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K-6
Public
El Cerrito, CA
Students enrolled: 525

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8500 Madera Drive
El Cerrito, CA 94530

(510) 231-1412
(510) 235-8003
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Map of Madera Elementary School address.

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August 27, 2014
Our principle Ms. Makela is really committed and she really makes an effort to connect with the kids instead of spending all her time doing administrative work in her office. Also the PTA here is off the chain! So much energy, love and pride here. A couple of my child's teachers have seemed burned out ... I guess that's better than being young and inexperienced? Anyway we are proud to send our 4th grader here.

- submitted by a parent
May 14, 2014
This is our neighborhood school and we are committed to making it the best it can be. So far, after two years, we are pretty satisfied. The new principal (Alison Makela) is stellar and has great vision and leadership abilities. The best is yet to come! The teachers are case-by-case. Many of the older teachers seem very set in their ways and resistant to change or new, more creative methods of teaching. Madera could use some new blood, mixed in with the old, if only the unions/district would allow that. Parent involvement is otherworldly. Madera would be half the school it is without the dedicated parents of the PTA and other committees who fund and staff all of the enrichment programs. The comments about parents being "cliquish" are baffling. I am lucky enough to be a parent who devotes hours of unpaid time to making programs for *all* of our kids, and I say, "PLEASE JOIN US!!". We want everybody to participate and work together. No cliques here. We would love it if more would join. It's the same handful of families providing most of the financial and volunteer support, so why not be part of it instead of complaining? We all have the same goal, let's make it happen!

- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2013
My son has been going to Madera since Kinder..He has nothing but positive vibes coming from this school. The principal who originally there when he started isnt there anymore but the new principal is great also! I am very impressed by the homework and how they helped my son along the way these past few years. Special thanks to Mrs. Ruby in the office she has been helpful to us also! My fav part of Madera is the PTA they have enormous help from the parents here! We love you Madera! Akili & Akyla's mom

- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2012
I am a Madera parent and and educator of 15 years. My 2 children are starting their 3rd year at the school. I feel compelled to balance the reviews below. While I will agree that some teachers depend too much on handouts, I have also seen WONDERFUL projects, hands on science, computer class, field trips, music, talent shows, cultural events, carnivals and an amazing garden education program. The community is very diverse and welcoming. During a very difficult time for my family, the Madera community was a stable source of solace. Both of my children have flourished including one with special needs that are addressed! They perform above grade level and have developed a deep love for reading fostered by their teachers. The Madera community has faced some challenges including year after year budget cuts and staff turnover but we pull together as a community to continue to provide an exceptional, if imperfect, public educational experience for children at ALL levels. Montessori it is not, but Madera is under NCLB where curriculum is mandated. If you have tolerance for these mandates and want a diverse, safe, public school, then Madera can't be beat! Go Madera!

- submitted by a parent
July 22, 2012
The recent comments posted here are very disturbing to this El Cerrito resident. From the test scores, Madera is at the top of a small group of successful schools in a notoriously bad school district. If these comments are at all representative of the parents at the highest rated school in the WCCUSD, I beg the school board members to declare bankruptcy, and dissolve the district.

- submitted by a community member
July 08, 2012
I hope, but doubt, that the new principal will make a difference. The parent and teacher cliques are very strong. Madera also lost four great teachers this year. As a parent of two students, I find this school disheartening with little hands on work of any kind. There is a high focus on drill paperwork without balance. I am fortunate to have got places for my kids in another district school.

- submitted by a parent
July 06, 2012
I just want to say, as a former student, that this school is just not satisfactory. It does not challenge a gifted child whatsoever. In a regular class, you will find that 2/3 of the class will be dull minded, and 1/3 of the class will be at the least, average. The other kids will slow you down. This school used to be AH-MAZING, but it all changed after the end of 2010. The parents form cliques, with one of the cliques being the moms who are all on the PTA, and who are always hanging around the school. Even some grades have cliques. The 6th graders ``date`` each other, and try to run the school. Most of this happened because of lack of principal leadership. Teacher quality has declined; principal leadership has declined, and all I can say is that this school MAY just get saved by the new principal.

