My son's experiences at Thornhill are unforgettable. There are traffic issues, bully issues, donation issues, cafeteria issues, and principal attendance issues. First of all, the man (long tie-up hair) in charge of traffic at Thornhill have knock on car windows, place orange cones on car roofs and in front of car tires for parents to run over, and made rude and unnecessary remarks toward parents while they are sitting inside their car. For example, he will walk up to your car and say “You are brilliant” (he is referring to parent as being stupid) while parents are unloading their child on a white zone. Secondly, my son had witness his classmate being stab with a pencil by his other classmate during class. The nurse had to assist to remove the lead that was stuck inside the skin. With no disciple to this bully, he was then sent to lunch which he then decide to pour milk all over the same student clothes that he had stabbed. Another incident my son witness was when his classmate drags another classmates’ by the shirt, swinging him around multiply times in front of their P.E. teacher Ms. O. Third issues would be the pressure of donation. Thornhill expect a $500 donation per student in the beginning of school year, and at least 2-3 different other donation per month throughout the year. Majority parents would not mind donations because of the beneficial of the children, but surprisingly 15% of donations go directly toward staffs and teachers. Thornhill is proud to make the traditional teacher donation/gift twice every school year of $500.00 gift card/cash each time. Fourth issue would be the school cafeteria being shut down with no notice. There has been multiply times where no food permitted to students with the approval of the principal especially on dates when music performance is taken place. Tons of students who buy daily lunch or who forgot their lunch had starved. Fifth issue involve principal Mr. Daubenspeck who can never be found on-site. If you are lucky to meet with him unexpectedly, he will disappear in the middle of a meeting .There are several great long term teachers and staffs along with many wonderful students that have left this school. Ms. Forbes and Ms. Weissman are the TOP awesome yet caring and engaging teachers. Sadly, beware of many unresolved issues and conflicts at Thornhill especially with Mr. Daubenspeck as the principal.
My child is in third grade at Thornhill. We have been here since kindergarten. I like the teacher my child has. She is caring and supportive. The new Principal however, just hides out in his office all of the time. He is not warm and welcoming as the wonderful previous Principal. Who knows if he will be our Principal next school year or if we will have a new one. There is too much homework and projects for a child of 8 or 9 to do. It's like the homework is for the parents. If your child doesn't fit their mold then the school is quick to state that your child has "problems". Nice variety of after school programs. Lots of stay at home parents and and work at home parents. There are some bullying issues, that are not dealt with properly. Lots of parent volunteers. Recess is only 10 mins in the morning and in the afternoon. Short lunch also. We are currently looking into private school or homeschool.
This school was a great start. I couldn't have been more pleased with the parent involvement, and the teachers care, but some are better and more organized than others. Kindergarten is a wonderful experience. Summer mixers turned into friends on the playground and the weekends, for the parents and children. Despite mostly all being from wealthy backgrounds, there is never a feeling of elitism, and there is diversity. The parents are also highly organized, and involvement opportunities are as frequent as you can make them. The school itself is worth a 5 star rating, but leadership changes cause me to dock it a star. For political reasons, things went south spring of 2013, and OUSD assigned a new principal, starting the '13-14. He is the polar opposite to the previous- our new one is not charismatic, seemingly has no point of view on education, and doesn't truly engage the parents (although he will hear you, there is no action). He is not a servant leader; he only operates the school. *Surprised* no one has commented yet. The education doesn't seem to suffer, but aside from your own teacher engagement, you won't get that warm fuzzy feeling that the school is going good places.
This school has a great community. Feels like a nice, neighborhood school. Caring teachers, parents and a nurturing environment. Our children thrive there. There seems to be a healthy emphasis on academics and lots of extracurricular activities. The parents fundraise actively to provide added benefits for the kids and the school.
the school might have good rating, but for the special education classroom is bad. if i wouldve know how it actually is in the classroom i wouldve looked for another school. the teacher seams unexperienced, and looks frustrated with her inavility to control the classroom and the kids. the teacher/student ration is redicilous! the director is not as friendly and great as they make him seem endless your a white upper class parent! He lacks understanding and compassion with the special needs children and from my experience i believe he needs more education on Autism and understanding them and their behaviors!!
After having spent the last six years at Thornhill, I have seen the breadth and depth of the school. The principal is extremely caring, involved, open and has a lot of OUSD experience -- both as a teacher and a principal. Many teachers have lots of experiences and there are a handful of new teachers which keeps things fresh. They all share a deep commitment to the students. The school works really well on a number of levels and it is due to the combined commitment of the families, teachers and staff. Like any school, there are imperfections and things that can be improved, but the children are happy and they all leave the school to move on to whatever next step is right for them: OSA, Montera, private middle schools.
Thornhill is a great school because the teachers are caring, the parents participate, and the children are curious. Thornhill also has a great principal that knows all the kids, keeps things running and under control.
My son went to school here for 4th and 5th grade, 2004 - 2007. He adjusted well as a transfer student, and the kids were friendly. There was good parent involvement in the school. The teachers were very caring and attentive, and in great communication with parents. My son thrived there academically, and also got extra assistance where needed. There were also fun after school classes, like martial arts and acting.
Thornhill is a terrific school: the quality of the teachers, principal, programs, parental involvement, etc. I too think there's a bit much homework, but this is largely driven by the state and federal level who demand relentless testing and 'accountability.' This is a public school issue generally and not a Thornhill specific issue. Thornhill has programs that other public schools in Oakland generally don't offer because the parents fund them. Parental involvement is very high here and that's one of the very strong points about the school. Parents who are critical of the 'snobby' attitudes of the parents have probably made that assessment from 'afar' and have not made an effort to get involved.
This is my child's last year at Thornhill and while I believe it is a good school. I have always found the parents there very difficult to talk to, they are not down to earth but quite snobby. My child's progress started off great but then went down around the third grade. I think she started to see the polarities of treatment between the races. She especially is aware of it now and tells me what goes on. My experience of speaking with the teachers and the principal has been basically like speaking to a brick wall. I am sure they considered my concern as being overreactive. I have basically watched my child's enthusiasm for school wane tremendously but I am very optimistic that she will do better in a more multi-cultural nurturing environment.