Be very careful about enrolling your child in this school, especially if you have a child with special needs! We have been at the school for 2 yrs. now and overall have had a negative experience. My son's 4th grade classroom teacher quit after 3 wks. of the fall 2014 semester, and they had approximately 8-10 sub teachers within a 3 month period! The current teacher, Ms. Holmes, is a 1st year teacher, extremely ill-prepared and is terrible at communication with families. She doesn't return emails, will not offer support in questions regarding how to teach the Common Core math, (I'm not even sure what they are learning week by week...) and does not give out weekly newsletters, so parents virtually have no idea of what our children are even learning in the classroom. My son has essentially lost out on a whole year of schooling due to the school's high turnover rate of teachers and lack of continuity. I will say however, the mental health team and the Resource Specialist are great; the therapists have really tried to support my son and his abilities. Aside from this, I sadly have nothing to say positive about this school. We will not be returning.
CSCE has been a great educational and culturally diverse experience for our family. The school environment pulls from several teaching philosophies to create a unique experience for students and families. Each year the school progresses forward, serving the students more thoroughly as the school grows.
All three of my children have been in CSCE for two years now (Kindergarten, 3d, and 5th grade). We were in a private school previously and chose this school for its amazing concept, wonderful staff, and commitment to diversity. I've always been interested in Waldorf education, but the full-on Waldorf experience was not what I wanted for my children (nor would it have been affordable for us). CSCE is an amazing, pioneering project that is bringing the best of Waldorf education to a diverse, urban population while also providing kids with an education in keeping with California standards. The environment is creative, supportive, and stimulating; my children are learning, and perhaps equally important, are enjoying themselves and come home regularly talking about the exciting things they did in everything from math to handwork (knitting etc.) I can't recommend the school highly enough, and I encourage you to meet as many of the incredibly talented teachers and staff as you can. And feel free to ask to be put in touch with parents as well! My children are also in the afterschool program, and we are quite satisfied.
As a grand-parent of three students and an educator, I observe that CSCE is proactive in meeting the developmental needs of young children while negotiating the changing landscape of public education standards and testing, bringing both the arts and an artistic approach to delivery of core academic curriculum. The school is actively building a community that celebrates its urban diversity while nurturing each individual's human potential. CSCE's teachers embrace the challenge of bringing the educational philosophy of Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner) education to the rigors of preparing children for academic opportunities beyond elementary education. Where other schools have cut back the arts, movement, creativity and community initiative, CSCE endeavors to embed these enriching aspects of the human social fabric into the daily life of the students. This young school has surpassed all expectations in seeking community and institutional support and involvement while establishing itself in the heart of Oakland. As it grows to full K-8 capacity, this support, along with that of committed and active parents will assure the success of its mission.
Unfortunately, our experience was not as steller as the others. I don't know if the support staff (afterschool and teacher's aides) are going through a transition, but I found they and the the general culture of the school to be quite punitive. Too much yelling at children and not enough positive discriplie. It is supposed to be a Waldorf inspired school, but it is hard for an average parent to see that. Dr. Oberman is fantastic and so are many of the teachers, but the neighborhood and the negative culture in the school is challenging. We made it 9 weeks before we switched to a more traditional school. This one just didn't work for us. Do as much research as possible and make sure you visit more than Ms. Paredes-Brown and Ms. Hill's classes. Also, check out the afterschool program. It need a lot of work.
This school is a great fit for my family! My child is in first grade. We love the diversity and the attention to each child. We find the staff to be exceptional. Principal is very intelligent and kind. Parents are always welcome. My son has a wonderful gardening class, and a special science class. The first week he came home very excited about liquids changing to gasses. my child is getting a fantastic education. I think there are very strong academics while also being nurturing and progressive.
My son has been in Transitional Kindergarten at CSCE for two weeks now and I want to share with you how awesome it is for his first real school (not preschool) experience to be at this school with all of its wonderful staff. Everyone is very warm and caring and I feel like it is an environment that my son will truly thrive in. He asks if he can go to school on Sundays and when he came down with a stomach bug and had to miss two days he told me many times " I wish I wasn't sick, I miss Ms. Brown". They do so many awesome thing at CSCE to truly treat the children as the capable beings that they are. If not for CSCE I would likely have to spend thousands a year on private school to get an equivalent experience for my son. Thank you CSCE I am truly grateful.