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K-5
Public
San Jose, CA
Students enrolled: 965
Before care: No
After care: Yes

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651 Dana Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126

School website
(408) 535-6257
(408) 535-2304
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Merritt Trace Elementary School address.

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August 18, 2014
Have been fairly happy with the school. Class sizes are ridiculous. 30 of any grade per teacher is a recipe for failure. I have no idea why the ratio on this site is listed at 18 per teacher. Spelling and grammar mistakes are common and seem to be completely overlooked by staff. Definitely have to figure out what teachers are good. Principal is not well received by parents and her staff which has resulted in favorite teachers ditching Trace for other schools.

- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2014
The year is 2014. The school is great if you are a Spanish speaker. This is not really a Rose Garden / Shasta Hanchett neighborhood school. High percentages of the students either comes from the Luther Burbank areas or are bused from downtown San Jose area. The Principal's lack of fluency in the English language has limit her involvements and participations with the school activities. She is more comfortable and thus immersed herself with the Spanish speaking community. The current year also saw some significant changes in the upper grade. The 5th. grade teachers decided to change the curricula such that the students no longer has a home room. They will be asked to move from classroom to classroom for different subjects. This was done for the sole purposed of alleviating the inconvenience on each teacher to prepare materials for the entire 5 subjects. This way each teacher has only to prepare 2 to 3 subjects only, placing the inconvenience on the students who have to go from classroom to classroom in order to take the different subjects.

- submitted by a parent
June 09, 2014
As a Trace parent I find the June 8th review a bit odd. Sure the school has issues but not having English communications/hung up phone calls are not it - we've not had issues with either. It would be interesting to hear more about "sweeping important issues under the rug"... So far we're actually pleased with the school, the teachers and the small but effective PTO. The new facilities are nice and the arts/drama/music and the Spanish Immersion program (TWBI) are fantastic. However, the administration lacks initiative (note to site editor the principal name is wrong - it is Anacelia Rocha). We've seen many good teachers leave and cite lack of support from the principal. The principal should acknowledge issues, set the bar high and focus on improvement. She should get parents engaged to help in this mission. The school needs parents helping due to lack of teacher aides - and that needs to be driven from top down as the teachers are inconsistent in soliciting parent support. The school also needs more resources for behavioral issues - few disruptive kids ruin the experience and should be moved to special ed classes. The principal should aggressively seek district help.

- submitted by a parent
June 08, 2014
What a disappointment this school has been. The principal would sweep any important issues under the rug, saying they are not a concern of the Trace Families, when they very well were. They was very little communication, and their weekly phone calls consistently hung up on me. When there was paper communications, it wasn't in english, making it really hard to sign permission slips. Fortunately we will not be returning to the school.

- submitted by a parent
February 07, 2014
Highs: - Strong PTO, but just low participation from parents. It's the same few parents that you see at all the events and activities. - Performing arts program is very strong with great teachers - Certain teachers are very committed to their jobs, you have to know which ones they are. Lows: - Administration isn't very strong or diverse, and many times not available for help. - Focus is on bringing up kids who are low on performance, at the expense of kids who have potential and need to be more challenged. - Not very much focus on cultural diversity education because of such high concentration of certain ethnic backgrounds. - Bullying is a big issue at this school. - Classes are at capacity, mostly 30 to a room, with no in class support except for parent volunteers. - No programs for special needs or gifted and talented education. - Need to update their communications, seem to waste a lot of paper and efforts on sending out multiple notices, seems very inefficient and costly.

- submitted by a parent
October 10, 2013
The comment about hiring Keith Woodhouse is way off! The school administration is completely separate from the private after school program that hired him. Furthermore, the problem was that Woodhouse's previous employers have him positive work references, instead of reporting him to the police. This allowed unsuspecting child care organizations to hire him. I was actually impressed with how the after school program administration got this guy arrested quickly. It's a terrible situation, but it occurred because the Catholic school and day camps where he worked previously failed to do what's right and allowed other children to become victims. Trace is a good school, it has some issues, a big one is the principal Mrs. Rocha, who has no leadership skills, does not handle bullying properly, and does not work well with parents. The music, arts, drama, and two-way bilingual program are great. And so are the teachers and other staff.

- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2013
This school has very bad bullying issues and doesnt resolve them tell they found out I was pulling my son out of that school, staff in the office are very rude

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2013
This school's administration is awful!!! They have no idea what they are doing. The parents here are very snobby/cliquey. If your child has any kind of special needs DO NOT SEND HIM/HER HERE. They will be treated poorly by administrators and other parents, and you will have a had time fighting for the services your child might need. Some of the teachers here are excellent - I feel sorry they have to teach at a substandard school.