- submitted by a community member
June 20, 2012
Wow I thought I was the only parent that felt this away about this school! A handful of parents might be actively involved but they are extemely clickish. The principal seems inexperienced and unable to manage different social issues. I haved moved from the area and have placed my children in another school. It was the best thing I have ever done. I wish these reviews where here before I had my children enrolled at Madera. I would have thought twice.

- submitted by a parent
June 10, 2012
Online reviews are designed to help others. I am a dissatisfied parent like a few others in this thread who have expressed their sentiments which emerge out of FACTUAL experiences and are NOT OPINIONS. With responsibilities of work and raising children, Parents choose their battles. I wish to warn parents on taking 5 STAR rating on "Parental Involvement" with a grain of salt. Parental involvement can also translate into Parental Interference. As reported of cliques operating this site, both the principal and teachers might just be under the influence of a handful of parents. Such political scenarios serve vested interests of a chosen few. I made a decision to enroll my child at this school based on Good School hearsay several years ago. I only wish sites like Great Schools had operated then. I would have SEEN ALL FACTS as they were so I wouldn t have to go through a sad experience back then. A rating of 10 for this school? It won t be a surprise if somebody with vested interest is monitoring the threads here too. Why? We don t even see this school listed on Rate My Teachers !!! Doesn't that make you wonder, WHY?

- submitted by a parent
June 04, 2012
I have reviewed prior posts about Madera and all that has been read has been parents persoanl opinions and no facts. Yes this school has issues as well as any other school in any district anywhere has issues. I felt as I was in high school again as I read these posts or in middle school passing notes with rumors on them. If people want changes in the policys and feel that thier child is not gettting the best education then move schools! Let's not sit hiding behind a web site and cry and blame everything on the teachers and school staff on a blog. These issues should be brought to people in charge in person or threw the head school district office to higher up's in charge that can actually do something about it. This school is by far not perfect but which one is?

- submitted by a community member
May 30, 2012
I would have to say I agree 100 percent with the previous reviewer. This school lacks any creative way of teaching children. Madera also lacks diversity. Extreme racial barriers exist on this campus. Politics and clicks are major players at this school causing the real goal of schools to get lost. I have had children in AUSD and BUSD. I have never seen racial barriers so obviously than at this school. No matter how you put it Madera is still part of WCCUSD. Overall I'm extremely disappointed with the education provided at this school. There is no diversity, little conflict resolution skills from staff and an extreme lack of leadership from the principle.

- submitted by a parent
December 15, 2011
If your child is gifted, talented, brilliant with exceptional abilities, Madera Elementary is not for your smart kiddo. Your child will be torn apart amidst the politics and racial biases that plaque this campus. The teachers who strive to maintain high rating for this school, practically serve no good to a student seeking challenge. Strong advice to parents - Please check for an in person reference on teachers of this school with other academic professionals in WCCUSD, BUSD and AUSD. You will see the cliques that operate this site.

- submitted by a parent
April 09, 2011
Hi I am a student at Madera Elementary School. I am in 4th this year. I came to this because before I went to a private school and HATED it. I came to this school for 3rd grade on up. I ike this school because there is a HUGE yard for 3rd grade, 4th,and 5th.The teachers are very nice. In 3rd grade my teacher was super nice and loved her.In kindergarden,1st,2nd the teacher are EXTRA EXTRA nice.In 3rd grade the are NICE. But in 4th,5th grade the teachers way more strict, so be aware. Also the district is adding a 6th grade!

- submitted by a community member
no rating August 19, 2009
this is the best public school in west county school district .best teachers,the best parent I ever seen .also the best administraton

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
April 01, 2009
I drive across town so that my daughter could receive a better education then the school we were zoned for, and I am so grateful for all that Madera has to offer. The parents are so incredibly involved, the teachers are warm and motivating, and the school offers so many educational and extracurricular activities that I am blown away by the quality of education my child recieves at Madera. I wish all schools rose to this level of teaching by setting such a high standard of education. I ama former teache rand am impressed on every level.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 26, 2008
I have two kids at Madera this year (1st & 5th) and can say nothing but great things about it. The teachers are great and in most of the kids they encourage a love of learning. I have also met many great parents, as the PTA is very active and there is a lot of parent participation at Madera. This makes such a big difference in succes of this school. It's a great school and I feel lucky that I was able to get my kids into it.

