Do probe beyond test scores and the hype. The school lacks processes found in public schools. A custody agreement? Be prepared to deal with administrators who cannot read English. They will create confusion and may create a legal bill for you. Want to place out of grade level math? Students who are favored are invited to take math placement exams much earlier than those who are not. Those not favored will be graded severely so that they do not pass to the advanced level. One teacher lied about not calculating a score on my child s multiple choice exam. Promises to design a curriculum for your child will not be met. A carefree summer? Many parents hire math tutors prior to their children transitioning to middle or high school just so they can place at grade level. Administrators are wedded to word based math approach and dismiss problems with math concepts. Bullying? The principal collects data by asking students in front of visitors and their peers. Not surprisingly no student speaks up. Is this the culture you want your child to be immersed in? The principal identifies her favorite BCS teacher at school wide events. She hounds students and parents for negative online reviews.
Except for the half day KG which is a pain for working parents, this school is fantastic. The teachers seem genuinely interested in teaching, experimenting and even growing themselves- which is so refreshing in a public school.
We love this school, and our son does too. After a few years of trying, we finally "won the lottery" and were able transfer from Gardner Bullis to BCS this year. We are very pleased with what we see and how our son has responded. The co-curriculars, extra curriculars (especially Mandarin) at BCS are real differentiators, as are the sessions our son gets to take at the BCI campus with the Fab Lab and Maker Space. Our son loves these programs. The only downside we have seen so far is the logistical challenges we sometimes face with there being a split campus between the BCS site at Egan and BCI at Blach. The District (LASD) ought to be ashamed of itself for not doing the right things by the kids and finding space in one location (like at Convington site instead in place of the district offices). That being said, we are affected only occasionally and in minor ways, thanks to the efforts of the teachers and administration to keep things well oiled and humming along. It is well known that people move to Los Altos for the schools. After experiencing Loyola (K), Gardner Bullis(1,2,3) and now BCS (4), I am convinced that BCS is the best within this exceptional district.
I was present at the school's inception and taught there for five years. I won't go into how outstanding the school is and what unique and wonderful programs it has. I do believe they are amazing, but I let the parents be the judge of that. I am posting this in response to the "staff member" who commented on the Principal being "soulless." I find it interesting that this same person who is obviously disgruntled had to admit that the school has amazing programs such as Mandarin. I must point out that programs like these are put and kept in place by this same Principal. Yes, the school gets lots of funding from families and the staff members are there making magic every day, but SHE is the force behind the school. SHE implants the amazing programs, she fights for her staff and she is personally connected to each and every staff member and student. If you have anything good to say about the school, it is likely because of her.
This school is good in some regards (i.e. having students take Mandarin in Kindergarten) but horrible in others. To begin, the principal is a bully. She puts on a good front for the donors and parents but really has no heart. I am not sure if the school climate has made her become this way or she was souless to begin with, maybe it's a combination of both. The parents are also tough to handle. I think when you have as much money and power as them, you get used to getting your way, no matter the cost or who you run over. So many of them depend on hired help like nannies, gardners, maids, etc. that they see the school staff as just another service person they get to control. Also, many of them are old and since they do have so much money to spend on their 1 child, the child in turn becomes a spoiled brat. I am so glad I quit and will never work at another charter school again. Everyone- please support your local school and use your $ to help them instead of funding charters!
