Alta Vista- I just posted on K-files, as well. There has only bee 3 posts here for 2013-2014, so I thought I'd chime in. In recent weeks, there have been rumors that Alta Vista did not have as high a Re-Enrollment as thought. Although I have a daughter in K and very happy, I hear a lot of grumbling in 3rd & 4th grade. We've been happy at Alta Vista, but it is discouraging to hear the upper grades express (strong) concerns. Also, we were really excited to be promised a Spanish program, but at the beginning of the year, the teacher left & I'm not sure what the plans are. We have taken a risk enrolling with a new school. We plan to be a strong part of the Parents Group (great people) and just voice our concerns, if any come up.
We love this school. Project based learning, amazing after school programs, art, drama, music and lots of fun.
Our child is in first grade and we are so thankful to have her at AVS. I could go on and on about all of the things that we love about AVS but instead I will focus on the wonderful balance that the school provides. When one hears that this is a school with a math/science/tech focus one might imagine that art and other creative areas are not emphasized at this school. However this is very much not the case! Drama, music, art, garden and dance as well as creative writing, reading, community service and Spanish all play an important role in the avs program. From Kindergarten the kids all perform in two drama productions and several music concerts each year. Reading is also emphasized and the reading specialist does a great job with this program. There is also a great considerstion for each child's well-being and social and emotional growth. All in all avs provides an amazing well-rounded program which is very strong in math and science. Most importantly our child looks forward to going to school each day!
We transferred our son to AVS this year after a very disappointing run at a very popular SF public school. AVS has already proven to be an amazing fit for our inquisitive, analytical child. Every day our son comes home gushing about what he's learning and discovering at school. His teachers are warm and caring individuals who seem to make every day special for him. From fun daily math challenges to getting their hands dirty in the thriving school garden, every day at AVS is an adventure, a challenge and a new discovery. The biggest difference for us (compared to his old school) is the student body which seems to consist of bright, respectful children who share a joy and excitement for learning and take great pride in their community.
5 stars just does not do this school justice! Everyone from the administration to the teachers are fabulous not to mention the wonderful community of parents and kids. This school is still somewhat of a hidden gem but will no doubt not be hidden for long. The kids work at an accelerated pace academically and they all seem to love school. Where else can you find that? We feel so lucky to have our child at this school and can't wait to send our second child to Alta Vista.
Alta Vista school is a perfect fit for my son. He is currently in his second year at the school and absolutely loves it! I have a hard time getting him to leave at pick-up and he is so excited to get to school in the morning. He tells me often that he wishes he could go to school every day of the week. The teachers and administrative staff are committed to make learning fun and meaningful for each child. The school supports my son's curiosity about the world. Math at Alta Vista is taught through games (i.e. playing cards and dice ) and science is big part of the day as it is hands on and based on children's questions and curiosities about the world. The best part about the school are the teachers! All the teachers are so committed and in sync with the needs of the children. They are simply amazing as well as the administrative/leadership staff. The school is also committed to creating a climate of being kind and respectful to others and the community. There is a strong community service and sustainability component as well. I feel extremely fortunate to have found this school and I am in awe of the opportunities and experiences he is involved in everyday!
I am new to Alta Vista this year and have been thrilled with the school. I agree with the other reviews about the quality of teaching and the strength of the curriculum. So, I thought I would highlight the outstanding after-school program, called Bookends. The past quarter has had offerings that include cooking, chess, soccer, creative movement, and art. The upcoming quarter will have an entirely new offering, including Mandarin twice a week I am told. My daughter never wants to leave when I come and pick her up!! They also offered an AVS camp in the weeks before school started to enable incoming pre-K and K students to get comfortable before the official school year began. I found this to be incredibly thoughtful and to demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the needs of children- not to mention working mom's.
I just transferred my son here from an established SF independent school, and I could not be happier that I did it!! Alta Vista's sole focus is about offering the best educational program possible to children. There is nothing pretentious about this school--in matter of fact, the lack of pretense is actually proof that the school's funding is going directly into instruction. You get what you see. He loves learning, again, because of Alta Vista! My son came home recently and told me, "You know, I really like Writer's Workshop." My son will tell you that a hypothesis is about what you think and a conclusion is about what really happened. In his cookie-ology experiment, he thought the cream of the Oreo would sink and in the the conclusion he wrote that it took exactly 2 minutes for it to sink! Reader's Workshop? He is mesmorized over some bizarre animal book! Math? Oh, this is his favorite subject! And, he doesn't have to fill in boring worksheets all day for math, either! It is hands-on! Alta Vista offers a very low student/teacher ratio. It is a complete academic program (Art, Music, Gym and Gardening). And, the Headmaster, Founders and Teachers are simply brilliant!
This school surpassed even all our best hopes. The classes are intimate and the teachers are intelligent, creative and kind. The quarterly reports that they prepare for each student are truly inspired and show just how well they know and how much they respect each student. My son has always been very curious and this school fules that natural state provides him with the tools to channel that curiosity through new ways of learning. I love that he is not just learning facts, but he is practicing communicating and presenting his new knowledge in front of his class and sometimes the whole school. The global perspective that he is developing will serve him well for the rest of his life. We love Alta Vista.
Alta Vista is an amazing new school with a focus on math, science and technology. All of the teachers are wonderful, kind and respectful as well as exceptionally bright and educationally creative. My daughter loves the project based curriculum and is always coming home to demonstrate the experiments she tried at school, or to show me the latest book she wrote in author's workshop, or some colorful creation she made in art class, or sing a new song she learned in music. Some days she doesn't want to leave and we play a game in the library as she tells me about her day. I can't say enough good things about this school. Seeing the light of excited learning in my daughter's eyes says it all for me.
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