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K-6
Public district
El Cerrito, CA
Students enrolled: 365
 

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7230 Fairmont Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530

School website
(510) 231-1413
(510) 559-1365
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Harding Elementary School address.

April 18, 2015
I agree with the other parents who have posted concerns about the oppressive administrative climate despite many positives that are present at the school. We too had an experience with the principal who initially acted sympathetic when we shared concerns about our child but her approach ended up being mostly bureaucratic and overall unhelpful. It might be her personality and lack of ability to acknowledge real problems out of anxiety over losing control. She appears to be more concerned about covering up the problem than actually solving it. We were discouraged from speaking up for the sake of our child. We did not want our child to fall out of favor because of our disagreement with the principal, but did not feel good about being quieted. However, I have to disagree with the other parents that the problem is with the principal only. For whatever reason, the overall culture of the school is divisive. Kids are taught to prove themselves in ways that promote negative competition among them. Children do find their own groups but form cliques, which are not friendly to others. I am still trying to figure out what causes this place to be as unfriendly. Bad mojo?

- submitted by a parent

April 03, 2015
Harding had a tradition of being a happy neighborhood school with great teachers, wonderful kids and involved parents. Now the divisive atmosphere caused by the principal has changed that. WCCUSD, the board and the union are failing the teachers by not addressing the issues that are continually brought to them regarding the principal. When a student is bullied what do you do? Blame the student?

- submitted by a teacher

March 29, 2015
This is our 7th year at the school and we still have a couple more to go with our younger child.We started at the school with high hopes and we have been fortunate with the teachers so far. Positives:amazing Carnival,fun auction night,successfull jazz and art night several nice functions throughout the year,the garden lady is the best,my kids have made very good friends from all backgrounds Negatives:not much music and art though fundraising is plenty for that, Biggest negative:the principal,has very poor people skills and should really not be working in a position where she encounters many people,she is biased towards her friend teachers even if they mistreat students,poor decision making that negatively effects the students,rude to very rude,not able to work cooperatively with anyone,parent community is looking the other way as long as it is not their family targeted,she promotes programs that personally benefit her or her family members, All in all ok school with some caring teachers and some good kids.My kids love their friends and that counts for something,just know concerns might not be dealt with at all

- submitted by a parent

March 21, 2015
We are happy with Harding; my child is thriving in their 4th year. The best part isn't the school itself but its community. The active pta and dad's clubs are natural extensions of the neighborhood that surrounds the school, and the camaraderie on campus is real. It's a public school with the usual problems. Limited resources, and local/district/state/union bureaucracy limiting change and accountability. There are great teachers and average teachers there like most places. Principal Takimoto seems to be doing a decent job. A staff member quit recently and she is being called a bully here; It does take a strong will to make headway in 'the system' but she is not a bully. She sets expectations, and if you dont meet them she (oh my!) holds you to account. There have been long term sub situations but despite the obstacles out of her control she has filled the gaps with good teachers. Is it Prospect Sierra or Bentley? No. Does it cost 25k? No. It's an above average public school that is very safe and has been steadily improving for many years, with an outstanding community.

- submitted by a parent

March 13, 2015
This school is like a poison apple.It looks perfect and shiny and yummy,then you cut it open and you see it,s rotting inside and it starts right at the core .

- submitted by a parent

March 11, 2015
When the Principal bullies the teachers, a climate of bullying will reign. This used to be a lovely neighborhood school with excellent caring teachers but since the current Principal, good teachers have fled, others have given up because if they do not obey her ( she takes any feedback or different ideas as a personal attack) or if they don't actively curry favor , they will be punished in room or class assignment or public rude treatment. She has brought in a few teachers that were old colleagues of hers it seems. They are terrible teachers who yell at kids, leave them untended and bully - like she does. She defends them ( one in particular) agains t the parents' legitimate concerns and requests - because they are her favorites. My child still suffers from that year. Why is the District letting her ruin a good school?

- submitted by a parent

March 10, 2015
There is a reason Harding is ranked 6 - the principal. She shows no respect for parents (just political nonsense) and her relationship with the students is one of disdain. Staff is apathetic as well as parents because the bullying tactics hold strong. The principal will get back at you. They would rather not say anything than be the target of her wrath. This is where the bullying begins at Harding.

