"We are best known for performing arts and music."
Students enrolled 235
School leader Dr. Valerie Abad
District Oakland Unified School District
After school Yes

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3800 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619

School website
(510) 285-7511
(510) 531-9434
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Map of Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts School address.

4 stars
Based on 33 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

July 25, 2014
I was a student at COVA since its second year and am a proud graduate. I want to say that I had an excellent experience. I did not see that staff had any bias and treated all students fairly, but some students would keep disrupting causing teachers to give more consequences. I saw that some students really didn't want to participate in the music, and held back those of us who really wanted music and performance. I did many projects and every year participated in the school science fair. I had the chance to play different instruments, sing, travel to Washington D.C., Catalina Island, and other great trips. I love music and have continued my music. When I graduated and went to high school I was put in advanced placement classes due to the excellent academics at COVA. Yes we did wear uniforms, but I was on the student government when we were given the task to choose the uniform style and colors, and the students were excited about having uniforms. I would not give up my time at COVA for anything, and anyone who is really serious about music would find everything they want at COVA.

- submitted by a community member
July 24, 2014
I went to COVA since it was first made I graduated about 1 year ago and though it is a lot better then other schools it still has it's problems. I've met most of my friends there, learned a lot about music and had great experiences. I've also had bad experiences. Most of the staff were very bias towards certain students and other students didn't get as much attention or they were punished more harshly than others. Many students and parents had very bad experiences with some of the staff. Most of the music programs are very good and the academics were also alright but they don't do projects at all which help students learn better then just reading out of text books and do work sheets. The dress code for the uniform is very strict and in my opinion excessive, you can't have any white on your shoes except for the soles and many other things. I don't think these very minor things are distracting at all, you have basically no self expression when it comes to clothes. Overall it is still a good school, the students get good test scores but for many students it is not a very fun way to spend many years of their lives.

- submitted by a community member
December 13, 2013
COVA is awsome! The teachers do such a great job with the kids. My daughter loves COVA and I think enrolling her here was a great decision. Happy parent of a 2nd grader at COVA.

- submitted by a parent
January 19, 2013
Agreeing with other positive reviewers, I want to restate a key point - this school is not for every kid. Or every parent for that matter! If you have a kid that is musically inclined, and if you are parents who understand that it is going to take all around discipline and constant hard work to turn around a bunch of 'raw' kindergarten kids and transform them into amazing concert performers just 3 months into the school year (and it only gets better from there on), then you and your kid will love this school. And thrive - like my 1st grader who has been there 2 years now. So, do your home work. If you want to give your kids a solid foundation in music education (in addition to regular academics, of course), there is no better public school experience available in the Oakland area, IMO. The passion and commitment the faculty brings is amazing and the results become apparent when you see your little stars perform. In fact, go attend one of the Winter or Summer concerts to experience it first hand!

- submitted by a parent
January 06, 2012
This is my firsth year at Cova and I beyond amazed at how the staff and small parent involvement show their strong interest in the childrens education. I love that Cova has a high interest in providing an awesome learning environmnet to the returning and new students. Cova provides discipline and structure. It's a small school, not a perfect school but no school is. Cova is more like a family and my son loves it, most of all I love. Enrolling him into Cova was one of the best things I could have ever done to help him move forward in his education and in his music.

- submitted by a parent
October 19, 2011
This is my second year at COVA and I am amazed at how they can do so much with so little. So little parent involvement, so little money, so little staff, so little time, so little control over the physical building. I truly appreciate how dedicated the principal, teachers and staff are to the students. There is a great deal of personal resources and extra time freely given by all of them. The kids are impressive and my child is thriving here. COVA is not perfect, but no school is. It is a rigid and disciplined program and that may not suit everyone. I encourage others to take an objective look at what they want from a school, how their child learns, and their discipline style and search for schools that match that. It's a great fit for us!

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2011
COVA is a gem! I have two children who have been at COVA for two years. They have benefited by the high academics and arts programs. The discipline is high, making the school and classrooms a place of learning rather than many schools where there are disruptions. COVA continues to demonstrate high test scores and the student concerts are exceptional. You would never know that these performers were ages 5 - 13. I am a very happy parent with two happy children who appreciate that we will be able to attend COVA until high school.

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2011
We are now entering our fourth year at COVA and while it has it's problems (as all schools do!), our daughter is happy and doing exceptionally well. We were worried that our once very shy daughter would have a problem performing on stage but she now looks forward to the performances and signs up for non-school performances (dance, theatre, etc.). Think of COVA as the Berklee School of Music of Oakland. You must be serious about the program and do well in classes. At COVA you are preparing your child for the academic world. It takes organication and perserverance but your child will be ready for the next chapter.

