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1330 Buena Vista Way
Carlsbad, CA 92008

School website
(760) 331-5400
(760) 720-0741
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Map of Buena Vista Elementary School address.

August 01, 2015
I second-guess my decision to move into BV's school zone on a fairly regular basis. Like others here, I thought BV's small student body would translate to a safer environment, a better education and a more involved parent community than that of a larger school. This is not the case. What I find most unsettling is the lack of concern for our children's safety... A close second is the lack of enthusiastic, positive leadership. A few of the teachers and support staff (such as aids, etc.), plus Miss Maria at the front desk, are real GEMS who seem to really care and like their jobs! However, the principal and the rest seem bored, burnt-out, and distant----completely uninspired. Curriculum and lesson plans are basic and generic. The school is older, yes, but does have some charming factors. However, it is not well-maintained. And while the imminent threat of closure may be a good excuse not to make "upgrades," it is no excuse for a dirty school. Everywhere you look there is dust, cobwebs, rust, and bird poop--lots of bird poop on the benches where the kids have to wait for lunch recess! Also, there is very little parent involvement. Many comments here elude to the PTA's lack of leadership and charm. Sadly, I have to agree that most (but not all) parents that are "involved" at BV are indeed cliquish, and their children do seem to get center stage. There is a very weird popularity vibe that is probably at least partially responsible for the lack of volunteers, but it can't just be blamed on that alone. And the events that the PTA coordinates and supports are creative and a lot of fun..so some credit is due for that! How many schools have an overnight family camp out!? At this point, I can't decide if I'd be doing my kids a greater disservice by staying here or uprooting them and making them start over. I almost moved them last year but decided to give it another chance. We were fortunate to get two of the better teachers so we stayed... For now I just try to make the most of it and provide for my kids (and others where I can) what the school lacks.

- submitted by a parent

September 16, 2014
Not what I expected for a kindergarten. ... hours are weird... Good if your a stay at home parent. Very clique with parents there. Hours are written in sand.... The office sends home flyers with hours that are different from the teachers. Facts- 3 hrs of school...Either 8 -11 / 10 - 1 pm No hot lunch Day care is 250.00 for mornings or 450.00 for mornings & afternoons As of this post they are still working on an emergency plan and an incident with a teacher I cannot comment as yet. The day care is actually really good...If I had a choice I'd prefer my kid stay there all day. I didn't think these non 5 star post were justified....But 3 weeks in and it became clear.

- submitted by a parent

April 28, 2014
This is a great smaller school with nice kids and friendly and helpful Parent's. My son goes to the pre-school here and it has been a terrific experience for him, Miss Stacie, Miss Lynn, & Miss Michelle Rock!! Yes, three teachers in this fee based program! It is a program for special needs with typical peers. Excellent program!

- submitted by a parent

January 05, 2014
My daughter's first year at Buena Vista has been more than we could ask for. At first she didn't want to go to a new school, but she absolutely adores her teacher and has met some great friends. The parents I've met are very nice and I have made some friends myself :). There has been some really fun family events such as the campout and a Holiday fun night with Santa. My daughter has bragged about some cool assemblies, and she loves her art, PE, computer, and music classes. There is some fundraising, but I believe that's the case for all schools these days due to the State cutbacks. I haven't spent nearly as much as I have at the previous school and everything has felt low pressure and optional.

- submitted by a parent

September 28, 2013
We left after one year. Boring program, lots of meaningless worksheets. No modifications for an advanced student. Lack of parental involvement, aloof principal. I felt no connection to this school, and neither did my child. We started a new school this year and we are much happier. I would view the 5-star reviews skeptically. It's not a bad school, but nothing special is happening here to make this a 5-star school. No, it's not like a private school just because its small. I was fooled by that one.

- submitted by a parent

August 29, 2013
Lovely school and lovely teachers! My kids have had a wonderful experience and love it there!

