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Aurora School

Private | K-5 | 130 students

Aurora School is best known for its excellent progressive education.

 
 

Living in Oakland

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $725,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,690.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
No new ratings
2013:
Based on 5 ratings
2012:
Based on 1 rating
2011:
Based on 1 rating

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19 reviews of this school


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Posted November 25, 2013

Our daughter is in 2nd grade at Aurora School. She and her schoolmates appear to be well-rounded, caring, and curious learners, thanks to the dedicated and thoughtful teachers and staff. If you are interested in a challenging, yet progressive, education for your child, Aurora should be on your list. The litany of positives is long: blended classrooms (a terrific attribute), creative teachers, truly individual attention, world-class children's library (no joke, you have to see it to believe it), small-school environment, involved parents (who, for many, really do become great friends), varied learning environments (woodshop for K/1s-seriously!), and a thoughtful curriculum. So many have said they knew their family belonged at Aurora the minute they walked into the school. Once you visit, you will see why.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 30, 2013

My daughter is entering 4th grade in the Fall at Aurora and has been there since kindergarten. She has thrived at Aurora, and although the regular social, emotional and academic challenges of early childhood inevitably come up, I have been impressed again and again at the staff's ability to respond with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. If there is one thing that Aurora does beautifully it is to get to know each child as an individual. I really suggest that you look at Aurora if you are looking for a school where your child will not only learn academics, but will become part of a wonderful community of lifelong learners.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 21, 2013

Aurora is an amazing school, with very strong teaching staff and a wonderfully supportive parent community. We have a daughter still there and one that has graduated to middle school, we could not be more impressed with the academically strong and socially compassionate kids they have become, and we attribute a big part of that to their time at Aurora. The school's tag line - The Best of Both Worlds: Academic Rigor in a Progressive Setting - holds true. The school does an impressive job of blending academic achievement with a strong social and emotional curriculum. And the teachers are an impressive array of competent and caring individuals. Looking back at almost ten years at Aurora I can not imagine that there would have been a better academic experience for my two kids.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 23, 2013

Aurora is a treasure. Our daughter has been there for four years, and we're delighted not only with the education she's receiving but also with the broader school community. We love the fact that it's truly an elementary school (K-5, instead of K-8 or K-12), because the entire education and culture can really cater to children of that age. The mixed grade classrooms have been invaluable because they've given our daughter the chance to cultivate meaningful relationships with a broad range of children, instead of confining her to six years with the same group. Academically, Aurora consistently fosters critical thinking and curiosity -- with teachers who are thoughtful and dedicated, and students who truly enjoy learning. Obviously this is a personal decision, and not every school works for every student or family. But Aurora children seem happy and inclusive, and develop interesting minds and empathetic hearts. We recommend it without reservation. -Current parent at Aurora
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 1, 2013

Aurora joins a rigorous academic K-5 model with a progressive approach to learning and education. The teachers are exemplary--leaders in the classroom, but also skilled at collaborative efforts with other classroom teachers and specialists in art, music, etc. We have been very happy with the academic challenge afforded our daughter, but also with the comprehensive focus on social emotional learning, collaboration and teamwork, and art, music, and theater.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 20, 2012

My two children went to Aurora. Aurora academics has always been of concern to some Aurora parents. I'm here to tell you the Aurora kids do really well in middle school, high school, and attend very selective colleges. Our kids were just everyday kids at Aurora, nothing special, but both were accepted to every middle school where we applied. We chose St. Paul's where our kids thrived -- there was no catch up necessary. The Aurora kids were 8th grade presidents about half the time. Our son and 2 of his Aurora classmates attended College Prep.Other Aurora classmates attended Head Royce, Julia Morgan, Redwood Day, Lick Wilmerding, College Prep, Head Royce, Athenian, Oakland Tech engineering program, and Bishop O'Dowd. Our kids did well and had a great time, but they are not straight A students. They fall between B+ and A-. However, many of their Aurora classmates did become straight A students. Colleges attended include Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, Swarthmore, Sarah Lawrence, Cornell, Carleton, Cal Arts, Cal Poly, Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania. So be vigilant, prepare your kids to thrive as adults, but don't worry about Aurora's academics. Christopher Reesor
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 21, 2011

While my daughter will only be a first grader next year, I feel that Aurora is a perfect fit for her. She is quiet and slow to warm in new environments and she has thrived at Aurora socially, emotionally, and academically. All problems are addressed with thoughtful consideration and the K-1 teaching staff is top notch and very collaborative. I also personally love the head of school. She is a teachers' principal - focused on the teachers' development and how best to support them, which is very critical to me. Check it out!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 8, 2009

Aurora was a great warm and fuzzy school. When I pulled my daughter out after 3rd grade, she has the opportunity to actually learn some academics. I was never one to complain as some of the other parents, but I look back and can understand all the 'talk' about offering differentiated instruction without any type of tests. Informal assessment are hunky dorie, but it would be nice to get a test here or there to mix it up. My daughter remembers the great songs, stories, and plays from her time at Aurora, but she didn't know how to round numbers, long subtraction, multiplying two digit numbers, etc. Stuff she needed to master by the time she got into 4th grade. I felt she learned more math in 2nd grade. I agree with another posting, she received the same long vowel spelling words in 3rd as she did in 2nd.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 6, 2009

