Principal does not seem very friendly to parents, especially those who are minorities or not involved in fund-raising. There's a lot of fund-raising events in the school. That seems to be the top priority here.
This is about a few of the teachers (not all) based on observations as a parent who cares to go through my kids' school work/assignments and do cross-checking with other parents and students:
1) They had 2 long-term subs this Fall for 2 teachers on maternity leave. Hiring decision for one of the teachers was questionable. One of the 2 long-term subs have problems with spelling and actual academic teaching. For instance, she can't spell many basic words right, and the students learned it wrong from her, e.g. "boundaries" spelled as "boundries" and "allowed" spelled as "aloud." Parents have found mistakes in assignments and confirmed it as the teacher's mistakes when we cross-checked with other students/parents. (Thankfully, the teacher she subbed for is now back! However, we parents still see her a lot subbing in other classes.)
2) One of the Kindergarten classes has a teacher whom MANY students have reported as not doing anything except always sipping on her drink and eating snacks. Thankfully there is an aide who is good with the students and do a good job of guiding them. However, other signs of lack of interest on the part of the teacher include: messy classroom with dirty floors all year long, students getting much less activities compared to their twin siblings in another K class ...
3) Lastly, what's the deal with giving gifts to teachers on their birthdays? In addition to gifting during Christmas season and the end of the academic year, the school has begun a trend where parents are asked to contribute towards birthday gifts for the teachers. It did not use to be the case, but in recent years, this is happening, and parents are informed (unsolicited/without asking) about the teachers' birthdays via semi-official channels, i.e. other members of the staff from within the school.
The school is great! A large group of people, including a dedicated principal, passionate teachers and staff, energetic PTA, supporting parents and friendly kids make Santa Rita a wonderful school experience for your kid.
Santa Rita is a truly great school and a great community. Just finished the Los Altos School District Jr. Olympics (http://lasdjo.com/about-1) which is a great example of the unique combination of education, whole student development and community that this school and LASD has to offer. I have 2 kids in 6th and in 4th grade. The teachers have all been really excellent and nuturing with one or two minor exceptions. My kids are both in advanced math and reading and writing well above grade level. The school also offers great extracurriculars like music, art, chess club, flag football, STEM programs, Kahn academy with chromebooks for the students, and cutting edge leadership coaching. But as important is the small neighborhood school that has enabled my family to develop great friendships and have a really fantastic social experience. This latter feature is the one thing that API scores just don't communicate and honestly the folks who select the charter or nearby private schools in general don't really understand and unfortunately never get to experience. We moved to our neighborhood seven years ago and it has been a tremendously positive life changing event for the entire family.
Santa Rita is a great school with excellent teachers, parents and students. We moved to this area just for the school and this is the best decision we have ever made. My daughter loves the school, her teacher and has made a lot of good friends in very short period.
We just moved here from Palo Alto CA which is well known for its excellent schools, and I have to say, we strongly prefer my son's school in Los Altos (Santa Rita). The community here is MUCH more engaged. The school is very well endowed with excellent, passionate teachers and it has a dedicated STEM teacher. There are Google Chrome books for all the kids in my son's 4th grade class, and yet there is way less stress on the kids' faces than we sensed in Palo Alto. This was the best move I've ever made!
We have 2 children at Santa Rita and not only are they getting a top notch - extremely top - education but once you attend this school, your family becomes part of this incredible community. The teachers work extremely hard and there is a district wide focus on Innovation in the classroom (see the 60 minutes Khan Academy profile) that is really unique. The teachers receive an extraordinary amount of trainings each year and that training really pays off for our children. The kids receive a well-rounded education on math, reading, art science, with modules in Living Classroom, etc.. My 2 children are thriving here! And my husband and I love the social aspect of the school!