- submitted by a parent
September 25, 2012
Based on 2 class levels so far, K & 1st grade in the Two Way Bilingual Program, we are quite happy with both the program and the school. While the principal seems to be operating under crisis mode, and sometimes treading water, her spirit is unrelenting, in her efforts to make Trace a better school. The teachers we have met, including not only the grade level teachers in K & 1st, but also the Drama, Music & Art teacher (yes imagine that a school with dedicated arts teachers!) have been truly phenomenal, And the parental involvement, especially within the Two Way Bilingual Program, is incredible. It has given our family a chance to come out of our own cultural comfort zone to meet more folks and watch our child becomes fluent in English AND Spanish. Already a few short weeks into 1st grade, our child's ability in Spanish far outstrips most of us who learned foreign language in HS. The immersion part of the program starts off a bit challenging but has been amazingly effective for both the native and non-native English speakers in the class. Active parents get amazing results here at Trace, But don't just read the reviews, contact the PTO & meet some parents to get a better picture.

- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2012
We're leaving the school this year. Our son is going into fourth, and he is middle of the pack, but has already been identified as one that won't move in the quartiles--so the teacher will just let him move along, uninspired. A kid has to be special to even make the radar. The teachers have to guess what kids have potential to move from below avg to avg or from average to above average. I tried volunteering inthe classroom, but when I grading math papers, the teacher gave a list of "hopeless" kids and told me not waste my time on their papers. Apparently, the principal said they can't afford to help those kids, they have to try to Improve their state test scores. The bottom three scores are thrown out. I guess it's no child left behind except the three who need it... Trace is morbidly managed.

- submitted by a parent
November 23, 2011
For low-income kids who need extra help, Trace has put an emphasis on helping them through the VIA program in 2011-12. But it's at the expense of making sure that there is help in the classroom; and ending a parental involvement program without consulting parents is an irony that wasn't lost on parents -- or the reporters who covered the story in spring 2011. Increased class sizes are no doubt a contributor toward school desk scores dropping for the last couple years, though one can't help but wonder if the tinkering the school district was doing with the parental-involvement program also caused unintended negative results there. For talented and more advanced kids, Trace has increasingly become a holding tank, with teachers at the upper grades admitting that they have to give kids "busy-work" and P.E. consisting of running laps. On paper there is a program for gifted/talented students, but it does not exist in reality. Right now the VIA program doesn't seem open to a "How can we improve?" mentality -- perhaps more outreach and serious evaluation of it, and of the principal, by parents would give an honest assessment of how to earn back the trust of the community.

- submitted by a parent
November 21, 2011
Trace is a Diamond in the Rough. While it is true, the PIE Program, Parent Involvement in Education, has changed, it is for a good reason. So many parents were excluded in the old PIE program. Now, with VIA (Volunteers in Action), all parents can participate. By recognizing the impact parents can make on their child's education at home, students have a chance to succeed. The education gap is not going to resolve unless parents get involved in their child's education. Teachers are a only a part of the equation. I have been involved with the VIA program and feel that although the Principal is not Hillary Clinton, she listens and cares enough to make changes that result in quality learning. The Superintendent cares enough to poll the parents and community to try to make a lasting difference. Who does that? I do know people that have left Trace because the PIE program changed. Had they stayed, they would have seen that in the first 90 days of school, the program has over three times the involvement it had last year. That is pretty amazing for a school that burned down and had so many problems last year. That speaks volumes for the spirit of parents at Trace.

- submitted by a parent
November 17, 2011
Trace school is not the school it once was years ago. The teachers are overwhelmed,they lack leaderdhip and personal skills. The administration doesn't care. The school is overcrowded and they do not seem to care about the safety of children. They don't monitor anything that goes on in their campus . Including aftetschool care. My children were assaulted at the afterschool daycare on Trace property. The principal,district,and the teacher showed lack of compassion. My children are no longer in that school and they were behind when they moved to a new school and there were things Trace should've been teaching that they weren't. My kids are now safe and at the top of their class and are finally getting the education they deserve. Trace needs to be shut down they are below standards!

