I have two children with relatively mild special needs. This school did an incredibly poor job of addressing their needs, ignoring their IEPs almost completely. With my first child, the District is now paying for mental health care to repair the damage done. With my second, we just left and went to private school. It is sad how little is known by teachers and administrators about how to help students who are higher functioning but still have very real learning needs - especially when they transition into middle and high school.
Castillero is a good middle school with excellent electives like Art, Music and Spanish. The teachers are passionate in the electives. Others are there out of tenure for core subjects. There math program is lacking judging by how my daughter struggled in high school. On the whole it is a good school but recommend you work with your kids on their weaknesses to shore up their strengths in preparation for high school. The principal is not that good, seems to have attitude issues. They have a large number of vice principals who mostly run the school.
Horrible school if a student has no interest in the arts; if the arts are a passion, the electives are fantastic. The advanced math classes are also great and leave students well prepared for high school. On the other hand, the science classes do not prepare for high school in any way, shape, or form. The language arts classes teach to the lowest common denominator; if a student's reading level is advanced for their grade, they will be ignored in class. There are pervasive issues with gangs, fights, and bullying. School is overcrowded.
My son was dreading going to Castillero since he had heard about the bullying and poor leadership/academics. We did look at moving but it didn't work out so we decided to give the school a chance. Yes, they bus in a lot of kids and there is an emphasis on the arts. I don't agree with every policy and am not happy that the kids have to avoid any blue or red on their body (clothes, shoes, bags, etc) since they are gang colors. The school is so overcrowded, they need to have one way hall hallways! That said, my son is felling very comfortable at the school. He got a full year science and 7th grade math class which should push him academically. He was placed in Orchestra, as did many of his friends, even thought they didn't request it, but he's really enjoying learning the violin. Castillero has good sports programs in progress and planned (soccer, flag football, basketball, etc) which he loves. My son really likes his teachers and is enjoying the experience. Only a few weeks into the school year but so far it's been positive for a family that was so concerned that we were willing to sell our house and move to another middle school. I'll update this review after a few months.
This is our "home" school and if you're child is not into the arts you are a total outsider. I find the school to be lacking in science and math. They school is too overcrowded and buses in students from other parts of the city. I understand the need for this magent, but feel they should balance out the core studies. Its very easy for a child to slide by here, big disappointment.
I went to Castillero and found the classes lacking,no sense of community and tolerance. It's way too crowded. I was involved in the choirs and it wasn't that great. If I could I would have went to another middle school.
I just returned from my daughter's orchestra concert, and as always I come away from a Castillero event thinking, "Parents would expect to pay thousands of dollars in tuition if this were a private school!" Castillero has 6 bands, 5 orchestras, 5 choirs, a full time drama teacher, a full time dance teacher and 3 full time art teachers. Every child gets 1 1/2 electives per year (2 1/2 if your child takes 0 period). My daughters had in dance, band, orchestra, drama and art. Everything except dance was fantastic. The school has very little bullying because everyone has their arts niche where they feel comfortable, talented and happy. When my daughter graduated she wept, "I can't leave band! They are my brothers and sisters!" The school sacrifices 1 semester of science each year to get in an extra elective, but I consider it completely worthwhile. As in every school there are strong and weak teachers in every subject. Math, science, social studies and language arts could all use improvements here and there, but overall it is an amazing school and I know our family will be grateful for the rest of our lives that our daughters were able to attend.
Castillero has excellent music, drama and art programs and offers high school courses like algebra 1 and geometry for students advanced In mathematics.
This is no longer a neighborhood school in Almaden. They have 9 buses that bus in kids from out of area. The school is over populated. The administration lowers standards(academic and behavior) to accommodate bus in population. This school has really gone down the last few years. Kids get easy A's without much effort. They don't prepare kids well for HS. They sacrifice academics for performing arts. Administration doesn't do much with problem kids, rule enforcement. Kids know there are no consequences for bad behaviors. Parents concerns and feedback are not heard by the admin. The school offers lots of choices in electives but only 1 semester of Science. It is great for kids that likes performing arts. There are some great passionate teachers but they spent more time controlling classroom than teaching due to disruptive kids. Leadership is lacking at Castillero. The administration is in denial about the problems. Some of them they can't fix due to SJUSD mandates but a lot they can. Some parents are also in denial because their kids are enjoying and doing well in performing arts. There should be no reason why we can't have both, good academics and performing arts electives.
We were not happy here at all. Many teachers who should be FIRED and are not. Students who need help don't get it, administrators turn their backs on them. Discrimination against students who are not into any performing arts programs runs rampant; both from administrators and other students. Huge problem with cliques and groups who think they are IT, primarily girls in dance who can be extremely cruel. Many students have a chip on their shoulders. Classrooms are also often uncontrolled, and this is the SCHOOL'S fault for not removing those students and contacting the parents, rather than leaving them in the classrooms to disturb those who want to learn..
This is my son's second year here at this school . Just like every other junior high this school does face some troubled kids and some "wanna be" gang problems. However, I think the pro's outweigh the con's. I am very satisfied with the admin staff here at this school. Teachers and faculties can only do so much to stop the "bad" kids. Its up to the parents at home to raise their kids better!
Not a good school if you want support from the principal or academic counselor. I agree with other parents and students is that if you're into music program, then it is a great school. The music teacher is excellent and is passionate about teaching. Unfortunately, there are also teachers in the school who are lazy, non-supportive and have zero passion in teaching. But since they are tenure, their job is safe. It really is a shame.
HAS A Gang problem that they don't want to admit to even when the parents bring the issue to them.
This school was higher ranking not too long ago which was more on par with the other Almaden schools. It is bothersome that it has quickly gone from ranking 8 to now a 6. I'm all for it continuing the performing arts and such, but would appreciate a return to a stronger academic program. Rating low on all 3 - teacher, principal, and parent - as it is a problem to solve together and hopefully sooner than later.
This was the best school I've ever attended (I am a senior in high school now at Leland - DO NOT GO THERE FOR HIGH SCHOOL, trust me). Castillero is a magnet for performing arts, and might as well be for visual arts as well. There are some amazing teachers there, as well as staff and students. All my very best friends I met at Castillero. Yes, there are a few cliques, but for the most part people are friendly, nice, and fun to be around. It is really a fantastic school and I'll recommend it to any student who wants a great education with rich electives. - '07 Class Member
Do not listen to the parent reviews. Listen to us kids! We actually take classes at Castillero! They're is no "Popular" and "other" group, but there are a few cliques. The teachers know how to keep down the volume. The staff are wonderful and know the answer to all of your questions if it is about Castillero itself. The acedemics are great, you get chances to learn something new!
I attend Castillero Middle School and I love it here! The teachers are so nice and treat you with respect, I find myself learning new things everyday, and the electives are wonderful! I'm in 2 advance choirs and I love it! The teachers use creative ways to teach you new lessons and its always fun. If you're going to be in this school later, you shouldn't worry about what teacher you get, because all the teachers are awesome!
This school is a wonderful. I am an 8th grader,all my three years I have experienced perfection.I feel totally ready for high school.
Students do think Castillero is a great school because its like a holiday camp but they do need more academics to prepare them for high school.
Castillero is the best in terms of arts and curriculum and campus a all around great school.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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