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Peralta Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
Re: Schools that offer 3-D printing classes
Peralta Elementary uses them for after school enrichment. An awesome Peralta mom of a 3rd grade girl created a week-long, all-girl summer camp, entitled, Scientific Adventures for Girls, at Curiosity Hacked this past August that my daughter still raves about. It was a first for a camp like this, and quite successful. Check out Curiosity Hacked and see if might pique your daughter's interest. Definitely keep the camp on file for next summer! Mom of Geeky Wannabe Girl Scientist
We'd like to send our daughter to Peralta Elementary school in Oakland, and are lucky enough to live close by. I do have a few concerns though for current and former Peralta families: To what extent does the school encourage creative thinking and foster a love of learning? Do you find that the teachers have to ''teach to the test?'' Are the class sizes unmanageably large? Does Peralta prepare children well for private middle schools? Any regrets about sending your child to Peralta? What do you love about Peralta? Thanks everyone for your responses. Concerned Mom
I have both a kid who's a Peralta alumni and a current student. Here's what I learned from the families that we joined so many years ago in Peralta kindergarten: the families with grave concerns going in continued to have concerns. Parents who had already decided that they felt class sizes or testing or not enough GATE (well before their kids were identified for GATE), etc, continued to be concerned or dissatisfied. Many of them left.
Parents who entered expecting to learn about elementary school alongside their kids had a great experience. Peralta offers many opportunities for family engagement. Kids are happy and love their school. They embrace their music classes (starting in K, and continuing straight through to 5th). They have an extraordinary art teacher (who also teaches after school classes -- not just art, also cooking -- so popular that kids enroll in after school just to take her classes). They have really, really good teachers. The support staff (is the principal considered support staff? she seems to believe her role is to support the teachers and kids) is extraordinary, warm, engaged, loving. One benefit of a small school is that everyone knows every kid. If you are in the neighborhood, going to the neighborhood school is pretty awesome. You know the kids on your block. Playdates are easy. Community is fostered by proximity.
I love their after school program. I only know a handful of other elementary schools so maybe it's not as uncommon as I think, but at Peralta, all the kids are together. There's no segregation based on economic class, as is common in schools with multiple options based on ability to pay. It's a tremendous equalizer to have all after school kids playing together rather than segregated. I love the after school program anyway -- great staff, lots of free time (although with supervision), including outside time, amazing enrichment (but my kid prefers ''Leisure Club'' which is hanging out and not doing much of anything). Maybe that's the lesson of parenting -- that kids don't necessarily want what we predetermine they will need -- I wanted him to take choir, chess, and origami.
I have to tell you that reading your post, where you've already decided that your child not yet entering kindergarten will be best served by private middle school and you have a list of concerns about the elementary school, I felt like I wanted to encourage you to consider something else. Maybe you'll be happiest in a school you have more confidence in. Don't worry. Peralta will fill your spot.
As to middle school, I found that first time parents worried a lot. Now, everyone is satisfied with where their kids are. No one has moved. Would they say the schools are perfect? No, but there's an understanding that it's middle school. None of them -- public or private -- are awesome and there comes a time where what the student gets out of a school is based on what they put in. From watching our friends who were applying to private middle schools, you might increase your kid's acceptance rate by sending them to an elementary school that doesn't send kids to private middle schools. Emerson, Piedmont Ave, Sankofa, off the top of my head. It's a long journey, no perfect decisions
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
Cautiously Excited Incoming Peralta Mother
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!
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
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
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
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
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
I'm wondering how Peralta Elementary parents feel about the
after school program there?
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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/
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
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
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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