Our daughter attended Saklan from mid-elementary school through middle school. She had transferred to Saklan from another independent school, and is now in high school. Saklan provided a terrific environment for her, both educationally and socially. Our family was welcomed into the Saklan community, and our daughter soon adored her teachers and classmates. She learned more in her first few months of immersion into Saklan's well-rounded curriculum than she had learned in two years prior to transferring in, and each successive year continued to build upon this excellent foundation. Middle school was even more fun than we could have imagined: happy, wholesome kids enjoying animated, interactive discussions and projects, led by creative, committed teachers. She loved every day of middle school (how many middle schoolers feel that way about school?) and was well-prepared for a rigorous high school program. Our only regret is that we hadn't known about Saklan when she'd started kindergarten!
We have four previous years of experience at Saklan, as well as a few years at other private schools in different areas. We have learned that the level of involvement and understanding from the teachers and staff is nearly impossible to match. Our kids are challenged academically but in a way that truly promotes creativity and excitement about learning. The school drew the mission statement (creativity, compassion, courage) from what was actually happening. It is a welcoming, inspiring, non competitive and down to earth environment where children are truly happy and thrive. Very difficult to find even in the best public and private schools. The best gift you could give your child.
What a difference a teacher makes! My son began is his school career at Saklan last year as a Kindergartner. The Kindergarten teacher was absolutely wonderful and exactly what any parent would want for their child. I loved that she recognized that the children were all at different levels when they began and that she taught to the strongest child setting high standards for the other children. Since the children still needed to be nurtured, she gave each child individual attention but encouraged them to be independent and by the end of the year, all of the Kindergarten parents noticed the confidence that she had instilled in them. If there is one thing I'd like parents to know it's that you can't go wrong having your child begin his/her school career at The Saklan School. So if you are looking for a school for your Kindergartner, I encourage you to consider The Saklan School!
I'm so glad we found this amazing school! The teachers are absolute masters, they LOVE what they do, they CARE about their kids, and they create magical classrooms. My daughter has thrived here, and she loves to go to school everyday. I'm watching her develop into a creative, compassionate, and courageous young girl, and I credit the role models at Saklan for helping to shape her. I appreciate the well-rounded experience she is getting - from the solid academics to Spanish, Art, PE, Music, Science to the character education she receives on a daily basis. I encourage you to look at Saklan for your child. It's worth it!
Saklan is a nurturing environment, where the teachers take a real interest in their students. We wanted a middle school where our daughter could pursue her love of academics without getting ostracized or squashing her own love of learning in order to belong. I feel that she could go to a public high school now and be sure of who she is and what she wants to do. One of the big draws to Saklan was their excellent music program including a phenomenal annual middle school musical. Small class sizes (a huge plus for this school and almost unheard of ratios for middle school!) facilitate not only engaged learning, but the teachers' keeping a close eye on social issues that might come up, and I can't think of a better place for pre-teens/teens to experiment with how one's behavior affects others. There is feeling of respect and comfort between the kids. Our daughter is receiving a well-rounded, whole child experience. We are thrilled with the faculty and the community atmosphere. New students are made to feel immediately welcome by their classmates. I like knowing that while my daughter is at school all day, there are teacher role models who care about her almost as much as I do.
The teachers at Saklan are, without exception, the best educators in the area. They have creatively built an environment that is encouraging to all students and fosters a true appreciation for the unique qualities in every child. The entire community encourages students to live up to their strengths and not cover up who they are. Acceptance and kindness are a way of life at this school. I truly wish all children had the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive in a place like Saklan. Along with providing a safe, caring and respectful environment, Saklan students repeatedly score significantly higher than other independent schools on standard measurement tests. The academic program is superb. If you want the best education for your child in a place where they can thrive socially and academically, as well as gain confidence in themselves as they move into high school and college, I would recommend that you visit Saklan. It is magical. We are about to relocate and my biggest regret is that my children will have to leave Saklan. It will be very hard to find a school that can accomplish what they do.
Our daughter began at Saklan in the wonderful Pre-K program and finished Kindergarten at Saklan. She is bright and, before coming to Saklan, we were told by her preschool teachers that she needed a dynamic environment where she could be challenged to reach her full potential. After visiting all of the best schools in the East Bay, we chose Saklan and we now choose to remain at Saklan because of the tremendous community: caring, bright, and enthusiastic youngsters; engaged, motivated, and talented teachers and staff; and a supportive and close-knit group of parents. We love Saklan and we are so glad to have found it. If you want your child to be part of a stimulating, engaging community dedicated to learning where kids have the freedom to explore and teachers have the time and liberty to help them explore, you should visit and see what a jewel it really is.
In reply to the last review by a parent who does not seem to have a historical perspective on Saklan: We had a Head who served for over 11 years followed by a Head who served for 3 years and our current (and amazing) Interim Head who is serving through June 2012. This speaks to change and growth not instability. I have had both of my children attend Saklan from Kindergarten and Pre-school. One has since graduated and is highly successful in an independent high school in part due to the education he received at Saklan. My daughter thrives at Saklan and has gained the skills needed to soar when she graduates next year. I suggest that you come for a visit, meet the faculty, see these great kids in action and then make your own informed decision. A school is much more than a Head, it is a community of learners and educators working together to ensure success. It takes the dedication of faculty, staff, parent volunteers and engaged children. When I watch the magic of the Saklan community at Friday Flag, i cannot help but be moved by the spirit of learning.
