The first year my son went there I was highly concerned for his safety during drop off as the gate for kinder was left open and he could just run back out to the car line. This was improved the second year, but the experiences were terrible. Time out were regulated to a "pod" in the center of several classrooms, which my son has had nightmares of and the teacher has admitted to forgetting she put him in there. Worse, she praised his behavior improved on the sheer mention of the pod. Bullying is a big problem at the school, and the administration seems blind to the issue. The administration are friendly on the surface, but if there is a problem it turns into politics with the story changing every time you turn around.
The only reason I am giving this school one star is because my sons Kindergarten teacher is amazing! She is very caring, very involved, and all around what a teacher should be! Mrs. Lewis is awesome! Unfortunately, that ends the good things I have to say about this school. The principal is lacking any real leadership skills. She comes off friendly enough, but really when you have a problem, it takes a fair amount of pushing on your part to make her respond. My daughter's second grade teacher is completely the opposite of what a teacher should be and quite frankly seems that she is just there for the paycheck. There are a lot of special needs children at this school, which is NOT a problem in itself, however I feel they have no idea how to manage the high number they do have...from what I have seen in my daughter's class, they most certainly need to revise their plan! My kids will not be returning to this school, and I know they are not part of a small number that will not be! It is unfortunate that there are so many great schools in this district and this one is just allowed to continually get worse!
We hand-picked Wood Canyon Elementary after reviewing the four public elementary schools in Aliso Viejo, 3 years ago, when we learned that we would be relocating. Our initial narrowing was based on safety and ethnic diversity along with a solid API. We met with the Principal for a tour and were hooked! The warm and personable greeting from the office staff and Principal along with the safe environment that we observed determined our decision. I became involved in the PTA right away and was welcomed by friendly parents. I have volunteered in my son's classrooms for two years now and have found both teachers to be as highly skilled, respectful and nurturing. Our son struggles with a high degree of attention deficit which was identified last year thanks to a very experienced and caring team of professionals beginning with his teacher who did not rush to conclusions but rather observed and tried environmental modifications before moving forward. The testing and ultimate IEP was completed in a smooth and timely manner. A year later, our son is nearly all but caught up to his grade level thanks to the support that he has received from Wood Canyon Elementary educators!
Pitiful parent involvement...only a handful are running the entire PPO and the burnout rate is high for even the most dedicated volunteers. The principal comes across as friendly, but is actually highly inflexible. There are a mix of teachers who truly care and those who are just there for the paycheck. Those who are good teachers are often teaching combo classes, something this school has MANY of! It is unfortunate that schools in the same district and such close proximity could be so drastically different. I highly recommend exercising your rights to school of choice or one of the local charter schools.