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San Leandro Unified School District
My wife and I are expecting our first child in a few months and are also looking to move to San Leandro sooner than that. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Washington Elementary School in San Leandro or any preschools as well. Thank you. Kevin
I have 5 year old starting school in September. He is schedule for McKinley. Does anyone have experience with other private or public schools in San Leandro? I would appreciate any recommendations. Thanks! Melinda
I'm interested in knowing what parents' experiences have been with public schools in San Leandro, good, bad and otherwise. Are there good resources for gifted / academically inclined and achieving students? Are music and art part of the elementary school experience? Is there a lot of parent involvement and do the schools cultivate and promote it? Do the schools celebrate and embrace diversity? Since I know very little, any and all input would be appreciated. Potential SL school parent
The principal and teachers are great! I swear the principal knows every single one of the 400 kids by name. My son's 2nd grade teacher left Head-Royce to teach at Garfield because she wanted more diversity. My other son's 4th grade teacher has a classroom full of reptiles, frogs and fish - and the kids love learning in ''The Zoo.'' This same son started 1st grade in the special ed program there - and is now doing 6.6 grade level math and 4.5 grade level reading in regular ed. I credit the wonderful staff at this school for helping him with his success. The school received a $100,000 3-yr grant, which they use to fund afterschool sports/enrichment programs, homework clubs and parent education events. There's a music program for all - and 5th graders can learn an instrument if they wish.
The parents are very generous with classroom activities (ie., donations, fieldtrips, etc.) - though I have to admit PTA meetings are sparsely attended (guilty). Three years ago, the school received state-wide recognition for the gain it made in test scores, which is particularly noteworthy because the school has a large population of non-native English speaking students.
I've thought about exploring private schools, but every time I go down the list of things I'd look for - I find that I already have it. Of course, what one values in a school experience is quite a personal matter and experiences/opinions differ. These are mine. Good luck as you explore your options. jj
To find out more, you can join the following district-wide discussion list: http://www.topica.com/lists/SLUSDTalk I will warn you though that there are some nasty folks there and the discussion is sometimes contentious.
Regarding the GATE program, here is how it works. The district assesses students in the 3rd and 5th grades (I don't know about after elementary school); however, it takes most of the money it gets and spends it on teacher training to teach ''differentiated curriculum''. What this means is that they don't pull-out gifted students (note that ''talented'' is ignored) for extra classes. The good part of this is that all students benefit and that gifted students are accomodated starting in the young grades even before they've been identified as such. My son's teacher recently showed me the types of extra math problems she was assigning to him and 3 other top students. There's a staggared reading program in grades 1-3 and the children are divided into spelling, reading, and math groups at their level. The kindergarten curriculum has been revamped for the better, IMO, though the tracking doesn't begin until first grade.
The school is multi-cultural and multi-culturally aware. There's a good blend of hispanic, black, asian and white students. We're Jewish and have never had a ''December dilemma'' issue. In fact, I've twice invited my son's classes for a field trip to our Sukkah in the fall and they've eagerly taken advantage of the opportunity.
The school district was in a financial crisis a few years ago and so music and art have suffered- though they're there.
Regarding other schools in the district, I can only report what I've heard. Washington elementary has a lot of problems and I know several families who've pulled their kids out. There's a charter school that was started by disaffected families, but they are having problems. I think they're going to try to go through the San Lorenzo district next year. The folks I've known who've liked Washington were in the bi-lingual program. I've heard good things about Jefferson, Garfield, Monroe and Madison.
We've heard mostly good things about Bancroft middle school, but we know one family that pulled their son out, homeschooled and then sent him to private school. The High School has a lot of problems, the main one being that it's overcrowded. I've heard that kids who take the honors and AP classes thrive while everyone else is ''left behind'' (pardon the expression). We plan to do some thinking once we get to that stage.
Feel free to email me with any questions you may have. Sophie
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