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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!