best to live in the neighborhood. But if your son gets a spot, then your daughter will be guaranteed admission. Best of luck to you. Public school mom


Peralta for new 2nd grade boy?

March 2013

My son will be in 2nd grade next year, and we just found out that he got into Peralta. There aren't a lot of recent posts, but i'm wondering how the school is for a quiet, sweet 7 yr old. Anon


Hi there and welcome to Peralta! We've been at Peralta for two years now and with the exception of a few concerns (no school is perfect), we are incredibly happy and impressed with the school and community. As I'm sure you already know, the parent community is very active. The leadership is solid and the teachers are experienced, dedicated, and provide an excellent curriculum. You mentioned your son is quiet and sweet. I'm assuming this means he might be a bit shy? I think Peralta being a very small school is great for a child like this. It never feels overwhelming on the school grounds to us and our kids have never complained of feeling crowded or scared. Honestly, there are so many, many positives to the school it's hard to even write our concerns but here they are: class size and homework. Right now both 1st and 2nd grade classes are around 27 kids. The incoming 2nd grade (which your son would be in), I believe is going to increase to 29-31 kids. Don't get me wrong, Peralta teachers are VERY strong and they do have TA's through 2nd grade. However, that's a lot of kids and depending on the child it can be a bit much. I'm not sure how homework is from 2nd grade up yet, but I've been disappointed with the amount of homework in K and 1st grade, meaning there's too much. I think it tires kids out and doesn't really advance them academically at this age. Overall, fantastic school and community! It is truly a great school and we've learned over time, no school will be perfect!! Good luck!! And again, welcome! Peralta Dad
Lucky you! I think you and your child will be thrilled with Peralta, as we are and have been for six years now. My kids are sweet and quiet also and they have made solid friends and been happy to go to school almost every day. Peralta is full of all different kinds of kids and I'm sure your child will fit right in. Congratulations! Pleased Peralta Parent
Jan 2013

Re: OUSD Elementary options for queer family

Peralta and Kaiser are the north Oakland schools that spring to mind when you say you want a queer-friendly environment. I have been a Peralta parent for several years and there are a number of same-sex parents at the school. I hope some of them will respond to you. Kaiser also touts themselves as LBGT-friendly (in fact, in this very same newsletter they announced a tour and listed this as one of their qualities). Two excellent schools--visit them both! Peralta parent


March 2012

Re: Bullied 4th Grader wants to be Homeschooled
There ARE schools in Oakland with zero tolerance for bullying. If 65th and San Pablo is in Oakland (not sure where the border between Oakland and Emeryville is), perhaps your son could transfer into Peralta. I have never seen a happier bunch of kids than at Peralta! I've never witnessed bullying there either. It would break my heart to see my kid so unhappy at school--I hope you can find a good match for your child.
Mom of happy kids at a happy school


Jan 2012

I saw a couple of posts talking about parents having their kids on a waiting list for Peralta Elementary. How do you get on a waiting list for a public school? What I have read so far seems to indicate that to get your child into an OUSD kindergarten you basically apply the December before your child turns 5 and then wait for a response... is there more to it than that? How early can you get on a waiting list? Do you have to live in the neighborhood? Preparing to send my toddler to school in a few years


The process for getting into Peralta is no different than any other elementary school in Oakland. You apply by January to begin school in August. If you live in the Peralta catchment area, you have a very good chance of going to Peralta. Right now Peralta is about half neighborhood kids, and half out-of-neighborhood kids. There is often a waiting list, but those on the list are usually from out of the catchment area. Last fall was an exception--there were some neighborhood families who didn't get a spot, but that was due to a complicated budgeting process whereby Peralta lost a teacher and had an empty classroom (OUSD at its finest). Peralta Peep
Aug 2011

