I have been a parent of a Hillcrest student for the last 8 years. I as very happy with the school in the beginning. However the last few years after we received a new principle I have seen it deteriorate. It is sad to see. I wish my kids last years at Hillcrest could be as good as the first years.
The teachers are variable in terms of their overall quality and support of learning and attention issues. Some are enthusiastic, flexible, and appreciate the challenge; others have no tolerance and poor communication skills. It's a real mixed bag! The principal is very supportive, but the resource staff provided by the district are not great (hopefully this will change), and they do not use modern methods for teaching kids with learning issues. However, some teachers are resourceful in terms of providing tools to help fidgety kids. I give the school better grades for ADHD support than for learning disability support.
I have had the privilege of being a teacher at Hillcrest School for many years. The students at Hillcrest are brilliant, parents are incredibly supportive and dedicated to the success of their children, & the administrator is one of the hardest working leaders I have ever had the pleasure to work with in my twenty plus years as an educator in the Oakland Unified School District. As a staff, we are transitioning successfully to the California Common Core State Standards under the leadership of our principal, who had the foresight to anticipate the various support structures and professional development offerings that would be needed for these rigorous changes. There has been a heavy financial investment in technology to support us in becoming more comfortable with 21st century instructional technology tools & our schedule has time carved out during the school day to allow us collaboration time "between the bells" with our grade level partner. Teaching is an incredibly difficult job, but with support systems like those found at Hillcrest School, all teachers could easily make the transition to teaching and reaching all students with the CCSS.
Hillcrest is such an amazing school! My son is so happy there and I simply love the community and all the amazing resources that are provided to all students. Contrary to the post below, there is NOT an issue with bullying behaviors at Hillcrest School. As a parent who volunteers often at the school, I am simply amazed at the wonderful "hands-on approach" the school administrator takes when interacting with her students and the very matter-of-fact conversations that she will take time to have with students who may need extra encouragement or support in order to be successful socially, emotionally and academically at school. In fact, I don't know any other principal in Oakland who supports her students like ours does! She has even gone as far as to picking up a student from the BART station each and ever day in order for him to be on time to school . Now that is what I call a supportive principal! What more can I say? The academics are great, students are well-behaved and the community is outstanding!
Bullying is an open secret at Hillcrest. There is no policy in place to either prevent or deal with it. The new principal has the mentality of "survival of the fittest" which means the vulnerable are not safe. There is an "anti-snitch" playground policy that only fuels this system of protecting bullies. The school is popular because it gets a lot of money from wealthy parents, some of who control the PTA. These same parents have an air of entitlement and the social experience is unfriendly and exclusive. There is a lot of pressure to donate to the school regardless of financial standing. There is little diversity so white, conventional families will feel most comfortable here. Ironically, people clamar to get into the school because of the middle school and high test scores tho Chabot and Thornhill are right up and I've heard they offer a more diverse and friendly atmosphere. Teachers are stressed to make sure kids continue to test high and this puts pressure on the kids. The kindergarten teachers are great but they aren't on the playground to watch out for the little ones who get teased as the 'babies' of the school at recess. Another open secret hazing reality. Change needed.
I currently have a child in the middle school. Hillcrest's strengths include a dedicated group of veteran teachers and extremely involved parents. The school's weaknesses have always included its extremely small size, which limits the range of courses available and can also be socially confining. An additional problem: a very new principal, now in her second year, has made a series of organizational changes that have been poorly communicated to parents and have produced general dismay in the Hillcrest community. It is unclear where this school is going.
Excellent teachers and principal, and lots of support from the parents.
I have been happy at this school for all of my life. I noticed that from each teacher I've had, i know there has been an extremely significant lesson that I learned for both my future as a student, and a citizen. I am now in the 7th grade at Hillcrest, and couldn't love it and my teachers more. Mrs. Massey gives excellent advice for sticky situations and knows how to make things stick in your head so you can remember things like formulas for math or definitions for almost incomprehensible words. Mr. Kloess has not been in the middle school program as long as Mrs.Massey, but i respect him just as much. He teaches us great writing and life skills, keeps us in order, and allows us to have many class disscussions where most everyone participates. With each teacher, I learn a bunch and have fun!
i am a student at hillcrest. i love it. my brother loves it. my parents love it. this is a great school! it is fun, all parents are involved and loving it. all students go off to good high school after their time at hillcrest. the school is local for my family and is not an unsafe school. hey, guess what privet schools!?!? hillcrest has great test scores! hillcrest is a fantastic school but don't even bother trying to get in!
I am a parent at the school and think it is terrific for my kids. I must disagree with the commenter who criticizes the lack of afterschool programs and the administrator. We have a great principal who works tirelessly. Also, the reason that afterschool programs are limited is that there is very limited space. The principal is correct not to kick teachers out of their classrooms for after school programs because they need what limited prep time they get from OUSD. The science scores have been excellent over the past few years and the curriculum is expanding. The parent's review from December 2007 is based on old or incomplete information. The drawbacks of this school are that it is small. The middle school is good but some kids will need more extra curricular and sports options.
Hillcrest purely pwns! I am an 8th grader at hillcrest and I have loved every year of my life there! Go hillcrest Middle school 2007-2008!
I am a mother of a 2nd grader at Hillcrest. She has been there since kindergarden. Hillcrest receives the highest test scores in the district. Their academic programs are great because of the huge amount of parent involvement as well as the genuine care and support our children receive from their teachers. We have limited space, so entry to the school is not guaranteed. Lack of space does impact the availability of music, art, sports and other extracurricular activities. However, these activities are offered. Overall, Hillcrest is a school where my daughter thrives and is happy. I particularly enjoy the focus on 'Life Skills' throughout the entire school.
Hillcrest is a wonderful neighborhood school with talented teachers, great leadership and dedicated community of parents. My two daughters (now in fourth and seventh) have attended since kindergarten and they are getting great education. They are happy too!
Fantastic school, probably best in OUSD. My children have thrived there. Only downside is that it is very small. Some kids require a larger pond.
Great school. The principal, Beverly Rothenberg, is energetic and committed to the school.
Hillcrest is wonderful public school in oakland. It has a small student population from the immediate community. Teachers know students well.
Hillcrest is a great elementary school for all kids. The teachers are passionate and care about all students. Our familly had a great experience there and would recommend looking into it.
Hillcrest is an outstanding school despite being in the midst of the much troubled OUSD. The current principal came in with many challenges to face and has done a wonderful job. However, due to tenure there is one teacher in particular that frankly should not be. This is not an OUSD problem but rather that of the philosophy of tenure. Because of this, despite the principal's best efforts, this teacher continues to adversely affect the learning experience of many at Hillcrest.
Facilities are a significant problem at this jewel of a school. Parent attempts to improve the situation have met with resistance from the District.
This small school is nice, but is ultimatly controled by the poor standing Oakland Unified District. The parents control the majority of school, and there is a strong 'click' between students and parents.
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