"Democratic Model and Project Based Learning"
Students enrolled 500
Hours no info
School leader Maafi Gueye
Transportation options None
District Alameda City Unified School District
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

500 Pacific Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501

School website
(510) 748-4008
(510) 864-4281
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Nea Community Learning Center School address.

4 stars
Based on 58 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

April 08, 2014
Our child has been at Nea for the last three years, since kindergarten. She loves going to school every day, and has had fantastic teachers three years in a row. The project-based work the kids do is so cool- really interesting stuff going on in all the elementary school grades. Our daughter loves the mixed-age electives that all the teachers offer. Over the past few years she has taken dance, theater, knitting, card games and more. Really impressed with all the teachers, and how engaged the kids are, as well as the diverse and creative parent community.

- submitted by a parent
March 12, 2014
Nea's been doing great by our 3rd grader. Her abilities in math and english are amazing. I believe a majority of the 'sour grapes' reviews are from families who just didn't fit back then. When common core testing starts getting traction Nea is going to start pulling away from the pack. All this being said there's no substitute for parent involvement and great teachers - our children has had both at Nea

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2014
First off, a lot of the positive reviews are clustered on the same day, leading me to believe that someone's faking them up. This school was an absolute disaster for my daughter. She always got great grades and was very popular with other kids at her previous school. At NEA, her grades dropped, she began to hate school, and she had no friends. We homeschooled her over the summer and we were shocked at what she hadn't been learning. She was WAY behind in math. She's a well-liked honor student at her new public school. She once again loves school. I'm just so sorry that we inflicted 2 awful years of NEA on her. The school leadership is a disorganized, arrogant disgrace.

- submitted by a parent
February 20, 2014
My school is good but my math techer doest teach well at all.And yes I do go to upper villige.

- submitted by a community member
February 04, 2014
this school is very unorganized if your child is more social this isnt the school for them. Every year almost the whole staff is replaced with new and clueless teachers. The principle hardly even knows whats going on. The only reason the test scores are higher is because the 6th grade-12 grade consist of about 250 students. This school doesnt even have text books for students to overview for extra help or notes. they give you so much time to slake off. The teachers are clueless and dont know how to teach every year for the past two years a teacher has been fired in the middle of the year.

- submitted by a parent
December 06, 2013
I'm a 7th grader at Nea, and this is my fourth year here. Something I really like about this school is the facilitators (teachers) are always willing to help you with anything. They have office hours after school, and are friendly and easy to talk to. My Algebra facilitator is really good at explaining things. There are tons of electives to choose from. My favorite is Band. There are afterschool clubs: my favorite is track. You can't say this for a lot of Middle Schools, but I really LIKE going to school each day!

- submitted by a community member
December 02, 2013
This school is awesome, I'm a learner in my 5th year now, I love this school because it really gets us on our feet about our homework, what else I like about this school is that the staff will help you until you are up to date with everything .

- submitted by a community member
November 30, 2013
I am a parent at Nea CLC. My children have been attending Nea for the five years it has been open and we are very happy. The teachers are extremely dedicated, hardworking and positive. We also love the creative environment Nea offers our kids. The projects they create and participate in are a great way for them to learn and use their strengths. Both of my kids appreciate the voice that they have at Nea. There is a strong sense of learner involvement in leadership and a feeling of community in both the upper village (6-12 grades) and the lower village (k-5 grades). For our family, Nea is the perfect fit!

- submitted by a parent
November 30, 2013
This is my third year teaching at Nea CLC. I am a 14 year veteran teacher and I can easily say that I have never worked with a more dedicated, creative and positive group of educators. The staff at Nea is willing to try new approaches to education and is constantly working to differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of our diverse community of learners. Our staff really feels like a team. We work together to help each other, pulling from each others' strengths and resources to make our whole team of facilitators more effective and successful. Our learners seem genuinely happy at school. They seem to feel cared for and appreciated. The learners also love the access to technology that our school provides, with laptop carts and iPads for them to use. As a facilitator, I appreciate the freedom that I have to create curriculum that is authentic and relevant for the standards I am teaching. I love creating projects that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and teamwork while giving our learners opportunities to practice their basic skills.

