My child has attended Clover since kindergarten. Clover Avenue Elementary is an amazing school! I feel so strongly about this FACT that I would like to respond to the reviews below. Both reviewers are obviously uninformed about what a Booster Club is and does, and the intention of all the fundraising. By definition the main function of a Booster Club “is to develop support for the student program and RAISE FUNDS to supplement shrinking public support as a result of budget cuts.” To state that “the meetings and speeches by the booster club are all about money and very condescending” makes it quite obvious this reviewer lacks any knowledge about the mission of a Booster Club. I find this quite confusing and disturbing since their children are benefiting from all the wonderful programs it helps provide: classroom aides, computer class, PE program, field trip buses, art, and many other day to day items, that as parents, we are not aware of. I may not be able to attend all the booster meetings, but I sure do appreciate the parents who do, and all their time and hard work to make sure that all the students who attend Clover receive the benefits of every dollar they can help raise. Dollars that give our children programs that are not mandatory at any of the public schools in LAUSD. So to the reviewer that stated “this is a public school, after all” and to the one who suggested that the raised money is being used “somewhere?” they need to wake up and stop living in LaLa Land. And yes! I am intentionally being condescending. Please educate yourselves about what is truly going on (which is not very difficult because communication at the school is outstanding), instead of wasting your time writing reviews that were obviously meant to hurt the very school your child attends. And to say you would “happily donate money or my time if the environment at the school was better” is such a cop-out. This is YOUR child’s education. If you feel so strongly about the environment, then getting involved would be a great solution to what you find so wrong with everything!
I love this school. My 3 kids have attended since Kinder.
In response to the reviews below:
Regrading communication: I receive school-wide announcements via phone calls, weekly emails and occasional emails directly from the principal. I also receive handouts in my children's folders.
A few weeks before school started I received a letter via USPS from the principal and a supply list from each of my children's grade levels. The letter let me know that I could find out my children's teachers at a specific day/time or I could wait until the first day of school. Everyone I know at the school received this same letter.
As for fundraising, I believe fundraising is an issue at all public schools, and certainly all LAUSD schools. I know many people who attend other LAUSD schools, magnet and charter, they all ask for more than Clover does. Clovers asks that parents donate $600 or whatever they feel they can; these other schools in area ask for $1000, $1200, or even $1500. Obviously, however, being shamed by ANYONE is absolutely unacceptable, and I do hope that the administration was notified of that immediately so it could be dealt with.
Now the reasons why I love this school:
The diversity it offers is not matched anywhere in the country, I'm guessing, but certainly no where else in LAUSD or Southern California.
The teachers are enthusiastic and genuinely care about each of their students.
And, despite a lack in state and district funds, the school offers weekly computer lab classes for K-5, art and music classes. I could not be happier!
The school is great academically, however the environment the so called "booster club" creates is unbearable. They give you this whole speech about how inner city schools do bad and get more money, while Clover does great and gets no funding. However, no numbers or proof is provided to support this claims. This story they've created leads to the booster club demanding hundreds of dollars to be "donated" per child. How do they demand this money? By keeping track of who donates and how much they give, and harass and shame publicly does who do not meet the ideal $600 donation. I personally had my kid's teacher tell him in front of the class that his parents hadn't donated and because of him the class wasn't going to have an ice cream party. My kindergartener came home sad anc crying because of this and I had to explain him that we couldn't afford to give money to the school. Another parent was confronted by her kid's teacher during open house, telling her in front of everyone to just give a couple of hundred dollars already. The meetings and speeches by the booster club are all about money and very condescending. Yes, this might be a middle class neighborhood but a good percentage of the school qualifies for free lunches. This is a public school, after all. The way they conduct their donation drive is senseless, and the fact that the teachers and principal support and help this charade just makes it worse. I would happily donate money or my time if the environment at the school was better. But there is a clear division between those who have money and are welcome, and those who don't.
I think this school is completely over-rated. First of all, the administration staff that runs the office are rude and unhelpful. I can't tell you how many times I have tried calling the school and NO ONE picks up at the office. Just imagine if there was a real emergency (normally it was just me running late and wanting the teacher to know). There is ZERO communication from the school. I mean today the day before the 1st day of school and I have not received a single email, phone call or mail about my daughter's new teacher, which room to go, what she should bring, etc. I get better communication from schools I decided not to send my daughter to. I think the test grades do not give an accurate description of the students there (think of it as a curve grade). Facilities are run down, I feel like it was the first school built in LA. I guess when comparing this school to other LAUSD schools (LOL) it comes out on top, but that is the only way you can compare. Like other reviewers have mentioned, be prepared for fundraisers every single day. Maybe they do communicate....only to raise money...to be used somewhere?
