This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Thornhill Elementary School3
Posted May 11, 2014
- a parent
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.
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.