This school a really nice community for kids, parents, and teachers. It is now the designated elementary school, district-wide, for Berkeley's Dual Immersion Spanish/English program. The new Principal is great and teachers love their kids and are responsive to parents. I was skeptical about BUSD at first but really think they do a good job!
I am a proud parent to a Le Conte learner. My son has been attending Le Conte elementary since kindergarten. He is a second grader now. We are in the dual-immersion program. He REALLY loves his school and actually likes to go to school. I have met some pretty amazing parents, kids and teachers. Principal Wilson knows all the kids by first name, she truly loves her job and it shows.
A great small public school with an amazing principal and a fantastic dual immersion program.
Pros: -Great Principal -Nice Playground/yard area -Great teachers. Dedicated and talented teaching staff (mostly...that's public school) Cons: -A couple weak teachers -Slight racial tension (normal urban school levels) -Anemic parent involvement (though strongly improving) Overall synopsis: I'm happy with the school. The staff and involved parents are dedicated to creating a positive learning environment for all. Unfortunately, a number of kids there seem to be quite unsupported by their families and show up for school unready to take advantage of it. Every kindergarten class will have kids who have been read to every day sitting alongside kids whose parents have never read them a book. The staff does a fantastic job of serving those very different groups. If you are involved in your child's education, this could be a good school for you. If you expect the best but won't work for it, go private. I have never second-guessed my decision to send my child to LeConte.
I love the level of commitment, involvement and caring from the principal, the teaching staff and the kids. The parent community is incredible. We are the best kept secret in the district.
There is some truth to a feeling of segregation between dual immersion and regular programs at all the TWI schools, my experience at LeConte is that most of the teachers in both programs are very good with only 1 or 2 exceptions - out of 15 teachers (similar proportion is true at many Berkeley schools not just the ones with the TWI/English divisions). So yes I know 2 boys have had one 'bad' year each in our total 8 teachers so far (3rd and 5th with experience in both programs). I think LeConte has exceptionally good K, 1 & 4-5 teachers and actually a high level of integration of the 'tracks' by 4th grade through mixed am/pm classes. The mix used to be 1 TWI and 2 english tracks so that dynamic of limited cohorts was reversed and sometimes it just doesn't work for a child - but no disaster!
What a disaster. While it appears that the dual immersion program here is good and well-supported, the rest of the school is a mess. Our child has had a terrible experience here, and we hear the same from other parents in the English only track. We have a teacher we like, but there is chaos in the class and lack of supervision on the playground. Because Le Conte has the lowest scores in the Southeast Zone and a less-than-desirable reputation, it is the last choice for families in this zone, unless they are requesting the school because they want the dual immersion program. That means that the English-only classrooms are the dumping ground for this zone. Additionally, because there is only one English-only classroom per grade, there is no possibility for moving kids around when you get a class with a bad group dynamic. Sad.
Now into our second year at LeConte, I cannot imagine a better public school for our son. Why? It is a small, culturally-diverse, friendly community led by a phenomenal principal: Cheryl Wilson knows and genuinely interacts with each student, practices what she preaches which is to put people 1st over paperwork, is a skilled administrator/manager (so the paperwork somehow does get done) and academically the school is making gains, her leadership sets the tone for the entire school -- inviting, inclusive, engaging, and safe. The dedicated teachers and staff specialists are also nurturing, gifted educators. From cooking, farm and garden to music, dance and art, the integrated curriculum provides an enhanced learning environment. Coming from another school district, we told friends we moved to LeConte for the organic food served...enriching after-school offerings, as well as the chickens visible from the lovely library are other parent and kid-pleasing plusses.
I confess that I was nervous about LeConte when we were assigned this school from the district, but my worries have been more than put to rest. My daughter has had a wonderful experience at this school. The principal is FANTASTIC! Not only does she know every child by name, but she makes an effort to develop a personal relationship with each of them - far more than anyone should expect from a principal. Her warmth, enthusiasm and dedication permeates the atmosphere. The teachers are caring, creative and involved. Parent involvement is growing and building upon some highly dedicated individual volunteers. All students receive enrichment classes in farm & garden, cooking, art, music, library & PE. And the after school program is wonderful with tie-ins to class curriculum. LeConte is a school where children feel safe, excited and appreciated: just exactly the right kind of environment conducive to good learning.