- submitted by a parent
June 22, 2008
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- submitted by a student
February 19, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2008
I find nothing wrong with traditional teachers that know what they are doing! I like the 'firm hand in the glove' appraoch. The faculty is outstanding (despite some of the comments posted). They have many years of experience and plan so many interesting events in their classrooms. Nay sayers should look somewhere else to locate such a fine group of teachers!

- submitted by a parent
January 07, 2008
I have two children in Madera and they have both been there since Kindergarten. I am very happy with the diversity of the student body and the PTA involvement. The school has one of the most beautiful settings with views of the bay. The teachers are pretty traditional, and not very diverse but kids get a solid academic foundation.The PTA also funds the Junior Center for the Arts program many educational assemblies, reading tutor, field trips and many other programs. The prinicipal is experienced and keeps a loving firm hand on the campus. She is also direct and to the point so you can communicate openly with her. Parents can be involved at many levels in the Volunteer activities and they work well with the teachers. I have never felt more part of my community. Madera is a rich slice of the East Bay.

- submitted by a parent
August 18, 2007
We have a daughter in 5th grade, and one in kindergarten. We've been very happy with Madera these past 5 years, and look forward to another 6 years. It just gets better and better, especially since the school renovations were completed a couple of years ago. Many new families have moved to the area, to go to this school. Unfortunately, there is now room for very few transfer students, because it is filled with residents. Teachers are good -- if somewhat traditional. Parent involvement is incredibly high. After school care, run by the City of El Cerrito, is now provided completely on site -- at least for this year. There are a number of after-school enrichment classes also available (art, carpentry, Spanish, creative writing, guitar, etc.)

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 08, 2007
Still love it! We're going on our second year at Madera (5th grade) and I do not regret choosing this school for my daughter. I love that the school has children who are primarily high achievers and that the school promotes active parent involvement and I love its diversity. I just wished that there was someway that they could add 7th through 8th grade at the school; as the pickings for quality middle schools within WCCUSD are seemingly non existent.

- submitted by a parent
September 18, 2006
We are new to Madera. I transferred my daughter because she is a high performing student and the other WCCUSD school that she was attending didn't seem to be challenging enough for her. So far, we are in our third month and every day I inquire about what happened in school, in her classes. She seems very happy and she says that the kids in Madera are 'just as smart' as she is, which helps us because it challenges her. Madera seems to have a very active PTA and appears to be PTA-run. The one thing that I can say is, she is so, so, enthused with her P.E. Teacher (4th grade). I am just sorry that P.E. isn't an every day class. I hear that he is not your avg. PE teacher; that he teaches life values through PE> So far so good, we'll post more as we experience more.

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
May 17, 2006
Great community. Great student body. Great faculty.

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
March 09, 2006
Madera is a wonderful school. My daughter has attended since she was in grade K and is now in 5th grade. The PTA is wonderful. This is a place that your child and yourself will feel secure. They offer a variety of subjects not offered in some of the other elementary schools like Computers and science. I wish my daughter could stay on more year!

- submitted by a parent
March 03, 2006
This is a great school but I have found some less than perfect teachers who seem rather old school and hostile towards the children. I think the many extracarricular programs are A+. but they d/c'd the chess teacher who was worth his weitht in gold. I would love to see this teacher come back because I don't have the patients to teach my child chess. Good luck : ) PS: this is just my experience.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 29, 2005
Wonderful school with involved parents and high expectations for students. My son Had Ms. Devine for 5th grade-she was structured, creative and help kids to high standards.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
March 24, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
March 24, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
August 18, 2003
Madera provides an excellent environment for students to excell. Academic results are outstanding as is the sense of community throughout the school. Great teachers and staff!

- submitted by a parent
July 10, 2003
Madera School also won the Governor's Reading Program in 2000.

- submitted by a parent
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Madera Elementary School
8500 Madera Drive, El Cerrito, CA  94530
(510) 231-1412
Last modified Madera Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-6. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Madera Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 37 reviews. Top