Although a review will spill the secret...I do think this is one of the best kept secrets in Castro Valley. We have a small student population, a great dedicated staff of teachers, a vibrant parent community and an environmental treasure for on site learning - our creek. In a time of budget cuts and declining education, I feel privileged to call Palomares our home school.
My daughter came from another distinguished CV school but there's a total diffference with the principal, teachers and parents from this school. Iam highly impressed and looking forward to this school year...
We feel so lucky to have found this school. My son started Kindergarten here and loves it. Being a child who thrives in nature, the school setting is perfect for him. Situated next to a creek in the forested canyon, it feels as if your child is attending summer camp everyday. And the quality of education is excellent. The school is small enough to offer individual attention to every student and parent involvement is very active. Perks you usually only find at expensive private schools. This school is a hidden gem!
There is a strong sense of community at Palomares Elementary, including parents, teachers and students, and an unparalleled (in my experience) devotion to education - not just excellent academics, but about life and being a responsible person.
This small school is in such an idyllic setting and has very a collaborative work environment. The school has its own organic garden and children walk past an interpretive nature trail on their way to and from the school site. Parent participation in very high, especially in the primary grades. One of the things that impressed me the most was how comfortable the kindergarten students felt with their classmates' parents. The active participaters reach out to the kids from more troubled homes. Currently there is no cafeteria, but this new building is also nearing completion. There se good options for providing sports activities after school including a winning girls volleyball team. The principal is in her first year at Palomares, but she appears to be a hands-on, take charge problem solver.
Palomares is a very unique, small school. The Watershed Program is the big attraction. In addition, there are plenty of school wide functions (this is rare in other schools and is only possible here because of the size of the school) such as the Thanksgiving Feast, the Easter Egg Hunt, the Palomares Heritage Day etc.
Palomares offers an exceptional learning environment for students. My child has attended K-5th and enjoyed his time there. The opportunity the small campus provides for everyone to know each other and communicate is wonderful. The ability to have big classrooms and a wonderful rural setting makes up for the lack of a gym/multipurpose room.
Palomares is a well hidden jewel in the CVUSD. I've had my two children there for the last 4 years and strongly encourage interested parents to consider this school. Granted there are some aspects that are undesirable but seem insignificant when you weigh them against all that is good such as: smaller child/teacher ratio, strong science program, pretty good enrichment program such as foreign language and art, excellent teachers, environment that you and your child will fall in love with. Advice: stay involved and informed. Be an advocate for your child.
Palomares is a beautiful school and a terrific laboratory for kids and teachers alike. Children are exposed to hands on learning and are able to participate fully in environmental issues, such as creek restoration. Overall, the teachers we have had have been excellent. With that said, we are disappointed that there is such a high rate of staff turnover, and believe it is partly due to personality conflicts with the current principal. The majority of students are there on intra-district transfers. When serious issues and concerns come up, many parents are hesitant to voice opinions openly for fear of losing their space in the school. There is much grumbling among parents, and little action. Many are displeased with the current attempts to make the school bigger. The principal could benefit from listening to parents' concerns and issues, and parents need to be less fearful and more outspoken.
Palomares has a safe, nurturing environment that is conducive to learning. The small size and accessible staff create a real community where it is easy to get to know the teachers, parents and children. The teachers use the rural environment to their advantage and incorporate it in their lessons as often as possible. Lessons about the stages of pollywogs and their environment just 'sticks' better when your feet get wet in the creek.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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