A district of of educators and parents who are passionately involved with the children's education on a daily basis! The Open Classroom has a parent co-op model for K-6 and the Montessori Program follows the Montessori philosophy for K-5 kids. The Middle school is just across the black top from the elementary school, so siblings and friends stay connected through those years.
This small district offers the benefits of a tight knit community where everyone knows each other. All of the programs focus on educating the whole child, so there is art, music, theater incorporated with match, science and reading.
A large number of parents opt-out of standardized testing for their kids, so I think the test scores are a questionable measure of the education here. If you are thinking of enrolling in the Lagunitas District, sign up for one of the program tours to see if it's a fit for your child.
3 program choices in one public school district? Yes there are communication issues. Ever been in a public school that doesn't have those? I can understand some of the concerns around making sure kids with special needs don't fall through the cracks. But again... This is a public school. This district (with the support of the majority of the community) has chose to buck the system where kindergarten kids are pressured to be able to read by 1st grade and generally running a "factory" style school so those kids can be stressed, overburdened and suicidal by HS. (Hyperbole for effect...) my fourth grader reads great and the emotional literacy they work so hard on to teach is invaluable. They teach kids to work together and problem solve. And DIRECT parent participation (not just kvetching at PTA and teacher conferences is key and the cornerstone of the programs. I can't speak to the middle school issues yet.
The positives: Parent choice: Waldorf Inspired (NOT to be confused with true Waldorf), Montessori, Open Classroom & Middle School. Beautiful campus in a great setting. Forward thinking district w. good intentions. The Negatives: The flipside of having 4 different programs is the school lacks unity & good communication. Programs & parents are always fighting for limited resources ie. teachers and $$. This constant battle causes LOTS of friction/name calling/petitions/in-fighting. In my experience they do not test for, or care much about students who have learning deficiencies. When my son left to go into 4th grade at another school, he was at a 1st grade reading level. Is that the sign of a good school? There is barely any ethnic diversity & Spanish is'nt considered an important subject for students. We are in CA right? We arrived @ Lagunitas excited to be a part of a great community and when we left, we wished we had done so MUCH sooner. Educate yourself about the programs & the fiscal health of the district & get the dirt on what's going on before you make the commitment, don't just take it at face value. Something is wrong when a school has a new principal every 1 or 2 years!
The Montessori K-5 program is excellent, then it goes down from there. The middle school is academically way behind. When my son was in 7th grade he was an A student in math. I thought he was doings great until we moved out of the area and he enrolled in a new school to find out he was at 4th grade math level! It cost us in hundreds of dollars in tutoring so he wouldn't get held back. The teachers are old and Bitter and need to move on. I heard they get a new principle every year as the school board who have the same members year after year, make the final decisions and there is no way of making positive changes. We thank god we did not purchase a home there as we would have been stuck in a horrendous school district. .
This school is unique and one of the only schools in the area to offer opportunities that other public schools simply don't have. The curriculum is holistic and the children are exposed to both academic and hands on caring for animals and a garden. There is music and art, there is caring and ongoing support from those of us who feel lucky our children were able to attend such an incredible public school.
Teaching the whole child, from egyptian tombs to california gold rush to how to navigate growing up emotionally grounded in these over stimulated times. Lagunitas teachers recognize true knowledge cannot be evaluated by tests. Our school also utilizes parents in an authentic, were all in it together way, that helps our community as a whole and supports our children on a deep, community level.
This is a wonderful public Montessori program with dedicated teachers, aides in each classroom, small classroom size, parent involvment, and high acedemics without pressure and pushing! Great music, art, envirnonmental education, and all in a beautiful setting!
I like the fact this is a small school. My 2nd grade son is in the Montessori program and there is only 13 students and 1 teacher and 1 assistant. For a public school you cant get much better than that. Also the school realises that just teaching to a test is conterproductive to producing students who love to learn. This is an alternative child centered school district.