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Our Lady Of Refuge

Private | K-8 | 160 students

OLR's small class sizes enable teachers to meet the needs of all children.
 
 

 

Living in Long Beach

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $400,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,820.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 2 ratings
2013:
Based on 15 ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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30 reviews of this school


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Posted June 14, 2014

The teachers as a whole all are more credentialed, (multiple subject teaching credentials, masters etc) than comparable schools. The proof is in the results. See where the graduating 8th graders go to school and how they do in high school. The over whelming majority of OLR students are going to top Catholic high schools and they do great. Sadly one parent is disgruntled and keeps gossiping and about the school because of a gripe but for every one like that you will find 100 parents that really believe and support the school like no other. As for everyone gets As-its not only inaccurate but silly , anyone going to the honors awards would see that s not true. You need As to be called up. If someone is saying they only have 5 minutes of homework they are either doing it in day care or they aren't doing all their homework. The only times they cut back on homework compared to other schools is when they bring in a special evening speaker like Immacul e Ilibagiza ,a Rwandan author and motivational speaker. She is Catholic and Tutsi. Author of Left To Tell. Google name for more. You just don't get this quality at other schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 13, 2014

Great school. We transferred our child from another well thought of Catholic school in the area. That school was good OLR is better. Why? They teach Catholicism in word and spirit. The school staff, kids and parents are very welcoming. Our child felt at home inside of a week. The kids all play together, there are not cliques. The Ipad for middle school students is a plus. The small classroom size is more like individualized teaching. If you want your child to be involved in extracurricular activities from sports where everyone makes the team to academic decathlon they just sign up. Homework is relevant and not just busy work. Day care is more reasonable and they can have your child do homework, not just play. BTW: No way the homework is just 5 minutes, but I do like that they don t load you up on meaningless busy work for the weekends. The principal is dedicated, smart and accessible. The rest of the friendly staff is also and approaches their jobs as a vocation. Did I mention that the tuition is less than other Catholic schools? If you to meet some of the kids, your child can shadow or during the summer there is a free open to all basketball camp that goes on Saturday mornings.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 3, 2013

I'm a parent and as the 1st trimester ends I'm in a panic. What happened to the rigorous curriculum we've come to expect and quite frankly is the reason we attend the school. Suddenly, everyone is getting A's. Not because they got smarter but because it's been so easy!! Homework now takes 5 minutes. Will Have to look for a better school next year. This is just not up to par.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 24, 2013

We transferred our son this year from a different Catholic school into the middle school program. We chose OLR because of the educational vision of the principal. She is an educational leader that has a keen understanding of what it takes to educate 21st century students. Education in the United States is about to be revolutionized with the implementation of Common Core standards and any Catholic school that does not change with the times will be left behind. OLR has an excellent learning environment that will prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed/excel in high school and beyond under the new national curriculum standards. I am a middle school educator in a neighboring public school district with 20 years of teaching experience. Ask any educator and they will tell you that the key components to academic excellence are administrative leadership, high academic standards, small class size, engaging lessons, differentiated instruction, and a positive learning environment. OLR has all of this plus one to one technology. We feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful Catholic community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 11, 2013

AS a past alumni of OLR, I had the greatest experience for the 9 years I spent there, K-8th grade! The teachers, the friends, the school and the values that were taught were priceless! My educational foundation was so amazing and i was completely prepared for high school. The best part of it is with todays impacted schools is the class size is small and the individual attention given to each and every student is great! The perfect school for family!


Posted August 14, 2013

For three generations now, my family has been experiencing excellence in education at OLR. I graduated in 1962 and I have stayed involved in the church and school community. The staff right now is the best ever. The class sizes are small enough that your child will get plenty of attention. I think the hidden blessing is that the parent participation is awesome. Once you experience this school, you will never want to leave.