- submitted by a teacher
November 29, 2013
This is my third year teaching at Nea and I love it! I have been challenged to think harder about my students and the curriculum. The school emphasizes creating exciting and innovative ways to facilitate learners to wonder and ask questions about what they are learning. This happens because facilitators write their own dynamic curriculum maps to meet the Common Core Standards. The structure of the project based learning model challenges children to plan, execute, and complete their learning in a hands on and exciting way. In addition, Nea is a special place where learners are known by all facilitators because it a true community.

- submitted by a teacher
November 28, 2013
Our daughter is in 7th grade and has been at Nea since 5th grade. Her facilitators have been wonderful across the board. They are creative, energetic, committed, and inspiring. She's moved ahead a grade level in math, and her English scores have moved and stayed into Advanced from Proficient (in 4th grade). She really enjoys the project-based focus in her seminars, the choice of electives like Yoga and Fashion and Design, and the fact that she can get much of her homework done at school during her Tree time. The community has been great - she has good friends, and the learners really support each other well.

- submitted by a parent
November 27, 2013
My son began Nea in January during his 1st grade school year, he is now in 3rd grade. When I picked him up after his first day of school I asked him how it was and he said, "I love it! Everyone there is nice, nice like the kids at my preschool!" He had a very hard first half of 1st grade and moving him to Nea was the best decision I could have made for his education and self-esteem. My son began love learning again and is currently proficient in ELA and advanced in Math. I cannot say enough about the rotation of the 3rd-5th grade. Here the learners (students) rotate with their class between three different facilitators (teachers). They have one facilitator for Math, one for English and Social Studies, and one for Science. This model allows for our children to be taught by experts in each subject area and by a facilitator who understands what they will need as they enter the next grade level. Also, the rotation prepares learners for middle school when they will have 6 or 7 different classes. I cannot say enough good things about Nea and hope that my youngest are accepted when they are ready for Kindergarten.

- submitted by a parent
November 25, 2013
I have 2 learners attending Nea for over 4 years now. They love to go to school and learn so much more than your average public school can ever offer. They have many interesting opportunities for additional learning, be it college or AP classes or green team, programming and many more. The principal is very dedicated and passionate and willing to go the extra mile to make sure every child's needs are met. She holds weekly meetings with interested parents to inform,reach out and discuss school issues. Take a tour and be prepared to see polite, well manered and happy children, that feel empowered and well prepared for the future.

- submitted by a parent
November 21, 2013
We've been here 4 years. Differentiated learning in a small, close knit community. Math placement testing so no more bored kid stuck in an easy math class. Online AP courses, available even to middle schoolers. Variety of electives. Afterschool clubs my middle schooler attends: chess, minecraft, track, and programming. My kid loves this school. Took him to Rosicrucian Museum this summer, and he talked on and on and on about Ancient Egypt. Stuff I never knew! He learned so much from the amazing 6th grade Humanities teacher.

- submitted by a parent
November 21, 2013
I started in 2nd grade. Now I'm in 4th. The teachers are "teachertastic." That means they are fantastic. My math teacher works with me individually for days and days when I am stuck on something. And there aren't enough nice words to describe Ms. Michelle, my language arts teacher. She really inspires me and her level of humerism is over 1000%. My science teacher does soooooo many hands on activities and also has a good level of humerism. They all explain things really well.And repeat things as many times as we need them to. The music teacher does so many great activities with instruments. The principal is overwhelmingly nice. The kids are just so great that everybody gets to have a huge amount of friends. Nea rocks! Come join us!!

- submitted by a community member
November 19, 2013
This school is not as good than other schools out there. My daughter refused to stay at this school because of many different reasons. The project-based learning doesn't work out very well with my daughter so we decided not to let her go again another year. The principle is very harsh to the learners and I don't find that acceptable. I'm sorry but this school isn't right for our daughter but it's different for everyone.

