Our daughter just finished K and whe loved her experience here. The teacher was able to teach to all levels and keep the kids engaged. She can read early chapter books now and really enjoys math. All the K teachers seem very good. The principle is very involved as well.
First, let me state that my child just completed K here so I am basing this on one year. I am not familiar with the upper grades. That said, my child had a really good year - entered with a handful of sight words (and that is a generous assessment), finished the year reading Magic Tree House books. The K learn-to-read curriculum works! There was also a firm grounding in math and smatterings of art, science, social studies. My child's teacher was particularly proactive in getting in-class special events (the district discourages K field trips offsite) - they had visitors from Berkeley Rep, the Vivarium, Lawrence Hall of Science, SF MOMA etc. etc. The school itself has a wide socioeconomic range; we are not the only middle-class family although it's something like 2/3rds free/reduced lunch. There were no signs of bullying at recess or in class. The kids were very sweet. Room for improvement in the aftercare program (which is run by the city, not the school) and in the - sigh, Cheetos, really? in 2014? - school lunches and suppers, provided by the district. Pretty junky food, but of course you can pack your own and avoid the situation entirely. Very responsive principal.
This is my 6yr old's first year at Fairmont but he has already made friends, loves his teacher (Ms. Cook) and is excited to be at school each day! The School itself is older and needs to be re-modeled (which is happening slowly but surely) but otherwise seems to be a great environment for children.
Hmm. This school's facilities are not top notch. The gym has peeling paint, water stains, and due to lack of light, is very gloomy. It has 9 Mobil units, one of which is the cramped library. No bussing for non-special Ed students. The cafeteria food is so bad some days I literally couldn't tell what I was. But most of all that is the states fault from lack of funding. That part of Fairmont is under average. But there is a whole other side to Fairmont. Coach Lisa, you have left Fairmont, but you were there when I was.Mr. Ko, Ms. Rudback, you all BROKE my scale. Mr. Ko, I now know tons about the gold rush, and still love singing. Ms. Rudback, none of us will ever forget Mission to Mars at Chabot. You never let any of us give less than our best. Coach Lisa, you were nice and understanding, and frankly PE was everyone's favorite class. You teachers should get at least 7 stars! The kids were really nice too. Sometimes there would be physical fights, but most of the kids were doing the best with what they had. The kids get five stars, no doubt. since its being rebuilt, it can only get better. It had SO much possibility in a few years thanks to the great PTA, it will be five stars.
Fairmont is a great neighbood school. The PTA is very active along with a great group of parent volunteers. The student population is very diverse, teachers are very dedicated to student achievment and our principal is visable and engaged with the students.
We have been pleasantly surprised to discover what a gem Fairmont is. Our teachers are top-notch, love the diversity of families. We've had a good time getting to know other families although our schedules are so busy. Love that the school is full-inclusion, my son made fast friends and is learning so quickly. Teaching is solid, credentialed teachers make a huge difference and are the reason why I would only do a public school. All the teachers at Fairmont are credentialed. Very happy with the school and are eagerly awaiting the rebuild!
Good teachers, good principal and staff. Parents dedicated to their children and school. PTA is doing an excellent job trying to get new programs and raising money for the school. It does not have high API scores like some of the other El Cerrito schools but Fairmont is a gem for what it does accomplish.Go Fairmont. We are proud to be parents of a child that attends the school.
My child has attended Fairmont Elementary School since Kindergarten and we love this school. The teachers here are caring and experienced. The principal loves the students, whether they are "good" students or students that need a bit of "discipline" - notice the quotes here. We have a warm parent community that work together very effectively. Our community is very diverse with a nice mix of Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, Caucasians and every mix you can think of. I'm sorry for the 6/14/12 review as that has NOT been our experience at all at Fairmont. I feel that all students are treated with respect and fairly no matter the color of their skin or disability as we are a full-inclusion school. We did have one bad K-teacher this year - who will not be returning. We have Playworks which teaches physical fitness but also fair play and learning to get along. This year, we were able to bring back band. Fairmont is a nice little secret in El Cerrito. We don't have the high test scores like Madera or Kensington but the students learn to accept each others' differences in a community, family like setting.
Fairmont is a very unassuming school, where my kid can focus on learning, and not have to worry about test scores or the latest gadgets. The teachers are caring and experienced, and are wildly popular with their students. Fairmont's diverse student population reflects El Cerrito and Richmond's demographics. It is a real place, where my kid learns that different folks have different philosophies, lifestyles and priorities, and may look different, but that what's important is how an individual makes you feel as a person. The school has music lessons and a sports program for all grades, and starting in 2007, a very affordable onsite afterschool prgoram. Fairmont parents in general are not very involved in the PTA, but there is a group of committed souls who tries its best to keep up the school spirit and make sure that there's always money for the important programs at school.
We like Fairmont. The principle knows her school and the teachers we have dealt with have been excellent. The demographic ratio is a bit slanted and on site afterschool care would be nice, but there is also a new budget that will allow for building upgrades in 2008.