There are so many members of the staff that go above and beyond but I get to see the daily dedication of my son's teacher, Mrs. Piazza, who is simply an outstanding educator. She takes the time to keep a direct line of contact with every student's family and makes sure no child is overlooked. A simple thank you seems insufficient for a teacher who is so willing to spend her own time (sometimes hours) speaking with parents and answering any questions. She is amazing!
As an educator myself, I am not in favor of thick packets of mindless worksheets being sent home for students to complete. Baldwin works kids rigorously during the day but leaves homework more open-ended with a heavy emphasis on reading. Students are also encouraged to use the online math and literacy programs, Dreambox, Razkids and iReady which allow students to practice at their individual ability level making for more meaningful time spent instead of some packet of worksheets.
Many schools are now moving toward using a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. This helps foster the idea that if one continues to work and practice something that they can become better at it, no matter what level you start at. I feel that Baldwin has done well in implementing this philosophy based on my son's comments. The goal isn't to compete and try to outdo each other but to learn from one another and try one's personal best.
My son's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Piazza, does an outstanding job at fostering compassion and empathy among the students. She provides them with tools on how to solve problems or disagreements (ex: use your hearts, minds, and words) and encourages them to look out for one another. My son's desire to help others has grown and I have seen this in his behavior at home with his younger brother. As the saying goes "it takes a village" to raise kids and Baldwin is a great village.
The school's motto states that Baldwin students are respectful, responsible and safe. Students are not only well taught as to what these terms mean but are rewarded with panther purrs whenever they demonstrate these principles. As far as I have seen this has always been done very positively and fairly.
My family moved to South San Jose at the very beginning of the school year and I was apprehensive at first to send my kindergartener to Baldwin based on reviews from this site and elsewhere. My fears were quickly abated after meeting my son's excellent teacher, the principal and other Baldwin parents. This school has a staff that is dedicated and caring and goes far beyond the requirements for their job in order to make sure students are provided a rigorous education, have enriching activities and are well cared for. The sense of community on campus is growing as both parents and staff are very welcoming and inviting. My suggestion is not to form an opinion of a school before you have seen it for yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised, as we were!
I've been pleasantly impressed with my experience at Baldwin. Although all of the negative reviews and outdated API scores, mid-range rankings gave me pause - I must say that the actual on-the-ground experience has been incredibly positive. The staff goes above and beyond to teach and mentor students. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Piazza has blown me away - an amazing communicator, teacher, and caring person. She gave an impressive Early Literacy talk at Back to School night - and all of the students were proficient readers and writers by January.
The campus facilities have been renovated and improved throughout the past few years. New parking lot, improvements to classrooms and beautiful murals!!
We also have a budding parent community that is really improving things at school. If you are considering this school - know that you have an opportunity to join a community where students are valued and you can really get involved to make a difference.
I believe any school can be successful and positive depending on how you invest yourself into it. My family has had a good experience in all of our years at Baldwin. My youngest is now a sixth grader and I have been a Baldwin parent since my 15 year old was a preschooler. My kids love Baldwin and that is what is most important to me. They have gotten good educations, they have gotten good support from the Baldwin staff and we have enjoyed being a part of the Baldwin community.