- submitted by a parent
November 07, 2013
Still recovering from our disastrous experience three years ago. My daughter learned "nothing", At a time when adolescents are to develop research/study skills, she was bullied in the "Tree" instead, and the Facilitators did nothing, except grade papers (they were supposed to monitor the "independent" learning). We've moved on, but the impact of her negative experience shows up from time-to-time. I am seeing traces of it now in her sophomore year, and that's why I am writing this.She went to Nea at a critical period in her life, and I failed her by sending her to this school. Sending my daughter to Nea CLC was the worst decision that I have made as a parent.

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2013
Completely disorganized. The irony - students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and have everything in order. Teachers do not accurately maintain grade books or websites, nor do they post assignments, which makes it nearly impossible for parents to follow along and help students. Parents (and students) do not find out about grades until it is too late to change. Administration is helpful when have time, but throws up hands and says has no power over grades / teachers when busy. In the end, grades do not reflect what a student has learned, only whether or not the child has reproduced the teachers' notebooks. (FYI, my child has received good grades at Nea, so this is not coming from a parent angry over GPA). Nea has promise. They need to get their acts together BEFORE the start of the school year. Teachers, books, internet, schedules, online grade books - None of this was in order at the start of the year and still is not weeks later. It is a recurring problem. The teacher turnover is crazy high, and again, this year the middle and high school are starting with new staff. So far, we are NOT impressed with the new crew.

- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2013
This is the start of my son's second year at Nea. Last year wasnt the best year but ee decided to give it another chance because the office has made a lot of changes.And he loves his teachers and friends. The crazy policies the school makes change all the time and we still get a different answer from different people but its early in the year. I don't agree that a blacktop with nothing else is a chance for kids to play pretend. It makes them bored.. I understand the model but I don't see a lot of difference between the teaching here and other schools except for no homework. It still seems like the people who run the school are scrambling to fix things as they come up and they should have answers to that stuff by now. I don't see where Nea is teaching the kids in any way that is different from other schools except for no homework until 5th grade. Because of our experiences here from the beginning last year up to what we see now, and no big changes, I have to give this school a low rating. Hopefully my view of it will change by the end of this year. There's not so much fighting at recess and lunch this year, last year was really bad.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2013
We love this school! The work is dynamic, not the boring busy work you get at regular schools. The attention is individualized. We even have our own devoted art teacher, and are expanding with more and more music programs. My child could read and write in K and continues to soar! She also already plays the violin and the ukelele and all from taking advantage of after school programs at this school.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2013
My lower village kid is excited to go to school every day. The teachers always answer questions and concerns. The aftercare is inexpensive and staffed by creative and caring people who do paper art projects and prepare healthy snacks for the kids. There are really cool elective classes, taught by the teachers, and the kids get to know lots of teachers this way. The project based model is intriguing for the kids. They go to the playground several times a week, but even just playing outside without a play structure gives the kids a chance to make believe. Over recess, I've heard them come up with elaborate stories where they each act out a role. It's a creative environment, and attracts and keeps independent, imaginative children.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2013
I have two children at Nea. Our neighborhood elementary school would be excellent, but we wanted something a little different for our child...who is also a little different! The differentiated learning ensures that our learner is not just doing the same old, same old worksheet. Nea teaches using projects. There have been opportunities at each grade for my learner to do different (harder) work, to do additional projects outside of school hours and present, etc. I know parents who pay for private school who don't have this level of individualized learning. Our learners are both free to do their own reading, pursue their own building projects, etc. in the evenings because homework as it is known at other schools is not part of the Nea model until 5th grade. Reading logs, yes. Worksheet-based homework for kindergarteners? No.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2013
My daughter has been here for two years, and has just entered second grade. I couldn't be happier with the parent community, the enrichment classes, and the quality of teaching. My daughter's math and reading/writing lessons have consistently been more advanced than any of her friends going to other Alameda schools, and she doesn't even have homework. If she isn't at one of the awesome enrichment or just in the fantastic aftercare program, she's out playing with her friends. Of course, we go over her classwork, rehearse for plays and study for spelling tests too but there's more joy and less drudgery. Nea inspires and empowers its students through student-centered, project-based learning, and it attracts a community of independent thinkers. I am so glad we're a part of it.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2013
It's our daughter's second year at Nea (1st grade). We chose the school because of its approach to teaching, its mission and its proximity to our house. I've gotten to know the faculty and parent community pretty well this past year. I am a PTSA member, served on committees, attended events and made baked goods for fundraisers...and yes! I am a working parent. Our daughter is very creative and yet needs structure, we've been thrilled with Nea. Her reading and literacy have blossomed. Her math which has been more of a challenge (read: she gets bored) has excelled. This next year will be telling of course, but the teachers are so real, honest and very experienced. She has learned a lot about problem-solving in groups and together with her friends. Little kids are always going to test each other and act out; Nea really empowers kids at a young age to teach one another respect and to take responsibility for your actions. And the older kids mentor the younger ones...I just really appreciate how kids learn to love and yet to be accountable at the same time. I highly recommend this school to parents who are looking for a project-based, close community to grow with.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2013
I love how Nea teaches teamwork, compassion, personal accountability, and social responsibility from the time the children enter kindergarten. And, they do it in such a way that the kids are excited to go to school every day. They are helping form the next generation of active and responsible citizens, and they do so in a very positive manner.

