Students enrolled 508
School leader Jay Marden
District Carmel Unified

Contact this school

Monte Verde Street And 15th Avenue
Carmel, CA 93923

(831) 624-4609
(831) 624-6633
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Map of Carmel River Elementary School address.

4 stars
Based on 29 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

October 04, 2014
I am not giving this school a rating. I agree with the previous person's comment. The principal does not treat newcomers well.

- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2014
My family had to move a few times during my daughter's elementary school, and Carmel River School is the worst school we had ever seen. Bulling and favoritism are big issues at school. Principal Jay Marden has an attitude "take it or leave it". The school counselor Veronica Craft is not familiar with Ethical Standards for American School Counselors. We had to visit family phycologist after Veronica Craft 'talked' to her. Overall, the school environment is not healthy. There are so many schools around there which are much better in terms of environment, academic achievements and quality of teaching.

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2013
River School is beyond amazing in all aspects. The fair, and intelligent leadership of Principal Jay Marden sets the tone of the school. Teachers are incredible! My child has computer lab, music, PE twice a week (although wish it was 5 days), science, and Spanish. There is a real sense of community between the parents and a lot of involvement. Could not be better. I have one child that went from kinder through 5th and my second is on her way to third grade.

- submitted by a parent
February 02, 2012
I am a student at River School and this is my 2nd year here after moving from another city. I came here at the beginning of 3rd grade. The education is great and people are very welcoming. Overall the school is great but WAY to much homework. In my experience some of the homework assignments are more difficult than what we do in school.

- submitted by a community member
June 27, 2011
We have traveled all over the U.S./overseas, due to my job, and found Carmel River Elementary School to be top-notch in every aspect. The school truly focuses on building fundamental skill and provides an atmosphere of learning and enrichment. Excellent support from the community and PTA to enable students to experience extracurricular activities, which are truly out-of-this world! By far, one of the best elementary school in California and the U.S.

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2010
This school is fantastic it thoroughly deserves the great reputation. The principal is very fair and approachable. The teachers are extremely good. However, the parents are very disappointing, to borrow a phrase from a previous review "the club-like, cliquish social atmosphere" makes this school a very difficult environment to be in.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
I appreciate this school because the Administration and staff are sensitive to the needs of their students AND their families.

- submitted by a community member
no rating April 21, 2010
Quality of education is really high, teachers are great, kids do great academically and on tests, bullying is minimal.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
As a grandparent and retired educator, I really appreciate the efforts and follow through of the staff for the benefit of all families.

- submitted by a community member
no rating April 21, 2010
demands high achievement and recognizes the importance of parental involvement

- submitted by a parent
January 17, 2010
While Carmel River School may be the best public elementary school in Monterey county, that is really not saying much. This school pales in comparison to schools we have dealt with in other states. The school is clearly overcrowded and understaffed. While it may achieve above average test scores, this is at the expense of creative expression and flexibility in the curriculum. As people below have noted, some of the tenured faculty are extremely poor educators. The administration is rigid. There is no dedicated indoor place to eat lunch. Many classes are taught in trailers. The 90 or so kindergartners are often supervised by a single adult during the lunch break.

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2008
carmel river school is a great school my kids get wonderful education .I think the best teachers are Mr.T,Ms.Block,Mrs.Marsh,Mrs.Esaka and Mrs.Osorio .

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 25, 2008
Overall, Carmel River School achieves high academic scores for its pupils, which is the main objective of the Principal. Therefore, he does not feel the need to cater to the special needs of above average students, even if they are demotivated by the curriculum. The quality of the teaching at this school is highly variable, from excellent to extremely poor. One of the biggest problems is the Principal's unflagging support for even the weakest members of his staff, and the staffs awareness of their unassailable positions. The words, thoughts and actions of the parents are not treated with respect by the administration or the teaching staff, even at the District level. Like it or lump it would be an accurate description of the policies of this school.

- submitted by a parent
March 02, 2008
River School is a good school, but far from perfect. The principal himself told me that 99 percent of academic performance is attributable to demographics, which is why the state groups schools as they do into categories for comparison. The numbers do suggest that the school is doing well, even within its category. However, judging by how quickly the teacher suggested holding our daughter back when she fell behind and how quickly that changed when she caught back up a few weeks later it seems that the focus is on the numbers to the exclusion of focusing on the kids. Thankfully, there is strong participation by the parents. One of the parents is usually in the classroom as an aide to help during the day. The PTA is also very active, and has raised a fair amount of money for improvements and extras. Basically, it s as good as you can expect but not as good as you might hope. And unless you can spare about $16,000/yr for Stevenson School, you really can t find an alternative. As a personal note, I think the lunches are an absolute crime. You could buy a healthier lunch at McDonald s for the same price. Furthermore, there isn t even a decent place indoors for the kids to eat lunch. My daughter has lost her lunch to seagulls more than once.

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2008
We are surrounded by some of the finest private schools in the state, but we choose to have our daughter attend our beloved public school, carmel river school. Why? 1) Excellent leadership from principal jay marden on down the staff line. 2) Approachable teachers who always seem on the look-out for new and exciting ways to teach. 3) Innovative and differentiated instruction, focussing on 'pull out' instruction for kids who need help, to individualized and group instruction for academically 'gifted' students. (In direct opposition, in my mind, to one of the parent comments made below) 4) amazing parental involvement! 5) gorgeous natural surroundings, despite the outright outdated nature of the 50-plus year old school. And it's all tuition free! We will be sad to leave next year!

- submitted by a parent
no rating January 10, 2008
There seems to be an unequal division of services at this school among children who truly need help and actually getting it. This school is great if your child fits the mold.

