We moved from San Francisco to Piedmont for the schools. While our girls were in a great Spanish Immersion program in the city and we miss the intensive language practice, Havens has a before school Spanish program our girls love. And the creativity and approach to academics at Havens surpasses all that we've seen prior. The teachers and students have welcomed our kids very warmly. The teachers engage the girls in all kinds of creative learning projects. Our girls are pushed harder than they had been in San Francisco, but are stepping up and really enjoying it. Besides teaching the standards, their teachers are helping them with concepts such as time management, organization, leadership, teamwork, and much more. While we've only been in Piedmont for 3 months, I'm sure it was the right move for our family.
We are in first grade and loving it. We have a brand new, beautiful, state of the art campus, amazing teachers and Tery Susman our School Principal is fantastic. Parents are very involved, but it isn't expected. Some parents that work full time may only volunteer in the classroom once a month and others may wear many hats. I try to help raise money during our annual campaign and for Spring Fling our parent party/fundraiser. Happy Havens Family!
The whole community is involved in everything from enrichment curriculum (art, music, movement, math, etc.) to working the hot lunch lines). The science program/teacher is exceptionally strong and incorporates an environmentally conscious curriculum at every grade level. Kids really feel supported in the community. It's a great learning environment!
We've had two sons go through Havens. The quality of teaching overall has improved , but there can be dramatic differences in the child's experience based on teaching assignments. Opportunities for advanced or accelerated learning are pretty minimal outside of math and even there fairly limited. Parental involvement is very strong. Major reconstruction of the school is coming soon. The principal is not interested in addressing problems with the teaching staff.
Havens Elementary has overall been a positive learning experience for my child. However, the quality of the teachers has been erratic. When my daughter wasn't learning to read well with the rest of the class in second grade and third grade, the teachers didn't identify this as a problem and start giving her any extra attention/resources. Once we got her some outside tutoring, she improved quickly, but I feel like we were a year behind becuase the teachers were too casual about her progress. The focus on art is good and there's a music program too, and lots of parent involvment. Overall a very good school, but advocate for your own child.
My three sons have attended Havens over the past 8 years. The teachers are of highest quality, it's a nurturing environment (about 350 kids I think), after school care is great, enrichment programs are parent run and very extensive. Overall, we've been very happy.
Kindergarten curriculum is lacking, as are most of the teachers. Parents of children with special needs need to be in the driver's seat with coordinating services; teacher's not always willing participants in process. Children not always prepared for 1st grade, a shock to some parents. Children do not go to school for a full day until the second semester of 2nd grade! Excessive vacation schedule during the school year (Thanksgiving week, Christmas break, 'ski week,' and Spring break) means shorter summers.