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.
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.
Our mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at
school, at home and in their community. We are a national non-profit with offices and programs
in Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.