A school we like may be different for someone else. We just started at this school 2 weeks ago, a week after everyone went back from summer. Hard enough for a 4th grade girl and a 2nd grade boy to move state away from friends, schools neighbors etc!! But then to have to start school later than everyone else it was a little tough. Ortega school staff and teachers made everything easy, warm and welcoming for me but especially for the kids..... The teachers are professionals but with down to earth human kindness. I have nothing but positive wonderful comments about Ortega elementry. My daughter in 4th grade has had a hard transition and teachers, aids, custodians and the administration have bent over backwards to improve and help her situation. Miss Lynn the front office woman is just wonderful, Miss Angie generally cares about every child and made such a difference in our experience. The principle is a great person with compassion and a sense of good leadership. Mr Corten in 4 th grade is just plain amazing. The curriculum seems fast paced but with a good balance of mainstream academics and creative arts, This school gets our vote. All the kids here seems genuinely happy to be here.
Ortega is a fantastic school. My daughter will graduate from 5th grade this year, and the teachers have done a wonderful job preparing her for middle school. The principal and secretaries are also amazing. She has ADHD, and I sent her to the local (terrible) private school for kindergarten and 1st grade. What a waste of money...she received no help or extra support. Switching to Ortega at the beginning of 2nd grade was the best decision we ever made. She couldn't even read when she started. Now she is an honor student, confident and thriving. Reads above grade level and especially excels at math. Thanks Ortega!
Ortega, like 90% of California schools, suffers from a critical lack of proper financial management. The principal is great, working with parents and staff to eek as much as he can out of a limited budget. The teaching staff are hit or miss. Our Kindergartner had a superb teacher. Our third grader had a teacher who could not control her classroom and didn't bother to teach math. Please be aware that children attending Ortega ( and other Pacifica schools) do not have access to full-time librarians, or paid instructors for PE, Art, or Music. Don't even hope for a band program, it is non-existent. The PTA has tried to cover the funding gaps, paying salaries for part-time librarians and other "elective" instructors. However, the PTA has been staffed, for several years, with two women who bully and harass other parents. This has led to a down-ward trend in parent participation and fundraising. Additionally, Ortega school grounds are constantly covered with litter and the building is in dire need of repairs.
I'll start off by saying, I was the most reluctant convert to moving my kids to Ortega. We were living in the city, but moved to Pacifica last year, and opted to keep our kids in SF public school where my oldest had finally gotten an IEP placement that we were pleased with. However, inter-district transfers need to be submitted every year and Pacifica denied our request for this year. Initially, I was mildly steamed, but we decided to meet with the Special Education folks before putting up a fight. Best move ever. The bottom line is that the city probably has fewer resources to go around. We were accustomed to fighting tooth and nail for every single service in the city, but our experience with Pacifica has been completely different. You ask for what you want, and they just give it to you! The Principal, Teachers and PTO are all wonderful, and the sense of community is unparalleled in my experience. :)
I can't say enough great things about this school! It was our first choice for many reasons and has been amazing so far!! My son just finished kindergarten and his teacher (along with the other kinder teachers) was very on top of things. She dealt students fairly and at the varying academic levels. She treated everyone kindly and taught them the importance of respecting themselves and others. The parent involvement here and PTO have been fabulous! We couldn't have imagined a better year and anticipate the older grades well go well too.
My child is currently attending kindergarten at Ortega. As many other parents, we chose this school as a second choice, mainly because it is so close to our home. We really connected with the principal and we were excited to start a new phase on my child's life. Six months into the school year, I feel drained because the experience has been less than rewarding, partly because our child and the teacher have not connected at the same level expected. Despite the conversations we've had with both the principal and the teacher, we have seen little progress. I understand the challenges that teachers must face given the limited budget assigned to the school, which is very sad because I still believe in the principal's philosophy and I truly admire his drive. The PTO is fabulous and involved and the daycare is just a few steps away. However I'm still concerned about my child's education, and have little hopes for my child to move to first grade, so I'm looking for options outside the school district. Don't get me wrong, this is a good, thriving school. It's just not for us.
I have a first grader at Ortega (started in Kinder) and I cannot say enough great things about this school. After moving from the East Bay (Antioch) and seeing how a decent school district can turn quite frightening and fast, I was a bit nervous. With budget cuts, I assumed they were all heading that direction. That "fear" faded Fast! All around fantastic staff that seems to truly care and know your child and the best Secretary in the world! A principal that cares, listens and is actively involved. Teachers are great and take time to get to know you and your child. Creating lesson plans to fit each child s needs - whether they need additional help or need a bit more advanced program than standard... I could go on and on! Amazing reading program and the enrichment classes such as Science and Art are favorites with the kids. Most schools have had to cut such programs, but our staff, district, parents, etc. do what they can to keep them in place! And a fantastic PTO - all parents are members and mosvery involved. Most staff and families are on a first name basis . Okay, I must stop as I am running out of "characters"!!!! Email me with any questions or comments.