This is obviously a school with energetic teachers and engaged parents. But, this is no private school. People in reviews here have compared it to a private school.
Teachers had classroom management skills and fun learning methods. Yet after visiting a private school, I felt the level of reading is lower. This probably varies greatly from student to student I'm sure. I know my child would be bored here, though, because it isn't moving fast enough.
I do like that parents are active in the classrooms. But all parents do not know how to effectively help in the classrooms as an experienced teacher or aid would, walking around to tables and assisting. But it is nice to have a community of parents who are trying to help. And I'm sure their help is still effective I'm sure. And I do believe that setting the example for child goes a long way. Private schools also require parent participation.
The problem with any classroom is you have students at different levels. Some are reading at higher levels than others. At the private school, though, the baseline is much higher. So that makes a difference. Also variant behavior is tolerated more here than at a private school.
I know die-hard fans of this school will attack this review. These are my observations. I don't think this school should be ruled out by any means. I love the teacher and parent enthusiasm at this school. I wouldn't have compared it to a private school except that so many others here did.
I gave it 3 stars because I liked it, but in general it was unimpressive. Ask about amount of sight word/reading expectations for grade level and math and go from there to see if this is a fit for you. This is standard in California. The private school I visited had higher expectations for students in these areas.
I hope this is helpful. I encourage anyone to visit here and decide if this is the right fit for your family. For the warm, caring, and personable atmosphere alone it is worth a look.
Orion is a gem in the Redwood City public school district. The teachers are incredibly dedicated, the principal is an approachable leader who knows every student by name and character, the parents are actively involved. My kids both love(d) going to school at Orion.
No homework in K-2. I wish we had been here then! Instead, my kid suffered and cried over his weekly homework packet for years. The homework in 3-5 is useful and reasonable, and they never give weekend or vacation homework, because the priority is on kids having family time and down time after school. Nirvana!
Like many schools, they have programs and ways they teach the kids to interact and solve problems. Unlike other schools, it really works, because teachers and parents provide the necessary time to make it work.
Orion is an incredible oasis, like a private school that you don't have to pay for. Run, do not walk, and register your child(ren)! Family-centered, supportive, amazing teachers, real kindness among the kids, meeting each child where they are, no homework in lower grades and small amounts in the upper grades...it just doesn't get any better. No bullying among the kids. A well-supervised playground where kids can really play, make up their own games, take the kinds of risks on the equipment that we took as kids. A full-time librarian! You have to give 75 hours of volunteer time per kid, but there are a million ways to do that, and the result of all those parent hours is tons of teacher support, tons of classroom support, amazing community events, and incredible opportunities for the kids. I wish there were six stars.
I love the community aspect of Orion. I feel that all the parents work hard together to raise all of our children. There is a lot of hard work that goes into our children and Orion makes it fun to be involved and eager to learn as a team.
My daughter is in her second year at Orion. We cannot express enough how much we appreciate this school! The academics are great and there is plenty of structure, but there is also a lot of focus on on teaching them to be good people and good citizens. It is a really wonderful balance! Our teachers in Kindergarten and 1st Grade have been very good. My kids (1st Grader and 4 Year old who doesn't even go here yet) LOVE to hang out in the Library with the librarian who is very warm and nurturing and gets the kids really excited about books.
The best thing about this school is the parent community. 72 volunteer hours per year are required per family and this makes for a very rich environment for the kids. There is always something going on at the school, so many events, learning opportunities, and lots of parents willing to roll up their sleeves to make these things happen.
My only negative feedback on this school is that I feel there could be more after school enrichment activities. There is no on-site aftercare (kids who need aftercare take a bus to other programs). Even chess club, art programs, or sports after school for an hour or so would be great!
Orion is a great school, academically and socially. It is the kind of school which makes students and parents cry when they leave. The parent involvement requirement means that there are adults everywhere, no bullying or stealing. Teachers can focus on teaching. Children have interest, likely due to the parental interest, but come from all walks of life. Support for special needs children is excellent and the aids also interact with all children, as a bonus. There is an especially dedicated librarian, and a very rare focus on reading, authors and the literary side. Test scores are not very high, likely due to a lack of enthusiasm for test preparation, among not only staff but parents, and to the very diverse student body. Many teachers are parents of Orion Alumnae, turnover is low. Several teachers have spouses or children in high-stress professions, so they know what is required for children to achieve. Facilities are constrained, but well utilized and very clean and orderly. Probably the best elementary school in RWC, though North Star Academy has a Middle School attached and more homework, which will attract some. Too many good things to say, too little space.
IT is one of the best school in my opinion. the teachers are very friendly and open for discussion regarding any issues or problem. Children not only learn the basic subject but as well as they explore various kind art, craft, music and knowledge about different cultures and Country.