The Mandarin program is impressive, organized and rigorous. It provides a top notch education within a continually improving school. The district is spotty, but is transforming and has the leadership and money to fix what needs to be. The PTA is VERY AMBITIOUS and run by smart, successful, passionate parents. They bring thought, money, energy and a well-rounded experience to the student body. If you are thinking about Stonebrae, do not hesitate- the curriculum in the Mandarin tract is beyond that of a typical public school and the diversity and grit of the overall student body is an enriching slice of real life. Our class size is 22 - fantastic for a public school. And I have to say I have met quite a few of the parents in class and they are overwhelmingly professionals with degrees. The kids in this tract are ready to learn and prepped to be students and it shows. As far as the front office being cold... YUP! They are are at first. These women deal with a lot and get paid crap. So, give them some slack. As soon as they know you are sticking around and YOU are as committed to the school as they are, it's a different story.
Good PTA-a specific group of parents are involved. My son went to the regular English class (not the Mandarin program). He completed K with Ms. Crossman (excellent Teacher). there is a noticeable difference in the student population as well as the teacher background/experience between the Mandarin classes & the regular English classes. My hope for the school is to level this difference & apply what has worked for its popular Mandarin program to the English only classes (i.e. teacher experience & motivation, Parent involvement). Principal involvement for the English only classes; the principal takes a lot of pride in the Mandarin program; I wish that the same level of pride and commitment can be applied to the English only classes (I.e. providing more class room options-as an example for the 2014/2015 - there are only 2 1st grade classes offered which limits the choices for teacher options; we hope that the first grade teacher will be as good as the K teacher. Improvement is recommended for its English only classes - i.e. offering more teacher training and working with good student-teachers from Cal, Standford, etc. to be an additional resource to the English teachers.
The Mandarin program is challenging, however if you are willing to put in the work and effort its absolutely rewarding. For those parents who are making judgments about the school and staff, how involved or invested in the school are you? Some days the principal does not respond to my requests either but since she has over 700 students with concerns I can forgive her. That's why we remind her of our concern. Volunteering in the class, is a job and to be honest not all parents are qualified. Are you able to handle a group of children who may test boundaries? Do you know how to work independently without the teachers assistance? Can you photocopy using the Rizzo? The more you get involved in the school the better you are informed to make judgments, but as a parent who is involved the more understanding I become! Get involved and commit to your child's school. Then have your say!
I totally agreed with reviews Oct 7, 20 & Mar. 4. Many other school districts are having full time kinder for years. Principal's leadership is a disappointment. She may look friendly, but does not get things done. Don't expect assistance or support from her. Yes, front office stuff are rude and not always helpful.
I am in total agreement with the Oct. 7th and 20th, 2013 Reviews. I have experienced the same disregard and brush off from both the teachers and principle at Stonebrae. I am currently comparing schools to move my student somewhere that actually provides support and assistance. Great location, awful staff including the office staff, they are rude and dismissive.
Just read the review from Oct 20, 2013. Not sure how this parent thinks volunteers are picked. That is not the case at all. All the teachers love volunteers and especially the Kinder Mandarin teachers. I personally know both teachers very well---kids have had them and they WOULD NEVER turn away a parent wanting to volunteer. They welcome them! The only thing stopping a parent to volunteer is if they have not filled out the proper volunteer clearance papers. It's for our kid's safety...if you aren't cleared, you can't volunteer in class. It's the same with any school you go to. I personally have had great success with my 2 kids at Stonebrae.. I like how they are challenged. If your kid is either ahead or behind in class, talk to the teachers...they will work with you to make your kid the best they can be. I have 1 kid who is academically ahead and one that needs a little more improvement. I talked with both teachers and we are working on different things with each kid. In regards to Kinders, most schools have half day Kinder class because it is hard on the little guys to be in school all day until 3 pm. Ask any parent of a kinder. Stonebrae is a BIG thumbs up!
Teachers aren't willing to do anything extra if your child is either ahead of the class or if they're falling behind. Indifferent and unwelcoming attitude from them as well. Principal appears to be outgoing and personable but doesn't help. You ask questions and get inaccurate answers. For example, why aren't kinder students there the whole day? I was told they can't handle being there that long and they would cry. It's true about not letting you volunteer. Only a select few are allowed. Who knows how they are picked. When I finally was allowed after insisting, the teacher accepted on a day devoted to arts and crafts... holiday. Almost feels as if they don't want you to see what they do and don't teach. By the way, this is the mandarin program. It's a shame people transfer I'm thinking they're going to get something great. I was sorely disappointed and am seeking a private Chinese school.
Stonebrae is a nice school, howevever I am deeply disappointed in the leadership and teaching staff. As a concerned parent wanting to support the teaching staff I found them to be passively stubborn in communicating with me about my child, her progress and ultimately her grades until the last minute when grades had been finalized. The principle made herself appear to be helpful when it really was a brush off, an attitude experienced with other Stonebrae teachers. Unfortunately, my impression has been that they haven't wanted to disclose how they run their class, and sad to say they only want to do the minimum amount of work. So for kids that need that extra help, they are out of luck. Ultimately we removed our child because of this attitude. We needed her to be in a caring and open environment where there is a desire to position her for success. Not in a place where parents are turned away and brushed off.
I have graduated from Stonebrae last year. I started as a kinder and ended as a 6th grader. I was there since the school first opened. All my teachers were wonderful, especially my 6th grade teacher. She taught so well I got advanced in both L/A and math for the STAR Test. To me, it all depends on which teacher you get. Everyone is different and can succeed in different ways. The lunch wasn't so good, though. They mainly put packaged food in the oven and cook it. I always brought my own lunch. I was very disappointed with the music program. I believe I stopped the required music in third or fourth grade. My mother wanted me to play the violin in their after school music program, but it was only for 6th graders. Once I was old enough, they didn't have enough money to fund it, leading to it closing down. Overall, Stonebrae is an okay school and I would recommend sending your child here, coming from a former student.