Re: Peralta for a sabbatical
I have to say, as a Peralta parent, it is a fantastic school with a wonderful community of families. And yes, the art the children do is magnificent. I assume your 7 year-old is a 2nd-grader? I have no idea if there's an opening for a 2nd grader, but I do know that kindy has a long waiting list (even for neighborhood families). And as to your child doing a four-day week, no way. The school gets $$ every day your child is in school, $$ that they (we) desperately need. Missing 20% of the school week seems huge to me anyway--I don't think that would benefit your child at all. Anyway, if you get a spot at Peralta, congratulations and welcome--you will love it! Mom to two Peralta peeps


March 2011

We have our eye on Peralta and have toured. We are on the wait list at Peralta, but we must move to the zone to assure our spot. We LOVED this school, but worry about class size increase, too much academic pressure, homework and teaching to the test. Also the upcoming budget cuts are a major concern. Can the community please respond to let me know how you think Peralta handles this? Also, are Peralta parents pressured or montitored to be involved? Is it a stress if you cannot volunteer as much as another parent? ps...our daughter is VERY artistic. Peralta seems to have a strong arts program. Is this true? -planning ahead


I do not think you need to move to the Peralta district to attend the school. But be persistent? Yes. This is my family's 4rth year there and there must be at least 30% families from outside the Peralta zone. It is not uncommon at all. In terms of academic pressure or too much homework, we have not found either one to be a problem. Some teachers give more work than others however, but I have never heard of overburdening the students. Nor have I heard of or experienced academic pressure. I usually hear great stories of how teachers and principal band together to make sure no one falls through the cracks and give them all kinds of support, e.g. in reading. Teaching to the test - yes they do have testing as of 2nd grade, and the students spend some time practicing their test taking. This has never worried me, since I think test taking skills are extremely important. They don't go away. (Even 40 years later I still have to take high pressure exams for various licenses and certifications I apply for.)

What I love about Peralta (and there are many things) is that enrichment can be found all around. There are wonderful artists and musicians working at the school, and it's taken years for us to actually take stock of all the amazing things they are doing with the children. In addition, the students really LOVE these people. Watercolor, pastels, origami, Japanese calligraphy, paper making, 3-d constructions, cooking, mural painting and stop action animated films are just a sampling of some of the cool projects the children undertake each week for art. Re: volunteering, parents are not monitored to be involved, but the school is as great as it is because so many people are involved - many of them working parents. There are many opportunities to help on the weekends or evenings, either organizing things from home or working at a school function, and a spirit of initiative is greatly encouraged and appreciated. There are a lot of ways to help, and propel the school forward.

Everyone is concerned about the budget crisis and possibly packed classrooms. No one knows how this will shake down - might happen, might not and the school community is doing whatever it can to prevent it. But we have seen this school overcome crises in the past and have faith. -j


March 2011

Peralta or Kaiser?? Just got the results from OUSD options and our twins were placed apart: one at Peralta and one at Kaiser, which are are #1 and #2 choices. Ok, so I know these are two FABULOUS choices to have. I know we are spoilt for choice, so believe me we are very, very thankful. I think we only got this b/c of the Program Improvement status at our zoned school.

We toured both schools, loved both schools, etc. Just looking for some more current feedback on Kaiser vs. Peralta. Specifically how intense the academics are, homework, driving up the hill to Kaiser each day (Peralta is much closer to our home), safety of campus at Peralta, concerns with upcoming budget cuts, etc.

I know we get priority on the wait list for either school, but now I am very confused about how to proceed with appealing to one or the other, or both? We obviously want our twins placed together in the long run, but can wait into the first week of school or so until that happens. Thank you in advance!! Lucky!


Ha! Leave it to OUSD to assign twins to different schools! But you're right, you're in an enviable position getting to choose between Peralta and Kaiser. One major point in favor of Peralta is your morning commute--why drive up into the hills if you don't have to? Also, you ask about safety at Peralta and I'm not sure what you mean by that. Because of its proximity to Telegraph? We've been at Peralta for four years now and I've never felt unsafe AT ALL. Still totally in love with Peralta too...Anyway, choose your school (probably can't go wrong) and hopefully that poor parent who didn't get a spot at any of their six choices can get the spot you don't want! OUSD mom
Nov 2009

