Parents who want a free flowing school will probably not appreciate COVA. COVA is a Conservatory of Music. Which is a serious place for music, and students learn from the very beginning that performing means hard work and discipline. The students do incredibly well academically and in performance. But if a parent does not feel that they want their child to have these characteristics, then it isn't a match. A survey was conducted with our parents and 98% were very happy with the program and environment. It only takes a couple of unhappy parents to create their own environment of dissatisfaction. Nothing is 100%, and COVA is very clear with parents that they need to want what the school has to offer. Coming in with different expectations and then just bashing the school because it doesn't meet those expectations does not make the school bad. Read on to other reviews.....if your child loves music and wants to work toward professional music, this is the place for them. Several parents who left were not happy with the next school....if you are unhappy with several schools, look inside and then carefully find one that fits.
BEWARE! I really encourage any prospective parents to really strongly consider if this school will be right for your child. If your interest is because of the musical program you may want to consider other schools or outside sources. This school is more like a mini-boot camp and there is absolutely no room for individuality. They are looking for cookie cutter students and they favor those who fit that mode and antagonize those who do not. You will definately have to be very involvbed and very watchful and you and your chld will have to be very strong. It is very far from a warm and inviting environment. Yelling, embarrasment and stern faces is how the teaching staff operates with litle to no positive reinforcement. I have never witnessed such a school. Even the office staff is angry. Ask about the teacher/student turnover ratio. I understand and I am all for structure and discipline, but it has to build a child up not break them down.. This school is one scary place. (and I'm an adult)
I see parents are still fooled. Cherry picking high performing students and teaching to the test works wonders on the numbers produces results/ you should examine high teacher turnover and student turnover in the last 2-3 years.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the director, my goal is to make sure that each and every child has the best start in their education. When a child comes in for the interview and it is difficult to understand what they are saying, I ask if anyone has brought it up before. If a parent indicates they are not aware of it, I suggest that they check with their family doctor and if the problem appears more severe, I will give recommendations for some place to get a professional assessment since I can only observe in the interview setting. Speech and language development is critical to early reading skills, so it is always best to have a professional opinion. This is what I recommended to the parent. I am glad that she followed through and that it was not felt that he any speech challenges. This is great news.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our daughter started Kindergarten two months ago at COVA... she loves it and is so happy there. We are proud COVA parents.
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!
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.
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