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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?