We need to move and since we have 2-year-olds we would like to move someplace we can stay for elementary school. I have heard good things about Peralta Elementary but the OUSD site doesn't show the boundaries for Peralta. What is an ''anchor'' school? Does it mean neighborhood families don't get any priority? We are also thinking of just moving to Berkeley to increase our chances of getting into a school we like. What are the chances of getting in to Peralta if we stay, and do we improve our chances if we move to the Peralta neighborhood? Lesley


Peralta is a GREAT school, my first grader is there and we all love it. It's an amazing environment that really stimulates kids' intellectual curiosity, not to mention the serious arts focus. My understanding is that priority is given to neighborhood families, then to siblings of current students who are out-of-district, then it's a lottery for out-of-district families. Call OUSD to see whether a property you're considering moving to is in the boundaries. I've heard that Oakland is considering a lottery system like Berkeley but don't know when or if that will really happen. Peralta fan
Answers about Peralta (yes, it is as great as you hear)...Here is a map of the Peralta area: http://mapstacker.ousd.k12.ca.us/HardCopy/145.pdf (if it doesn't show up, try typing in an address that you know is in the Peralta zone, like the address of the school, then you'll get the whole map). Right now, if you live in the zone, you are almost guaranteed to get a spot in the school. But since your kids are only 2, district policy could change in the next 3 years...still worth a try though. I have no idea what an anchor school is. Hope this helps. Pleased Peralta Parent
August 2009

There is a possibility that our child will be in the K/1 class in Peralta Elementary. Can any Peralta parents share information about this class (pros and cons, comparisons with regular K classes at Peralta ...) and about the teacher, Miss Thomas? The assignment process is a bit of a mystery to us, and we are not at all familiar with any of the Peralta KG teachers. But we're thrilled to be in Peralta and our child too is quite eager to begin KG.
Cautiously Excited Incoming Peralta Mother


Ms. Thomas' mixed k/1 class works out really well. Part of that is through Peralta's savvy placement. My sense is that she gets fewer behavior problems and academically stronger and more mature Kindergardeners.

She's a strong and experienced teacher, recruited to Peralta b/c of her impressive resume and credentials. She's very loving and runs a well-organized, calm classroom. The kids love her. When you hear a negative comment it's generally because of minor cultural differences with sterotypical Bay Area parents. (For example, she's mentioned God in the classroom -- not so you think she's proselytizing, just such a major part of her life that it was mentioned in passing. Now, my kids knows more Buddhists than Christians, so I'm happy for them to know that there are people who believe in God. Part of diversity and all that.)

When my second child is entering Kindergarten, I'll have my fingers crossed for an assignment (either for K or 1st) in Ms. Thomas' class (although I probably won't make an actual request - I trust the Peralta administration to make good decisions about these things.) Welcome to the Peralta community!


Sorry for the late reply, but we just returned from vacation. My son was in Mrs. Thomas' K/1 at Peralta two years ago. It was her first year at Peralta (though she's been teaching in OUSD for many, many years). There were growing pains in the beginning, for sure, but ultimately our family and most importantly, our son, grew to love Mrs. Thomas! I spent a bit of time in the classroom and could see how engaged the children were with her. My son was one of only 5 kindergarteners in her class that year, but I understand the split will be closer to 50/50 this year. He started the year barely able to write his name (despite being an older kindergartener), but ended the year reading above grade level. I don't have any direct experience with the other K teachers at Peralta, but I hear there are no bad teachers to be had there! Welcome to our school! Pleased Peralta Parent
March 2009

Our son got into Peralta Elementary (Oakland) starting in Fall 2009. We have favorable impressions from our school tour but not having had a chance to speak with parents with children in school right now (most comments are not so recent), we'd love to know how people feel about the school. Has the financial crisis impacted in any way? parent of pre-K boy


Congratulations on being accepted into Peralta! I have one child there now, and one on the way. We applied to several private schools and Peralta (we are out of the Peralta district), but ended up choosing Peralta, even after being accepted to the private schools. We felt our child would get the private school education - at a much better price - at Peralta. We have been so happy with our decision.

