Too many young, inexperienced teachers and managers and it's a problem. Too much inconsistency from year to year. Seems like the vision is lost as the school gets bigger. Been told that my kid is behind because it is a school problem, not a kid problem.
Our children learn wonderfully at Alta Vista School. They thrive in this culturally diverse co-ed school with a cutting edge STEAM curriculum (+Spanish) and enthusiastic staff. Their days are fun-filled and challenging and the school is a safe place were learning can take place! Both often come home excited about their progress in type-writing, scratch, their science project or how the new drama play is coming along.
Our child is in his third year at AVS. We couldn't be happier with a school. The teachers are amazing and our child loves going there. I wish I would have gone to school just like it when I was growing. Project based learning is the way to go.
Our son is in Kindergarten and we couldn't be happier. The hands-on way of teacher, small class size and innovative and rigorous curriculum are amazing. Our son is thriving. All of the Kindergartens are reading very well by this point in the year and doing advanced math as well. And all this happens while the kids have tons of fun every day! Our son doesn't want to leave when the day is over.
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 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!