- submitted by a parent

March 07, 2015
Creativity is shown the door.Music and art are being undermind and the program that they offer is more for the kids entertainment than learning any music whatsoever.The school is dictator run where Parents input is not welcome.The principal is often times rude.She uses a lot of words with no substance if you listen very closely .There are some truly wonderful teachers but don't be surprised if your child has substitutes for a good time of the schoolyear.There have been classes that have had substitutes for a whole school year.Be aware,go in with eyes wide open and use some critical thinking and don,t drink the Kool aid.

- submitted by a parent

March 07, 2015
The school has changed for the worse since the current principal has been in charge. It now is run like a prison with the principal being the warden. She LOVES rules. The school looks good on paper, but is losing it's soulfulness due to a bureaucratic, egomaniac of a principal. The children are the ones who bear the brunt of it all. Sad.

- submitted by a parent

March 06, 2015
I have to agree with some of the other reviewers . I am a bit concerned about the recess situation . It seems that the adults on the yard constantly are yelling at the kids.The administration has frequently pointed out the importance of teaching the students to treat each other with respect ,how will they learn this however when they are always being yelled at.Last time I checked this is a public elementary school and not an institution for young criminals. And on a different note the principal sees it fit to move teachers around the different grade levels without any concern for how this will impact the students.Often times this has not been done with the best interest of the students in mind but rather to mess with the teachers.There have been several times it has been bad decisions where the kids had to suffer throughout that school year with for their grade incompetent teacher and the parents objections and complaints have been totally ignored.We have lost some good families that have done a lot for the school because of this.Such a shame.

- submitted by a parent

February 23, 2015
This school has an active PTA. If you are thinking of working here, get an insider's perspective first. Do not expect support. In the last few years, a number of teachers were treated poorly and left.

- submitted by a teacher

September 10, 2014
This is my 4th year as a parent at Harding and I currently have two children there. Overall, we are very happy at Harding--we've had had some very good teachers, my children have nice groups of friends and are engaged and eager to go to school, and the community is very welcoming and supportive. I have had several interactions with the principal mostly because of volunteer work I do at the school, and I have always found her to be straightforward and easy to work with. The one time I needed to talk to her about an issue with my child, she responded promptly and the issue was resolved to my satisfaction. It is through her support that we have two great programs funded by the PTA: Youth in Arts and the Edible Garden program. She is actively working to promote a kind, respectful environment for everyone. I think she is doing good things for Harding and making it a better place for everyone--we are lucky to have such a dynamic, hardworking and dedicated principal who is making real changes for the better. Yes, she follows the rules, but that is her job and she is very clear about what the rules are and is happy to listen to your point of view and work with you if she can.

- submitted by a parent

August 16, 2014
Harding has some great teachers and families. The principal seems to have administrative and personality weakness. There should be signs on the fence around Harding that read "BEWARE Of PRINCIPAL" and "enter at own risk."

- submitted by a community member

August 06, 2014
I have been a Harding parent for the past 2 years and I have been so pleased with our experience so far. It's a very small community with a lot of active parents. It has a wonderful community feel to it. The principal has made some amazing changes there and some of the "bad egg" faculty have departed since she came in. This has improved the morale among the parents and gives us with younger kids only good feelings that it will only get better there. Do they have everything that I had in public school growing up? No, but only wealthy CA schools have everything. Our PTA raises a fair bit of money and we have a gardening program, arts, music, and a ton of other programs that not all schools have. Plus we have really fun family events that are great for socializing and meeting others in your neighborhood.

- submitted by a parent

October 15, 2012
Our oldest child has been attending Harding for a little over a year now, and we couldn't be happier. The teachers, parents and principal are dedicated and work hard to make sure the kids have everything that they need to learn. Principal Takimoto is very respected among the teachers as well as the kids, and has been implementing great programs to ensure the school keeps going in the direction it has been. Harding has a diverse group of kids, from all socio-economic backgrounds and some with special needs which is also a wonderful learning opportunity for my child. From my experience all the kids, no matter the teacher, have learned all that they are supposed to be learning and at the end of the day, that is what matters most - not a teacher's popularity contest. Thanks to Harding, my child and my family have met wonderful friends and neighbors thanks to the many opportunities the school, the PTA and the Dad's Club offer. When the kids connect at local events and outside school -- they are genuinely happy to see each other and are respectful of one another and that is priceless. So take the tour and learn more about our amazing neighborhood school.