Posted August 14, 2013

Our Lady of Refuge School is an excellent school for your children and a welcoming community for your whole family. Our sons received a top notch education and were completely prepared for the private high school that they attended. The computer and science programs are second to none and are keeping up with the rapidly advancing technologies of today. When the current principal started 3 years ago the enrollment was 1/2 of what it is now. She has put "Catholic" back into this Catholic school! The atmosphere is one of pride and the enthusiasm of the parents and students is contagious! This school and parish community are very near and dear to my heart! I am so happy to see the wonderful things that are happening. If you are looking for a place where your children will be academically challenged as well as spiritually enriched Our Lady of Refuge School is the place for you. You will also become part of a community that will welcome you and support you 100%
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 26, 2013

What a great find! Our family looked for two years before enrolling our child in Kindergarten at Our Lady of Refuge. The Staff, faculty, parish and parents were always welcoming, cheerful, accessible during our experience. Now, after our first year, we are even more enthused. We have participated in almost every event and opportunity the school has offered. As a private school there are many needs and "helping out" is a necessity. Through it all there are smiles, encouragement and a real feeling of family. The Principal, staff and teachers are always available and patient with any parent question or suggestion. This is a welcome attitude as many others schools are not so open. Our Kindergarten student learned in a happy, gently disciplined and calm environment. We are looking forward to many happy years at Our Lady of Refuge.


Posted July 24, 2013

Our family is so blessed to have found Our Lady of Refuge School. The sense of community is truly a family environment. All of the teachers know all of the students by name. The teachers are involved and inspiring- absolutely dedicated to their students. An 8th grader thinks nothing of stopping to help a kinder student tie their shoe. The connection here between everyone is just second nature. The families here are extraordinary and we are lucky enough to call them our friends. Being able to be involved in the school is an amazing experience- you know who your child is friends with. These students are kind, smart, caring, well-rounded people. The school truly encourages every child to be their best selves. The academics here are challenging yet engaging. The technology initiatives are exceptional- the cutting edge ways of teaching are really preparing these kids for the future. The sports program is small yet supportive. The kids have the opportunity to try so many different sports- it is amazing how many teams this small school has. The arts program is terrific and growing. The variety of educational opportunities is astounding. We can t imagine our kids anywhere else.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 22, 2013

I am so proud of the outstanding education & welcoming community that are the hallmarks of this school.The principal has assembled a faculty that is of the highest caliber, educationally & spiritually. Each teacher supports the mission of the school to educate the whole child spiritually, academically & physically, while encouraging all members to develop their God-given talents as well. OLR received public recognition this year from the accreditation team evaluating the school, noting that the quality of instruction & the caring environment were exceptional. Students score above grade level on standardized tests, but more importantly are active learners well prepared for the next step in their educational journey.Technology supports the 21st century standards our students achieve while learning to be responsible digital citizens.The science program has won the highest recognition in the CA state science competition, the PE program develops active young people who understand how healthy lifestyles impact every part of their lives, & extra curricular activities & a commitment to community service round out the opportunities that define the OLR experience. This school is treasure!
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted July 22, 2013

A great school getting even better. I have been a school parent for 8 years now, and a parishioner for twice that long. With each year I've seen continued improvement... with the administration, with the quality and commitment of the teachers, and the support of the school and parish community. I realize that some others have taken issue with the school in their comments, but I would say that those are somewhat exaggerated. I have found the tuition and fees are competitive with all the neighboring Catholic schools, yet our technology program is far ahead of the others. While we have had some teachers move on the new teachers have been more than capable, very experienced, and continue the OLR mission of excellence. I find that OLR test scores show the vast majority of students performing above grade level. Not only do I feel this school is preparing my children well for the next step in their education, they are learning much more about what it means to be part of a caring community, that everything that is good may not be easy, and that while not perfect (which school is?), they strive to be continually better. I'm sticking with OLR
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 13, 2013