- submitted by a parent

August 26, 2013
Thankfully our transfer request was approved and I used greatschools to help me find a better one to send my kid to. Readong other reviews I see the ones that are longer and less stars are the ones that sound more like real Buena vista when the short all star reviews sound like the principal talking at an assembly for reals. Two years here was enough. I think people who live in this area think they're better than they are. Some houses are millions in the area and those kids dont go here get real. I agree with the next review that I have to teach alot at home because the teacher doesn't. They have a lot of squirels, possums, gophers and bugs, my son was so upset when he saw a dead gopher. There are a lot of gopher holes to trip in on the playground.

- submitted by a parent

August 22, 2013
We are starting our 3rd year at BV next week. The school is so-so. The school pulls students from two very different socioeconomic neighborhoods, a middle class area east of the I-5 and poorer area west of the I-5. The school gets high test scores, but it's due to the teachers pushing, pushing, and pushing. Notice I didn't say teaching. My son was doing 45 minutes of homework every day after school in 1st grade. I dread what it will be this year. I truly believe most of his learning is done at home with me instead of in the classroom. Expect to be hit up for donations for the never ending fund raisers. Last week, 2 weeks before school starts, I got the first email of the year, and not to disappoint, 90% of it was about fund raisers. For the person who commented: "...those acting like they had money didn't show it off by donating to the school like real affluent people do." Wow! I wonder how much they pay in taxes every year. This is not an "affluent" neighborhood, it's middle class. The school hasn't been updated/remodeled in many years due to the desire of the school district to close the school. I'm sure they will make another attempt in a couple of years.

- submitted by a parent

August 21, 2013
I question these 5-star reviews. I paid attention as a parent and the hype doesn't match the reality. The neighborhoods feeding into the school are beach/ghetto at best. The effect is devastating to the make-up of the school. Unfortunately, some of the self-important psychopath parents take the entitled attitude too far. Best evident in the multiple-failed PTA leaders who really didn't come through unless their own child was the star of the particular event. Sense of service was completely lacking and those acting like they had money didn't show it off by donating to the school like real affluent people do. The facilities are sub par as the school, built in the early 1960s, lacks modern touches in architecture. Technology in the classrooms is aged (4+ years is OLD) except for a small cache of iPads before their theft. Lack of leadership, teacher instability, lack of focus and lack of parental involvement may all be guilty parties to this lack of success. Being that it is very small (280-ish students) and a great deal of the kids are in lunch programs, don't speak English at home, etc... A lot of class time is wasted on the low-performers and behaviorally-challenged.

- submitted by a parent

August 12, 2013
Buena Vista Elementary, located in Carlsbad California is a small school filled with wonderful teachers, kind hearted staff, friendly parents and best of all, amazing students who are playful, well mannered, thoughtful, and smart! And thanks to the teachers, I see students at Buena Vista Elementary growing and learning in an amazingly school spirited, safe environment. Go Dolphins!!!

- submitted by a parent

April 23, 2013
2nd year for my 2 daughters. The improvement in both of them, from reading, math and general overall ability is night and day from their old school in NorCal. A massive improvement.

- submitted by a parent

April 14, 2013
Great school and great teachers! I am amazed by how much my child has learned at this school. All the children seem to be having fun while learning. My child is excited to go to school everyday.

- submitted by a parent

March 03, 2013
Great school...smallest in the district, much like a private school. Awesome teachers and staff. PTA is very involved in fund raisers and events. Locked gates, very secure.

- submitted by a parent

May 23, 2012
Buena Vista is definitely a school to watch! Since Principal Howard has been in leadership of BV, nothing but good has transpired. Test scores have risen, numerous awards have been awarded, professional development was provided to all teachers, school-wide activities have increases, and an overall feel of community is in the air. This, I believ, is due to principal leadership, dedicated teachers and staff, and fabulous students and families.

