This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Milk (Harvey) Civil Rights Elementary School4
Posted December 01, 2014
- a parent
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.
My child is very happy first grader. The school has a lot of activities, movie night roller skate night, dancing etc etc. The teachers are amazing and the principal gives me a hug hello. What more could I want from a school. Nothing, this school is great!
My school has amazing teachers, faculty and families that are committed to creating the best learning environment for our children. We have a great Parent-Faculty community that work together building school spirit and honor our diverse families.
My daughter is a very happy 1st grader at Harvey Milk and as a mom who toured more than a dozen schools looking for kindergarten, I feel like we did really well in the San Francisco lottery. The school isn't perfect--you can read the comments below and get that. But it's a warm, inclusive community, and the teachers are great. I like the principal well enough--she treats me like a friend and though I can't speak to her leadership qualities, she tries, and I don't understand the awful comments about her. Anyway, I'm not a political person, I just want my child to be happy and get a good education. I feel good when I take her to school and I enjoy the other parents and participating in the school events. It's a friendly, funky place where the kids don't have to look a certain way and they dress in creative ways--and diversity is encouraged.
Teachers and staff really are great, but in all honesty the principal does not equally care about all students/parents. She does not unify the school, nor show leadership. The after school program is a good space for kids. Only positive experiences with our teachers, but horrible experiences trying to communicate with the principal. If rating the school independent of leadership, I'd give it four stars. Facilities, compared to many other schools, are small. No separate play area for Kinders/first graders.