Like the countless families before ours, our family has had to make the very difficult decision to move on from this school after many many years of service & loyalty. The current Administration does not make an effort to truly understand the individual concerns of parents. It has unfortunately turned into a school basically controlled by a select group of parents who hold a considerable amount of influence as to the major decisions that impact the families & students. I have heard countless blame put on the previous Administration which may or may not be valid, but it's been a couple of years. What is relevant is what is happening at the school currently. And in my opinion, it is not headed in a positive direction. The tuition has been increased, substantially, with an outrageous Registration fee per student & unreasonable Fundraising obligations. There has been major upheavals in Staffing including a questionable & possibly unethical dismissal of the Music Director. The Sports Program is average at best & I'm being kind in that assessment. There is a non-existent Arts Program. And the marketing ploy of saying "low class size" is a euphemism for low enrollment. Not recommended.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 9, 2013

OLR has to be the best hidden educational secret in the City of Long Beach. I have been a parent at the school for 9 years. During this period, OLR has always been a strong community based school that focuses on education, faith formation, and physical development. However, under the leadership of the new principal, some new staff and the initiation of an Advisory Council; this school has raised the bar for all the other schools in the community. Especially in a time where school budgets are tight, this school is moving in the other direction and adding services. I am proud of being part of a community that places the highest value on the priority of our children. The school may have an excellent infastructure for spiritual, educational and physical growth but it's the parents and the family along with the community and the school that educates our children and I believe the school and the parents get this valuable partnership.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 5, 2013

The OLR school community is very welcoming, energetic, and committed to the academic and spiritual growth of all students. I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to be a teacher at this fine school. As a new member to the staff, I am impressed with the level of technology utilized in the classroom. Through the fund raising efforts of the parish community, additional enhancements of iPads, document cameras, and projectors were purchased this year. Another exciting addition to OLR this year was the Transitional Kindergarten class. Now students can enjoy the small nurturing classroom environment from TK-8th grade. OLR, whose WCEA/WASC accreditation was renewed this year, offers a strong academic program that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The curriculum instruction in grades TK-8th is enhanced by the Computer Lab. The middle school students are very fortunate to enjoy the wonderful Science Lab. The , high academic standards, active spiritual community, outstanding administrative staff and strong parental support contribute to the success of the school.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted May 2, 2013

I have been a parent at OLR for 11 years I have seen the highs and the lows and as in life everything has its ebb and flow. What I love most about this campus is what can t be translated onto the pages of a brochure, its not just great test scores, computer and science labs and ipads. It s the people, the staff, the teachers our parish community, as a parent I know I have made lifelong friends (the people you are volunteering with event after event- a hidden blessing) in this school and parish community. Having my children in a school where they were always known by name, it didn t matter if it was the 8th grade teacher or the kindergarten teacher they knew my children and that makes kids feel wanted and safe. The school has an amazing new principal that has dedicated herself to making OLR fantastic. I know the OLR experience let my children be their age, and experience life in age appropriate stages. To this day I am grateful for that and the friendships they have built since kindergarten. If I had it to do all over again, I know where my children would go, a home away from home, OLR!!!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 21, 2013

I am blessed to be working at Our Lady of Refuge as a teacher for the 2012-2013 school year and I feel compelled to share my experiences thus far. The first thing I noticed about this charming site is the strong sense of community. The parents are involved with every aspect of life on campus and the students volunteer to help at events with a sense of excitement, rather than obligation. The current staff is well trained and extraordinarily dedicated to the progress of each and every child on campus. The teachers meet frequently to discuss ways of improving student achievement and teaching methods. The leadership at OLR is exemplary and focused on precision in teaching and the use of modern technology to present the curriculum in the most engaging manner possible. OLR has well-appointed Computer and Science Labs and provides a fine extracurricular sports program, too. The most notable part of the school is the sense of peace one detects while on campus. The students are kind and respectful. The students are expected to live what they learn by following the Golden Rule. I have been very pleased with OLR and am grateful to be a part of such a dynamic Catholic campus.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted April 18, 2013

