My child just completed 5th grade at Pacific. What a great school. He got a quality education, had teachers who really knew him, and took part in music and art programs paid for by parent donations. The parent community is friendly and you end up knowing everyone, which is nice. We moved from the west side of LA just for the schools, and are fortunate to have chosen a house in the Pacific area. It's the "middle class" of Manhattan Beach, and the perfect place for our family. We are really going to miss it.
Pacific is a great school if you have bright children. The school is very well managed and classes offer many different activities for children. I have two kids there and they want to go to school even when they are sick! The principal is very mature. Within MB this is the largest elementary school with the most resources and activities. Some people like it for that and some prefer a smaller school. More a personal preference than a quality issue.
Pacific appears to be focused on attaining top test scores at all cost. Their stock advice is to hold struggling students back, rather than help them learn. They recommend retention to children who are above state standards, creating classes with 7-year-old kindergarteners and 19-year-old high school seniors. In what world is it acceptable for seniors to be able to legally sign themselves out of class all year long? And remember that 19-year-old students are not eligible for sports, which is one of the main benefits for retention in the first place. I suspect the 3.5 hour kindergarten day is due to budget cuts, forcing teachers to cover the same material faster. Students can only keep up by being a year older than normal or by having their parents supply the missing 3 hours of instruction each day. This does not seem like much value for your $1500.00 PTA and MBEF donation you are coerced into paying every year. Daily email and phone hounding occurs until 97% participation is achieved. I will gladly donate to private schools, whose mission is to help students rather than retain them, especially when they are only about $4000 more than this "free tuition" public school.
Pacific School is a National Blue Ribbon School because it has a longtime history of outstanding leadership, extraordinary teachers, and positive parents. The culture of happiness and lifelong learning permeates the campus.
Each year I think my children will never get as good of a teacher as they had last year. To my amazement, they do or even better. Being a teacher myself, I know a good teacher when I see one. They make the kids love learning and school!
Pacific teachers inspire the children to love learning! A love of learning is key to a more fulfilled life in the long term because it is that desire for exploration and awe upon discovery that enriches us as humans (not to mention it helps in getting good grades for college admissions). Planting that seed early is critical, and Pacific teachers do it with dedication. They rock!!