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Redwood Heights Elementary School (Oakland, CA)

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



Parents' Reviews of Redwood Heights


March 2010

HI, I'm thinking of sending our son, who is currently in school at Civicorps Elementary School in W. Oakland to Redwood Heights for 1st grade. Civicorps is having some problems, so we applied for the lottery, just to see if we could get into Peralta or where we'd get into. So, he was placed at RH and I'd love to hear peoples recent experiences with it. I'm also wondering how difficult it might be to move your child from one school to another, in terms of stress and anxiety on the child. He's made some good friends in kindergarten so far. I'm also torn because I've been working hard to help get this school on track, and I feel like I'd be letting people down somehow.... Anway, any thoughts on RH and moving your child from one school to another would be great, thanks. Torn


Congratulations on getting into Redwood Heights, albeit unexpectedly! It's a wonderful school. We have two kids at RHS, including a child in one of the K classes, and couldn't be happier. Most of the kids in the K class do live in the immediate neighborhood, but with class sizes going up (an unfortunate reality with the budget cuts), your son won't be the only new child starting in first grade next year.

If you come to RHS, please get involved in the school community. There are lots of ways to do this, but one of the reasons that our school is so successful is because of the time and money that parents put into RHS. Love Redwood Heights!


Sept 2008

Looking for some advice regarding Redwood Heights Enrollment for next fall: What are the chances of us successfully appealing not getting into RH if it is on the basis of being on the wrong side of the street? Can we contest this in advance? Any thoughts would be helpful, anon


I feel for you as we looked at houses across the street from some desirable schools. In the end we didn't buy because I couldn't stand the thought of living so close, but possibly not being able to attend that school.

We are a RHS family. I have heard that there is some ''leniency'' in these situations at the school, but I don't think there is anything you can do in advance. Just go and apply at the school during the application window.

However, I will caution you that the 2009 K class is expected to be huge and capacity issues will most likely arise. If the school can't accommodate all the eligible kids within the boundaries, then I doubt they will have room for any ''extras''. Make sure you have a plan B. Good luck. Redwood Heights Mom


Oct 2007

Re: Best schools to target for Oakland Lottery system
Dont' target Redwood Heights! This school was way oversubscribed last year and 16 neighborhood kids were displaced. Although these kids were later admitted into the largest K class ever at the school, there was absolutely no room for families through the open lottery. As a smaller school than most in the hills, Redwood Heights will likely continue to be fully subscribed by neighborhood children over the next few years.

The best quality schools to target through the open lottery are Kaiser and Glenview in my opinion. I know people who got into both schools through the open lottery this past spring. If you are denied initially, act quickly with an appeal and be persistant and patient. Good luck! Redwood Heights Parent


March 2006

My son will start kindergarten this fall and been assigned to our local public school (Redwood Height Elementary in Oakland), but we also have a couple of private school options. Since there isn't any recent information on the BPN site regarding Redwood Heights Elem, would anyone be able to share any recent experiences (positive/ negative) with respect to the school's environment (academics/principal/teachers/ other kids)? This information would be invaluable in helping me determine if the school is the right choice for us.


Our daughter is finishing her kindergarten year at Redwook Heights Elementary and we couldn't be happier with the school. The teachers and staff are very welcoming, helpful, caring and excellent educators. The community of parents is devoted and busy at the school. One thing I really value is the sense of community I have experienced since my child started at the school. I had met my immediate neighbors but getting plugged into the school has really broadened my friends (and my daughters) in the area around our home. My daughter is getting an excellent education, she is experiencing a diverse community, and we have made so many wonderful friends in the neighborhood. I hope this helps you make your decision. RHS parent
Feb 2005