Our school's Head of School position has been held by three different people in less than three years. The current head is only an "Interim Head," which means the fourth Head is coming very soon. Need I say more?
I am an administrator and teacher at a college preparatory school in the Bay Area, so I'm quite aware of all the independent schools in the area; additionally, I have an older child in the public school system in Moraga (one of the highest scoring districts in California), yet my wife and I chose to send our second son to Saklan. Our youngest is finishing his first year at Saklan (kindergarten), and I can say that his experience has been nothing less than extraordinary. In a California of rising class sizes and emphasis on standardized test preparation, Saklan is a school where children are both seen truly and valued for who they are as individuals, and taught in creative, exciting ways that nurture their curiosities, not shut them down. My son has learned so much in the traditional subjects (reading, writing, math), and also explored lots of science, music, PE and art; he's not only getting his whole self nurtured though Saklan, he's learning the self-confidence, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and big picture thinking that will help him thrive for the rest of his life; they also have great learning experiences that cultivate compassion in the students.
We are finishing our 7th year at Sakan and I can honestly say that deciding to send my children to Saklan was the best parenting decision I have ever made. My son and daughter have had exceptional teachers at every grade level who truly care about each and every student. The small class sizes ensure that every student is challenged to reach their own potential in a safe and encouraging environment. Saklan also provides many opportunities for students to build confidence through presentations and public speaking beginning at a very young age. Not only are the classroom teachers amazing, but the specialty teachers and programs are as well. Our music program is phenomenal with a whole school concert where students sing (many with solos), dance and play instruments; and the entire middle school takes part in a yearly musical where every student is a part of the production. But what makes Saklan so special is the true sense of community. It is a place where every student is known by every teacher, and students of all grade levels play together on the playground. It really is like a family! I feel so lucky to have found this wonderful school for my children to learn and grow!
I am so pleased with the experience we are having at Saklan. My child is thriving from the personal attention she is receiving. The teachers really do care and they really want to see the kids do the best for themselves. The school provides so many opportunities for them which our family just loves.Their music program is amazing! My daughter is learning spanish, and is always excited to go to PE class. The school makes sure that each child is happy - every day! My daughter also has the chance to work with older kids and younger kids. It's truly a special school and you really need to take a look at Saklan. We hope you do!
Don't be fooled. This school has been a complete mess for a long time. Our family has recently relocated, and we are now learning that Saklan has left our children unprepared to handle the curriculum of our new school. Critical core competencies were not taught. at Saklan. As an example, Science is not a regularly taught subject. It is taught in each grade only once or twice a trimester on an "ad hoc" basis. Don't waste your money. The wheels are coming off.
The Saklan School has been an amazing second home for both of my children. The school has a mission I can actually understand: challenge students to think creatively, act compassionately, and live courageously. Isn't this what we all want for our kids as they grow into adulthood? The faculty is engaging, focused on the children's success, innovative and actually a lot of fun. Other families are dedicated to education and have always been welcoming and huge supporters of the school both financially through annual giving and in the time they give as part of the community of volunteers. We have a new Head of School (Lee Davis) and the renewed energy of the parents and teachers is being felt at Friday Flag, PA meetings, drop off and pickup conversations and our upcoming auction. The Saklan School has a long history (estab. 1954) on School Street in Moraga and I look forward to the day my children drop off their own children there for their first day of school. I highly suggest that if you are looking for a school that offers education the way we know it can be...visit The Saklan School.
I have been meaning to write a review as an alum parent. My son graduated 2010 after attending The Saklan School for 11 years. He attends College Prep in Oakland and was more than prepared for this next move. Saklan more than prepared him for the academics in high school. Learning to prioritize and organize are just some of the great tools he learned at Saklan and have carried over to high school. We are forever grateful and recommend Saklan when ever we can!
Saklan has made a big difference to our shy child in building her confidence both in terms of social development and academics. We live in Lamorinda where the schools are very good but they cannot compare with the individualized approach to education that Saklan has. This is a unique little school where a child can feel that they are part of community. I would agree with other posts that this school is not appropriate for children with significant learning or behavioral challenges.
We've had our two children at SVS since preschool. While we were extremely pleased with the classroom teachers our children have had, a recent change in leadership has lead to an unorganized, unacademically focused and less-than-nuturing environment. The classroom teachers remain excellent and so we've stayed on but will probably change next year because we lack the confidence that the school can recover under current leadership from both the Head and the Board of Trustees. The current Head is nice enough but is not inspiring as an academic or organizational leader. The Board is not transparent or good at communication. Its a shame really because there are really good things about SVE but they are currently overshadowed by administrative problems.
SVE is a small school with a nice community. Having said that, it should be known that SVE does not differentiate learning in any significant way. This school works well for high achieving children with no behavioral challenges. If your child has any special needs, look else where. They do not want a child that does not fit a somewhat rigid mold.
Sixth year at Saklan and my family couldn't be happier! My son is currently a 3rd grader at SVS and has attended there since pre-school. The school is welcoming, academically well-balanced and creates a supportive environment for the children to thrive.
My two children attend Saklan Valley School even though we live in Lafayette and could go to the top public elementary school in town. The small class sizes and excellent teachers make this school great. People ask why would we pay when there is the 'free' option but to our family the tuition paid has been well worth it. There is no question it is better education. We plan to stay all the way through 8th grade!
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