- submitted by a parent
November 16, 2011
Our children attended Trace for several years. The administration is singularly focused on low achievement scores and the school is languishing in multiple years of program improvement status. Now that we are in a new school (and district) it is clear that the curriculum at Trace was significantly below average -- our children that tested "advanced" at Trace are considered "behind" in the basics at their new school. In this age of school funding cuts, the arts and drama programs at Trace are a plus. We experienced a broad range of teachers - from the exceptional to the uninspired. There is also a small group of committed parents that are trying to maintain a sense of community there, but they suffer from a lack of support from the principal and the district. With the dismantling of the Parent Involvement (PIE) program and more parents fleeing this year, I'm afraid Trace is just another failing urban school.

- submitted by a parent
October 13, 2011
This school was really improving about 3 years ago. With the current principal and the abolition of the wildly popular PIE program it's now in it's second year of Program Improvement. Under the NCLB act, any child living within its attendance boundaries is entitled to a transfer to a better school. Use your rights!

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2011
We moved to this area last year and this school year was my daughter's first year at Trace Elementary. I absolutely love this school. It is true things have been a little disorganized but many things have happened at Trace this year that have caused disruption. I think the administrators have handled it fairly well. It has been a tough year and the kids really need us to pull things together. I was also part of PIE and I loved spending Mondays there to help the teachers and kids out. The children especially benefit from PIE and parents involved. Next year I would like to see more parents involved.

- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2011
Trace is in a period of transition - due in part to NCLB and massive state funding cuts - and unfortunately the principal is not up to the challenge. Trace will lose its very successful Parent Involvement program next year, which is a huge loss. Class sizes are way too large (30 students in all classes K-5) and communication with parents is poor. The teachers are excellent, but they do not have the resources or the leadership they need to make a real difference, either for below-level kids or for kids who are above average. Also, I was very disappointed to find that at the art, music, and drama school, my son (in kindergarten) received none of the above from March-June. Pros include an awesome drama program and excellent instruction (when they get it) in music and art, and a lovely campus. And the new TWBI program is one of the best things going for Trace at the moment. But the cons outweigh the pros and we are starting to look for alternatives.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2011
Trace seemed to go down-hill for the last 2-4 years prior to this year. I believe the new principal is doing wonders to put things back in order. Unfortunately it can't be done overnight. As for the students performing under grade level, the after-school tutoring program was a good idea, but once again, I think it is a matter of trial and error before finding a GOOD tutoring program. My third-grade daughter participated in one of the tutoring programs this year and did not benefit from it, at all. I have not yet decided as to whether we should stay at Trace (I fear her falling further behind) or attempt another school. My final thought is: Trace has potential and is on the right track, though it will take some time before seeing the results. Since my daughter is below grade level, I don't have the flexibility to wait for the positive changes to take place!!

- submitted by a parent
April 27, 2011
We have been at Trace for three years, and are not planning to return next year. The administration is very weak. As other parents have commented all the focus of the administration is on getting test scores up; no effort is spent to challenge or inspire kids who are performing at or above level. There is a lot of bullying on the playground and very little supervision. We would really liked to have stayed at our neighborhood school, but have had enough.

- submitted by a parent
February 03, 2011
We have been at Trace Elementary for many years. It was our choice and still is. We are apart of the parent involvement in education program(PIE). This is what brought us to Trace. The wonderful part about the PIE program, you can put your hours in however it works for your family. I volunteer in my children's classroom weekly. This allows the teacher to be able to pull small groups of children to read and do individual testing. This helps all of the children. We have had a wonderful experience with all of the teachers. They are fantastic !! Another wonderful thing Trace has is the arts, music and drama departments. The teachers are amazing. Every child performance yearly in a play. What a great experience for them. My children love it. We are so lucky to have a new theatre. From third- fitth grade, they can take electives-early morning drama, playing an instrument or choir. Not only are my children receiving a good education, they are also very well rounded. We are very happy with our school.

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2011
My family has been at Trace for 4 years and my 2 very different children are both happy and thriving there. I love the proximity (it's my neighborhood school) and I have found the staff to be dedicated, caring, and professional. Despite its large size, Trace has a safe, community feel to me.

- submitted by a parent
January 28, 2011
We have been attending Trace for 3 years, and we really liked it in the beginning, but it has gone down hill recently. The school is so focused on meeting the minimum standards and making their AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) numbers as set by No Child Left Behind, that they have lost sight of their responsibility to teach all the children. The district and the administration have been only modesty committed to making changes and many parents seem frustrated and ready to go somewhere else.

- submitted by a parent
January 09, 2011
We sent our child here for a brief period of time and were very disappointed. The staff was disorganized and didn't seem to care about the students. The teacher was overwhelmed and wasn't effective in inspiring the class. If you want your child to merely get CA state mandated worksheets and minimal encouragement, then this is the school for you.