I am a current 8th grader at Egan and I only have one thing to say: as an elementary school this school is amazing. However, as a middle school, your best bet is Egan. At BCS, The middle school teachers are biased, have their favorites, and most are clearly not up to the task of teaching their particular subject. Many people may attest to the fact that BCS is a no-bullying school, but I am here to tell you that there is bullying. Most of the kids are very spoilt and the higher end kids love to bully the lower class. If you take a look at the demographics at the school, you will see a 90% white ethnicity, 0.02% black ethnicity, and a 19% asian ethnicity. However, BCS does NOT have any drug problems, which, is definitely something worthy for a school to be able to boast about. One last thing is all the hostility shown towards BCS student. The main reason I moved to Egan was to expand my social circle and also so that kids don't judge me over having gone to BCS. Personally, I think the legal battles between LASD and BCS are taking a toll on the kids that have gone to that school. BCS is definitely a first-rate elementary school for your kids, but not for middle school. Thank you
My child had an amazing first year in BCS. it offers tons of opportunity to grow and it is true that the focus is on the child; she felt no pressure but nurtured to do her best. My daughter has finally blossomed here and she gained the confidence she was struggling to develop and other school failed to help her with that. What make BCS special is first of all the passion of its principal. She always invites parents to contribute the way they can and wish because our efforts make our life and the school's life special. Rather than fighting against this school I invite families to do their best for the school of their children and honor the achievements resulting from hard work in their school as in other schools.
I am a 7th grader at BCS. I have been at this school for a while, and until sixth grade, I absolutely loved it. Good teachers, good curriculum, nice kids. However, this year, this was not the case. There was only one teacher that I can really say I liked, the rest were biased towards the other class and liked to yell at us and keep us late, because there are no bells. I learned absolutely nothing in math this year- the math curriculum is horrible. There IS bullying at this school, and there IS middle school drama. There are people that cut themselves, there are the 'popular' people,etc. They have a lot of good enrichment ideas, but none are performed well. For example, in mentoring, I learned absolutely nothing and all we really did was talk about random things. Most of the kids at Bullis are from very rich families, and you don't get a lot of diversity. Overall, the curriculum, the teachers, and everything else is dissatisfying. Also, there is a ridiculous thing going on between LASD and Bullis about relocation that would be inconvenient for EVERYONE. However, kids here are encouraged to take leadership opportunities and there are a lot of oral presentations etc.
Bullis indeed has great programs. However, its teaching staff is treated poorly by a power-hungry principal, and it's under-paid, especially relative to other local high-performing districts. Sending your child to Bullis is a bit like buying an iPhone -- very enjoyable until you realize the labor conditions under which it was produced. The teachers aren't unionized, and that does free them up in some regards, but it's not worth it for the teachers to not have a voice. I support public and unionized education after my experience at Bullis.
I am a 7th grade student here at BCS, in Ms. Stone's class. This is a wonderful school with amazing opportunities. The only reason why I may go to Egan next year for 8th grade, is because of the school's location conflict. My sister, a graduate of BCS is currently a freshman at LAHS, and if I get sent to Blach, it will be hard to drop off botht the kids. Nonetheless, this is a wonderful school without bullying, and I would definitely encourage anyone to send their kids here! **4.5 Stars**
I think it's important to share a BALANCED view of Bullis so here goes. Before transferring from a nearby private school, I spoke to parents in LASD and Bullis. I also 'observed' the kids of these families as another (subjective) measure. Net, net what I discovered is that both have great kids and offered amazing programs, but LASD suffers from a (lack of) marketing problem. We ultimately chose BCS because we felt it would be an easier transition for our kids, who were used to a more refined school environment. While not necessarily a bad thing, LASD has kids with some pretty severe learning differences who, according to some parents, can make classroom dynamics tough for the untrained teacher. At Bullis, parental involvement is over the top GREAT. Again, heard mixed things about LASD. Lastly, I think language exposure is important and our kids have enjoyed the 'mandarin light' curriculum. The one MAJOR downside of BCS is the squabble over our location. While I don't get all of the nuances, I hope we find our own permanent site because the negativeness definitely permeates down to the kids. In summary, we are pleased with BCS and encourage parents to do their own research.
BCS has been a transformative experience for my daughter. After 5 years in the LASD system and only one great teacher-- she was, of course, laid off at the end of the school year to everyone's sorrow-- I gave my daughter the choice to move for the last few years or stay with the friends she had made. She chose to move after 2 visits to the school. The BCS integrated child/ integrated personal learning style is exactly what both of my very different children need. During the holiday break, my Tween Queen volunarily researched more about a project that ended at the end of the school term just because she wanted to learn more, entertained herself by pushing forward in math skills (Thank God for Sol Kahn & KahnAcademy!) and rehearsed a musical piece for the spring musical. Yes, the local politics are ugly but both kids' joy of learning and engagement are worth it. As a working mother, I love that the extras at school are on campus and vetted; in former years it was the pay through the nose of various tutoring and enrichment activities because LASD has forgotten what kids need. *All* schools should lengthen the day & enlighten the child.
