As parent-founded schools grow, I think it is common for parents to feel excluded from decision making-- it is hard to be as included as a school grows from 160 to almost 400. Employees' right to confidentiality conflicts with parents desire to know why one teacher is retained and another let go. That said, magical things happen at Ocean Charter. The environment is overwhelmingly supportive and safe. The teachers are creative. The curriculum is beautiful. The lower grades are especially strong. Some of the parents are exceedingly hard to please and are used to private school "service". This is a public school where the learning challenges are way more diverse than at an exclusive private school.
Ocean Charter School has a great community, with wonderful teachers dedicated to providing the children with a creative 'Whole Child' curriculum. Look at the children's faces showing their enthusiasm for discovery, exploration and bio-dynamic gardening. We enjoy the hands on learning approach and understand the depth of the academics interwoven into the curriculum with a strong arts foundation. What a dynamic school and faculty who has the intention of creating the opportunity for each child to gain the capacity to 'think' for themselves. Just imagine if we could all do mathematics while skipping rope and singing- what a happy way to do accounting. What a magical school grounded in the principals of creative education and a strong healthy community of families together building this dynamic Charter School. Many families have helped set up the school, dig the gardens and raise this Charter school over the past years. It has now over 370 children enrolled from K-8th Grade. The Whole Child Curriculum teaches children in a safe, protective and naturally beautiful environment using methods that fill each child with delight, wonder and enthusiasm. To facilitate this ease of learning, classroom teachers stay with the children for three-year cycles. "Ocean Charter School's Whole Child Curriculum, informed by the Waldorf educational approach and built on a foundation of creativity and self-confidence, grows with the child to balance imagination, critical thinking and academic excellence. This foundation, combined with a focus on ecological and social responsibility, nurtures a sense of delight and wonder about the world, as well as respect for nature and humanity."
Ocean Charter had great potential. When it first opened it relied heavily on parent involvement, not just for their own children's experience but for the development of the school. Teachers and parents working together to actually create a school--just what the charter movement is about. The current board chair and administrators as leaders have hidden everything with their goal of running a school with no interference from anyone. With them at the helm, parents have no voice but are only asked for money and sweat. The biggest problem is that they have no professional capacity to run a school and the result is that every year, half the teachers leave. And forget the middle school--no resources devoted to it and new teachers constantly coming in.
I would really like to hear someone speak to the fact that the parents of so many returning 6th graders have chosen to leave Ocean Charter this year.
From initial observations, Ocean Charter School is a wonderful place for learning, most especially in the younger grades. But upon a closer review of the school organization, the administration, faculty and community meetings, and the relationships among the students, one begins to observe some major problems within this charter school organization. To begin with, the administrtative team of Mrs. Stephanie and Mrs. Kristy (neither of whom possess proper Admin. Credentials), have a gross reputation of incompetence among the faculty . These two self-empowered individuals blatantly disguise their ineptitude with smiles and other deceitful pleasantries. One egregious example is the fact that new teachers are not provided with a school handbook with accountable policies about the curriculum and for professional evaluations. As a result, the Administration operates under a very non-transparent screen that allows them to make decisions with no managerial oversight or accountability. Look closely & you'll be sadly surprised.
The sense of community--children, teachers, and parents working together to support a place where curriculum is shaped by the teachers themselves according to the developmental needs of the children at each particular age.
i have 3 children at OCS and have been involved since the first year. i feel really good about the lower grades and moderately worried about the 4th-8th grade curriculum. i worry about my children being prepared for highschool, yet not worried enough to pull them out. Parents pull a lot of the weight, politics are a bit much, some cliques exist, admin seems continually overwhelmed and slow to respond to issues. much of these issues are due to growing pains and budget issues. i don't believe that any school will avoid all problems all the time, so I stay at OCS and stay involved. my children are greatly benefiting from the broad range of subjects (handworks, games, music, theatre, singing, math, science, japanese, spanish, etc...) the community of loving, hard-working teachers, parents and engaged curious children keep me living in this city!
It's unfortunate the poster below had such a negative experience at OCS and that their child also was effected. I would like to say, however, that as one parent in a dual parent working household with a child at OCS, this has not been my experience. We as a family are friends with many dual working parents and with single parents at this school and this poster's experience has not been reflective of what we or our child has experienced. There are very likely some unfriendly people at this school or in a particular class, but find a school that doesn't have an element of that. I'm sorry this family felt they had to leave.
I think that there is a large difference between the lower grades and the upper ones at Ocean. While I really like the 'whole child' approach in the younger grades, the upper grades suffer from the lack of rigor in the academics. The upper grades are well behind other schools in mathematics and writing, and they rarely do such basic things as book reports. Considering this continues through the 8th grade, the students are seriously disadvantaged when they move on to the high school level. While I will agree that parent involvement is high, the parent body (and students as well) are very cliquish. In addition, while they mean well, the parents are completely disorganized. Events such as field trips or even day trips are always thrown haphazardly together at the last minute, or cancelled due to lack of planning.
OCS cannot use ethnicity to weigh lottery results because it is unlawful in the state of California to do so, unless it was grandfathered in like it was for some of the earliest charter schools. At this time, magnet schools remain exempt from these mandates. The diversity committee has been working very hard with it's outreach efforts to bring greater diversity to it's lottery pool and could use all the help it can get. It also has a great many other things it does to help celebrate diversity at OCS. Yes, the school needs improvement in this realm, but is working to achieve it. This is a great school otherwise and my child of color is learning a great deal and loves going to school everyday.
It's too bad they don't use a lottery and factor in race (like the magnet schools) to get a hetergeneous community w/in the classroom. You can have diversity committees all you want, but if children are not mixing with different races on a daily basis inside the classroom walls, then the school is not walking the talk.
I am so sorry to hear that last review. It is true that OCS doesn't have the number of African American children and Hispanic children that is reflective of Los Angeles, but my daughter's class has children whose parents are from Asia, England, Ireland, Poland...so there is diversity in a sense. Plus, we have the most active diversity committee ever. They are reaching out to the community. All who get into OCS get in through a lottery system so it is not like the school itself controls who gets in. I have found the school truly wonderful. I love that the school stresses the importance of play and homework is not assigned until 2nd or 3rd grade, yet test scores are among the highest of all comparative schools.
This is such an awesome community. Our kids are loved and nurtured by their teachers and a curriculum that is truly adapted to their development stages. Learning happens in such a natural way it really feels like blossoming !
The curriculum addresses the whole child, promoting the development of healthy, responsible, and creative human beings.
This school provides a very nurturing society for where our children can grow, blossom, and meet their potential.
It's the best Waldorf inspired curriculum in the US with amazing teachers. My children are learning so much.
Ocean Charter School has a wonderfully supportive community of parents, teachers, and staff who enable a holistic growth experience for our children.
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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.
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