- submitted by a parent

May 06, 2012
BV is a hidden little gem. My Kids are thriving academically and socially at this school. Because we are smaller than other elementary schools the atmosphere is like a small private school. I love knowing the other families and students. The leadership is focused and produces results. We have Ipads and a comprehensive program for all our students. It has been a great learning tool. Once you visit you will want to be apart of our community.

- submitted by a parent

April 23, 2012
Buena Vista is a wonderful school in every way. I actually chose the school and moved to the area based on the data I had read on Great Schools, and I've never regretted the decision. The teachers and staff are warm and wonderful, and have led our students to continually raise API scores, and this year we are recieving the State of California's Distinguished School Award. Every student gets to benefit from weekly Computer Lab, iPad Class, Music, Art and PE that are mostly funded by the PTA and community support, so we don't need to depend on the state's ever dwindling shool $$, and are things that most of the other local schools don't have. In addition to the academic and technological advantages that BV has, it is close to the freeway but tucked away in a quiet neighborhood so picking up the kids is easy and safe. There is a fabulous school garden (my son just brought home a piece of fresh sugarcane as a treat for helping to weed), new playground equipment, and the playground and many of the classrooms have a view of the ocean. All of this combined with the involved parents and happy kids make it like getting the benefits of private school without the cost. We love BV!

- submitted by a parent

January 13, 2012
I definitely would recommend this school to anyone with children in the area. It is a good school. It is a smaller school K-5 and has a good principal. When little children run up to hug the principal - you know she is a good, caring principal! They are starting to get more teachers aides in the classroom, so that means extra help for our little ones. The kids who go to this school are good. They are friendly little kids. The parents and teachers ( and principal) care about this school and it shows!

- submitted by a parent

January 14, 2011
The teachers are wonderful at this school. I like the open-door policy at this school, and feel all teachers are available when I need to talk with them, and they listen and care! I think the principal is great. She too, is always available when I need to discuss something. She has taken care of all of my needs whenever I've needed help. She's a strong leader, and wants to make it a great school. I'm very pleased with all of their efforts at this school. They care about the children. I am unhappy with lack of parental participation. Always same group doing everything.

- submitted by a parent

September 03, 2009
Prompted to write this because of the disparity in rankings on previous reviews. I have 2nd & 3rd-graders in the 09/10 year. Mrs. Howard is in her second year as a principal. Though test scores greatly improved, I'd dare to speculate that it is because it is a small school (270 students) and those higher-achievers are from more well-to-do families and haven't been hit by the foreclosure crisis. I agree Mrs. Howard is aloof, I saw her out more later last year. We are not going to wait for the school to teach the kids, we start at home. We'll let the teachers 'polish them off.' We like the teachers so far. The 'Kids Care' after school program is more of an 'supervised play' program but is very helpful to our family.

- submitted by a parent

September 02, 2009
There is a severe disconnect between leadership and teaching staff. There is a much more severe disconnect between leadership and the students. I have had the fortune of being a parent at another school and have something to judge principal involvement by. The kids love their teachers and most of the kids are genuine. Parental involvement is lacking and, I might add, it is directly a result of the leadership of the school. If I had the money, I'd move to a better part of the district and move the teachers there with me! A note about many of the teachers: They've been there for a long time, most live in the area and had kids who attended BV.

- submitted by a parent

May 18, 2009
I have 2 children that attend Buena Vista and I can't begin to tell you how much we LOVE the school. I have been involved in PTA for the past 4 years and spend alot of time at the school helping in any way that I can. I love that we have a family feel at buena Vista and that the door is always open to speak with Ms Howard and the teachers. The school has been working hard to improve testing scores and to get more parents involved,and I am looking forward to the many great things that are to come for our school. I would recommend Buena Vista to any parents that are looking for a school where your children can really feel at home, make long lasting friends and have teachers and a principle that really care.