It's an amazing school: The community involvement, the small size, the excellent teachers, the diversity of the families, the amazing principal, the extra-curricular programs (first graders are working with the San Francisco Opera, for example), the wonderful gardens, the focus on the whole child and not just the Open Court curriculum. It's a gem in OUSD, and you should be thrilled that you will now be a part of such an amazing school.

Pleased Peralta Parent


April 2008

We are considering moving to the Rockridge area, and I'd love to know how people feel about Peralta Elementary School. I've seen postings, but they're pretty old. And some information I find about the Oakland schools makes me think there's a lottery system for school assignments. Is this the case? I checked out Peralta's website, but it hasn't been updated since December 2007 when they were dealing with a crisis and had to change locations. Is it back to the original school location now, and is all okay there? Any recommendations about other schools in the area? Thanks for any information! Carolyn


We are a neighborhood family that is absolutely in love with Peralta. Our son is in kindergarten now. Peralta has a warm community feel to it, the principal is always accessible, the teachers seem to really enjoy their work and the kids seem very happy there overall. Really the only improvements necessary would be for Peralta to secede from OUSD and also become K-8 (yes, I'm being a little tongue in cheek--neither of these are likely).

There was no crisis in December 2007 that I'm aware of, so I don't know how to respond to that. There was however an arson fire in March 2007 and the school finished out the school year at a different campus last year. (And you should have the seen the Peralta community in action the weekend before school started this year--getting the campus ready for students!).

As far as moving to Rockridge NOW, I'm not sure how the enrollment process works--everyone has already been assigned their school, so I don't know what new neighborhood kids are supposed to do. This would be a question for OUSD.

Good luck with your decision. You won't regret choosing Peralta. Proud and Pleased Peralta Parent


Peralta is simply a very special place. We are a strong community and we don't take ''no'' for an answer. Look around and it is evident that this is not your ordinary elementary school. Yes, there was a fire last year, but we are back on our old campus. We enjoy an amazingly dedicated principal and a caring, and hardworking staff. Our parent/caregiver community can move mountains. We have professional artists-in-residence in the following media - muralists, textiles, digital media, landscape design & choral and instrumental music. Our kids paint, sew, dye, quilt, make movies, garden, & sing everyday. We have a wonderful Gifted & Talented program run by our hardworking Librarian. We have an annual Math Olympics and a Science Fair (every student creates a science project, K-5). We have weekly social skills development, physical education and Spanish classes. We have a weekly organic farmer's market on campus. Our community has worked hard to create a combined afterschool program as well as various after school enrichment programs including, drama, Sera Science, digital media, Destiny Arts, comedy improv, guitar, basketball, drumming and more.

We are a truly diverse community, ethnically and socioeconomically. Our familes come in all kinds of flavors. We are a lucky bunch. If you have the chance you could be too. Make sure you are aware of OUSD admission policy. 100 families put Peralta as their first choice for elementary school. We only have spaces for 40 incoming Kindergarteners. Nicole


June 2006

I'm wondering how Peralta Elementary parents feel about the after school program there?
Looking Around


The Peralta afterschool program does not make a distinction between the kids in the subsidized afterschool (CDC) and the kids whose parents can afford to pay for care (Rainbow). Although it is administratively two programs, the kids are in aftercare together.

There are some lovely enrichments, especially for first grade and up (Kindergarteners are separated). The greatest advantage, from my perspective, is that kids are not segregated by family income. They get to know the other kids from their school. Everyone appears happy, engaged, and well-monitored. Some families (non-CDC) send their children to the JCC program, arguing that for about the same price, there are more enrichment opportunities. I would urge you to consider signing up for the program at the school. There may be less funding per- child but it does not impact the basic level of care. Sending your child away from your school does weaken the link to his/her school and classmates. To the extent s/he is with other Peralta kids at JCC, it's only the economically advantaged ones. Children form relationships, especially during the less structured time in afterschool. To me, it's not worth the occassional bells and whistles that may be available elsewhere. Thanks for your interest Anne


