I should begin by saying that I'm a prospective parent, not a current parent. J. Serra had a school tour and I was able to attend. I'm writing because I loved what I saw. Make no mistake, this IS an urban school - the playground is concrete, space is limited and I'm sure the funding is sparse. However, J.Serra was warm - you could tell upon entering that children were loved and cared for and that this was a nurturing space in which to learn. We had the chance to visit classrooms, meet teachers, students, parents and talk with the principal. In each room, children were engaged and on-task. Teachers were happy and the quick snapshot of the lessons we saw seemed to have great focus. The K class that we observed was in yoga and watching the students follow directions, move their bodies and interact with one another was heart warming and just what I wanted to see. All of the rooms were child- centered. Lessons posted on the wall, on-going projects on the shelves, tutors in the room, volunteer readers from the community, etc. Teachers collaborate, PTA is strong and growing, Principal seems great. I encourage you to check it out, too.
Truly Bernal Heights' best kept secret, as the school's website says. We found a very energetic principal, excellent faculty (Ms. Applin, the Kindergarten teacher, is fantastic!), and a great group of involved parents. Our daughter likes the afterschool program in particular, during which kids cook, go to the Bernal library and surrounding parks, make fun arts projects, take language classes, and get homework supervision. The school also has a state-of-the-art computer lab and gardening, and I know that many more offerings are in the works. A great neighborhood school.
Junipero Serra is a wonderful little school in a great location a few blocks from Mission Street next to Holly Park and St. Mary's Park where the students often go on quick field trips. The teachers are wonderful and friendly. Principal Eve Cheung works hard to make sure the students get the best education possible with limited funds; all the parents appreciate her hard work. Parent involvement is strong. The aftercare staff are great as well. It's a great little school where most of the parents know each other.
We are heading into our fourth year at J Serra and the school has become a second home for our whole family. Our son will be entering 3rd grade and our daughter 1st grade. I feel my children are receiving a strong education in a uniquely rich environment, and have had the added benefit of strengthening their bond to their own immediate community by attending their neighborhood school. With limited funds the ever supportive Principal Eve Cheung along with a talented faculty has managed to offer a wonderful after care program along with a range of enrichment programs including dancing, art, music, gardening and our cherished computer class.
My twin boys are entering 1st grade this year. We transferred them mid-year last year and have been so very happy with the teachers and especially the principal at this school. It's a sweet, gentle school with a with a lot of heart. We look forward to the next five years at this school!
J Serra is a small school with a lot going for it. Really good principle, staff that gets along well and works together. Lots of enrichment programs such as gardening, photography club, dance, music, partnership with UCSF for science etc. Parents are involved at the school and kids look happy when you pass them in the hall.
Our experience at J.Serra has been fantastic. Ms Applin is a fantastic Kindergarten teacher and well able to deal with our son's occasional disruptions and keep him challenged and on track. The principal, Eve Cheung, has been amazingly accessible as well, and has really managed to get blood from a stone in terms of making the best of the tight funding environment. J. Serra is one of very few schools with a computer lab and dedicated teacher, something our son enjoys immensly. We also have 2 after-school spanish classes going now, which is awesome. The parent community this year is really strong, we've got a tight group together and big plans for the years ahead. Our son and us are both very happy with the school.
The principal's name at Junipero Serra Elementary School in San Francisco is Eve Cheung, not Principal Brown. My three children went to that school and they all loved it! They still go back to visit their old school and teachers.
In response to the last posting, I believe the school mentioned is a different school with perhaps the same name. I am a teacher at Junipero Serra and there's no Principal Brown. In fact, our principal, teachers, and staff are very helpful, friendly, and nuturing. We all work together to strive for one goal --to put children first by working together as a community. Junipero Serra is a great school!