I have a very mixed review. This is our second year at SOEC. My daughter is in second grade. We absolutely love her teacher Ms. Doh and in general, our experience with the teachers has been great. Our issue is with the terrible micro management of the the children's physical education. I've never seen a school so overly reactive to the normal every day physical challenges children experience when they play. I'm not sure if it's the SOPA board (our PTA) or the outgoing interim principal, but if a child injures themselves while playing, the school reacts in the most overblown way. For example, last year the kids were running during recess, playing tag, etc. Because a few kids got rough and pushed some other kids (scratches, bruises, etc) the school banned running games on the yard entirely. They can only run if playing something organized by an aid on a particular part of the yard. This year was worse. Two children broke their arms on our apparatus, so what did our school do? They took yellow caution tape and literally taped off the apparatus, banning it from all the children indefinitely. I mean, come on?? Add more yard aids, provide supervision during recess to help keep the children safe, but to outright ban playing activities, especially an entire apparatus structure that is extremely important for children's physical development, is ridiculous. Children are going to get hurt sometimes. That's part of how they grow and learn their bodies. Study after study shows the importance of NON structured play for children. I've been furious over this. My daughter comes home everyday telling me of something else she was told she's not allowed to do on the yard. Last week, she was told she can't twirl in circles around a metal post because she may hit it. You could also fall at any moment in time, should we all wear helmets just in case we trip? When I tried to speak to the Interim Principal about this, she shut me down and said she'd made her decision, the school doesn't want lawsuits and so the apparatus is closed. No discussion. I love the teachers at this school, but the lack of democracy in allowing us to challenge this arbitrary rule has left a horrible taste in my mouth over this school. We just got a new principal and I'm hoping she'll be more receptive.
I have 2 children at SOEC and I have been very pleased with the level of education and opportunities the school provides. There is a wonderful Kids Center run by a director who has her Masters. Super School Enrichment is offered after school. There is a dedicated Science Lab, Computer Lab, Art Center, Music and Choral Room and they have a PE program by MyGym. All of these programs begin in TK. The principal is great and the teachers are as well.
As a parent, i fully agree with the PE program at SOECS! Is it tough? yes! Do the kids moan and groan about it sometimes? Yes but these devoted teachers, especially Mr. Cook, are getting them ready for middle school PE which is not very easy and requires even more. How can we honestly sit and complain that our children are being worked? Do you complain that your children are learning too much as well???
The person speaking about the "P.E. Boot Camp" was commenting on a program I began, with the support of all the upper grade staff, at the school 3 years ago. My name is David Cook and I am a teacher at this school. As the anonymous person suggests, I too encourage you to come out and watch the students and our upper grade program. It is amazing to see their growth and development over the course of the year. I believe this person is mistaken in their assessment of the motivations, teaching methodology or value of our program. Yes, there was originally an exercise called the "Circle of Pain." That's what it was called when I learned it. I was told 1 parent came and complained about the name and could it be changed? I changed it officially to "The circle of happy, happy, joy, joy, we all love each other." This one exercise routine is very popular and frequently requested by the students. Regardless of the name, the concept remains the same. Through a shared experience requiring individual effort toward a common goal, a group comes together and feels good about themselves both as individuals and as part of something bigger. I am always willing to address any concerns.
My child has been coming here since kinder. As far as education I would of gave this school 5 stars however the overall experience here does not equal that. First of all if you want to send your 5th grader to a P.E. boot camp you found the right place. I'm surprised no one has commented on this so far. I guess its because they are not aware. Hang out for a few extra min after you drop your child off in the morning. You would of had quite a show today. The kids are being yelled at like in boot camp. Can you believe this instruction was actually called "circle of pain" last year? So many parents complained they had to change the name to "happy happy joy joy" but the kids still remember it as circle of pain. I know a few families that pulled their kids out because of this. As far as favoritism I would have to agree with the past comments. I have felt like this for years. Sopa board definitely gets priority with what teachers they want. I do think that is changing with the new Principal now. As far as the complaints about the principal I personally haven't had any issues but I don't know about everyone else. I did leave her a concern once and never received a return phone call.
This school is good over all. Quite a lot of parent involvement and the teachers are great, and really seem to care. They offer music and other programs that have been cut in other schools. They also offer after school classes like guitar, drums, karate, cooking, and other subjects.
Principal.......As the leader of this school, it is your job to uphold the law, set an example for your students and provide the quality of care you would DEMAND for your own children. This morning, as I was in the MIDDLE of the crosswalk, with my child, on Ventura Blvd and Willis Ave, you SO RUDLY AND UNSAFELY SPED UP YOUR SILVER HONDA CRV to CUT MY SON AND HIS FRIEND OFF IN THE CORSSWALK...the red hand WAS NOT FLASHING! YOUR STUDENTS HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY. What kind of monster are you that you would speed up to cut off children, just to save an extra 5 seconds! YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO THE PRINCIPAL OF ANY SCHOOL.