- submitted by a parent
August 04, 2013
I appreciate having alternative education available within the public schools of Alameda. Nea has provided leadership opportunities and self-directed problem based learning for both of my daughters. The teachers are supportive and committed to the model with projects that hold their interest and give context to the material. The K-5 has a full time art teacher and music twice a week. The K-5 "no homework" policy is fantastic, placing importance on home family/play time. The model of self-directed learning prepared my 12 year old to succeed when she entered middle school and had homework. The district has broken the charter and separated the K-12 school into two campuses. I would love to see the schools rejoined to support the community aspect of the charter (peer tutoring and group projects) and better facilities for play and sport.

- submitted by a parent
August 04, 2013
Nea is a great option for our family for a ton of reasons. My kids have gardening chores, they help with cooking, they have art they need to do, and family reading time is pretty much every day from 6-8pm. Who needs homework? Well, they will, but not yet. Nea fits in with our philosophy and lives. Also, as the parent of a future president of the United States, I appreciate Nea's emphasis on learner empowerment (and responsibility). This is accomplished through projects and democratic processes in the classroom. Nea has a strong culture, and like all strong cultures it's not a universal fit. YMMV. It really works for our family and for our learners, and we couldn't be happier. Go, Ninjas!

- submitted by a parent
August 03, 2013
Nea's K-5 school has an all-day kindergarten, a dedicated K-5 art facilitator, music K-5, technology starting in Kindergarten, electives K-5, where learners are empowered to make their own elective choices, 3-5 grade learners changing classes during core curriculum instruction, no homework policy K-2, small community with two classes per grade, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) 3-5, LEGO Robotics 4-5, community service requirements K-5, and more. There are no textbooks, so the facilitators have to be creative and develop their own project-based curriculum. Nea's a great alternative to other local public elementary school offerings. My children are HAPPY and THRIVING.

- submitted by a parent
May 22, 2013
There is a 90% chance that NEA is better than your school. (as of May 2013)

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2013
Very excited about what is happening here at the school! My daughters are thriving and we absolutely love the teachers in the lower village. K teacher Miss Charlotte is a GEM! my kindergartener had strong comprehension of steletal system (right before halloween!), and has a fabulous understanding of tidepool biology (in addition to having moved quickly forward on her reading, her writing and her math skills). Ms B, the 2nd grade teacher has a fabulous energy, and has given our 2nd grader a number of opportunities to build her knowledge at her own (accelerated) pace. The model at the school and the governing staff continually bring in enthusiastic teachers eager to add to this great community. We love the parent community that continues to develop, and the way my girls are taking responsibility for their education is AWESOME!