Re: Gay Friendly Schools in Oakland
We're a two-dad family living in Oakland and though our ''rankings'' of different school options on a LGBT sensitivity spectrum are more anecdotal than empirical at this point, we have asked many of the same questions. Unfortunately, we don't know anything about Chabot's record in this regard, but if you're considering relocating to Oakland, I encourage you to look at the Redwood Heights neighborhood. Our daughter will be starting K at Redwood Heights Elementary this fall. This is the one Oakland public school that we've heard has a reputation for being especially sensitive to and familiar with gay families. For us, it's less important that family diversity be a formal part of the curriculum than that it be something that school staff and leadership are simply comfortable and familiar with. Our thinking is that such familiarity is either an indicator of or an incentive for higher numbers of gay families to be part of the school, which in the end, is what we really want for us and for our daughter. We've not had any upfront conversations with the principal or staff at RHES about this, but this is in part due to the fact that we don't think its necessary: when we went to the K orientation, we counted at least three lesbian couples in attendance among the roughly 30 families that were there. For middle school, we alternate between girding ourselves for private school tuition or waiting to see which small public schools crop up in OUSD over the next 5-6 years (the district's reform efforts are not to be discounted at this point, we feel, and we think we'll have more options in 5 years than we do now). But if there's one area where we think private school is likely, it's middle school, and our current interest is in the Julia Morgan School for Girls. Though light years away, a high school that interests us is the new Oakland School for the Arts (www.oakarts.org). There's been some traffic about this school on the list, and it appears to be very solid academically, as well as a small and supportive environment. Also making me lean toward this school is that our daughter already shows a genuine interest in song, dance, and theater, but who knows where that will be when she's ready for high school. Feel free to email me.


2001

I have a second grader at Redwood Heights and a child starting in the kindergarten in the Fall. We are largely quite pleased with the school. It has a absolutely first rate principal who knows every child, a very experienced teaching staff and very involved parents group. It's relatively socio-economically diverse, though that is changing a bit as the neighborhood changes, and seems to serve children from a range of SES quite well if you look at the test scores. I am not thrilled with the kinder- garten program, but have been very happy with subsequent years, especially this year. My child has been fortunate this year to have an incredibly gifted, experienced, and entertaining teacher. Redwood Heights' parents group funds field trips, a spanish program, and motor skills as well as some social skills programs.

We actually moved from Sequoia School District to Redwood Heights before my son started kindergarten. I think Sequoia is getting a lot better, and is certainly in the middle range of Oakland Public Schools. They have many challenges in the school... Lots of English learners and children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Myriam


Redwood Heights After-School care


March 2003

Does anyone have any information about or recommendations for after-school programs for kindergartners at Redwood Heights Elementary School? I would be interested in learning about the programs' structure, content, etc., hours and pricing. Thanks very much!


After school care at Redwood Heights is quite challenging for kindergarteners. You can get a list from Sherry Kaetzel, the school secretary. I think it may have been recently revised.

There are two kindergarten extension programs that actually provide a full day of care, Chatham School and the JCC.

Chatham is next door to RHS, and is a full day preschool. They walk the children to RHS for kindergarten and pick them up afterward. It's moderately expensive. People seem reasonably pleased with it, though I didn't love it when I looked at it, and found the director hard to focus and somewhat disorganized. There are quite a few children from Redwood Heights at Chatham, so they often build nice friendships over the course of the year.

The JCC is off-site and offers a van to their program at their site. One thing I did not like about this was the time the children seemed to spend on the van... They went to more than one school to pick up, so they could conceivably spend a fair amount of time on the bus. The parents I know who have had children in the program seem very pleased with it. There was some fear that they might cancel the program last year, but I gather that that has been resolved.

Other options:

The Rec Center has a MWF ''Tiny Tots'' program that many have used for childcare. Last year they tried to get it going 5 days, with hours from 8:30-start of school, but didn't get enough enrollment: They cancelled the 8:30-9 time in November, and then the T/Th section for the Spring. This was a real hassle for us, as we were continually having to shift our poor kindergarteners schedule around, not to mention the problems with work schedules. We ended up using the family home daycare that our younger daughter used for morning care on the T/TH, which wasn't ideal either.

In terms of after school care, Rockets, at the Rec Center is open to K-er's, but is not an ideal situation. It's quite a large program with children of all ages. They don't segregate the younger ones, which I think works better. You can get a sense of that program by wandering by the park around 3:30 every day. We use it one day a week for our 1st grader and 4th grader, and neither one of them loves it. They do have classes so if you want to sign your child up for them, it makes it somewhat better. We particularly love the ballet program for our 1st grade daughter.

One thought that we had last year was First Covenant's Treehouse preschool, but we couldn't work out the details of getting our child from First Covenant to the school and back again.

We also got a student from Holy Names to pick up and babysit one day a week, which has worked out pretty well. It actually doesn't end up being a whole lot more than paying for two children at Rockets, and the kids seem to like it more.

As you can tell, I've done fairly exhaustive research on the subject. You can contact me for more information. Myriam


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