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Public district
Tiburon, CA
Students enrolled: 520

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277 Karen Way
Tiburon, CA 94920

School website
(415) 388-7100
(415) 388-7176
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Map of Bel Aire Elementary School address.

July 26, 2015
Good school with many great teachers; however, the principal - Pati Purcell is a joke. Due to Purcell, I couldn't give a higher rating. If I could make her disappear, I'd do it in a second.

- submitted by a parent

May 14, 2014
I agree with all of the negative comments below. I went to this school last year and remembered poor math, art, and music programs, all of which are important in kids learning. My math class last year which was separate from others for advanced students, was very unsatisfactory and I learned virtually nothing that year in math. Computers and iPads do not substitute for hands on enrichment and helping a kid learn. I had three great teachers through my experience at Bel Aire, but others were mean, did not teach well, were not good role models, and were incompetent because of these reasons. The principal practically bullied all of the kids and showed no respect for us. She would always break her own rules for her own pleasure. I also remember all of my friends disliking her. I think she thinks unfairly and so does the PTA. The school play is biased for the kids whose parents are donors to RUSD or the underachieving kids. Despite all of these things, my teachers in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade were outstanding and I learned plenty from them. I am shocked the superintendent now put Principal Purcell in charge of Reed as well as Bel Aire. Written by a former Student

- submitted by a community member

April 29, 2014
The school teaches to the middle and lower end. Higher achieving students are used as teacher aides to help the under achieving students. Students are not held accountable for homework and the curriculum is not well taught. They actually taught the same curriculum my dc had the year before in private but the private did a much better job at the grade below! Some teachers have 28-29 kids in a class! I'm so surprised that such a high achieving community would tolerate such mediocracy.

- submitted by a parent

March 28, 2014
Bel Aire is a warm and creative place for your child to learn and we have had a very positive experience with both the staff and principal. Our teachers in both 3rd and 4th grade have been incredible!

- submitted by a parent

February 06, 2014
Having your kid want to go to school does not mean you are at a Good School! like the last person who wrote about this school and gave it a 5 star might benefit from actually going there (3-5th grade). She might learn some basic punctuation, if she is lucky enough to get one of the "good teachers". While she says her son is enjoying going to school , what is he LEARNING? I hope other viewers recognize the lack of experience/knowledge and discount this review. I think people should wait until they have more information before writing a review and or not do it to make friends in the PTA. Another good thing to ask yourself is, do you want your kids to go to school with kids who have parents who do things like this?

- submitted by a community member

January 24, 2014
We couldn't disagree more with the rating comments in the reviews. Pati Purcell runs school that has incredibly high morale across the staff and students. We are not big donators but we have always gotten the best teachers. Our 5th grader absolutely loves Bel Aire and his experience there has taken him from a kid that "hates school" to one that looks forward to each school day. We can't say enough about happy we are to be at this school and we hope that our experience at Del Mar will be just as outstanding.

- submitted by a parent

September 05, 2013
I went to this school many years ago. Besides the after school model airplane class, everything else was terrible. I was bullied and pushed around and nobody did anything. I couldn't stand the kids that went there so when I finally graduated, I made my parents put me in a private school. Luckily, that worked out. It was far and away the worst school experience of my life. I don't remember any of my teachers to this day.

- submitted by a community member

August 20, 2013
Fully agree with the post right below. Why isn't principal Purcell held accountable? She does not deserve to be an administrator, especially for children! Most parents I Know try to duck under her radar, even when they feel the school and teacher quality are going downhill fast. The other schools in the district, reed and del mar, are still great though. I guess 3 years isn't that long?.....

- submitted by a parent

August 19, 2013
If I could, I would give this school a zero. While this school has some really good teachers it is poorly run by the administration. I think the principal is unethical, incompetent, and a bully. I'm not sure how she can ignore emais from parents month after month and keep her job without a response. However, after finally meeting with her personally, I realized most parents are scared of her and therefore don't bother. She is known to be a beligerent person and they also worry their kids will be treated unkindly and not given band aids or a part in the school play. Even though the PTA claims responsibility, she is completely in charge of it! They also worry if they complain that their kids will be given the worst teachers in the school. The music, art and math program are non-existent. Kids who get good teachers and parts in the school play are most likely big donors, untalented or poor students. The math/reading program is completely focused on the underachieving kids. The only thing we liked about this school was the few hard working, kind and talented teachers but with the interaction of the administration, they were never allowed to do the right things.