- submitted by a parent
March 15, 2013
We have two kids at Nea and both are very happy there. The kindergarten teacher is a true gem, and we have always been happy with the teachers, who are motivated and engaged. The small size of the school is a real plus. It is less than ideal that they have to share space with a middle school and the facility is lacking, but that it where the district put them. We are very happy with our choice of Nea. The administration has done a great job of responding to community feedback and the atmosphere is very positive. There were several unhappy (and vocal) families from the 2011-2012 school year who seemed to create some trouble for Nea's reputation, but this year has been smooth.

- submitted by a parent
November 05, 2012
The nation is moving to new core standards for evaluating school effectiveness. This initiative is being undertaken because of the inflated "progress" schools have been reporting nationally. Charters in Kentucky are already reporting under the new core standards, and some former "stellar" schools are now...Let's see where Nea's first graduating class is next year, and how the school ranks with API in three years, after CA takes on the new core standards. Then, AUSD should make the appropriate fiscal decisions.

- submitted by a community member
September 06, 2012
The strength of NEA is their teachers & their flexibility to build curriculum around their passions. Their small class sizes & the ability to really know the students (over many years too) allows for more in depth learning. I'm impressed by the workload & dedication of NEA teachers. If your student needs more structure, there are better places. Free periods can be great for group work & homework, but also for goofing off. Kids learn responsibility by the freedom to make these choices. If they choose wisely, most kids finish all their homework in school! While NEA is community based, it is not a customizable private school. NEA must still adhere to required regs & testing (you're looking at API scores too right?). Therefore the curriculum is more structured in younger years although they still get electives. Our daughter loved swing dance last year. Lack of communication has been an issue & I believe the source of the bad reviews here. Facilities are also controlled by the district, not NEA. The principal is a strong presence. To us that means the school is safe & issues are dealt with swiftly. But not everyone likes admin's approach. Check it out for yourself.

- submitted by a parent
August 27, 2012
This place is a hot mess. They're drowning under their own poorly thought out metaphors. The kids are expected to find their own place and their own order in a very disordered environment. Our son went to Nea last year and fell completely behind. We've moved to a new town and now, 3 weeks into the school year, our kid is doing SO MUCH BETTER. But if we had stayed in Alameda we still would have returned to the public school. Nea was teaching him to hate school. Now he's learning to enjoy learning again. I'm sad that Alameda has so woofully neglected their public schools to the point that a place like Nea seemed like a good alternative.

- submitted by a parent
August 14, 2012
Every school has its issues, and Nea's main issue is disorganization. If that makes you insane, look elsewhere. If you do consider Nea, you'll find a school with engaged students, energized faculty, new ways of weaving subjects and learning together, and families that are largely thrilled with their children's learning experience. I wish the facilities had worked out better this past year, as I was looking forward to my son, a middle schooler, having more contact (tutoring in math or English, perhaps?) with the lower grades. It's unfortunate that the district allocated classrooms to WCDC instead of keeping Nea upper & lower villages together. The administration has done an admirable job of keeping the feel of a 'village' even with split campuses. We're looking forward to my son's second year at Nea.

- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2012
This school is in shambles due to the inept and immoveable administration Students are not even learning state standards. So-called project-based learning is a joke. Parents are ostracized if they question the problems. We are leaving and going back to public school before my children get further behind. Sad, as the school started with so much promise. Do NOT send your children there. If i could rate it lower, i would.

- submitted by a parent
May 29, 2012
My child is in the upper village of Nea and has done well. Good grades, made friends, enjoys the school day. I have found the facilitators to be helpful and very responsive, and I've have no trouble with the administration. I am puzzled, however, by the strong negative comments that some departing parents feel necessary to make about the school. Yes, it is a very unique model that doesn't fit every child, but it doesn't mean that if it doesn't fit your child, it is a failure. There are many, many happy parents and kids at Nea!

- submitted by a parent
May 15, 2012
I think that choice is good and sometimes schools are not the right fit for everyone. Glad you are happy elsewhere...that is what is important. I love Nea for it innovation and what they are trying to do. I look to see how they will be in the next years, a they are still young, and some of the issues with the facilities are our of their control. By the way, the school provides spring water for every learner, and bringing a water bottle is a great idea.

