This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Montera Middle School4
Posted March 06, 2014
- a parent
My perspective on Montera is that overall it is a well run school and the teachers and admin staff are working to make it better all the time. I see a group of teachers and staff that have a true concern about their students and want to give them the best school experience possible. Not all the teachers are stars but the majority are good teachers. I have had two kids go through the school and the school continues to get better. The vast majority of parents have little involvement in the school and that is an area where the school could improve. If you are a prospective parent think in advance of helping out with the school when you can. It does make a difference.
I've put two kids through Montera over the last six years and it has changed greatly in that time, but specifically since Dr. Tranzor has taken leadership. We are delighted with the cleanliness, teacher "re"-engagement, lack of violence and drug use(which is common at an inner-city school) and innovative programs at the school (Man-Up, Challenge Days, the Arts, Music, etc.). Montera is a miniature Oakland, mixed racially, socio-economically, and academically it's not perfect, but they are ironing out the "crinks" there and I highly recommend them to any incoming family. Montera has going for it a beautiful campus, innovation with technology and science, great after school sports, clubs and other programs and a great safety record-it's a gem in OUSD.
I have found Montera to be a delightful gem in the hills of Oakland. This school is doing a lot of great things inspire of the budget cuts. Montera has a Restorative Justice program that is really great for the students and school. There are many electives offered for the students. The Leadership class hand wrote a personal note to all 900+ students. The teachers really take the time to listen to the students and work with the parents. Montera is a big school but the Admin and teachers work hard to make sure it doesn't feel too big. I am very happy and pleased with Montera it has been a great experience for both of my kids! Great school...Great people
My daughter is a current 7th grader at Montera. She spent 4 years at a private school (Head Royce). We currently have both of our kids at public schools (one at Montera and one at Montclair). The private school experience has given us some good perspective--there is no perfect school, but there are things that we know are important for us: a great education (my daughter is getting this in spades at Montera--excellent new teachers who are so fired up and amazing master teachers--a great combo); an involved, down to earth, "we're all working hard together for our kids" parent community (check Montera again), not being enclosed in a "bubble" at a school (my daughter is seeing a picture of the real world and is learning how to get a along and respect all types of people--not just people who look like her or who are from the same socio economic background; Montera is truly a diverse school in every regard). Is Montera perfect? No it's not, but I want my kids to know that there is no "perfect." You may have one teacher you don't like; you may have some students who are distracting (wow...figure out how to deal with these because your life will be full of them).
My daughter is a 7th grader at Montera; our older child went to a private school that was a great fit for her, but after looking at our options we decided as a family that Montera would serve the younger child better, and we have seen that be the case. Yes, it's a large public school. Yes, there's a high degree of socioeconomic and racial diversity (isn't that one of the things we like about living in Oakland?) And yes, thanks to Cali/OUSD school budgets limitations, the depth of instruction on things like art and music and language leave a bit to be desired - with only one elective per year, kids have to make hard choices (hence four stars, not five). Still: our daughter has been challenged, her teachers are enthusiastic, she's made a ton of new friends, and she's thriving. I'd make the same choice again in a heartbeat. (As for parent involvement, sure, it could be higher. But that's challenging for some families with two working parents. And as long as the 20% does 80% of the work, it all gets done somehow.)
After being at private school for elementary school, my child moved to Montera for middle school. We have been very pleased with the school all around. My child is a strong student academically, and pointed out this year that while there are no bells and whistles like in private school (as there should be for the $25K tuition!), he has found the instruction and education no different than the former school. As we have made a decision to raise our children in Oakland, we are happy that they are in a school reflective of our community rather than behind the closed and insular private school world. OUSD is not perfect and has its challenges, but in my opinion, it takes committed parents to work hard to change what isn't working (as is the case at Montera) rather than trash the school and District after they have left. I would recommend Montera without hesitation.
My son is currently in the 8th grade at Montera. We have certainly had a few ups and downs over the past two years, but we had those in elementary school as well. No school is perfect. In general he has been challenged and engaged all three years. He has had mostly excellent teachers. Behavior problems in and outside of the classroom have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. If administration knows there is a problem, they address it. Being at Montera has taught my son how to learn and interact with kids from all over our city, from many different backgrounds, cultures and all walks of life. Those experiences will follow him and help him all through his life. I believe that Montera is being unfairly reviewed due to misunderstandings about common core and the impact that it's implementation is having on advanced classes at all levels of 6-12 education. My son is happy, he is learning, he feels safe and he enjoys school. What more could I ask for? Take the time to come and look at Montera for yourself and don't base your opinions on what others are saying. It's a good school doing good work for our kids.
My daughter attended Montera and was well prepared for Oakland Tech. I have children at Montera now who I believe are being prepared equally as well. There is concern over common core (as well as nationally - it even hit the Colbert Report), but the teachers, admin and OUSD reps had a presentation at Montera to address the curriculum and answer questions last week. I think at the end of the day the enthousiatic and dedicated teachers will continue to provide great learning opportunities. Unprompted, my son said, "Mom, I've learned more here than in all of elementary school". Just one example, the 7th grade life science teachers just recieved a mini grant from the PTO to pay for dissection specimens and tools. Also, my kids have all enjoyed sports at Montera. There are trypouts and its competetive, but at least in basketball and soccer there are multiple teams for boys and girls (i.e., A and B teams or separate 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams). The sports teams are parent or staff coached on a volunteer basis. It couldn't happen without the parent and staff volunteers. Is it perfect? No. Its big, its underfunded, there are some unruly kids, but its pretty darn good.
Warning! This school is not what it is perceived to be. On the surface one would think that this is one of OUSD premier middle schools, due to its location in the Oakland Hills however, my child's experience at Montera was a big disappointment. Over 35 plus kids on average per class with many foul-mouth disrespectful, unruly & disruptive kids hampering the learning process. Most of the after school programs seam to lack depth and substance. My child endured constant harassment from other kids, it even continued after our child and we brought this to the attention of teachers & school administration. We have found the OUSD as a whole to be lacked when it comes to discipline of bad kids. My wife & I sent our six grader to Montera despite less than favorable reviews in the hope that it might be a good school after all. We have since taken our child out of Montera. Our child now attends a private school. OUSD, been there, done that, time to move on.
I wish this school had more to offer the kids especially all of the GATE kids it claims to serve. There was limited space in the 7th grade algebra class and a lot of very capable kids were not able to enroll which is a shame. More differentiated instruction would help keep some of the higher achieving kids at the school. The bar seems so low. I do have to say that the kids are having fun. There is a big emphasis on safety but for the most part I don't see that as an issue. For me it's really about lackluster academic opportunities which I believe puts our kids at a disadvantage later in their academic careers.