The entire Kindergarten team is fantastic, but I can only speak to Maestra Amara (my daughter's teacher). I am fortunate enough to get to spend time in the classroom, so I see her teaching first hand. She strikes the right balance in so many ways and cares so much about her students. She treats them all with respect and care and makes learning fun. What more could a parent ask for?
My husband and I are incredibly grateful that we found MLA and we are constantly pinching ourselves because we can't believe how great it is. Does it have shortcomings? Of course, it is a Oakland Public School in a state where the priorities lie elsewhere, but those shortcomings fall away when you see the heart and soul of the administration and teachers and you become involved with the community. My daughter is speaking and reading Spanish/English in a school that looks as diverse as Oakland and learning about community and heart and soul. I'm a grateful parent.
My kids have been attending this school for the past 3 years. Its a wonderful learning community--I am so very appreciative to be a part of it. I can speak to my experience as a parent of students in TK through 2nd grade. The caliber of the teaching is excellent. (Recently I said to my son's teacher, "your classroom feels like a private school!") The student community is truly diverse and represents the very best of Oakland. The families are well connected with each other, which is an added bonus. This school is predicted to be a stand-out for its notable educational, linguistic and social curriculum. I imagine that it will become much more competitive to get in.
Both of my children now attend Melrose Leadership Academy. I couldn't be happier with how much they enjoy school and look forward to their time there. The community is vibrant, diverse and welcoming! We do not speak Spanish at home and I am amazed at the language development I am witnessing first hand. My oldest can speak Spanish comfortably in social settings and we get loads of complements on how fluent they both are. I most appreciate the passion and involvement of the teachers and staff. You couldn't find people more dedicated to the success of their students. Both of my children are performing above grade level in both Spanish and English as well as their other subjects. We are having an excellent experience. If test scores are your top priority, keep looking. If you are looking for a school that fosters well rounded individuals who can navigate complex social situations and be passionately involved in their own learning, take a closer look.
If you truly care about wholesome education and not just test scores that put pressure on children and teachers, this is the school for you! Amazing native Spanish speaker teachers, a long-time children advocate as the head of the school, and a warm and loving community - not to mention truly diverse!
Don't let the test scores be your primary decision factor when choosing a school. Look beyond the numbers and see what the teachers and principal are doing. Look at the kids and see how they interact, and look at how your child responds in his first day, his first week, first year... We are only in our 3rd week at MLA, but so far, so good. I looked at several other schools--charter, public, private, and this was the best fit. I want my son to be bi- or even tri-lingual, and this is the time to do it--in the first 5-6 years of primary school, and with more than just 50% of his school day in Spanish. They start Kindergarten with 90/10 model, then increase the English taught until 5th grade where it is 50/50. Research conducted by a respected academic on multi-lingual education, found that kids will master the 2nd language faster, and more successfully than the 50/50 model. That, along with the strong staff, faculty, and parent involvement of this school, sold me. I, like another commenter, was not impressed by the school-led tour but I did my own research, emailed the principal directly, then toured the school again on my own, and my decision was clear to send my child here.
Melrose Leadership Academy is a small and vital school with a huge heart for learning, for social justice, for cultural literacy, and for community spirit. Parent involvement is very high, and the teachers are wonderful. The principal has been working towards her vision of a dual immersion school that engages students, parents, and community members in the transformation of society through cultural enrichment, the arts, and the application of progressive strategies for social development (i.e., the use of Restorative Justice to resolve student conflict). On top of all that, they are educating a generation of multi-lingual students. If you're primary concern is test scores, find a different school. If you want your child to learn to love learning, language, culture, and community, I encourage you to check it out.
I'll start by saying my review is based on my tour of the school. Okay the concept is great, I love the idea of Dual Immersion. This school has horrible test scores & horrible appearance! It looked like a school you'd see in a movie such as New Jack City or something like that, not kidding. Classrooms were freezing & the bungalow classes outside are small, crowded & cold. When I asked the principal about the low test scores she responded by saying well we're dual immersion. That was the poorest attempt to answer my question. Then I find out that for some of the grades they grade to a different location! Huh!? I can't say anything about the teachers because my review is based from the tour but the test scores & the appearance of the school was more than enough. So I'll give the teacher's a 3 star. Everything was about the dual immersion, what about the curriculum math? I said to her my son is currently in Montessori & how would the transition be & her answer was oh he'd be fine. Oh that's comforting. I asked was she familiar with Montessori & she said a little. Pricincipal of a school should know about different teachings. Would NOT send my child here.
Melrose is a wonderful school. I recently attended parent-teacher conferences and was so impressed with the talent and dedication of our teachers. The principal has made a career in bilingual education and shows great vision in her ability to hire wonderful staff, advocate for her school, and negotiate tough economic times. Melrose, and its Spanish-immersion program, is still relatively unknown, but is soon to be one of the brightest stars in the Oakland school district .
Melrose Leadership Academy is a rare example of a small school looking to really make a difference in its community. This bilingual school started as a middle school and is now adding the lower elementary grades to eventually become a K-8 school. The teachers are great and the principal is extremely dedicated to the program. The parents are involved and passionate about making this school the best Oakland has to offer