- submitted by a parent

April 30, 2009
My twins are in kindergarden at Buena Vista and we absolutely LOVE this school. Any and all special needs are addressed and met by the teachers and staff, and BV has a lot of programs that are no longer available at the other public schools. The school is small, so it's like getting the benefits of a private school without the cost. While I do agree with the other parents comments about the Principal, Mrs. Howard, she does have a softer side that she doesn't show often. She has a bit of a superiority complex and considers her opinions as an 'educator' to be much more valuable than those of the parents. I get the feeling that this is true with the teachers as well. If she were more in tune with us about class placement, etc and spoke to us as equals, BV would be a perfect 10!

- submitted by a parent

December 02, 2008
The school was Great when Mr.De Anza was the Principal, Now Mrs. Tina Howard is the Principal it has gone down hill pretty fast, One thing I have noticed is that Mrs. Howard does not have the People skills that are needed for this Job, Tina Howard talks down to the parents, does not Respect to the Parents, Teachers or the students. I am very Disappointed in the way the school is being ran, There are no Friday assemblies, no more positive encouragements, I am at the school daily in the mornings and after school the kids don't seem as happy as they have in the past, The reading count program is actually a great thing but the kids don't have the time to do the testing during class. I have been kicked out of the comp lab area by Mrs.Howard, she said they are to do the tests during class.

- submitted by a parent

May 21, 2008
My son is finishing kindergarten at BV, he has had a wonderful year. Both kinder teachers are exceptional, and I am super excited about both first grade teachers. BV could use a lot more parent involvement, a core group really make things happen at this school. The principal is wonderful. The art and music teachers are amazing. Way to go BV.

- submitted by a parent

April 21, 2008
My daughter is finishing up Kindergarten and is in the after school program (Kids Care). The teachers are amazing as well as the volunteers. I wish the Kids Care did homwork time, but I don't mind too much, because my daughter always comes home well exercised from her play time there. I always see the principal and other staff. Everyone cares and is super friendly. The after school activities and fund raisers are fun!

- submitted by a parent

May 01, 2007
Buena Vista has been a wonderful fit for both my GATE student and my struggling student, providing an active, responsive partnership between the principal, teachers, tutors, and my family. As a small school with a diverse population (ethnic, economic, and cultural), it reflects the big world yet on an intimate scale. At Buena Vista we truly have felt that every student matters, and each person can make a significant difference. A core group of dedicated and active parents has ensured a variety of experiences beyond the core curriculum. We re proud to be B.V.!

- submitted by a parent

April 23, 2007
Buena Vista is a small school with a small town feel to it. Where many schools have given up on extra curricular activities, Buena Vista has fought to maintain its music and art. The small class sizes in 1st through 3rd grade are also appreciated. Exceptional caring teachers make it a neighborhood school I am proud to be a part of. Due to its size, your concerns are heard and responded to. As a parent of a bright child, I feel blessed to be able to attend Buena Vista.

- submitted by a parent

January 09, 2007
In General- Neither teachers or parents show little enthusiasm. They are not friendly and involved, or at the least concerned about their students and children. However, donations are solicited heavily. If your child is smart send him/her to a different school.

- submitted by a parent

March 08, 2006
Our child has special needs and goes to this school. The special ed teachers are very caring and helpful. Ms.Robin Pang is a great teacher. The aides and other teachers are very helpful and understanding too. They strive to teach the special ed children and put in extra effort to go that extra mile.

- submitted by a parent

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About this school

Buena Vista Elementary School is an amazing place to learn. Our school may be one of the oldest facilities in the district, but that is one of the facts that makes it charming. We have a new playground structure, updated technology and ADA compliant walkways as well as a brand new auditorium and kitchen. Our small student numbers make it possible for students and families readily connect with one another. We stress safety, respect and effort for all children and staff. BV dolphins amaze!

September 01, 2015

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Last modified: August 1, 2015

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Buena Vista Elementary School
1330 Buena Vista Way, Carlsbad, CA  92008
(760) 331-5400
Last modified Buena Vista Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades PK-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Buena Vista Elementary School Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 39 reviews. Top