We had one incident in which the school did not do a great job of fully understanding the situation before addressing it. This was just one situation and easily could of been an isolated incident. We did like that they tried to engage older students in helping work through potential conflicts and problems.
They do involve student leaders in this, which is good. We did have one incident in which our son was being picked on by older kids. The older children who intervened did not do a great job, which left my son feeling a bit shamed. The principle tried to stay open and listen, and did a decent job with this. However, we did not feel that the school really did a great job at understanding the situation. This, however, was just one incident. I wouldn't want to judge the school on not handling one situation the best, and we had no other concerns.
Our son just attended part of one year in Paden, but we were very satisfied with the school for the most part. We did not find it as impressive as the other school our son attended on the island, but were overall happy with the school. In particularly, we appreciated that the school tried to build an appreciation for nature. The education he received was good. We did not feel his teacher was as invested in him as what we had at the other school our son attended on the island, but we did like the teacher. Communication with parents overall could have been somewhat better.
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.