This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Leconte Elementary School5
Posted June 03, 2013
- a parent
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.
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.
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.