My daughter attended k through 3rd grade at Canyon. This school has a lovely campus, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, and a small town feel, with the old schoolhouse serving as the library, but that were the warm and fuzzy feelings end. The school has a very wealthy, and minimally diverse demographic, and does not make students who get in on the lottery system (as opposed to those who live in the neighborhood) feel very welcome. The teachers do not diviate at all from the common core method, even if a child would benefit from a different teaching method. I was told by a teacher at Canyon that most parents get tutors if your child can't learn they way Canyon teaches. That shows the sort of expectation of wealth that is the norm at Canyon. The pressure put on students to perform well on standardized tests is not appropriate for grade school students, and the amount of homework given daily was huge cause for stress in my child. I do not recommend this school for creative children or parents who want their child to enjoy being a child.
My son just graduated from Canyon (he went K-5) and have to say it was an amazing experience for our whole family. Great students, teachers, parents! The school is very well funded by the caring community. Community is the word here. Roll up your sleeves and get ready for bake sales and Fiesta volunteer work if you are planning to attend this very high ranking school.
A small, caring school community with excellent teachers, and a safe no-bullying environment. Our child thrived here in every way! We got in by lottery, and I understand how other lottery parents might feel on-the-outs from the perceived clique of those who live in the surrounding, upscale area. They're all neighbors, and have know each other for years folks! So if you're a lottery parent, here's what you do: Volunteer! Get to know your fellow parents, join committees, be a room mom or dad, volunteer at book fair, pumpkin patch, booster club - there are so many ways to get involved - be pro-active and very quickly you'll realize that you have a bunch of great new parent friends!
We love this school!! Our daughter started this school about 2 weeks late, we got in through the lottery system and cannot believe how lucky we are! She is so happy and completely thriving. Her k teacher is amazing and the parent involvement is beyond anything I have ever experienced.
I have two kids at the school. We have had great teachers and the kids feel very comfortable with the teachers and the administration. The campus has a warm and comfortable feel to it and feels like a real community. Facilities are very well cared for and constantly being updated. Parents are very active in the school and particularly in the classroom. There are always extra parents helping and lots of opportunities to participate in the class, on field trips and for special school-wide events. It may not be a good fit for people who just need or want to drop their child off, as there is significant emphasis on financial and actual participation. However, if you want to be involved in your school, I cannot think of a better place to do it..
Overall Canyon is a very good school with caring and involved teachers. I think the principal is excellent (although sadly leaving this year). Bullying is not tolerated at all. period. For the most part the kids are a great bunch and get along well with each other. There are many down-to-earth, fabulous parents as well. But the person who said many of them are money-aware and will only associate themselves with others in their own "set" was sadly correct. It's a very affluent neighborhood and if you don't live it in, you can feel like an outsider. It feels very clique-y that way. Like most other public schools Canyon is way to wedded to standardized test results and there is a lot of teaching to the test, to the detriment of the kids. The Booster Club (and the core group of parents who essentially make it a full time job) do a fantastic job raising extra funds for things the school district would not otherwise provide. Unfortunately the lion share of the money goes toward buying more computers. When infrastructure is lacking and the arts and music program isn't nearly as robust as it should be, I don't think every kid needs an iPad. Just sayin'!
I love, love, love this gem of an elementary school. I was a teacher in LAUSD, and before we moved to the neighborhood we were in SMMUSD, so I have experience with other schools. Canyon's Parent Leadership, Administration, Teachers, and support staff are TOP NOTCH!! We are so lucky to live in this neighborhood and able to walk to our fabulous school!