For a school in the Palo Alto Unified School District, this one seems to have fallen through the cracks. They are disorganized to such a degree that on four different occasions in a single school year, they have told me "Sorry, we can't locate your child." when I show up to pick her up early for appointments or bring forgotten lunches. On top of that, the front desk staff has a special way of making you feel like the world's worst parent because you child managed to leave the house that morning without everything they needed. The few instances where I've had to deal with the principal have left me feeling inadequate and frustrated. My children also have special needs (IEPs and 504s) and I felt as though I was not welcomed, I was shunned. The principal caters to the parents who can afford to be over-involved and those of us who work 80+ hours a week are looked at as though we don't care about our children. The school counselor seems to be the only one who really cares about special needs students and she's only there twice a week. (She works all the elementary schools in PAUSD) I too wish that I had done more research and found a different school for my children.
This school and its teachers are not well prepared to teach students with learning issues or problems. They teach to the middle to upper eschelon of abilities in most cases while still not providing enough challenging material to exceptional students. I have had two children attend over the past several years and have found several of the teachers to be inflexible, especially the older teachers. I even experience an terrible and derogatory comment made about my child's ability. The teacher who said this is still there. If I were to do it all over again, I would try to find a more caring school whose teacher's are more accepting of learning differences.
We have been parents at Juana Briones since 2006 and another to start this fall. The atmosphere, parents and teachers are dedicated to the children they teach and help at home. We love the supportive and friendly school culture and really feel our children thrive and learn so much - beyond the great academics. The cultural and social diversity at this school really makes Juana Briones a very special school. They have an updated Web Site Address: http://www.briones.pausd.org/
We moved here a year ago and my 2 sons started Juana Briones in Fall 2008. They have loved every day of it and had no problems adjusting. It's a great small school with friendly staff, teachers, and very involved PTA.
My daughter started attending this school this year in First Grade and we have had such a wonderful experience with the principal, her teacher and the parents. From the atmosphere, the activities, and the curriculum, we are so happy and proud to have our daughter attend this school!