We love everything about this school. The location, teachers, principal, and families. We've had two children in the school and it feels like they are getting a private education. We couldn't be happier.
The school district is more concern on their reputation then the well being of the students. There is parent involvement, but it is very club like, cliquish, bullying atmosphere, even among the teachers. So it depends on who you know and how much you can donate to the school as to your overall experience. If you are not from this area and are looking to see where to place your children I would look else where, first. Such as Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Charter or private. On the topic of bullying, kids will do what they can get away with. If it is acceptable for parents to behave in such away, then those children will follow their example. As for parents we just want the best for our children, unfortunately, it is hard to come by in the area.
The parents carry this school. The admin does not return calls nor are they aware of many policies that should be common knowledge in their position. When an appointment is scheduled, the principal forgets. she has time to show out of district families around to view the school. I happen to know several families who view it with no intention of attending (just want to compare). Again, the families in general wonderful (well educated and able to supplement their child's/children's education). If you can not afford private school this is a good option because of the families. There is still a big issue with bullies.
I have two children at Toro Park Elementary and we couldn't be happier with the school, the teachers, and the overall school atmosphere. We live in Toro Park and are very proud to have this school. There is a true feeling of community and the teachers really appear to enjoy their job and their children. I know that sounds like a blanket statement, however we have not yet had any negative experiences after several years. All of our friends feel the same way and our kids are really enjoying school and appear to be learning a lot.
As a parent with a child entering kindergarten this year, I relied heavily on the experience of other parents, as well as the statistics from this site before deciding on Toro Park. I was disappointed to learn during orientation that while greatschools lists the average class size as 19, kindergarten classes are expected to have at least 25 children per class this year...and there are no teacher's aides. Parents participate in the classroom, but there is truly no substitute for professional educators being able to spend quality time with a small class of children. I am crossing my fingers that the class size thins out as people make their final placement decisions closer to the start of the year. Also, if the number of children qualifying for reduced lunch fees is calculated into the school's score somehow, this school shows 0%...because there is no cafeteria, so no lunch available for purchase, and therefore there are no lunch fees at all reduced or otherwise! Hopefully that is not artificially inflating their ranking.
Toro Park is by far the best public school in this area. Their test scores speak for themselves. There are a solid group of parents who are always there helping teachers, students, and other parents as well. The WEUF and Parent's Club are amazing and generate a ton of revenue to keep our popular art/ music/ technology and sports programs up and running. Toro Park is a very safe neighborhood and the school is in the center of it all. There are some amazing teachers which somewhat make up for the not so amazing ones, however, you get this at any school :( Tenure needs to be done away with!! Overall, I would highly recommend Toro Park School!!! I hope it continues to remain the small adorable little neighborhood school that it is today.