Students enrolled 426
Hours 8:30 AM - 2:50 PM
School leader Paulette Smith
Transportation options Yes
Before school Yes
After school Yes
Summer program Yes

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4 stars
Based on 31 ratings

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June 06, 2014
We've had kids at Joaquin Miller for several years, and we've been very happy overall. Unfortunately, this year has seen a sharp decline. The environment is toxic. There is no transparency with decision-making. The principal s leadership style has become autocratic and bullying. Class size is off the charts-the school is overstuffed. The fantastic computer program (new Macs, dedicated lab space, wonderful instructor) has been decimated. After the computers were stolen, decisions were made (convert the lab space to a tiny classroom, fire the wonderful instructor) with no input from the committee of parents and teachers that came together in the wake of the burglary. The after-school childcare provider, an integral part of the JM community for decades, was treated so badly this year that they've refused to return next year. The committee of parents and teachers that invested countless hours on the aftercare issue was ignored. And the lack of sufficient after-care space to accommodate the influx of new families is still not solved. Families are choosing not to return; others are disillusioned and cutting back on their involvement. It's such a shame. Our kids deserve better.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2014
This used to be a very good school but it has fallen on very hard times. We are currently in our seventh calendar year here and 12th kid year as we have three - one who finished up last year. The classroom instruction continues to be quite good. With almost every teacher performing at a very high level in the classroom. But anything that the current principal has touched has turned to mud. She has fostered a culture that is so divided and so distrustful, that the school is just a hollow shell of its old self. Where we used to smile and be happy every time we walked onto campus and were almost universally greeted with the same level of happiness and contentment from parents, student and teachers, now everybody we talk to seems to hate coming onto the campus. It seems like every moment between parents and teachers turns into a gripe session about how bad the principal is. It is so bad right now that a fund raising party hosted by a group of parents and having a 25 year tradition on campus, which has always extended a free invite to the principal, did not do so this year. Most of the people hosting the party didn't even want to be in the same room with her.

- submitted by a parent
May 26, 2014
Pros: Outstanding teachers from K to 5, very involved community, great living history program for each grade, PTA-funded library and teachers aides. Cons: Principal lacks communication skills, disregards community input via forums and committees, attempts to squelch open dialogue on concerns about her executive decisions. Subsequent very poor morale and high burn-out rate among parent volunteers.

- submitted by a parent
April 18, 2014
I am a parent of Joaquin Miller Elementary School, and I love it!! This is our first year and it has been great, look forward to my daughter staying until she graduates!

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2013
Joaquin Miller is an exceptionally strong school with a highly engaged Principal, an active teaching staff and committed parent community. While some teachers are stronger than others (as at any school), at the high end, Joaquin Miller's teachers are truly exceptional. Indeed, on teacher both our children were lucky enough to have is the best teacher we've seen anywhere, including at private schools. The community is inclusive and generally quite nurturing. While some high achieving kids aren't as challenged as they could be in class, there is an effort underway to address this and good progress is being made. The facilities are reasonable though they lack a grass yard which would be a nice improvement. Overall, we are very grateful to be at JM and have decided to keep our children there rather than explore private school options, largely because of the commitment of the Principal and teachers and the energy of the parent body.

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2013
Tucked in the affluent Oakland Hills, Joaquin Miler Elementary is a gem. What makes Joaquin Miller Elementary a special place with some of the most impassioned teachers, a dedicated and caring principal, an active parent community, challenging academics and a culture of inclusion, quite rare for a modern-day public school--especially in Oakland, California! Families who can afford to send their children to expensive private schools choose to send them children here because of the culture and community. This is a very special place. I feel privileged to be a part of this community.

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2013
We've been a Joaquin miller family for seven years (two kids, 4 years apart). JM is a great community school, where the kids feel a real sense of home. The teachers are terrific- there's probably one or two teachers that are just average, but that's saying quite a lot for any school. Parent involvement is high with the PTA funding the kind of extra programming that is so essential and used to be standard- like the lovely library and great librarian, computer classes, and music. The after-school enrichment classes offer an incredible source of added fun and learning, plus the school is so lucky to have Adventure Time on site for its regular after care. Unfortunately AT is not able to accommodate all the families that need AT. That is an issue for some families. The quality of caring and community at JM is what makes it even more special than it's class room resources. The principal is 200% dedicated to the students and to making sure that each child feels respected and safe. I would be great if JM had updated facilities like better technology in the classrooms, but we are a California public school so that's dream, for now.