- submitted by a teacher
May 06, 2012
We were so excited to be a part of Nea at the beginning of the year. After seeing the new facilities for the K-5 campus I began to have some concerns. My concerns were quickly validated when my kindergartener began holding her bladder all day because the bathrooms are designed for middle school sized students and the school wouldn't allow a step stool in the stalls. Recess was a nightmare because Nea doesn't have a play structure and all the older kids get the few balls available. My daughter spent her playtime placidly walking around a sun-baked black top. Nea promised that the children would be taken to the adjoining park, but this happened only once in the two weeks we attended. There is no drinking fountain, so don't forget your water bottle - ever. The lead facilitator is impossible to approach, and be ready to be labeled a "problem-family" if you even think of making some suggestions for improvement. I think the teachers care very much, but they are intimidated by the administration. As soon as we moved our daughter to AUSD we were all so much happier.

- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2012
The shared site with The Academy has its own set of problems that did not exist last year.The site was not intended for elementary school kids.My learner complains every day that she hates recess because there is nothing to do on the blacktop since there is no playground.The big kids always take what few balls there are away from the little kids.She forgot her water bottle a few times this year & since there is no drinking fountain, she was dehydrated.The water cooler is dirty.I doubt we will keep her here next year since she needs to play at recess(motor skills practice!)& they only gets to go to the park to play a couple times a week.There was a parent volunteer to help in the class but midyear she was told she could not help out anymore without any explanation except that it was due to the school's policy.What kind of school doesn't allow parents in the classroom?There seems to be a huge gap in the communication.Teachers don't know the policies or the policies change so suddenly that no one is aware of these changes & parental notification is lacking.Wish we had stayed on the wait list because we are not happy here.We had no idea it was going to be this bad.Hugely regret it here

- submitted by a parent
March 25, 2012
Nea is like a start-up school: underfunded, greatly understaffed leading to burnt out,inexperienced teachers, under-resourced (there are no drinking fountains or playground structure on campus for the elementary kids to play on daily), underachieving (academics are not strong) and likely to go under with the lack of proper implementation of policies and procedures.The leadership is lacking and the communication is indescribably inadequate causing nightmares for many families.Parent volunteers are not allowed in the classroom to help with academics like reading, writing, math.They are allowed to volunteer for recess duty and free time supervision or special projects sometimes.School dance got rescheduled 3 times this year because of poor events management and double bookings.How hard is it not to double book a date for an event?Why do people announce they are going to attend and supervise and then pull out the day of the event and flake out?Where is the dedication to the students?The kids were devastated to have gotten dance dresses and then not being able to wear them until months later.Why do so many kids have two free periods back to back?Too much free time, not enough learning!

- submitted by a parent
March 23, 2012
The wait list is used as a marketing tool to make people think Nea is in high demand and a great school.You'll buy into the hype because all the info is propaganda. The truth-in 2008 AUSD/Board of Education unanimously denied Nea's charter petition because of insufficient details about how they'd implement K-5 (they have no experience). 3 years later,Nea can't hide the fact that they don't know how to run a k-5 school &our kids are being left behind.Kids are not academically on pace w/ AUSD peers.Project based learning translates into unstructured, chaotic,loud classrooms.Kids babysat in the chaotic Nest so often instead of being taught academics. FYI,3rd grade kids to switch classes for different subjects not developmentally appropriate(6th graders have a hard time w/this).K-5 kids shouldn't be in a middle school environment with no playground or water fountain.Ironically, Nea moved k-5, from Longfellow that has a playground,h2o fountains &kept upper grades there instead.Principal yells at kids/parents & has a hostile if you don't like it leave approach.It's true, parents are 2nd class citizens here. Info is tightly controlled by principal so communication is beyond bad.