- submitted by a parent
November 12, 2010
Good school, but I think the PIE program is good and bad. I feel like some of the parents involved are bit of control freaks and seem like they take over for the teacher. They should take every opportunity when parents want to help and pitch-in, not just let the PIE parents do everything. So I go directly to the teacher now and ask if she needs help, I don't bother with the PIE parents cause they're control freaks. Other than the PIE parents, the school is great, i love the fact that it's very musically driven.

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2010
My sons kindergarten teacher,Ms Mena is awesome! She is energetic, funny yet strict and all the kids and parents love her. She welcomes parents in the classroom and is always available to listen to your concerns. I am so happy that my son has Ms Mena as his first school experience. In addition, the parent participation program (PIE) and their arts program are top notch!

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2010
Our child had a wonderful kindergarten year. The newish school has large rooms with in-class bathrooms so that they don't have to to travel to the bathroom. The teacher, Mrs Viau, is just AWESOME! We are in the Parent Involvement Education (PIE) program, and we found that we could meet the 40hour/year commitment just barely, because we both work. We were really grateful to the parents who worked everyday in the classroom. Mrs Viau really knew how to manage the parents.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 03, 2010
Trace school has great teachers and the whole staff .The principal and the vice principal knows ,just about all the students.

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 27, 2009
My son is in special education and he attends a SDC at trace. I feel their emphasis on music and drama takes away time that should be spent on working on his IEP goals. He had to memorize a song a few months back that he had to recite in front of his class and it was just a nightmare. He actually came home crying. My husband and are are looking into moving him into another SDC.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2009
Trace Elementary is an amazing school! We are so happy there- the parent involvement program is what brought us here, but the fantastic staff, academic excellence and many programs are what keep us! All of the families are very welcoming, and we couldn't ask for a better education for our children. I am excited about the new construction- it is going to be wonderful to have our kids in state of the art classrooms as well as using a new theater. We have a very unique opportunity at Trace- we have outstanding music, drama and art programs that most schools aren't fortunate enough to have, and we also have an award-winning Parent Involvement in Education (PIE) program that encourages parent involvement for the entire school. It's no wonder that there has been a wait list to get into our school! We wouldn't choose anywhere else...

- submitted by a parent
January 17, 2009
The principals is very weak, we need to find a replacement. The new building is a mess still under constuction but using the class rooms.

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 23, 2008
Trace has come far in such a short period of time. When I first started looking at schools 4 years ago, I would have never considered it; it was the rumors I was hearing about the PIE program that pulled me in for a second look. The PIE program has exceeded all of my expectations making this an exciting and fulfilling experience for both my child and our family. I seriously considered private alternatives, but am elated with my decision to 'try' Trace.

- submitted by a parent
June 26, 2008
My daughter has been going to Trace since first grade and she and I both love it!! Excellent teachers

- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2007
I have two children enrolled in this school. I think that parents owed a lot of credit to the dedicated and highly qualified teachers who have been willing to help the PIE program succeed. Within the last two years the focus has been on testing more than in the academic success of the students, and we lost about 50% of the qualified and experienced teachers. I would like to see an inclusive PIE program rather than an exclusive one.

- submitted by a parent
May 14, 2007
Teachers are highly skilled. Great performing arts and music, just not enough of it in the upper grades.

- submitted by a parent
March 28, 2007
I had my child registered in a local private school, but I later decided to try Trace for a year. Within the first year, I was totally sold. The teachers are dedicated professionals with a passion for children. My child has grown leaps and bounds. He has developed an ear for music, which has been stimulated by Trace's rare audio, visual and performing arts curriculum. This past year he sang in the choir and began taking cello lessons. He's now able to read music and play by touch. I've also developed a respect for the administration at Trace. Principal Erin Green can be seen daily talking to the children. She knows most by name. Considering the size of the school, that is amazingly telling! I've also been told that she sits down with EACH child to go over last year's test results and to set this year's goals. Now that is service!

- submitted by a parent
March 09, 2007
Trace is a great place for kids! Not only do they have a fantastic arts program, students have great opportunities in sports, academics and now a GATE Program! I love my school and my child is motivated. Trace is the best kept secret in the Rose Garden!

- submitted by a parent
November 27, 2006
I have a second grader at Trace. I have a lot of complaints about the school management and school sysytem in general. The traffic is dangerous in front of the school. The field needs maitanance badly. The teachers are not up to par, them seemt o be underpaid and unhappy there. Very low funds I guess. They are always trying to sell you stuff.