Aurora offers a cozy and intimate environment. The woodshop, art, music, and library classes are fabulous. There have been teacher turnover, but that's not uncommon. I have noticed teachers come in with little or no head teaching experience and camps and assistant teaching don't count. However, they are enthusiastic, young, and hard working. It's taken the new principal some time to settle in, but I think he is making his mark to transform the school where it needs to go. He is often out of the office, sick, or on vacation during the school year. Academically, we've had to supplement based on what our friends and family's kids get at their school. My child did not know how to round his numbers, didn't know how to use a dictionary, or various language conventions...... I use to get frustrated when he would have long vowel silent e homework in 3rd grade.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 30, 2008

I highly recommend Aurora! My child is in her second year at Aurora School. From the first weeks of Kindergarten when she was walking on air at the end of every day to these days in her First Grade year as she practices for the upcoming class play she has been thriving and blooming socially and academically. Her teachers are dedicated, involved, smart and truly loving to the kids in the class. There is attention to the social environment and to values of inclusion and acceptance of difference. Talented enrichment teachers offer Art, Music, Movement, PE, Library, Woodshop, and Spanish instruction that is integrated very well with the classroom curriculum. Many families that choose Aurora are people who prioritize their child's education and want a progressive approach to teaching and learning in these early years!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2007

We have been at Aurora SchooI for 6 years. We have two boys and both have been there since kindergarten. Although our two boys are very different learners, they have each thrived in the classroom. We feel the teachers know them extremely well and each have been given individualized treatment. Both boys are appreciated for their strengths and given support where challenged. Aurora is a place where children are respected, honored, and constantly engaged. We honestly believe that Aurora does build the foundation necessary for kids to succeed as they move on in life. In addition, Aurora has been an amazing community for us as parents. The environment is open and warm, and the teachers are very accessible.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 1, 2007

We have been an Aurora family for five years now, and it has been a truly wonderful experience. At each grade level our daughter has been consistently engaged in learning, and has thrived with the creative academic program at Aurora. The strong social/emotional curriculum has been a wonderful part of the experience, too. We wanted a small elementary school for our daughter, where the teachers and staff could really know her. Now that we are looking at middle schools, we know she has the confidence and tools to excel in a larger environment. Aurora has been a great home for our family, and we will always be grateful for the strong foundation it s provided our daughter.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 1, 2007

Our kid has been at Aurora for nearly 2 years. We are staying at this school because of the strong community and the focus on emotional and social development. The academic program is different from traditional schools but our kid is thriving in all areas. A well rounded education is what's important to us. There have been turnovers with the staff but it's not unusual. Parents tend to react strongly to changes but kids are resilient. The new head of school has brought structure that is welcoming! Kids who are not ready for Kindergarten were given opportunities to work things out but oftentimes, parents involvement is crucial and perhaps a structure environment is more suitable. Aurora provides a great foundation for our kid in becoming a caring, confident and emotionally intelligent person.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2007

Two of our kids went to Aurora for six years. Too many kids are not engaged in learning. Lots of kids go to tutors or specialists outside of school because they are not learning the basics or have had difficulties dealing with aspects of the school environment. There is a lot of bullying, teasing and name-calling among the kids; which is inadequately dealt with by the teachers, and interferes with learning. Until this year, there was a warm and cohesive community atmosphere. However, that has changed under the new director, who is not parent-friendly. The theater arts program has been great, but that teacher is leaving. There are still a few talented teachers, a good after school program, and a sensitivity to GLBT families. 'Average' self-motivated well-behaved kids might do OK at Aurora.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 28, 2007

If you are considering Aurora, I would recommend that you spend a lot of time observing the classroom. What we experienced was a very dull and uncreative curriculum. In addition, they are not progressive as they claim to me nor do they teach to a child's differences. Our child spent one year at Aurora and we were very disappointed with the new head of the school and the inexperienced teachers in our child's class room. He went from being a happy kid to an anxious and stressed out kid. I would not recommend this school to anyone.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 21, 2006

Aurora is a very special place- close community and dedicated staff and teachers. Aurora is a progressive school- they have an active service learning component, they are diverse, and they respect children as children (not mini-adults).
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 17, 2006

Our daughter, now in high school, attended Aurora from kindergarten through fifth grade. While the personnel has changed over time, making it hard to comment upon, I want to discuss the educational philosophy and social culture of the school. The commitment to experiential learning really stimulated our child, who is an enthusiastic student to this day. The social culture was remarkably unpretentious, warm and welcoming, which also did wonders for our daughter, as well as our entire family. We found the teachers and the principal at the time to be very good as well. It was a very good experience for us.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 7, 2006