- submitted by a parent
March 21, 2012
I do not recommend this school. AUSD schools have stronger academics and superior leadership. The jr. high and high school programs at Nea are really questionable. I am not convinced that my child will be ready for college after attending Nea.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2012
I really love working at Nea. it's got the feel of a small start-up tech firm: we're a super-committed, high-energy staff with tons of ideas and a mission to grow the school into a smashing success. Our model is based on the idea that students can learn how to guide their own education and succeed in a world that requires people to think for themselves, be self-starters, and pursue their talents. Sure, we don't always get it right, but we're constantly asking ourselves how to do it better. My principal is happy as long as I'm figuring out creative new ways to tackle the content standards and engage all sorts of brains in the material. This year we conceived and executed a major end-of-semester school-wide exhibition of student projects that was pretty awesome. Next year will be even better.

- submitted by a teacher
March 10, 2012
Nea is in its third year of operation. It currently has 465 learners in grades K-11 and will expand to grade 12 next year. Nea has received 341 applications for approximately 73 openings next year. Nea still has opening for grades 9-12. Apply online at neaclc.net

- submitted by a community member
February 03, 2012
Leadership has minimal administrative training and it shows. When I pulled my daughter out of the Up. Village for good in April, the administration at Nea simply allowed her to leave the school unmonitored,and didn't even check to make sure that she was OK afterward. All I received was an email later that week asking for one of her books back. The "tree" is useless,as it is not managed appropriately. I later found out that she had been bullied all year in the "tree" by a classmate, and did not feel able to tell me until after she had been out for a few months. The facilitators in charge knew about this, apparently, and did nothing to alert me. This was after having homework consistently lost by one of her facilitators. Their entire assessment system needs work. I was definitely one of their biggest supporters when they began, as I helped get their Gov. Board going, but now I am going to petition AUSD on a yearly basis to get the taxpayers' funds back. Give the taxpayers' money to AUSD, and let the competent professionals do the work. ...And now a rebuttal will be written by a friend of the Lead facilitato or a bullied facilitator I'm sure because that seems to be what they do...

- submitted by a parent
December 30, 2011
I just wish I could take back the 2 years of my kids' life that we wasted at Nea. And thank god that they're now in a school where they are led, and not just pushed from behind. Nea's administration was complete chaos and also hypocritical because they demanded a high level of organization from everyone around them. The whole thing felt very amateurish. What a horror it was to discover just how much of the basics my kids hadn't been getting at Nea. We're full of regret. I give the teachers 3 stars because some of them were great and others were just awful.

- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2011
To the previous "reviewer", yes, my kids love Nea, but that is because of their facilitators. And yes, both my wife and I have but in many hours towards helping build Nea, to have he principal encourage us to push farther and put in more hours, and then to have her suddenly change her mind and throw away all our work. But, putting our work aside, take a look at the facilitators. They look worn out, and over he years I have witnessed several of them coming from the principal's office red eyed and upset.

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2011
NEA TEACHER ARE AMAZING, but so many other things need some work. There's a huge disconnect between the administration and the families. Communication is a huge issue. Any info or questions gets sucked into an information black hole. We seem to get info at the very last minute. The administrators don't seem to care much for parents input/ideas. The focus is more on growing the school and less on providing what is stated in the charter. The head facilitator publicly scolded and banned a parent on the message board recently for inviting parents to plan academic afterschool activities for kids. You can be banned for that? Makes parents feel like we can't post or suggest anything we think may be helpful especially with the current budget crisis. The PTA can use some transparency- there's no minutes on their website, no info stating how funds are being spent (some AUSD schools have this info on their websites). Parents want to know how their kids are benefiting from PTA contributions. On the plus side, NEA has STELLAR teachers and committed families that are really trying to do a lot to make the school thrive.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2011
Teachers are very nice and seem to care. In theory "learner led" education and a more project based approach. What should have been experiments in how to implement the "model" became rigid structures that are foisted on children even when it is not developmentally appropriate. The "model" is ill defined, parents are not welcome and their input about their own children ignored. Communication with home is dreadful. The lead facilitator (pricnciple) says community, but walks a very different walk. Parents' input about what their kids need is largely ignored. The school has had a wait list and that makes the leadership feel that no family is all that important. Take it or leave it. On the up side, I think the kids are getting a good education, they do some nice work on helping kids become more independent. My child is in the lower school and all the teachers I know care alot about the kids and run thoughtful carriculums. The school as a whole though can be erratic, with a lot of last minute decisions and changes. Yes its new, but the problems stem more from an attitude problem and basic disrespect for families on the one hand, and disorganized work flow on the other hand.

