This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Milk (Harvey) Civil Rights Elementary School5
Posted March 01, 2015
- a parent
Harvey milk is an amazing school! We live in a country where racism us abound- 80% of whites in this country have a moderate to severe racial bias. we know this because Harvard was able to come up with a scientific test to measure it. Guess what - we are failing! My children are learning at Harvey milk how to transcend racism. Not only how to identify it when it exists in others- more importantly when it exists in themselves. A wonderful safe and thriving community at Harvey milk- the kids are flourishing because it's diverse and honest space where all kids soar. Where oppressed kids bring up priveledged kids-where disparity between learning is eliminated. my children would never assume that "middle" class kids are responsible for improved test scores or that they have more to bring to a school then others. They would recognize that as bias! They are more sophisticated then their parents which is how it should be if we are ever going to progress. It is very exciting and very successful.
This is in response to the March 1st post below. A neighborhood elementary school is not the place for a social science experiment. This school fails its community by focusing on reforming historical prejudice over the three Rs. Take it from a battle-scarred parent at HMCRA, Castro-area parents should look elsewhere for there are many better public school options.
I'm a proud parent of a Kindergarten student at Milk and couldn't be happier. My daughter's teacher Ms. Martinez is amazing (and she's not the only one). She's a rockstar who recently won the Teacher of the Month award from 826Valencia. She is a good example of what the school stands for and what they try to teach the kids besides the school curriculum. I love the fact that my daughter is aware of social issues, doesn't tolerate wrong doing against others and becomes a very independent thinker with her own opinions. HMCRA is all about community and you can feel it; Morning Circle, classroom projects and other school activities are in tune with the larger community and especially as a Castro resident, it's something that makes me very happy. There are some issues at the school that (we as the school community) are currently addressing. As a first step, an official PTO is on its way to be formed and we are hoping to have it in place by the new school year. Please visit the school and see for yourself why someone called it the hidden gem in the Castro!
This school is a hidden gem in the Castro. It's a little school feel with a big heart. The teachers and staff are fantastic- they are enthusiastic, committed, and caring. The morning circle is a great way to start the day and come together as a community. Coach Glen is an amazing asset to this school and sets the tone for school energy and behavior. The families are diverse, and they are working hard towards finalizing a PTO for the end of this year. Having Rooftop and McKinley so close to this school diverts families away from Harvey Milk - but if you take a real look this school is offers a great education in a small community setting. We could not be happier to be there, and look forward to seeing the school continue to grow.
I want to say, if you are considering this school, you are in luck. Sure, there are some rough patches the school is going through, but did you know there are two teachers at the school who have won Teacher of The Year award? The kindergarten teacher, Marisa Martinez, and fifth grade teacher Kelly Clark. Teachers of this school are dedicated and some of the most hard working people in the SFUSD. I see the review below saying a bunch of teachers take off long multiple days of school off, not true. There are wonderful dedicated teachers who work at Harvey Milk. My children have two of the most amazing teachers. The teachers of the 4/5 split left the job, and the third grade teacher left to be with her children. The new teachers have now been replaced. There are some problems at Harvey Milk, but none of them lie with the teachers. Let us make that clear. If you are considering this central located school, please join us on making this school the best it can be. We can help build Harvey Milk, and honor his name and make it a Civil Rights Academy. Great things do not come easy.
Are you considering this school? Be wary. Ask about the history of 3 different principals in 6 years, the number of teachers who have taken long term absences, or the classroom that has a different teacher every year, or the lack of support to create a PTA. Long term subs are present in at least one classroom each year. When a teacher takes a day off, and a sub can't be found, students are moved to different classrooms (where they aren't taught). The 4/5 split classroom has the lowest test scores in the school because that classroom hasn't had a regular teacher. The interim principal doesn't respond to parent phone calls or emails.
Recent events at the school this Fall have shaken parents' confidence in the Principal, Tracy Peoples, and teachers who promote her as an acceptable leader. There are problems in the upper grades with retaining teachers in that children have had substitutes for weeks, the teachers need more monetary resources and staff, and yet the Principal and certain staff voted down a group of parents' attempt to form a PTA to improve things. The Principal rarely communicates with parents, and she and others there have a view that parental cooperation is negative. The principal is on leave and no one has bothered to inform the parents when she is coming back. Many neighborhood parents won't consider going to Milk, and those who are assigned there generally leave. It's a shame because the school is in a wonderful neighborhood and many teachers are excellent. The SFUSD is now aware of the problems at Milk, and district leaders have met with parents and are trying to come up with a turnaround plan. But until the school has an effective leader who recognizes the depths of these problems and understands that fundamental change is required, this unfortunate environment will continue.
The administration of this school is close-minded, fearful/insecure about change, secretive of information and decision making and divisive at it's core pitting faculty against parents. The faculty view of parental/community involvement is to adopt faculty objectives which has no mechanism for the reflection of the parental objectives and also allows for no accountability. The before and after care programs are run by very well intended folks and again great hearts but the fact is that they fail to provide enrichment opportunities to the students. There is free play and some time focused on homework but nothing like clubs and activities that exist at other nearby schools (soccer, baseball, tennis, science, music, Spanish, chess). This is the sacrifice the administration is willing to make on behalf of the students in order that they not take the albeit sometimes difficult task of working with the parents in an open and accountable way so they raise the funds to provide these opportunities. My son has a couple years left so I remain hopeful it changes. "Hope will never be silent" by Harvey Milk.
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco is an outstanding small elementary school. Because it is a small school, each child is known by name by all staff members. The school has a diversified enrollment reflecting the diversity of San Francisco. A public school is only as good as its teachers and at HMCRA the teachers are top notch! The emphasis on civil rights and the civil rights movement is a definite plus. In addition to getting a good grounding in the "three Rs," students are taught ethics, such as being kind and respectful of others and that they should be truthful and hard working. The before school and after school care is invaluable to working parents. Two of my grandchildren attend HMCRA and love going to school.
The Principal is great, the teachers are wonderful, and my daughter really loves the school. A few of the parents have been a little high strung over the years, but even they have to agree that the school is great for our kids. The scores keep exceeding all the growth expectations, and my own daughter is excelling with the support that she gets from the educators and administration.