Wonderful school, great staff, great community and environment, but the children are not academically challenged. Many of the fifth graders are not fully ready to enter middle school. I guess the middle school teachers are the ones that work hard with our kids to bring them up to middle school standards.
Ohlone is truly unique, I can't say enough good things about it. It has brought out the best in our children, educating them towards self-confident curious learners and creative problem-solvers. The teachers' dedication is second to none, they understand the children, and every child is given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. As an aside: Even though they don't 'teach to the test', my children's test scores went up after switching to Ohlone from a different (comparable) school.
This "choice" school is truly a gem. We have had 2 of our children attend Ohlone. We have been able to compare this school with another private school where we sent our oldest child. Ohlone instills a love of learning, independence, and initiative that the private school was unable to provide. They adhere to their philosophy and project based learning is taken very seriously. There is also an emphasis on whole child development.
This school is fantastic. With mixed grade levels, students are able to work at different levels of work and be supported by older kids and help younger students. It is a public comprehensive program encompassing the humanities, sciences and arts. Best of all - the school has a farm where students learn about growing and eating healthy food and taking care of small farm animals. It's the best!
They actually teach at Ohlone, not just get through the day. I don't think I realized just how wonderful the place was until I was exposed to other schools. Both of my children who have gone have really become motivated to learn for its own sake. So instead of stopping when they did just well enough to get an A, they were always motivated to learn and do more. And despite not having homework every night (maybe because of it?) have done really well in middle school and beyond. The teachers are really supported to do some of their own thing -- so one class did claymation, another does Shakespeare, some go different places for the simulation. It does depend on the teacher, but that is part of what makes the teachers motivated -- and the school better.
Ohlone has been a wonderful school for my daughter for three years. She has cherished both of her teachers, developed a hearty appetite for reading, and feels confident about herself as a student. I am grateful to be a part of this community.
Our kids have gotten a tremendous love of learning at Ohlone. They are curious, questioning, and liberated to think in new ways, mostly (I think) due to the alternative curriculum. Ohlone's 'no-homework' rule is an incredible blessing to let the kids be kids as long as possible. The test scores catch up by grade 5, earlier on, they are lower, largely (imho) b/c Ohlone does not 'teach to the test' and they don't teach test-taking skills, until later in the curriculum. The buddy system, 2 years per teacher, farm and caring parents make this an Oasis of creativity and learning in the crazy world we live in. Principal Susan Charles is a gifted leader.