Dec 2005

I've been looking at both public and private schools for my daughter who will be starting kindergarten next year. Our neighborhood school is Peralta in North Oakland and it seems great--I can see no reason whatsoever to send her to a private school. Except that I'm a lesbian and the private schools, such as Berkwood Hedge and Park Day, sound really supportive of queer parents and their kids. It would be worth it to me to send her to private school if I thought she was going to get a hard time or teased in public school, or if the ciriculum at a private school was that much more ''alternative family- friendly''. Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) at Peralta that might help me figure this out?
Public School Fan


My son is in his third year at Peralta; I think ours may be the only 2 mom family currently at Peralta...at least among the 50 or so families who are active in our small school (240 kids). The staff is very open and welcoming and accepted us right away. You sound like you are familiar with the school so I won't give you the rave about all the positives. We are quite happy there. This is not to say that our son hasn't been teased a time or two about his family but it's so far been outweighed by kids who are jealous that he has two moms. All that said, it doesn't have the same gay positive approach of Berkwood Hedge, Park Day or Aurora have been able to cultivate as private schools. While we at Peralta generally compete with Chabot, I will give them hats off in this area...as they've started a lgbt families group and introduced the That's a Family curriculum. I'd like us to bring that curiculum to our school-- it would be great to have some partners in that project! I'd be happy to talk about more specifics with you. Marguerite
Oct 2004

Hello friends: I have a son starting kindergarten next year (Fall 2005) and I am planning to try intradistrict transfer. My question is for those of you out there who have considered intradistrict transfer to either Chabot or Peralta. Why did you choose one over the other? Are there pros and cons for each I should be aware of? Also, I'd appreciate any information about how you actually did the transfer process. Thanks-- Kate


I haven't sent my children to Peralta (we live too far and not in Oakland) but I definitely WOULD if I could. I worked at Peralta School for 2 years as an MFT intern, and was very impressed with the amazing, dedicated teachers and staff including their librarian who knows all the students and spends lots of time getting to know everyone. It is a lovely and cozy small school with excellent arts, music, and enrichment way beyond what I would expect at most public schools (they had quilting, various visiting artists, capoeria, and more, plus free onsite play therapy and support groups for children who needed extra support to be successful in school,) in large part due to the caring pricipal who makes sure they get every grant possible. Also one of the first grade teachers is an incredible gardener (go look at the school certainly if you haven't) and the result is a bright and blooming cheerful courtyard. Each of the teachers seemed to me to be doing an extraordinary job despite the enormous stress of working under state and district guidelines. Oh, and 2 male teachers and men on the afterschool staff who were fabulous with the kids, in my opinion that is another plus in an elementary school for both boys and girls to have exposure to male teachers. I don't have experience with Chabot so can't compare.... Chris
See also: Chabot Elementary School
January 2004

We're districted for Peralta Elementary School in Oakland. My son will be entering Kindergarten in September. I'd like to hear from parents whose children attend the school, particularly the lower grades? What do you think of the school. Frances


I'd like to hear about people's experiences with Peralta school. I know the school has a very active parents group and their test scores continue to rise, but it still rates just as an 'average' school. What are the teachers like? How do they handle open court? How would a very bright, very shy little boy fare at the school?
We have a 1st grader at Peralta and a kindergartner for next year....we couldn't imagine a better fit for our family. Peralta has an incredible principal who knows all her students and has built a great team atmosphere with teachers and parents in running the school. Consider Peralta if you are looking for a small, intimate public school which pays extra attention to the arts and treats all children, regardless of backgrounds, with great respect. My child (and entire family) has had a great experience. Matt
I wanted to share some of my experiences with Peralta Elementary. My son is a current Kindergartener there. I can go on and on about Peralta but I will list just some of the reasons why I believe there are no better schools out there, public or private, who will nurture my son's heart and mind.

1. Rosette Costello, Peralta Principal - An incredibly dedicated educator who literally lives at her school. She is a fighter for her school and her staff and does it translate!