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2011
My daughter has been at COVA for three years and will be graduating this coming year. She came from a very good school in the hills, but was getting teased a lot so we looked for an alternative school. Since we are a musical family, I thought COVA would be a good fit. In her three years at COVA she has blossomed, and has made many friends. She has also grown musically and has excelled on her instrument. I can see first hand how these children have benefited from having music every day. All you have to do is attend one concert and you will see the amazing work these children have done. COVA is not for everybody. If music is important to your family, then look into this school. I'm very pleased that my daughter has had this experience. The public schools cannot provide the music instruction that these kids are able to get. It's a wonderful gift they have been given.

- submitted by a parent
July 06, 2011
COVA is a music conservatoire. Its expectation is academic excellence as well as the demonstration of professional performance standard. It is not a theme park (or a movie set) with wild-eyes smiley faces and theme park style nurturing tones. The principal is the person on campus who takes on the authoritative role. Teachers are asked to focus in their teaching of the entire class. They are asked to send students with particular problems to the principal s office so that the rest of the class is not affected. After 3 years at COVA, I can tell you it is hard work to make sure my kid is at school on-time, completes his homework, brings his music instrument, practices at home and wears proper uniforms everyday. On the other hand, nothing compares to the satisfaction of knowing that my child is exploring his full potential and is developing into a person with high expectation of himself and others.

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2011
We have part of the COVA community for three years. The school holds the highest expectations for all children and the children develop incredible skills in the performing arts as well as behaviorally and academically. Since the school is a performing arts school, there is a higher commitment to participation in performance opportunities which at times happen on weekend or evenings. This would be expected in a school focused on performance arts. The director is strict and I appreciate the discipline expectations. Although some parents complain that the children are "scared" of the director, I have been in the classroom when she has come into the primary classes and the students cheerfully greet her and the youngest ones often get up to give her a hug. COVA is far ahead as the best overall education available in Oakland. However, be prepared for your child to work hard and grow in their performance and academics. The students are serious and respectful, unlike what I have seen in other schools. If you really want to know what is happening at COVA attend one of the concerts. It is the most spectacular thing you will ever see in any school public or private.

- submitted by a parent
May 26, 2010
The State has a $42.5 BILLION deficit in 2010. The Governor has proposed to cut and $2.1 BILLION from education for the coming fiscal year. I'm not sure to what the parent was referring when s/he was complaining about "parents needed to donate $150+ per family so that the school could afford to pay the teachers." Clearly, the school administration is not responsible for California budget woes. The new principal probably wasn't working at COVA for no pay and the administration probably won't find someone in the near future who will. Now is not the time to attack the administration and faculty as they work heroically during this crisis. Our students need us all to pull together and support one another. It takes years to start a new school, build a new culture, and spur momentum in achievement. That parent hasn't started a new business from scratch let alone a school.

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2010
COVA is able to focus on both strong academics and music (which also lends itself to strong academics). The greatest challenge of this school is that it is new. Parent support is key. The principal wears many hats and is one of the most dedicated I have ever seen.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 22, 2010
COVA is a very unique charter school which provides a rich musical education along with academics. The children greatly benefit from having music in their lives each day.

- submitted by a parent
March 15, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 07, 2009
An outstanding charter school nestled in the hills of the Redwood Heights District in Oakland CA. COVA takes a holistic approach to educating the children that attend by providing an outstanding educational and arts program which continues to expand. The staff and parents are extremely dedicated to the success of each and every child, making learning a fun experience.

- submitted by a parent
November 20, 2009
This is our first year at COVA and we (child and parents) have been very pleased. Expectations in all areas are high - academics, performing arts, and student conduct which contribute to a great learning environment. They take the time to assess each child and make sure they meet their academic needs.

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
no rating November 07, 2009
Our daughter started Kindergarten two months ago at COVA... she loves it and is so happy there. We are proud COVA parents.

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2009
My Kindergarten child absolutely loves to go to school each day. She is delighted to be in a place where she gets to go to music class and sing each day. Her classroom teacher is energetic and sweet, and the parents so far have seemed engaged and interested. As this is a newish charter, I can see that the culture of the school is still forming, but things are looking good so far. Don't let the test scores fool you, by the way. I believe this school is academically strong. It has been growing at an unprecedented rate--something like 45 students in year one, closer to 150 in year two, and now 190 in year three. The current scores may reflect the mixed bag of prior educational experiences rather than the kids' experiences at COVA. Look for better things in the years to come!