Clover is a great elementary school. No doubt it is one of the top rated LAUSD schools for many reasons including the devoted teachers and dedicated parents that work hard to help fund dance, PE, computer and other programs. My child who is now in 3rd grade loves school and is learning so much. We are so glad our child goes to Clover.
This school is great academically, and for that alone I give it 4 stars. However, the fundraising is unrelenting and out of control! And as other parents have mentioned, the worst part is how my kids are made to feel. They worry and feel they'll be ostracized if my wife and I don't give more - even though we've donated directly, and volunteered on multiple occasions....but it's never enough. The kids were barely in school a week this year...and I've already received fundraising calls. We should have the option to opt out. It got so bad that I see "Clover" on my caller ID and I don't answer it anymore. I can't tell you how my heart would jump when I'd get those calls in the beginning! Also, as someone else mentioned, if you don't look the part (ahem...Caucasian or Asian), you aren't exactly welcomed with open arms. I've been in the office on multiple occasions when some other parents came in. That's the only reason why I know that the front office people, in fact, do actually know how to smile and pretend that they're glad to help you. Go figure. When my kids started going there, one office lady checked the zoning area twice, then got another woman to verify that we actually lived in the area (we live within walking distance)! I thought they were going to call the FBI next! I have a strong, sneaking suspicion that not everyone has gotten this treatment. I went to the Halloween carnival, bought some game tickets for my kids, paid and walked away with my smiling children...and heard a woman screaming "HEY! HEY!" I turned around, and this Asian lady accused me of stealing $40 worth of carnival tickets. I had to walk back to the booth with her just to find the lady I bought them from. Really?! No, that wasn't humiliating at all. But hey...academics, right? I had a parent ask me if I was on government assistance (I'm not), and more than I can count have asked me where exactly I live (subtle, right). Thank goodness I've never let ignorance rattle me. Luckily, my kids are either being treated right by these people's children, or they're oblivious. As long as that remains so, I'll keep them here. "Academics"...I'll just keep telling myself this through gritted teeth.
One of the Best elementary school options in Los Angeles. The reason is the typical reason: location. There are many upper-middle class families zoned for this school. The UCLA graduate families are also zoned for the school. It is well-funded, gets lots of money from fundraising, has high parent participation.
There are many great school field trips, and projects for the students. They tend to score well on state exams and are competitive for merit-based applications to middle schools. They have a few after-school options, the best ones being fee-based (although they offer financial aid). The students and families are from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups - but all prioritize academics.
The problems are the ones you would expect for the demographic of a wealthy area: Staff and teachers are mostly white. Most seem to have little understanding or tolerance for unmarried women, disabilities (and requests for accomodation), or addressing any concerns that seem messy. So, if you can blend in and look the part, you are good. If you plan on pointing out any problems, they will fight you on it. Pull out that bureacratic saavy, because you will need it.
Hey, it's a great school! These are human issues, and I have seen them everywhere.
I have 2 children at Clover. Generally we are happy. We've had 2 stellar teachers and 2 really sub-par teachers. The fundraising is out of control. Seriously too much and constant - there isn't a week that goes by where they aren't asking for a donation, and where the children aren't feeling like they'll be ostracized by the administration if we don't donate. I feel like my children will be well prepared academically, and like the rules and structure. Unless you're on the booster club, you don't have a voice as a parent. The principal makes it very had to be an advocate for your child. This school is better than many within a 5 mile radius. But the principals bedside manner could use A LOT of improvement.
It is apparent reading these reviews that Great Schools is not vetting them as they suggest in their Review Guidelines. There is clearly a review on this site that unfairly names a teacher. I would like to rebut that dreadful and blatant breaking of the rules. Both of my daughters had the great fortune to be in Ms. Mak's Kindergarten class. Never a more professional, competent, caring and compassionate teacher could one want for your child. For this one negative review I am absolutely positive I could find you hundreds and hundreds of parents and children who have had nothing but a wonderful experience in her classroom. Whatever your grievance dear parent, it is totally unfair of you to call her out in a public space such as this, especially since I am willing to bet that you are probably in the very very small minority of dissatisfied parents. Clover Avenue School is led by a strong, tough principal who sets high expectations of her staff and the children they teach. You were lucky to have been a part of the school. I do wonder if you were brave enough to speak to the principal about your problems with the teacher rather than use this public forum.