- submitted by a parent
January 08, 2008
As a parent of several children in the district I can assure you that the staff and administrative commitment surpasses any elementary school in the state. They strive to meet every student's needs both academically and emotionally. All students whether low at-risk, average or above average are met with equal success. I have witnessed this first hand with my own as each of them falls into one of those categories. The parent to teacher to administrator communication is excellent. It seems that all areas of learning are under constant observation with the willingness to add or change the curriculum at any time. Jay Marden is doing an excellent job in maintaining excellence at this school. Thank you River School!

- submitted by a parent
January 05, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
no rating August 23, 2007
Carmel River School is one of the best public schools in California. The teachers are god sent, the atmosphere is beautiful and the education quality is of a private school. The parent participation is unbelievably amazing and it's reflection shows on the children that attend the school.

- submitted by a parent
May 29, 2007
River School is unquestionably one of the best elementary schools in California, with a uniformly excellent faculty led by a hard-working principal for whom 'continuous improvement' is a reality, not a slogan. Test scores are tops, music and art programs are rich and expanding, and an extremely active parent community provides tremendous support to the educational programs. The campus is safe and nurturing, the physical plant is in excellent condition, and the location and views are spectacular. Those of us with children here know how fortunate we are to have such a school and how blessed are children are to attend.

- submitted by a parent
May 26, 2006
Great School! Highly qualified and involved teachers with high parent involvement. Extracirricular activities are a high priority to faculty and principal.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2006
Like Carmel Middle and High School, the 'spin' about River School far exceds its actual educational quality. The club-like, cliquish social atmosphere and limited educational background of the principal and superintendent are substantial limting factors.

- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2005
Although the quality of instruction is excellent, I have two main concerns about this school. The first is playground safety. My second main concern is the principal. What does it say about a school when a principal ignores those who know children best-their parents?

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2005
Having children in this school and district for a number of years, several observations can be offered. Parents really want to view this school highly and are involved, at least in fund raising. California Standards Test scores, especially in Math decline nearly every year from second grade through middle and high school. This district receives nearly $12,000 per year per student from swollen property taxes, yet there is no evidence kids are learning. There is a leadership vacuum at the Principal, Superintendent and School Board levels and a huge amount of effort devoted to impresssion management.

- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2005
This is an excellent school. Small class sizes, good instructors and the very best environment for kids to learn in.

- submitted by a parent
May 03, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 19, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2004
I highly reccommend Carmel River School. This school has great teacheers and a great location. Kids can enjoy their classes in a bucolic setting that promotes awareness of the natural environment. Classes can walk to the nearby freshwater lagoon to birdwatch. The Carmel River State Beach lies just beyond the lagoon. An amazing environment to learn about the wonders of nature and the world beyond.

- submitted by a former student
May 07, 2004
My youngest child will be graduating from River School this summer. I could not have asked for a better environment for them to learn and grow in. For the past seven years I have been a very involved parent and have seen the committment the staff has towards all children. There have been many changes made in the last year at this school. I always felt it was a well run school, but change and new ideas have been welcome and necessary.

- submitted by a parent
April 21, 2004
River School is an exceptional school. Not only is the academic curriculum top-notch, but the environment is warm, playful, enthusiastic and supports positive social development. The principal is a young, energetic leader who is willing to stand up for what he believes to be the best vision for the whole school community and he has shown courageous dedication to what he believes. Students at River School are given the highest quality education in there classrooms, combined with a variety of special programs including music, science, movement, computers, PE, and library classes. Overall, River School provides an environment which encourages children to excell both academically and personally.

- submitted by a staff
April 07, 2004
As a parent, classroom volunteer, member of various committees and the PTA, I can honestly say that we have a dedicated and caring staff teaching our children. Our school has seen some wonderful changes this year with our new principal, Jay Marden. He has been a breath of fresh air. While keeping the same high consistency of education and tradition he has added new elements which take our school one step higher. River school is not just a school but a community. Our children are receiving the equivalent of a private school education in a public school setting. Lines of communication have improved and disciplinary policies are both fair and well thought out. We look forward our next five years with our youngest daughter at this excellent school.

- submitted by a parent
April 06, 2004
River School, under the administration of Jay Marden, is an outstanding elementary school. He has maintained our high standards in safety, parent involvment, extracurrilcular activities,and continues to provide high quality education for our students. Our children are given opportunities above and beyond any other sites that I have experienced. Our accelerated learning programs prepare our students for middle school and provide confidence that they can excel to their fullest potential. Our resource program and early intervention reading program provides students with confidence as they improve. Our staff is dedicated to providing each student with love, kindness, structure and are in contact with each parent with regards to their child's development. Our staff works cooperatively with all departments including Music, Science, Computers, PE and Movement to provide students with exposure to all of these areas of learning. Our students feel secure in knowing they are our top priority.

- submitted by a staff
April 06, 2004
I am writing as a River School parent. This school will have provided quality 'private school' education to all 4 of my children. The opportunities they have had are outstanding. Their learning has come from high quality teachers and staff members who are totally dedicated to each and every child. There is no comparison. I feel my children have had wonderful exposure to our community through programs like the 'great chefs' and fields trips and extensive study of Point Lobos. They have loved their time with science and computers and expanded their artistic abilities through dance and music. My children do their best because they have support and encouragement from their teachers.

- submitted by a parent
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Carmel River Elementary School
Monte Verde Street And 15th Avenue, Carmel, CA  93923
(831) 624-4609
Last modified Carmel River Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Carmel River Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 35 reviews. Top