- submitted by a parent
December 08, 2010
This is our third year at Joaquin Miller and we could not be more pleased with the principal, teachers and PTA/level of parent involvement we have experienced. JM is blessed with an extraordinary community of people all working together to help the students achieve but also excel. One of the things we like best about JM is the extra attention paid to the kids "at the top" as well as "on the bottom" through tutoring, PTA-sponsored teacher's aids and programs such as the after school enrichment programs which offer everything from languages such as Spanish, Mandarin and French to music instruction, public speaking , chess, science, dance, Ecology Club and Odyssey of the MInd. In addition, we boast a diverse student body that represents everything we love about Oakland! We also have a classroom of learning-disabled children whose scores are folded into the overall school's scores--so don't be fooled by how JM's scores look a little less robust than neighboring Hills schools. Joaquin Miller truly is a Great School.

- submitted by a parent
December 03, 2010
This is our first year at JM, and we're really pleased. We moved from a state where funding for librarians, music programs and computer teachers, etc. is provided by the state, so coming to California was a bit of a shock for us. But we are so impressed by how the JM parent and teaching community has risen to the occasion, and through fundraising and creativity, have kept important programs alive and high quality. Our child's teacher is a gem. Our child is learning so much and loves doing it. Socially, I have found the other parents to be friendly and approachable. I'm glad we are here.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 10, 2010
VERY involved parents, great teachers, fantastic enrichment programs offered, lovely & spacious campus

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 06, 2010
We feel very fortunate that our sons are at Joaquin Miller. It feels like everyone involved with the school, the teachers, principal and parents are all wholly committed to distinguishing JM as an exceptional school. As a consequence, the sense of community is extraordinary - parents are involved in all manner of activities and there always seems to be someone to pick up the ball and run with it. Society itself should work this way.

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2010
JM has been a great school for a long time, and our new principal is helping us make it even better. I'll be on kid #3 at Joaquin Miller next year and I can't wait for him to have the same strong teachers our other children had and to enjoy the same community-, skill- and character-building experiences.

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2010
This is a fantastic school with outstanding teachers/staff and a very active parent community. We have been happy since our oldest started 6 yrs ago and it seems that it even gets better every year.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
JM has a fantastic parent community to support the teachers and students. The living history program is wonderfully rich, and helps the kids build a sense of identity while also learning about the diverse world we live in. The principal is great.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
It has a thriving community of teachers, parents and students who along with a new and committed principal all contribute to a comfortable and safe environment focused on learning. and community.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
Great teachers to teach, a great principal to lead and great parents to support all the children of our school. A great place to be.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
JM has strong, committed teachers and staff, an outstanding principal and a highly supportive and active PTA. A highlight has been the annual living history days for each grade. We have been thrilled to be a part of the JM community.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
This is a wonderful community and great teachers. Our daughter is thriving there!

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
JM has wonderful teachers, a commited staff and an awsome principal. We have a great PTA and a wonderful community that is very supporting.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 05, 2010
It has great community involvement, great student body, great PTA involvement, raises a lot of money, great teachers, diversity, great cultural awareness,

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
The community is unmatched in joining together to support and nurture students and teachers.

- submitted by a parent
May 04, 2010
Caring, effective principal who is a good listener and kind to kids-- very involved and visible. AMAZINGLY involved, effective, cohesive parent community who are always striving for more. GREAT, commited teachers. Really unique, innovative learning programs like Living History Days and African Dance for each grade level. Strong extracurriculars, music, and PE, and a friendly, small-community feel.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
Great diversity, extremely devoted teachers with great retention, varied activities included in the school day as well as an amazing Enrichment program for after school for a fee. As a parent, it's my favorite place to volunteer.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
My son's kindergarten teacher has been phenomenal, as good if not better than we would have expected at a private school. The parent community is very engaged.

- submitted by a parent
May 04, 2010
My children have thrived at Joaquin Miller and am confident will become better contributors to our society. The school fosters a learning environment with amazing teachers.