Although we had some trepidations at first, LeConte has been a pleasant surprise in so many ways. Perhaps most importantly, the teachers are accomplished, communicative, and committed--and inspired by a great principal (I can't imagine someone better or more energetic). But that's not all: wonderful, creative after-school enrichment classes and programs; a cooking and farm & garden program that must be among the best in the country (few private schools could match this); visits and readings from authors and illustrators; a librarian who's a reading guru; engaging field trips--and a tight bunch of involved, active parents who contribute on so many levels. The school is going to be renovated this summer, so things just keep getting better at LeConte.
The school served my children very well. Most of the teachers are excellent, and the Principal, Cheryl Wilson is very good. I like the soccer field in the yard too.
This school is very much a disappointment. The current administrator has allowed the school to divide by program. Basically, if you are not an involved parent...Your child goes underserved.
This school segregates the children with its Spanish Immersion program. It treasures the program and the parents that know it put their children in it. The ones that do not are left with classes with little parent involvement and a bunch of rowdy kids that are hard for any teacher or child to manage which leads to a very poor learning environment!
My twin daughters and I moved here last summer from Maine. Because we registered so late in the season, they placed us where they had room, which happened to be LeConte. I was sceptical at first, due largely to the information I found on this website, but we have been pleasantly surprised. There is a core group of dedicated parents/staff members who truly pour their hearts and souls into this charming little school. The principal's dedication to this school is inspiring and contagious. The farm and garden program has been running there for 25 years and it shows! Chef Brenna goes above and beyond her duties as cooking teacher and is a true ally to any child in her presence. Ms. Louie (2nd grade) is invested in her students, she cares and it shows. My daughters and I love this school and the community we have found becasue of it.
LeConte School is having a renaissance. The new principal is not only intelligent, but the hardest working professional I know. The teaching staff are strong and committed to building the school we have one of the best track records in securing outside grants in the district. I see increasing focus on individualized assessment and instruction for students both struggling and excelling. LeConte's farm and garden program is a gem; it was one of the first in Berkeley and has been copied by many elementary schools. Our own son, a second grader, has particularly grown this year, both academically and emotionally, as a result of energy and caring he feels around him.
This is my child's second year at LeConte Elementary. He is in the dual immersion program, where he is being transformed into a Spanish speaker by the enthusiastic, able teachers in that program. The teaching staff is quite good, a mix of very experienced teachers with a few new people. There are a number of very good programs at the school: the farm and garden program, led by a terrific teacher (Farmer Ben), introduces children to new foods, nutrition and science in a wonderfully interactive way; a really good conflict resolution supervisor, Miles, and a good sports and playground program (Sports 4 kids), a lovely librarian, Estella, and a friendly, helpful receptionist, Donna. And that's just the beginning! The school has a dynamic new principal who is already connecting with the children and their parents in positive ways. We are looking forward to another four good years for our son.
My child graduated in June 05, and he had a wonderful experience at LeConte. He achieved proficient scores in language arts and math on the CAT6. This is due to the wonderful teachers and leadership at that school. He also learned to appreciate healthy eating habits.
My child had an interesting experience at LeConte. The influential parents in the two way immersion program attempted to run the school and the principal should be commended for not giving in to them. The principal was strong and focused on the whole school which improved the quality of education for all students not just the priviledged ones. This is evidenced in the most recent posting of the state test scores.
My Child was a Kindergardner at LeConte, i do not recommend this school. The teachers have so much pressure to get the students work done that they focus on the work and not the child. My child did not excell in this high pressured environment that had little emotional support and ease. We changed to a different school and she naturally excelled by the more supportive environment. On the playground i observed the supervisors do not watch the children well. The principal in front of me criticized and humiliated a sad child who forgot his lunch money. I worked with the school liason who was very kind and understanding i was pleased by her manner and professionalism. Unfortunatley my concern became gossip and not results were made. Lunch time for Kindergardners is 15 minutes, and that also includes walking to the cafeteria, which ends up about 10 minutes. Principal was just replaced....
There were no music, Phy Ed or art classes during the 2003-2004 school year when my child was there. Very academic kindergarten program focusing on skills many of the children were not ready to learn.
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