The school is severely overcrowded, the first grade classes have 28 students in (and the # goes up with grade). Now imaging the regular school day. Out of those 28: 2 are special need students, 3 speak no English, 4 can not read (yes, in this "highly academical" district there are still children who can not read after K). Who is struggling? Teachers and students who are at least at the average level. Teachers are frantically trying to work with below average kids, since those are lowering CST scores and can reduce the funds received by the district. Average kids are left with "sit quiet and read a book, honey" type of learning. You can ask for extra homework for the child and get it, but that's all. Unfortunately even the best teachers can not do miracles and create thriving environment for everyone in the group of 30. As for extras, the art program that PTA creates so much hype about is once a month class, music is 30 mins a week, PE is 30 mins twice a week. Chorus is not free, same as drama (guess BES is the only school in the nation where you need to pay for your child to sing in the school chorus).
We have been at Brookside for three years now. We chose this school in part because of the reviews that we read here. Teachers are awesome and the community of parents can not be beat. However, the principal and admin staff are horrible. The principal views parents as nothing more than an ATM machine. She has enacted policies that keeps parents off campus before the school day even begins. You are not allowed to walk your child on campus to class. The idea that parents should be treated as customers is completely lost. She wants your $ though. At a PTA meeting last year she actually had the nerve to suggest that we were so hard up for funds (we are not) that people should consider signing over their tax returns to the school. If you want a school with good solid teachers and a staff that will make it loud and clear that parents are not partners or even customers then this is the school for you.
The school makes parents pay for the textbooks, The price the school charges is at least 2X the actual books cost. Cost of enrolling a child is almost $500 ($180 school donation + $150 district donation + $100 books cost + various PTA fees) by the first day of school, plus they have dosens of fundraisers scheduled through the year, so expect the cost be close to thousand per year per child. Rather expensive for an elementary public school with no after or before school care.
This is our second year at Brookside, and the overall curriculum and environment exceeded my expectations which were high. There is truly a balance of academics and art, music, science (earth and physical), theatre, PE, computer and history in Brookside's curriculum. In addition to the teachers' art, theatre and cultural lessons, there has been an Artist in Residence program in place each year to provide projects focused on varying art mediums along with art history lessons. The kids love these programs and the PTA is very involved and supportive to bring unique learning to the students. The teachers use creative differentiated learning techniques to engage the children in Math, Language Arts, Earth Science, Physical Science, Geography, Chinese Culture, Global Cultures, Writing Workshop and Social Character. My daughter has made many friends at this school and the parents are down to earth and there for each other. The teachers are top notch and have a gift for providing a nurturing environment while recognizing the students' individual needs and appropriate level of challenge to keep the students excited about learning. Super school all around! Thank you Brookside!
Brookside is an excellent academic school for those who are looking for only that. I've been in BES for over 7 years and have 3 kids who went thru the school and saw how the school has been pushing down the academics. My son in 2nd grade did math that my daughter, who is only 3 years older was doing at the end of 3rd. In my son K class the centers work was to much, they never finished it, some kids got frustrated and some scribble to get it done with. there's a lot of homework and high exceptions from the kids and parents. I was complaining about my son reading and asking for help at the first week of school (last year) and after telling me over and over that he's fine, I insist on a full assessment that found that he has visual processing problems and needs help...the IEP meeting was a week before the end of the year! On the good note, the PTA is VERY strong, they run amazing programs for the kids, doing hard work to fund raising and the parents involvement is huge. Without the parents involvement it wouldn't be the school it is. My kids are no longer going to Brookside. I wanted them to be in a school that cares about them more then they care about the star testing scores!!
This is our first year at Brookside and its a breath of fresh air. What an amazing school and our children are so happy. The education is excellent and the children are all so happy to be at school. This is truly a one of a kind school and we love it.
Brookside provides an excellent academic environment while promoting self confidence in a healthy, environmentally friendly setting.
Great teachers, highly involved parents, very good music program and smart kids.
Brookside provides a very well-rounded and excellent education in at atmosphere that allows our children to blossom as individuals.
We love Brookside! The teachers are wonderful and so is the curriculum. I could not imagine a better school for my kids!
My son is a new 3rd grader here at Brookside this year. I have never experienced such parent involvement in my life. It is so refreshing to see how much caring goes into the education of these children at Brookside. Everybody is very nice, and the teachers and staff care tremendously. Awesome job Brookside.
We did not have a good experience at Brookside and left after 3 months. While my child thrived at other schools he had an awful experience in 4th grade. We pulled him out before he fell behind in more subjects.
Oak Park Unified School District is that rare blend of community school and top-notch academy. The district has high standards academically and experientially for our children. What a forward thinking School Board, great superintendent, principals, faculty and staff. Brookside feels like a private school from the curriculum to the PTA's fantastic afterschool education and play enrichment offered. The best!
I'm so pleased my children attend Brookside. The parent involvement is great and the teachers are fantastic. The campus itself is a true testament of PTA funds put to good use. I wouldn't want my kids anywhere else.
For this area, Brookside is a wonderful elementary school. All the other reviews are true in regards to parental involvement and great teachers. And the music teacher is great too. They have 2-3 plays a yr offered thru their after school programs. And there are many events through out the yr (ie brookside campout, father/son, mother/daughter events) Of the 3 elementaries in OP, I think Brookside has the best of everything. The teachers are top notch, professional and caring. I feel great about my kids being at this school.
You can't ask for more in a public school in California. Great programs all around. My daughter is in choir, and both my son and daughter have excelled. Great stuff.
I absolutely love Brookside Elementary. The Kindergarten teachers and first grade teachers (the only ones I've experienced so far) have been extremely 'hands-on' in as far as helping each child with their individual needs. It's in a very safe community, has a great park attached to it and a wonderful recess area. We love it.
4/05: I have a second grader at Brookside, very pleased with the education he receives. Parent involvement is high, and although the Oak Park school district is small, all three elementary schools have obtained the national blue-ribbon designation. The community however lacks in quality after-school care, and instead offers a sort of 'sitting' service through the recreation and parks district. The current principal has announced her resignation recently and I don't believe the replacement has been announced.
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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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