This is a great school. The students on average test above grade level by 2-3 grades by national standardized testing. The technology is excellent where Ipads are being used in each classroom from TK all the way through junior high. This has allowed our math and science to excel and been an excellent tool for visual learners. The proof is in the awards, an OLR student won the 2013 state science award and is on to nationals. I have 2 children a 4th and 6th grader that are reading well above there grade level. The 4th grader at a 9th grade level and the 6th grader at a 12th grade level. The new principal Mrs. Holmquist has done exceptional job with her staff. All this being said, the loving environment that the school and the community offer is amazing. We have life long friends now from this school and so will our children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 20, 2012

This is a wonderful school which has created a tight-knit family community. Our class sizes are small enough to enable us to differentiate instruction so that each child is able to receive what he/she needs to be successful. Technology is integrated across the curriculum from TK-Grade 8. Students are taught to use skills that will benefit them in the 21st century and that will enable them to be successful in the learning environment and competitive in the workplace. The faculty is amazing! This is the best group I have ever worked with. They are professional, dedicated to teaching, and lead by example. There is no place I'd rather work.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted August 7, 2012

It's a great time to be a part of this school community! I am a current parent who has been blessed to be a part of the wonderful changes that have taken place at our school beginning with our new principal who will begin her 2nd year with us in the fall! OLR offers small class sizes and a longer school year than other local schools. The academics, technology, sports program, etc. are all top notch! And the best part is the faith-filled environment that my children are fortunate to be a part of every single day!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 16, 2010

Our Lady of Refuge is an excellent school and community. The class sizes are small so that the students receive individual attention. The principal knows every student by name. The parents are dedicated and involved. Every year, the students are accepted into the programs at the high schools of their choice. The junior high math program and science lab are excellent. The computer program is the best I've seen and my children have been able to take more advanced computer classes upon entering high school. We love this school and think it is one of the best kept secrets in Long Beach.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 36% 1%
Hispanic 27% 52%
White 24% 26%
Black 9% 6%
Asian or Pacific Islander 4% 11%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
Reading specialist(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Italian
Spanish
Thai
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Awards

Academic awards received in the past 3 years
  • CA State Science Fair-1st place (2013)
  • Academic Decathlon-English (2013)
  • Academic Decathlon-English (2012)

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology
Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Science lab

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Arts (all)
  • Music
  • Performing arts
Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Bell / Handbell choir
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Graphics

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Beginning 2013
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Thai

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Gym
  • Kitchen

Gifted & talented

Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 7:45 am
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 6:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Mrs. Patricia Holmquist
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 4 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Extended/longer school day
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Roman Catholic
Associations
  • NCEA
Fax number
  • (562) 597-1419

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Differentiated Instruction
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Arts (all)
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Performing arts
  • Religious
  • Science
  • Service learning
  • Social justice
  • Technology
  • Writing
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Beginning 2013
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
  • Reading specialist(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Thai
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Remediation
  • Tutoring
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • Chapel/spiritual reflection center
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Learning lab
  • Library
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • LBUSD
School leaders can update this information here.

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Sports

Boys sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Flag football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Track
Girls sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Flag football
  • Soccer
  • Track
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Bell / Handbell choir
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Graphics

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Academic Decathlon
  • Boy scouts
  • Homework help/study buddy club
  • Student council/government
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Monitor the playground
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?


7 out of 10students were accepted for the 2012-2013 school year.


Students accepted for the 2012-2013 school year
35
Applications received for the 2012-2013 school year
50
Students typically come from these schools
Various preschools throughout Long Beach
Bixby Elementary
Stanford Middle School

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2012-2013 school year
$3000 - $9000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid
Catholic Education Foundation

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
St. Anthony High School
St. Joseph High School
Wilson-Distinguished Scholars
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

5210 East Los Coyotes Diagonal
Long Beach, CA 90815
Website: Click here
Phone: (562) 597-0819

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