Our experience has been just horrible. The school has great people with good intentions, but severely lacking the resources and training to deal with the challenges that come with serving a vulnerable population. The principal does not engage parents and families in a meaningful way; she will only engage if the parent(s) are willing to do what she wants. It was clear to me that she deliberately avoids giving families a chance to voice concerns because it is too much of a headache for her. The school is understaffed and does not work to educate the entire child. The main focus at the school is achieving academic results, and skims over character and citizenship development. The school and the organization does a great job of selling themselves but does not live up to their very own mission and vision. Last, there is a widespread attitude of complacency towards negative behaviors among many children and families. I have heard and seen staff say, "well this is Oak Park what do you expect!" I hope this review will be helpful to families. I would never recommend this school to any family.
I LOVE the education and the college experience that my daughter receives at PS7. They begin planting the seeds of getting a four year college education with kindergarden. My daughter was told to view the college that they toured as a potential college for her to attend and it was discussed as if the students were getting ready to enroll. It wasn't just a "field trip" it was an official look at a prospective college. My daughter is very excited about school and the teachers have been very good at making sure that she is challenged so that she continues to grow.
There is a reason this school is rated high on the California Department of Education. There are long days ( like a normal work week 7:45-4:00) but the children get out of school for 3 weeks after children are in school every 8 weeks. If your child is behind in any subject matter, during this school break, their instructors teach them the material while their classmates are on break with breakfast and lunch included for half days free . (this is not found in public or most private schools) In my experience, I have had full access to my children's instructors through email and cell phone and instructors normally call back the same or next day even if its 6 am in the morning. There is also free tutoring in afterschool program as well as every Saturday school for middle school students who need or want more help in subject matter.
I absolutely LOVE this school. My daughter is in the 1st grade, and although the first trimester was difficult for her, I believe she has accepted 'homework' as HER responsiblity. The staff is experienced, loving, and focused on the children. The children are well mannered and present themselves as a 'community'. The parents are united and all want what's best for their children. I hope to keep my daughter in the St Hope Schools until she graduates and goes to college. (which is one of her goals since touring Standford Univ. with her class)She is learning academics as well as social skills (which were compromised in a smaller private school)
This school is not for every child-the principal will tell you that at orientation, too. I believe that they serve a certain student type, but if your child does not fit well into the mold, he/she will have a very hard time. They are very strict and rigid and have a long school day, which is hard for kids just staring school. If your child has behavioral special needs, this is not the school for him/her. They are just not flexible enough to work with kids who need different approaches. We had a very bad experience, but I know other parents who love the school and their approach. PLEASE just visit the school and observe class time, recess and lunch. If you accept the strict approach and your child can thrive in this type of environment, you might have a much better experience than we did.
I have so many positive comments about this school. My daughter has attended PS 7 school for two years another child will start kindgergarten in the fall. When my oldest daughter started she was far behind in reading and had fallen in the cracks of the traditional public but within the first semester she was caught up and excelling in all areas of education. The environment is very structured and the kids excell. The field lessons are always helpful and beneficial to the curriculum. The college tours show how the school is focused on exposing the children to a higher levels of educational advancement. The parental support groups are phenomenal. The staff is always open to talk and will help you to assist your child while challenging them to assist themselves..=-) I could literally go and on and on about this school.
This is my child's second year at PS7 and I can't say enough about the school! now don't let the exterior fool you it's not a 'pretty' school but the everything going on within it's doors is completely geared towards the success of the child. The curriculum is progressive and rigorous. The teachers and principle are warm and understanding and believe in the potential of each and every child..My son has learned so much in the time he's been there and everyday he wakes up and goes to school he's taught the sky is the limit.
Those of you who do not believe inner-city communities have great schools should look again! PS7 is a free charter school that provides children with rigorous coursework, high expectations and more time. College field lessons begin in the 1st grade and every child knows exactly when they will graduate from college. Teachers and staff are committed to providing PS7 students with a top-notch education and excellent customer service to parents. My son continues to grow leaps and bounds academically; my husband and I continue to be active, empowered parents.
Very long school day, but very much worth it! Academics are good and the teachers are wonderful! Offers a variety of elective for the students including, music. Every student is expected to excel. Parent participation is required.