- submitted by a parent
May 04, 2010
Enthusiastic, committed teachers, involved parent community. This school puts paid to all the horror stories one hears about public schools - the classes are small, the curriculum is exciting and varied, despite adhering to the boring Open Court stuff. Teachers strive to have all students in the class achieve, not just the stars or the ones who might be feeling left behind.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
The education is fabulous, the environment supportive, and the PTA strong.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
Wonderful school with committed teachers and parents, allowing a high quality education for all students.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
Great Cultural days for each grade. Some of the best teachers. Supportive PTA.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 04, 2010
Committed teachers, wonderful principal - smart, dedicated and enthusiastic, great supportive PTA

- submitted by a parent
March 18, 2010
Joaquin Miller has some great teachers, unfortunately the vast majority of teachers from third, fourth and fifth grade do not plan their curriculum, often give homework on material they have not taught and do not know how to teach a diverse group of learners in the same class. Unfortunately for my son both third and fourth grade teachers have not been able to teach the material in a school year. He has learned how to democratically choose the movies they will watch in class. We will be moving to private school for fifth grade.

- submitted by a parent
no rating December 04, 2009
We were very unhappy with this school and after just one year we decided to move to a private school. (Just to add info, we are teachers and we are now extremely happy with the new school). JM had very little organization, the administration seemed clueless. Some teachers were not well prepared to teach diverse learners, kind of unidirectional. Great librarian but unfortunately the curriculum is uninteresting and unbearable depressing; too much emphasis on reading and math. I know some families are happy there. We were not.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2008
My daughter is in second grade at Joaquin Miller and we have had a great experience learning and growing in this community of active parents and teachers. There is a large selection of enrichment programs offered for all grades, which includes music, dance, science, sports, chess, foreign languages, and drama. We have been satisfied with the quality of the teachers and curriculum. Each child is encouraged to learn within their own style and expected to participate and achieve results.

- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
June 06, 2008
As a graduate of J. Miller, I feel I got the best education available in the Oakland Unified School District. Happy to see things are still strong at J. Miller.

- submitted by a community member
April 02, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
October 03, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 31, 2007
Joaquin Miller is a wonderful school. Our daughter has gone there for the past five years and has had excellent learning experiences. There is a tremendous commitment by (the majority of) the teachers to create learning experiences that are enriching, integrating art and cultural sensitivity into lessons. The teachers are very encouraging and receptive to parental involvement and support. The student population is diverse, offering opportunities for kids to build diverse relationships. Teachers are sensitive to the needs of their students, and will collaborate with parents to ensure that their child gets the attention and opportunities they need to succeed. There is a very active core-group of parents that participate extensively in the school, both during classes and for events. It would be good to identify ways to increase the participation of those parents that don't participate as much and who feel it isn't their responsibility to help the school.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2006
Joaquin Miller is an amazing public school. Our family left Oakland for another area and public school system, but moved back because we missed the diversity and variety that Oakland offers. We have been thrilled with our experiences thusfar at Joaquin Miller. We look forward to our daughter's fifth year at this school. Every teacher has been excellent -with great projects and creative programs offered within the restricted school district cirriculum. Mrs. Lu, the principal is totally involved and a master at getting the extras when possible for the kids and school. She's great. Linda Brown

- submitted by a parent
May 04, 2006
Joaquin Miller is a diverse community school with very good Parent Involvement. The leadership is wonderful from the Prinipal to all the Teachers.

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
March 03, 2005
This is a fantastic public elementary school. There is a terrrific staff with great leadership at the principal level. There is a great community feeling at Joaquin Miller and it shows in every aspect of the educational experience. They offer outstanding extras in addition to the basic academic programs including a major cultural event at each grade level to make an historical time frame or people come alive to the children. There is considerable parental support and the PTA is highly involved both as support to staff when possible and as an effective fundraising machine. The funds raised support many programs on campus including the computer lab, library, and arts programs. Our experience at JM was a pleasure.

- submitted by a parent
February 24, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
no rating January 23, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
November 23, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
May 11, 2004
I have been a parent at Joaquin Miller for 7 years and can't say enough about the high quality education and superior school community. What a blessing it has been for my kids future. My son was extremely well prepared for middle school, not only academically, but socially as well. The teachers are talented, passionate about the kids and excellent leaders. The parent community is strong and committed to making Joaqin Miller the best school it can be, through volunteering and fundraising. The quality of the families cannot be equalled. My kids have benefitted and so have I!

- submitted by a parent
November 05, 2003
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: June 25, 2014

Contact Information

5525 Ascot Drive
Oakland, CA 94611

School website
(510) 531-6688
(510) 879-1429

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Joaquin Miller Elementary School
5525 Ascot Drive, Oakland, CA  94611
(510) 531-6688
Last modified Joaquin Miller Elementary School is a public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Joaquin Miller Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 49 reviews.