- submitted by a parent

August 10, 2013
Awfully. My daughter finally graduated from this school. The school is disorganized.It's too bad the school is ran by such poor quality teachers.

- submitted by a parent

July 23, 2013
At a party, the principal was complaining and gossiping about the 3rd grade parents. She doesnt mind when the teachers do this either. Not all of them do, but our certainly did! Reminds me if the silly cliques in high school, only it's the supposed role models and educators for our children. Disgusting!

- submitted by a parent

June 16, 2013
If you want one of the better teachers in each grade, be prepared to donate a lot of money and time to this school. Seriously, be ready to work f/t hours as a volunteer both in the classroom and on committees. I agree with the other reviewer that you need to be in the "inner circle" with the super, principal, and pta moms who run the show. Some people rationalize it by saying it still costs less than a private school if you have 2+ kids. Just be prepared. I also agree that this school is quite magical and fun for average students. If your child is in the top or bottom 10%, you may truly be better off at a private school. The principal and teacher will act like your child is a nuisance, and I've seen perfectly bright children walk away from here disengaged. We know at least half a dozen kids who left this year and are much happier at their private schools. Many kids also have behavior problems, but if the family is very involved with the school, they are untouchable and know it. We have been to school in westchester and palo alto but have never seen anything like this! There is so much potential and some great families. It's too bad the school is run by such nut cases!

- submitted by a parent

June 13, 2013
High performing school..a lot of time is spent on practice tests, test taking skills, and teaching to the median. Differentiated learning is not always available and is teacher and classroom dependent. because high test scores are such a focus, only subjects that are tested (language arts and math) are covered uniformly throughout each grade. Science, art, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and creative explorations are not nurtured, or perhaps are so if you get the right classroom. The principal is not receptive to any constructive criticism or concern; any suggestions of change are countered with suggestions to look at private schools. Individualism, gifted ness, and learning differences are not valued. The defensiveness of teachers and admin, when trying to open a discussion about anything, is most concerning. Many families believe that higher donations to the foundation can secure better teachers and better response from the admin. Even the superintendent has commented that they seek inout of "key parents" before deciding on implementing change, ranging from support of special Ed, gifted, or non-STAR tested subjects. Looks good on paper....

- submitted by a parent

May 06, 2013
Computer time and morning school run t.v time should be limited. More of a back to basics approach would be a benefit to the children.

- submitted by a parent

July 12, 2008
Love it!!! My son has adored every teacher and staff member. I am especially impressed with the incredible music program- with opportunities for participation in chorus, band and musical theater! Spanish and computers are integrated daily. Teachers truly care about each of the children. The facility is stunning.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
December 12, 2007
The school environment is excellent from every angle. The staff and teachers are accomodating to the parents as well as to the children and the community is very supportive of the school as well. Retired school teachers seek to volunteer the children at this school. The kids get to learn a sense of independece without feeling lost. Any child that has the oppurtunity of attending this well rounded school is very fortunate and the parents should be absolutely happy

- submitted by a parent
no rating
September 05, 2007
This school is an outstanding learning environment tailored to its age group (grade 3-5). Each of my three children thrived here and found something to capture their imagination - be it drama, music, or the opportunity to be in student government. The academic support was excellent as well - two of my kids got the extra help in math they needed and left 5th grade with the confidence they needed to go to middle school.

- submitted by a parent

August 30, 2007
Any child that is able to attend Bel Aire Elementary School is extremely fortunate. The school is phenomenal and the community support outstanding. The district has been able to pass two bonds and maintain a parcel tax to ensure the quality of the education continues.

- submitted by a parent

May 19, 2006
Such a great school. The teachers are excellent. I went to a great school myself, and these kids are much more advanced

- submitted by a parent

April 12, 2005
My son is in the fourth grade and I have been most impressed with the quality of the teacher and school. His class just finished a great project where each child built a separate CA mission. Each child loved this project, took ownership and exercised creativity in the building of this poject.

- submitted by a parent

November 02, 2004
The office is low staffed and disorganized. School lunches are not that creative or nutricious and very expensive. Lunches are done by the PTA. The students daily milk is warm and left out in the sun. The principal is hardly seen by the students or parents. The school does not have a full time nurse. The nurse is only there on certain days.

- submitted by a parent

May 07, 2004
Great parental involvement and very committed teachers! The children are given a well rounded education and are well prepared to move to junior high school.

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: July 26, 2015

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Bel Aire Elementary School
277 Karen Way, Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 388-7100
Last modified Bel Aire Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades 3-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Bel Aire Elementary School Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 29 reviews. Top