This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Open Charter Magnet School4
Posted October 20, 2014
- a parent
I entered this school as my choice for 2 years before she got in. Even though she came from a school that is WELL KNOWN for academics and that had a state API score of 991(the highest in the state) I still wanted her here in an atmosphere of FUN and ACTIVE learning. However, now my daughter s current homework is the same as last year s kindergarten homework that was at her previous school so she gets bored. I had to incorporate workbooks at home and try to keep her fresh with her reading. I've been to a few of the Council meetings just to know how things are done/ran. My husband's daughter went here in the early 90s (she is now a senior at SF state). I have volunteered in class and looking forward to the first conference next month. I talked to a few parents who ve expressed some cons but nothing so crazy that made me think twice. Her teachers call me just to clarify issues and it feels good to know that they KNOW my daughter. There is something for every parent to be involved in and I just love the diversity from ALL walks of life. The activities so far with families have been stellar. I m happy with the decision I ve made to keep putting this school as my first choice.
The best thing going for Open is its diverse community (love it!) and parent support. Other than that I don t find the school to be all that special. Yes, we are fortunate to have gotten in as Open is a huge step up from our home school. In regards to "middle finger's post" My child was in green cluster this past school year and I must admit I was shocked at the lack of supervision and chaotic environment that students were subjected to on a daily basis. The teachers are very nice and nurturing, but do not prepare the students academically to be ready for first grade. I am not sure if all the parents that came to Open s defense had a child go through green cluster, but middle finger's mom has some valid points. I get that kids will be kids and will pick up inappropriate behaviors anywhere. My gripe is making sure my child is prepared for the next grade level. I have spoken to former greenie parents, and they say it does get better (3rd, 4th, & 5th). By third everything clicks and students are where they need to be. My child will return to Open, and I will continue to supplement her curriculum based on what I feel she is missing. Middle Finger's mom, I suggest you do the same.
Open School is an absolute gem in the landscape of LAUSD! As a parent of 11 years at Open I feel compelled to rebut some of these negative reviews. We had all 3 of our kids at Open school and I cannot begin to say how grateful I am that we were lucky enough to be at such an amazing learning environment. The staff and teachers have an unparralled dedication and passion to make this school the wonderful community it is, and they are always striving to make things even better. Criticism is one thing, but wild and untrue accusations need to be responded to. The very idea that kindergardeners are learning curse words and playing violent video games unsupervised in the classroom is simply ludicrous! The yard supervision is caring and proactive. Maybe things aren't always resolved the way the child thinks it should be but they are kids, there are two sides to every story. And yes, things happen on the yard-these are grade school kids for pete's sake!! But I and many families I've known over many years know what a great job staff and teachers do to go above and beyond to support our kids! Love this school and grateful for it's impact on my children's lives.
Overall, this is a school that cares about student education and offers something that we do not get at other schools, which is the ability for our kids to learn in a constructivist environment. I agree that no school is perfect, nor is Open, but given this people should not be chastised for giving their opinion. Office and outside yard school staff should monitor and censor their inappropriate and non-solicited comments on email listservs and social media. Taking two comments posted on social media about the school and posting a dissertation about it shows the lack of respect for parents and students. Outside and inside staff should have a smile on their face to have a job, and should have a smile on their face that they have a principal who they can run over. The school could improve by having a stronger leader, with stronger organizational leadership skills. Yes, I am referring to the principal. She is quick to shut parents down when they approach her concerning difficulties unable to be resolved on the parent-teacher level, which is my major problem with her.
We have loved our experience at Open School. And as my daughter prepares to move on to LACES in the Fall, we are so grateful for the education she received during the 5 years she attended this gem of a school. Though the class sizes are large due to the Team Teaching model the school employs, my child always got the individualized attention she needed. Her teachers were kind, enthusiastic and nurturing, the work always interesting and inspiring. And the best part for me, were the families that you meet here. The parents are super involved and motivated to create the best possible experience for their children and come from all areas of the city, all socio-economic backgrounds, all orientations and ethnicities. It is such a diverse school community! And it is filled with kind children that are taught respect for themselves, others and the environment. I had high expectations coming into Open and it definitely delivered for our family. Is it a perfect school? No. I still wish class sizes were smaller and there was more money available for even more amazing projects, but you will not find a better public school in LAUSD. We are grateful for our time spent at this lovely place.