Aurora is a small K-5 that does well in arts and music education and not too well in more academic training. The school has mixed grade classrooms, which benefits the younger grade and means the progress of upper grade students often suffers. We had two kids at Aurora and were disappointed by the degree of academic rigor (in comparison to both public and private schools we've known). The school did a poor job of supporting struggling kids or challenging advanced students. The classroom atmosphere verges on chaotic. We saw frequent bullying and teasing tolerated by teachers and other staff, particularly on the playground. We dont recommend Aurora at all.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 26, 2005

I wasn't sure if we needed a private school, now I can't imagine a world without Aurora. We love it. The school involves the whole familiy in its community. The curriculum is perfect -- and my somewhat shy son (the boy who would on occasion hide under the table at pre-school) has truly blossomed. In additon to learning math and reading (so much fun to watch in a five year old)he has even made his stage debut, something I thought I might never see! The school adapts to the pace of the child and helps provide tons of support. Academically, the school is terrific, but it is the enrichment that is above and beyond anything that I could have imagined. They have a full time shop teacher, art teacher, librarian, music teacher, and let's face it, I want to go to school there it is so fun.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school
White 90%
Hispanic 6%
Asian 3%
Black 2%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Reading specialist(s)
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Korean
Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Industrial shop
Clubs
  • Gardening
  • Science club

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Theory
Performing and written arts
  • Drama
Clubs
  • Arts and crafts
  • Drama club
  • Sewing/knitting club
  • Woodshop

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Korean
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Kitchen
Clubs
  • Cooking club
  • Gardening
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:15 am
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Abbie Koss
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Independent
Associations
  • NAIS

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Multi-aged
  • Progressive
  • Project-based
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • None
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Korean
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Learning Resource Specialist
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Auditorium
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Industrial shop
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
  • Playground

Aurora Extended Care (after school program)

About the program
  • The Extended Care program at Aurora School serves students who need before and/or after school care. The program is designed to integrate with our school-wide social emotional curriculum and offer children an array of enrichment and recreational activities. In this way the Aurora Extended Care program gives children a positive, educational and fun extension of their school day. It gives parents peace of mind to know that their children are in a supervised, safe, secure and familiar environment.
Types of activities
  • Arts
  • Athletic
Operated by
  • Josh Johnson, Director
Days offered
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
Start time
  • 2:00 pm
End time
  • 6:00 pm
Is enrollment limited to students who attend the school?
  • Yes
What grades can participate?
  • K-5
Is there a fee for the program?
  • Yes
Is financial aid available?
  • Yes
How can parents find out more about fees?
  • Call
  • Visit website
Website
Phone number
  • 510-428-2606

Aurora Enrichment Classes (after school program)

About the program
  • Enrichment Classes at Aurora offer students a chance to explore a topic in depth after school right on the Aurora campus. Classes are offered in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Each class meets weekly after school for 8 weeks. Students may sign up for Enrichment Classes whether or not they participate in Aurora's Extended Care program. There is an additional cost to participate in Enrichment Classes.
Types of activities
  • Academic
  • Arts
  • Athletic
Operated by
  • Josh Johnson, Director
Days offered
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
Start time
  • 2:20 pm
End time
  • 4:30 pm
Is enrollment limited to students who attend the school?
  • No
What grades can participate?
  • K-5
Is there a fee for the program?
  • Yes
Is financial aid available?
  • No
How can parents find out more about fees?
  • Call
  • Visit website
Website
Phone number
  • 510-428-2606

Aurora Summer Camps (summer program)

About the program
  • Aurora School is well known for its July Theater Arts Camp with musical instrument building, set design and a rich mix of singing, dancing and acting. Specialty Half Day Camps run in July for families looking to mix and match half day camps to vary their child’s camp experiences. In addition, in June and August Aurora offers Full Day Camps, full of arts and crafts, sports and games, plus a different specialized activity each week. Extended Care is offered for all camps.
Types of activities
  • Arts
  • Athletic
  • Science nature
  • Technology
Operated by
  • Josh Johnson, Director
Dates offered
  • June 24, 2013 - August 9, 2013
Days offered
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
Start time
  • 9:00 am
End time
  • 4:00 pm
Is enrollment limited to students who attend the school?
  • No
What grades can participate?
  • K-6
Is there a fee for the program?
  • Yes
Is financial aid available?
  • Yes
How can parents find out more about fees?
  • Call
  • Visit website
Website
Phone number
  • 510-428-2606
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • None
Girls sports
  • None

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Theory
Performing arts
  • Drama
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Arts and crafts
  • Circus Arts
  • Community service
  • Cooking club
  • Drama club
  • Gardening
  • Green
  • Science club
  • Sewing/knitting club
  • Woodshop
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
More from this school
  • You are invited to schedule a tour any time. Please contact our Admissions Director at 510-426-2606 x204.
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2012-2013 school year
$20000 - $20000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid
Outside scholarships
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

40 Dulwich Road
Oakland, CA 94618
Website: Click here
Phone: (510) 428-2606

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