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
September 18, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
The Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts School is a public charter school that integrates the power of music into a child's standard education...and they do it K Through 8! This school subsists on the passion of the students family's to participate in the education of their children to really and truly make a better world and better citizens.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
COVA has the most fantastic academic and arts program for K-8 students

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2009
As a student at COVA, I love it. I've been there since the beginning, so I've seen it go through SO many changes. From going from 2nd - 8th grade to going from K -8th grade; going from 43 children to about 200; even a new principle! I've taken Drama, Jazz Band, Ballet, Stage Band, Beginning Band, Voice Class, Art, Musical Theater, Opera Workshop, Shakespeare Workshop, Music Theory, and even an advanced math class where we did Pre-Algebra in 4th grade, and Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 in 5th grade. This year I'm in an all day GATE class and I'm taking Drama, Stage Band, R&B, and Jazz Band. I absolutely love this school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

- submitted by a student
August 31, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 10, 2009
Great School! My daughter was only able to attend for her 8th grade year. We pulled our daughter out of private school and enrolled her in COVA, this was the best move we could have made. I sure wish it went up to High School.

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 13, 2009
My experience of this school has been that it is quite welcoming. The Kindergarten teacher is engaging and energetic. The school offers daily Kodaly music classes as well as additional music classes as students progress. It is a traditional school in other ways. I expect great things in the coming years.

- submitted by a parent
May 10, 2009
As a parent of a child with innate musical talent, I was ecstatic when a friend recommended that I send my daughter to this school. The principal is a powerhouse, and really encourages the children to achieve their highest potential. While perceived as harsh to some, my personal rapport with the principal can attest that she has each child's best interest at heart. This city should have more no-nonsense authoritative figures in this oppressed school system. Academically, my daughter flourishes, and they both recognize and encourage her to accept the challenge and keep pressing forward. With an array of extra-curricular activities, my daughter can now fuse together her passion for the arts with her love for learning. While this is maybe not the best option for a lot of students, for our daughter, this school is better equipped than most to meet her exceptional needs. Parent participation and involvement is excellent!

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2008
This is my daughters second year at COVA and the first year the school was ever open was a bit trying for everybody but it has improved by leaps and bounds as concerns are addressed. My daughter after 4 months of playing the flute was complimented on a national level and she is excited about her school. The staff, principal, and parents that I have met want the best for thier children and community. It just doesn't get better than that!

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2008
This is our daughters first year of school outside of home and it has been a joy to see her thrive, excited to go to school everyday and learn. She comes home singing. COVA has a diverse student body which I like. I hope that the parents can come together to support the students and staff to realize COVA's vision.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2008
Our 2nd grader is a student and loves school. She is academically challenged (doing 3rd grade work in a 2/3rd grade class) and really enjoys the 2 hours of enrichment (music, dance, gymnastics) a day. We have been impressed by the community at COVA and how social issues are addressed with care and purpose by the staff. Given that the school has tripled in the size of the student body in just the last 2 months, we have been happy and look forward to the direction the school is taking.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2008
Our daughter is in Kindergarten at COVA and we love it. She comes home singing every day and is enthusiatic about going to school in the morning. We can't ask for more for our family.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2008
I am the parent of a student at COVA and I have to say that both the program and the leadership are exceptional. The range and depth of musical education is truly unparalleled. My child loves the teachers, gets dedicated singing time each day as well exceptional teachers for rotations, and is very safe on this beautiful and secluded campus. I think that the broad range of student ages is a real challenge, and the principal has a great vision but little support. I feel that she may be a bit abrupt at times, but I find it hard to believe that any students would be permanently damaged or harmed by interacting with her. She is definitely authoritarian, which I appreciate, because her teachers don't have to be. And frankly, unless there is a major discipline issue, the students don't really interact with her that much.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 07, 2008
COVA was an excellent experience for my 3rd grader. The music program is excellent, no where else has two hours of music everyday, and my daughter looked forward to school every morning. We can't wait to go back!

- submitted by a parent
July 28, 2008
Unfortunately, not much to choose from in Oakland. Concept of school is fantastic. Leadership is lacking.

- submitted by a parent
July 17, 2008
It isn't what it's said to be, but it is better than many schools.

- submitted by a parent
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Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts School
3800 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland, CA  94619
(510) 285-7511
Last modified Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts School is a Charter school that serves grades 1-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 38 reviews. Top