2. Calvert Hand - Teacher - Mr. Hand, like Ms Costello, practically lives at school. He is unquestionably a great teacher. The kids absolutely adore him. You cannot believe how many kids come up to talk to him when he is out in the yard. They actually seek him out to have a chat! When does that happen? Mr. Hand is also the reason Peralta looks the way it does. He works tirelessly to make Peralta the beautiful place it is.

3. Three Kindergarten teachers in each Kindergarten class. Yes, itms true. My son has 3 teachers in his classroom! That doesnmt include all the parent volunteers we have.

4. The campus - the campus is really sweet. Gardens and art everywhere you look.

5. Emphasis on Literacy q There is a huge emphasis on reading and writing. Words are everywhere at Peralta! My son has started to read to me these days. And just last week he wrote his first sentence, ''tmmmrrwwegoto conrhse (translation - tomorrow we are going to Conor's house). He sounded out ''tomorrow.'' Amazing!

6. Art - I love that my son goes to a school where teachers and staff think art is an important way to teach kids about their world and themselves. My son will have the chance to work with really amazing artists while a student at Peralta. Ex: each week he has music class with Bonnie Lockhart, musician extraordinaire.

7. Peralta students really care about their school. They take pains to keep it clean. I think that speaks volumes.

8. Peralta's small size - With just about 200 kids & 8 teachers, the school is very cozy and small. All the kids (K-5th) I have met are simply great - kids I would like my son to be friends with. The parent community is creative and hardworking and undeniably dedicated to making Peralta the special place it is.

That is a very short list of why Peralta is as good as it is and why our family feels so blessed to be there.

One last note about test scores. Test scores are based largely on socioeconomic factors. If you take that into account, Peralta is ranked a perfect 10 when compared to similar schools. This high ranking among schools with similar demographics is evidence that there is outstanding teaching going on at Peralta. You will not find any better teachers anywhere.

nicaruda


December 2003

Considering your options for Kindergarten Fall 2004? Peralta Elementary is a small Oakland public school located at 460 63rd Street in the Rockridge area. Peralta has dedicated teachers, an active parent community, strong academic instruction, and vibrant programs in art, music & gardening. Come find out more about our unique school!

Parent Forum Wednesday, November 19, 6:45 p.m. This will be an opportunity to meet current Peralta parents and discuss their experiences in the Peralta community.

Kindergarten Open House Thursday, January 29, 6:45 p.m. Meet our principal & kindergarten teachers and find out more about Peraltams instructional programs.

School Tours Tours are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning in October. Call the school at 879-1450 to schedule a tour date.

For more information, or to RSVP for childcare for evening events, call Susan Killebrew at 655-2737.

Check out Peralta's website at www.geocities.com/peraltaschool/

suchard


January 2003

I'm a parent of a first grader at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland (near Telegraph & Alcatraz) and would like to recommend this school to any parent looking around for a school for their children. Peralta is no longer a year round school, having changed to the regular schedule last year. It is a small school, under 200 kids in grades K-5, with a very cohesive and active parent community that helps out with funding for art, music, garden and mentoring programs. The teachers collectively have years of experience in the classroom.

For those interested in the numbers, Peralta kids have excelled on the standardized testing. We've increased the API numbers by over 90 points in the last 3 years. In the last year, our number jumped 36 points to 731, though the goal was only 5 points! Last year we were invited to apply for a distinguished school award.

There will be a kindergarten open house on January 23rd at 6:45 pm, for prospective parents. Tours guided by current parents can be arranged by calling the school at (510) 879-1450. Also, please check out our new web site at http://www.geocities.com/peraltaschool/ Steven


January 1999

Just an addition to list of good Oakland public schools: Peralta is a K-5 school with a modified year-round calendar (although the year-round status may change starting next year). It's near Alcatraz and Telegraph. Good teachers, a great principal, lots of parent involvement, and relatively small (about 240 kids). There is also on-site extended care, which is really helpful for parents who work full-time. Nancy


October 1998

My 2 sons both attended Peralta School and had a good experience. The teachers that my oldest son had were excellent. The weakest part of the school is community involvement. The active parent's group members seemed to be in my oldest son's class. He attended up until 5th grade (he's now in 6th). Kathleen


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