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2006
This is my childs second year at Trace and although I have personally had many reservations regarding the school environment, my child is positivly thriving. The teachers have always been very willing to work with me regarding my childs academic progress and listen and help solve any questions that have arisen. This year the school now has more than 100 families that are participating in the PIE program, so that means that more than 100 families have to participate on a regualar basis and undergo different 'training' sessions periodically. Principal Green has done and continues to provide excellent supervision and discipline for the children at Trace. This is definately a school that needs to be considered when researching a school for your child. Last year being the 'transition' year was challenging, but this year there is very much a different feel to the school!

- submitted by a parent
September 03, 2006
Hi, I've had two children at Trace and highly recommend it. 2005-06 was a transitional year with the consolidation of Cory and Trace and we made it through just fine. With strong, yet fair leadership from Principal Green, students raised test scores, learned to respect one another, and participated in the amazing arts program (one of only ten in California and is not to be missed)! Through our PTO, students went on some great fieldtrips and even had some come to them. This is a school where parents really care in and outside the classroom. A few years ago, Trace had a problem with bullying, however, the zero tolerance programs initiated by our Principal have become the standard, and Trace is a new school. My children felt safe and secure at Trace and were able to excel academically beyond my expectations and make some great friends. Trace is worth a look!

- submitted by a parent
August 31, 2006
I have two kids enrolled at Trace, and have seen that this school has a long way to go to achieve a high status. I agree that the classes that have the PIE program excel far and beyond the other classes. This is the minority of the school population. Why is there no emphasis in the remainder of the classes? The rest of the students are losing out on the special activities that the PIE classes get. It seemed that the school was focused more on achieving a higher API score than teaching the fundamentals. Too many times complaints went unanswered. This school needs to get better teachers that can teach the fundamentals rather than spend all of the class time trying to control their class. So far this year(06-07) it is traveling down the same path. For our kids sake please listen to all the parents inputs and complaints.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2006
I can't imagine a better environment for my child to learn. The staff is very professional and caring. They welcome parent involvement and have a terrific core of committed families who are active on campus regularly. A parent involvement program (PIE) is offered as a choice for students in grades K-2. Families who choose PIE commit to 4 hours of volunteer time per month. The commitment can be met by working in the classroom, class prep from home or through other activities that help the school in general (campus clean up, Home & School Club (version of PTA) activities, etc). Check this school out!

- submitted by a parent
April 06, 2006
This is my son's first year at Trace . He is in the 2nd Grade PIE (parent involvment) class. The staff is passionate and dedicated to helping all children learn. The performing arts program is a fabulous gift to students. Every student participates in a drama or musical production. Trace is lucky to have first class, full-time teachers in both drama and music! A new school will be built in 2007/8 that should be fantastic. The new Kinder complex is already in place and offers a beautifully self sufficient environment. The existing school is old but adequately maintained. In addition to the talented staff, there are numerous neighborhood families who are dedicated to making this the 'best elementary school in San Jose!' Request a tour and come take a look at the best kept secret in the Rose Garden! Check out the website www.projectbookmark.com for more info shared by area families.

- submitted by a parent
April 06, 2006
Trace is a gem and we love the staff and core group of involved families! The school changed to a K-5 this year after only having grades 3-5 in the past. It's great to have siblings on the same campus! This year's performing arts program allows all children to be involved in their drama or musical productions, in fact it's required! The kids do a great job and the performing arts teachers are really fantastic. Anyone who lives within the neighborhood boundary should send their kids to this school! Look beyond the test scores which are misleading, there are several 2nd lanuguage learners at the school who are tested in English. If you drill down to your demographic subgroup, this school compares favorably to many other highly rated schools. Trace is a safe and nurturing environment so that children can flourish!

- submitted by a parent
March 21, 2006
This used to be such a great school when it was 3-5, now it's crowded and the amount of fundraising is absolutely ridiculous! They nickle and dime you to death. They're strong on parent involvement however, but it's almost as if the parents need to help, or no one would!

- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 13, 2005
I find that trace elem. lacks discipline with children who are fighting and bullying. They need to have zero tolerance for these behaviors. The teachers are good but not enough parent involvement. Even though it's a perf. arts school not all kids have a chance to participate in music they have a waiting list.

- submitted by a parent
January 13, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 13, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Merritt Trace Elementary School
651 Dana Avenue, San Jose, CA  95126
(408) 535-6257
Last modified Merritt Trace Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 4 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Merritt Trace Elementary School Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 51 reviews. Top