My child's second grade teacher taught poorly in the class, especially math, that's why many students performed poorly in math. The teacher always forced the students to copy what she taught, my child was punished for being creative and fast in her math class. The teacher doesn't know art (she said it herself), yet she taught art class. The computer class was taught poorly that my child didn't learn much in the two year's time. She just learned on her own this summer and in one week, she learned more on coding and typing than her two year's classes. The Spanish class was bad too that she didn't learn basic words and conversation in two years.
The school teachers showed strong favoritism to other teachers' kids. For example, the principal's daughter was in the same class as my child. The teacher always praise her, claiming she is the best students she ever taught. But in fact the principal's daughter was the one who talked the most in the class, when other students got punished, she was never punished! When almost every student was sent to the principal's office during the school year, she was never. Once she couldn't answer any question in a math test, she received 100% score "for the effort of trying" when other students were graded according to their answers. These special treatments made her feel she was special that she often called herself "mini-principal" in the school. My child was bullied by some boys in the school for many times, especially one boy who was a teacher's son. But he never got any punishment for bullying. The school and the teachers never punish the bullying students.
It is a great school with caring teachers who are effective at motivating even their most toughest customers to want to learn. My son was getting into "trouble" in his preschool. It seems to happen a bit at the tail end of each year and the pre-school would bump him to the next class months before he hit the age to move on, but it seemed to work. We tried Stratford for transitional K, as we were concerned to keep him at the other school, as he was showing signs of being bored again. Our son not only thrived, but would come home everyday to share about his what he learned. The teachers are friendly providing a caring, yet firm approach with the kids. By the end of the school year for TK, he proactively and with interest was reading books at the 2nd grade level and preferred science books. Our son loved his teachers as well as the principal, we plan to keep him through elementary.
The teachers are truly excellent. My children have had 9 teachers thus far and they've all been exemplary. They are caring, kind, energetic, and have appropriate expectations for their students. Every morning I see the teachers interacting with students and teachers and there are always smiles and welcoming greetings all around. Parent-teacher meetings are scheduled twice per year and the teachers give good feedback and are responsive to hearing concerns and questions.
My children do much more homework than I ever did, but they do not complain about it and because the homework assignments start so young (in kindergarten), they have never known school to be any other way. It helps that my children are both in the after care program, in which the excellent after care staff provides attention, help, and most importantly, strict expectations, regarding the students completion of their homework. As a result, my children rarely have homework to do at home, finishing it in after care before returning home most of the time (only when picked up early, before they've had time to finish their homework at school, do they ever have homework to do at home - and they do it diligently at home as well, being so used to doing it every day).
I am often amazed at the quantity of work that is sent home in their Friday folders every week (even though we check their homework every night and see what they are doing on a daily basis, seeing it all together in one folder along with the work that was done in class including tests, quizzes, and reports makes it clear the sheer volume of work the students accomplish each and every week), but I am thrilled that my children have become comfortable with this level of work and seem happy to do it. It really does help that they're completely done with all schoolwork for the most part (aside from weekly practicing for tests on the night before) by the time they get home and can focus on having fun and being kids while at home.
The school emphasizes a standard of conduct based on the RESPECT acronym, which I can't remember exactly what it stands for, but each letter is for a word that describes a behavior such as Caring or Responsibility. The teachers actively engage the students in projects meant to demonstrate the concepts and reinforce those behaviors. The school has awards ceremonies a couple of times per year in which students who have especially exemplified one or more of the RESPECT ideals is honored. These combine to demonstrate the degree to which the school develops social skills and good behavior.
I have two children who have each attended the Stratford School at De Anza park (on Lime Drive) for three years thus far, starting with JK and K respectively. My children have been extremely happy at Stratford and are both learning well and developing great work habits. It is this latter part that I think is the most important - it doesn't matter to me if my children are learning ahead of their grade level or at their grade level (although I am fairly certain that they are learning at least 1 year ahead of their grade level when compared to peers at other schools whose parents I have talked with), what is more important is the establishment of a love of school, a respect for the learning process, and good work habits. And I think that Stratford is doing a phenomenal job in these areas. My children bring home more classwork and homework than I ever thought children of this age would be expected to do and they do so without complaint, and in fact, usually enjoy the work, sometimes wanting to go over work or practice it beyond what their teacher expects (OK so this isn't exactly common, but it does happen from time to time!).
The academics at Stratford, both in what is expected of students, and how students are taught to handle those expectations, is, I think, excellent. But more than that, the staff and teachers seem to genuinely care and provide a very nurturing and fun environment. The teachers are bright and positive and my children have been very happy and affectionate with every teacher that they have had thus far. In the JK and K grades the students actually have two teachers per class and so my children have had 9 teachers thus far and they have all been magnificent. The teachers seem happy with the school and the turnover rate for teachers is low, which says something.
The education is also quite varied, with many subjects taught, including art, music, history, religion, and physical education; this is not a school that overly focuses on a few core subjects. If I had two small criticisms they would be that I feel that the computer classes could be a little better, and also the school sometimes is overly preoccupied with safety concerns at the expense of natural and free play - but I guess that's just a societal trend. The children are no longer allowed to play on the school playground after the 6:00 school closing, which makes us sad.
This school might be an "academic school" but the burden is really on the parents. Essentially, their philosophy is to teach children a grade or two above a public school and if they struggle, shift the burden to the parents or ...get ready for it..nudge them to pay additional money for private tutoring. Our child is really bright and has scored consistently 90-100% in her weekly tests (yes weekly tests for kindergartners). This would not good enough for her teacher, although it was good enough for us, as parents. My kid is in Kindergarten and youngest in her class and we are very involved parents. We would make sure she revises her homework and practices for her test. However, we get constantly get reminded by her teachers about this additional Stratford express program that might benefit our child. I am not sure why I am paying more than $1750 a month if I need to get her in private tutoring program.
My son has been with this school ever since preschool. This was his first exposure to the world of formal education and I must say he is as happy as we are. It's been over 2 years now and it was absolutely a wonderful experience interacting with the teachers, the principal, the admins in the office room. I like the good mix of academics,music and art ensuring a good balance is maintained. The best thing for me was to see my kid perform so wonderfully along with other kids during the spring/winter programs. Also,the fact that they encouraged parent participation left me with such wonderful memories,that I can share with my son,years later.All in all, we love being a part of this wonderful school.