- submitted by a parent

October 13, 2012
Since there hasn't been a review posted in two years, I thought I'd update from the perspective of someone who has lived in the neighborhood since 2002 and who has had children at Harding since 2007. Harding has become an outstanding neighborhood school. Anyone looking to move into the neighborhood, or already in the neighborhood and weighing options for your pre-K child, should not hesitate to take a tour and talk to parents of current students. Yes, there is still an achievement gap between non-economically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged students; and, yes, that gap also happens to fall along race/ethnicity lines. But Harding has a committed and experienced principal who is respected by the teachers, and a broadening base of parents who are engaged in everything from yard supervision and classroom assistance, to fundraising and community events like Harding's amazing Fall carnival. Don't hesitate to check it out.

- submitted by a parent

September 13, 2010
Small classes, a beautiful campus, and strong classroom teachers. The only downside: a small group of entitled parents who indulge in a lot of gossiping and back-biting--mostly about teachers and other parents they don't like. It's very tiresome. It's a tiny minority but if they would vote with their feet and leave, instead of endlessly complaining, it would be more fun to be involved. Office staff and principal are great.

- submitted by a parent

April 20, 2010
Our daughter has attended Harding for 3 yrs. K-2. We have had mixed experiences. There is a teacher in every grade it seems that is very unfavorable and the other is usually very good. If you happen to get the right teachers, it can be great. We have had both. The principal although very involved and energetic doesn't seem to have any power to make changes to the staff as they are protected by tenure and the union. It's a beautiful school and there is a wonderful core of families who are very dedicated to making it better. The after school enrichment classes organized by the PTA are awesome. The after school care mediocre.

- submitted by a parent

October 23, 2008
HASEP is indeed a wonderful program and the two co-chairs deserve all the credit in the world for their excellent work, however, I think the previous post is way too hard on our teachers. Like any group some embrace change, some resist it, and most are willing to consider any reasonable request or thoughtful suggestion. I have been impressed by how much staff members do to accommodate requests/support the school. Many of them co-chair PTA activities and contribute generously to fundraisers. Teachers from almost every grade level showed up at the auction last year which raises funds to support art, music, and science. Some of them helped with set-up for the carnival this year. A few of them co-chair PTA events (family math night and the variety show). Most try hard to teach the rigorous CA state standards and advocate for their students. Give them a break! --big fan of hard working teachers

- submitted by a parent

October 06, 2008
The community of parents is great and the HASEP classes are fantastic thanks especially to the 2 moms in charge. The teachers, while great, are entrenched and resist change. Sometimes it's like shucking an oyster with a butter knife as far as getting communications going with them. The principal is a godsend on that and many other fronts! She is devout in her belief in the children and 'her staff'!

- submitted by a parent

August 23, 2008
Great families, teachers, and principal! Beautiful newly built school with tons of after school enrichment classes!

- submitted by a parent
no rating
October 01, 2007
This school is great & the parent participation makes it a wonderful Harding community :)

- submitted by a parent

July 07, 2007
Harding elementary has an excellent staff of teachers! This school district has a great staff of teachers! I hope that they do the right thing and take care of the teachers so they will remain in the district. We need a new school board!

- submitted by a parent

May 01, 2007
Harding is an excellent school! My family has been very pleased with the overall instruction at the school!

- submitted by a parent

May 01, 2007
Harding is a great school for exceptional learning! No, the test scores are not that attractive but take a look into the entire school year progress! Testing is for the District. Look deeper into what the children are accomplishing! The children experience hands on learning and have lots of fun as well. Harding is great!

- submitted by a parent

August 28, 2005
Great teachers. Strong music, art, and science programs. Outstanding academics. Ignore the test scores and rankings. Come and see for yourself. Visit online at www.hardingpta.org

- submitted by a parent

August 15, 2005
I am very impressed with the academic programs and the availablity of 'The Arts' at Harding. Thanks to Tova Halpren and the entire staff at Harding; they helped my daughter love school again. Keep up the great work!

- submitted by a parent

May 11, 2005
My daugther is in kindergarten at Harding and we are very happy there. They have music class once a week and will have a new campus for fall 2005. The parent involvement is very high and Harding has an active PTA. Her kindergarten class is geared for learning in a fun and challenging environment. We love her teacher and all the kids in her class are really really good kids.

- submitted by a parent

December 08, 2003
We have found at Harding Elementry a truly diverse group of students, teachers and parents who all care alot about children's education. Test scores alone do not tell the story of Harding. There are many very bright students at Harding and some who come from disadvantaged homes who with the help of the excelent staff are able to make great academic strides. We are looking forward to moving into our new school in the Spring of 2004.

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: April 18, 2015

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Harding Elementary School
7230 Fairmont Avenue, El Cerrito, CA  94530
(510) 231-1413
Last modified Harding Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-6. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 6 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Harding Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 34 reviews. Top