This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
William G. Paden Elementary School5
Posted November 06, 2013
- a parent
Our daughter started K at Paden a couple months ago. I am a teacher, so I took the school search seriously. We looked into several Alameda elementary schools and talked to a lot of people before deciding on Paden. I even attended a PTA meeting at the end of the last year. I was immediately impressed by the diversity of the parents involved in the PTA. The PTA raises funds for teacher to use in classrooms and larger expenditures like computers, keeps a school garden, supplies docents to teach supplemental art classes, puts on community events, and so much more. There is a very dedicated core of parents, and they manage to get nearly everyone involved in something. The teachers are a diverse group in age experience and teaching style. I was really happy to see some men on an elementary school teaching staff. My daughter is in an afterschool program where she interacts with students at all grade levels. The community is truly welcoming and caring. The principal, seems very solid. She appears to be supportive of her staff. I see her interacting kindly with students in all grades. She seems to know everyone, parents and students.
We enrolled our daughter in kindergarten at Paden, our neighborhood school, this year after searching diligently last year at a variety of Alameda schools. Our family is very happy with the positive school environment and experience so far. Paden is full of dedicated and capable teachers and has a wonderful principle who is very involved, supportive, and exemplifies the good life skills that is at the core of Paden's school philosophy. Parents are involved, friendly, and work hard to make a great community for the kids. It is a diverse school, ethnically and socioeconomically, and strikes me as the Bay Area at its best. I am very happy with Paden and my daughter's opportunity for academic and personal growth at the school.
This is my child's second year at Paden and we are very pleased with the school. The teachers and principal are very involved but, as anywhere (I suspect) you will get the best involvement and support if you actively ask for it. The school is very diverse, both culturally and economically, and there is more transition of students (2 to 4) in out of the classes as the family situation of some children changes and they move into or from the area than you might see at some schools. We like this - diversity is why we chose to live in Alameda in the first place - but parents should be aware that it is TRUE diversity, in culture, home language, and financial means. Paden relies a lot on parent involvement, so some classes may be more enriched than others, based on the ability and desire of parents for that class to volunteer. The principal has worked very hard to develop a sense of community and shared responsibility among the children. To sum up: GREAT school for your child if you have the desire and energy to be involved with the school. If you want the faculty/administration to take care of everything for you, they don't have the resources.
We love the diversity of the school. Our children are growing up with understanding of many different cultures and people. The teachers are good and, after a rather bumpy start, the principal Ms. Barr has found her footing. Curriculum has strengthened over the past year or two, and new work has started on shoring up school culture, which takes special attention with such a diverse population. There are many adults who really care for the students. As with many schools, there is a core of involved parents working to bring other parents into volunteering. Overall, we are happy here.
Each parent's perspective is important. When I have brought issues to Ms. Barr attention I found her to respond in a thoughtful methodical manner. Sometimes I did not get the answer I wanted but then I realized she also needs to balance the needs of the children in the class room and the needs of an entire school. Change takes time. And in the two years that she has been at Paden she has been an effective administrator as seen in the physical changes in the school; has sought to support and partner with parents as seen through School SMARTS; and her in formal meetings with parents on the school yard after morning ceremony. Paden is a pretty great place for kids to learn and is made up of committed parents, caring dedicated fabulous teachers, and a strong principal.
I thought I would like this school, but the principal, Katherine Barr has to be the rudest and most inconsiderate person I have ever met in my life. She is condescending and speaks to me as if I'm one of her elementary school students. I'm not sure if she's just prejudice or just a naturally rude individual. Speaking with her is exhausting and I wish she would be replaced.
My daughter is in a special needs class and the program is great for her. The atmosphere at the school is inclusive and welcoming, and I love the focus on good values. The principal even came to my daughter's IEP.
Our experience with Paden has been very positive. The Principal enthusiastically leads a morning ceremony each day where kids, teachers, and parents gather on the schoolyard to hear announcements and to start the day in a positive way. This is just one example of how Paden fosters a real community feel. There is a strong group of involved parents who really work to make the school a better place. I highly recommend it!
My daughter just started at Paden this Fall. So far, we have been very pleased by the quality of the teachers and the participation of the parents. The Principal is enthusiastic and really seems to care about the school and the welfare of the kids and his staff. I highly recommend Paden!