This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Harding Elementary School3
Posted April 18, 2015
- a parent
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?
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.