While we are a new family to the school, we have been quite impressed with the inclusive community, level of communication to parents and school spirit. The school is well run, our child's teachers are engaging, and my child loves school. We have felt impressed by the Focused Learning Goals. Each child is assessed by teachers and parents on stregnths/weaknesses and goals are identified in not only educational subject areas but also in social and emotional development. We also have experience in the local neighborhood school and have not been impressed with the lack of differentiation for gifted kids. While I believe there is no "perfect school" for everyone, having the ability to choose a different option for my child has been invaluable.
I was a student at Bullis Charter School until I graduated in the first 8th grade class this past June. I had been at Bullis since 1st great and have never been disappointed by what they had to offer me. I think that the Bullis Charter School experience is something you need to have to understand it fully. I love how creative I get to be there and I am sad that I've moved on (LAHS). The staff, students, and administration are all there to help you and everyone is insanely nice.
I've experienced both an LASD school and Bullis Charter and hands down Bullis Charter is a better school which address the whole child and does not spend the entire year teaching to the test.
We transferred last year from a local LASD school. We thought with all the hype of have wonderful BCS would be that we would jump on the band wagon. We do like the longer hours for our child, but the exceptional program we have received for $5000 and extra pressure hasn't been what we though. We will be going back this year for one more try as our child has made some friends, but if the pressure doesn't decrease then we won't be back the following year. Some of the teachers are wonderful, while others are not. We had better teachers at Springer School across town. The community feel was ever present there and our youngest will be enrolled there as I don't think BCS is a good fit for him. We will give it one more year and see.
Bullis offers electives during and after school which are fun and interesting. After a few years though, many children including our own, lost interest due to the stress there. Instead of focusing on collaboration and ingenuity, the standard graded worksheet approach is used. There is a tremendous amount of competitive pressure to be the best, which unfortunately at this age turns many children off. Not having time to deeply focus on subject areas, too many transitions, the (we are the best ) attitude from parents and administration, and lack of support for anyone who is different concerned us enough to leave after several years at the school. The teachers are great for the most part; we had several good and one horrible, but overall there is a disconnect between what children need to thrive and what the school offers. The school really needs a social/emotional element like Project Cornerstone at the local schools, Self Science at Keyes, the Kindness approach at Living Wisdom, etc. We decided to leave Bullis and are all happy and impressed with the change.
This School is absolutely amazing with its hands-on learning, passionate teachers, and wonderful enrichment program. I am absolutely delighted that my child could go to this school as he has developed a love for learning in a way I never thought he could.
BCS is an excellent K-8 school. I have never seen teachers and staff that are more passionate and willing to help your child progress. It is an alternative to the standard LASD public school system, which is good as well. The difference is in the curriculum. Mandarin enrichment and Spanish at later grade levels, drama, arts, public speaking and more. At the end of the day you want to give your child the best education possible and for us it was BCS.
BCS has been perfect for my child and my family for the last six years. While I am sad that anyone might leave after a less-than-perfect experience, I respect the choices *parents* make for their children. The *writer* who makes accusations, however, and who tries to scare people off rather than directing people to bullischarterschool.com that has the FACTS about our school, I do not think should be able to "review" this fantastic school they have not attended. If you are considering BCS, I invite you instead to look at the enrichment education (full time, credentialed, staff giving every student art, PE, dance, drama,music, and foreign language) and dedicated staff inspiring individual students on a daily basis. Yes, LASD has not offered BCS reasonably equivalent facilities as required by law and now must make a speedy decision and follow through on how to rectify their mistakes. We are all local families and community supporters who want what we each think is the best environment for our own kids. No controversy there.
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