The WR environment in terms of its locale as well as within its environs cannot be matched. The school layout is centered around a very large library and computer center. The classroom "pods" radiate out around the central building like a star. Our cafeteria/multi-purpose room is stellar and is used as a sports arena for the school district. We have a full kitchen with a Chef and Chef's assistant (Chef Basil & Chef Rodrigo) featuring fresh meals and a full salad bar daily! Adjacent to the school is the Wagner Ranch Nature Area which is available for the use of all the schools for various learning activities. Due to its proximity to the school, in addition to these "field trip" learning activities that all the OUSD students participate in, we have had garden classes for the youngest WR grades and various after school activities. The student population is one of the most diverse in Orinda, which also personally appealed to our family. With respect to academics, like all the OUSD schools, this can't be beat! But, for extra detail, we have found the teachers to be very committed and knowledgeable as well as very approachable. Likewise, the supporting staff like Debbie Wong and Sabu, and our Special Education staff, provide an environment of caring, dedication, and professionalism. We arrived to WR just after the fallout from a subgroup of the school who had a significant gripe with the then principal (read negative reviews a few years back which is bringing down the average to a 4). Those times are long past! The parent/family population seems to be, for the most part, a healthy, happy group who are highly involved and motivated to make the school the best it can be for our children. Furthermore, we have a new principal, Mr. Manheimer, nearly through his first year here, and he's doing a terrific job which is also lending itself to the good climate and positive direction for the school. If you're looking for diversity, relaxed outlook, appreciation for environment and the arts, as well as very serious academic commitment, you have found the right school here in Orinda!
Finally --- A new principal at Wagner Ranch. It only took 10 years... It may take him a year or two to rebuild the community & reestablish trust/good communication ... BUT.... WR is now headed by a competent administrator , continues to be a beautiful school site with good teachers in a semi-rural community. With a new administrator in place, the sky is the limit for this school.
We had a wonderful experience at Wagner Ranch. The teachers are extremely committed, my children have enjoyed the school and have consequently flourished. It is a shame that the school has received bad press-it is based on a small group of parents that unfairly accused the school of wrongfully dealing with bullying.
EXCELLENT experience. I am writing this review solely on my family's personal interactions with the teachers, staff, principal and overall educational experience. We have a daughter in the 1st grade who has had an exemplary educational, social and developmental experience. She has learned, met and exceeded all benchmarks which I believe is a testament to her overall learning environment. Our daughter looks forward to school everyday. I am grateful that our daughter has the opportunity to receive her elementary education at such a wonderful school. I hope this review inspires parents to objectively consider a school based on a number of factors.
I have two kids, one already graduated from Wagner and is now at middle school and another in K-3. The education my older child received was great and the child is performing at top level at middle school, both in math and writing. My younger one loves going to school, being among great friends and teachers who cares greatly about the child. I won't say it is perfect. No schools are to the eyes of parents, no other public schools at Orinda nor private schools are. But the negative campaign that happened at school a couple of years ago went far beyond the scope of the dissatisfaction the parents who carried out the campaign had with the school, unjustly criticizing the principal with personalized attacks and brought far more damage to the school community themselves than the damage they claimed they received. Fortunately, that is in the past. I feel the community is much more positive and focused on what we are all aiming for; providing good and safe learning environment for our children. I am very satisfied with Wagner Ranch.
My son attended Wagner Ranch K-5 and had a wonderful experience throughout. The principal is caring and provides good leadership to an exceptional staff of dedicated teachers. Most of the negative comments are unfounded and most likely posted by a group of disgruntled parents who wanted to oust her given that she takes a hard stand against bullying and bad behavior! Do not hesitate to enroll your child in this amazing Orinda school.
For the 3rd straight year Star testing at this Orinda schoool has dropped, They are teaching from the manual but our kids aren't getting the higher scores, I wissh my kids went to one of the other Orinda schools that have achieved higher star test scores. Must be the bad teachers? I don't think so!
There has been a lot of bad PR regarding the Principal and the admin s process from the local residents of Wagner Ranch Elementary School in Orinda. There has been an exodus in great teachers and student transfers along with lawsuits against the school/district over the last three years. This goes along with declining Star Test Scores at what should be a model school in a model city. I was very concerned about the treatment of our child and we decided it was in our other children's best interest that they attend another school in the district. We had attended many school board meetings and it was very clear to us that Neither the head of the school board nor the School Superintendent were willing to change things, In fact in the midst of city wide discrepancies over the allocations of school bonds the head of the school board with a partial board vote extended the contract and gave him a raise to the superintendent leaving many of the k-12 parents bewildered as to what happened. Orinda is a great place located 20 minute from downtown San Francisco but the atmosphere at Wagner Ranch needs vast improvement and it doesn t seem to be happening with the current admin and school board.
We are thinking of moving to Orinda but are concerned with sending our son to Wagner Ranch given several of the comments. Are there still concerns with this school's leadership? (I gave this 5 stars so as not to negatively impact the overall community rating.)