- submitted by a parent
June 21, 2011
How did I miss this great site where you can post things about our school! Ok, so, I am a parent of a new 4th grader and I have to say that I am excited about the possibilities at NEA! I have been to recent meetings for the new community and I hear the questions and criticisms about the school that people pose to the facilitators and leaders. I see the defensiveness in the answers, too. Though the leadership may need to polish up a little, I can understand the defensiveness because they are trying a model that most of us know nothing about. We can't look to the sister school about the elementary part...this is one great experiment! I think that they should keep defending their ideas so that people can't come in and try to change what they don't understand. I see NEA as a hopeful place of choice. If people don't like it, they should make other choices, not try to change what are clearly the things that make NEA different from every other school in Alameda. Exercise your right to choose. For only two years in existence, this school is great! I can't wait to help it improve. More parents should help, too. See you there!

- submitted by a parent
June 19, 2011
An excellent model placing great emphasis on the progressive idea of self-guided learning, which has been very successfully applied at its sister charter school, ACLC. However, although Nea's leadership is strong and inspired it is also often too defensive for its own good, so suggestions for improvement are too often perceived as a negative response to the philosophy itself and dismissed with the notion that "this is model is not for everybody but this is how it is, take it or leave it," instead of giving it some thought and tweaking it where needed. I also agree with a previous reviewer about the PTA being too exclusive and not at all representative of the school's diversity. If these issues are addressed it has the potential to become another charter success story, but it's not quite there yet.

- submitted by a parent
June 04, 2011
The school and CLCS leadership is primarily focused on promoting "their model", so they can market it nationwide.I went from being one of this school's biggest proponents to one of its biggest naysayers. I gave them so much of my time and there was never any gratitude expressed. The Lead Facilitator is very much about "self promotion", and not so much about "listening". The staff seems totally intimidated since she has hired her son to "supervise" the "playground", an asphalt patch that's good for basketball and street hockey. Once I informed the leadership that my child was not coming back next year, we immediately "didn't exist" any more.

- submitted by a parent
March 30, 2011
I go to this school currently and I have to say that it's pretty good, but at times in the tree it can use some help

- submitted by a community member
March 18, 2011
Nea operates under a great project based curriculum, good teachers, and has a lot of potential, but it also has some serious flaws. Namely, the communication between the school and the parents. There really isn't any. As a parent I feel like a second class citizen. I also think they are very punitive and don't really promote community.

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2011
excellent school, very fortunate to have found this option. I appreciate the alternative curriculum. The project based approach is inspiring for my child and allows her to excel and push herself. She always did well, but wasn't inspired. Teachers are very good and very engaged in what they do. very active parental community in K-5 that does a lot for the school, but definitely a core group that runs things...a little hard to figure out what's going on as a new parent and to 'break in' but I think attributable to it being a new school too (only in it's 2nd year).

- submitted by a parent
February 20, 2011
1. Good, inspired, strong leadership - not yet refined, but most of the important ingredients to set this school apart from most others in the area are there... a good start for a new school (K-12!) ...in trying times 2. Overall some excellent teachers, with a progressive approach to the learning process towards self-guided development 3. Small clique of very controlling parents run the PTA...- so not exactly welcoming of newcomers or inclusive of the wider parent community

- submitted by a parent
January 10, 2011
We feel very fortunate to have found Nea. My son started at Washington and complained about school (in kindergarten!). Now in second grade at Nea, he loves school. The first and second grade teachers are fantastic.

- submitted by a parent
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Nea Community Learning Center School
500 Pacific Ave., Alameda, CA  94501
(510) 748-4008
Last modified Nea Community Learning Center School is a Charter school that serves grades K-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Nea Community Learning Center School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 58 reviews.