How can I possibly tell you what the Open School has meant to my family for the last nine years . I could easily start off by writing about my oldest son who learned that he was a writer under the guidance of his teachers who encouraged him to "take a seed idea and to devolope it into a watermelon moment" or to write field guides, and fairy tales while remembering to edit. Or perhaps I could share stories about my youngest son who learned the truth in the statement "that it takes a village" when it came to overcoming his vision, speech and spelling dificulties while under the loving care of the schools resource department. What I can't possibly do is name all of the positive roll models who have touched their lives and have natured their abiltities to be kind, resourcefull, and independent thinkers. As students this has translated into them both recieving high honors in their gpa in both junior and senior high school. But as young men, they have a respect for nature, a love of music, and an abilty to look beyond a persons outer appearance and see a potential friend that I as their mom will be forever grateful to the Open School for.
My daughter attended another public school for kindergarten but has been in Open for two years. There is an incredible difference between her old school and Open Charter. Parent involvement and parent teacher communication is so much better at Open. I have seen first hand the difference between Open and another LAUSD school and it has little to do with the charter status but with the attention and caring of the staff, teachers and parents. Last year my daughter had some "bullying" issues within her friend group. I brought it up to the teachers and they immediately called all the girls in and worked it through with the teachers and staff. I was so amazed at how quickly and easily they took care of the problem. Prior to the meeting is the only time my daughter has not wanted to go to school. She cried almost every day at her previous school.
Open School is one of the most creative, invigorating, caring educational environments I've ever been exposed to, both during my seven years as a parent there, and during my own time as a student anywhere. The two principals who've run Open School during our time there have been gifted leaders who work tirelessly to create a cooperative community in which all voices are heard, even the dissonant ones. These principals constantly reinforce the fact that everyone at the school - staff, administrators, teachers and parents - are on the same page - the page that reads: "Our kids deserve the best education possible." The school has a zero tolerance for bullying and, when conflicts arise, solves those issues with such a fair, even hand that not only my children have learned from the school's methods, I have too. The teachers are unparalleled - smart, hardworking, creative and dedicated. Both my kids, who are extremely different learners, got an equally wonderful education that was tailored specifically to them with incredible caring and attention to their needs. If you're lucky enough to get in to Open Charter, go. You've won the lottery.
Open School is all about the kids. Period. Devoted teachers. My boys are now 17 and 15 and they always ask to go back and visit their teachers. When I was at Open school I was president of the Friends organization and on the governing board my entire 8 years there. I cite the system of collaborative governance as a successful model to this day. If you read the negative reviews below, my answers to the authors follow: 1. It's princiPAL. and you'RE. 2. The parents do not co-teach. I don't send my kids to a school so some random parent can teach my child, I'd rather have my kids taught by an experienced professional. It's not a co-op. 3. I found the teachers and staff extremely accessible and open to hearing concerns. Talk to them. From time to time, disgruntled parents vent on this forum when they want to change or punish the school. my boys moved from one school to another and I know what it 's like when a school is not right for your kids, but I did not try to change or punish that school; it wasn't a BAD school because it wasn't the right school for my kids. I think considering the lack of support from the district it's a miracle what Open School accomplishes.
Our daughters had the privilege of attending Open School and it not only was an outstanding experience but one that you dream of for your children. As a family we attended Open for a total of even years. We were a family that was very involved and active throughout our years there serving on committees, fundraising events as well as in the classroom. We were always welcomed and felt appreciated for our much of our contributions. We initially came from the private school sector and felt so lucky to be a part of such a positive, hands on, integrated learning experience in a very diverse school community. Open School is a private school experience at a public school price...ONLY BETTER! The style of learning was fun, interesting and engaging for our children, they loved going to school and they learned beyond what was expected for their grade level. The teachers were caring, invested professionals who truly want only the best for our children and were invested in each child's individual learning experience. What more could anyone ask for? The school was not perfect then...and it will never be. But, what school is? But, it certainly comes closer than any other school we know.