We had an amazing first year at the school. The male teacher that has been mentioned before is fantastic. Our daughter thrived in his class and adored him. I volunteered myself and got to watch his approach. He is humoros, highly intelligent, creative and teaches kids the right amount of discipline. he treats them as intelligent human beeings and challenges their minds, by asking intelligent questions that encourage them to think rather than repeat. It is a true gift to have a person like him as your first teacher in Elementary School!
My son was in the male teacher's kindergarten class and I have nothing but the highest praise and appreciation for him and the school overall. I volunteered in the class every week and was able to witness, first hand, the academic rigor and peer socialization that he received in the classroom and at school. By the beginning of Spring, every child in the class was reading on his/her own and writing paragraphs. Most impressively, the teacher cultivates intellectual curiosity among the students by engaging and challenging them to understand the meaning behind the stores they read rather than just memorizing the content. As an educator myself, I appreciated his pedagogy because it fostered critical and analytical thinking not just rote learning.
I also appreciate the tremendous efforts that the school and parents put into fundraising so that we have a teacher's aide in every class in addition to full-time science and physical education instructors. I have no problem contributing my dollars and own sweat equity to raise funds so that my child and all the children can have a high quality educational experience at Topanga Elementary. The ethos of the school fosters a sense of community and collective responsibility for all the children not just your own. I lived in Topanga for a decade but it was not until my son started kindergarten here that I felt immersed in the community.
We left. Too many issues, one after the other, that were never handled. And they blame you if you bring anything up, but this was the last couple principals. My child became full of learning anxiety and said she hated learning. Now she is simply thriving somewhere else. Horrible leadership, nice teachers but not exceptional in general. A weird defensive vibe from staff in general. We left broken hearted like so many other Topangans. Wish Topanga Elementary would finally start representing Topanga and its inhabitants better. It's very middle of the road. Terrible at handling any problems that arise. If you don't have any, it'll be fine. Parents have a great time. Nice ecclectic group.
I have 2 years experience with Topanga Elementary and so far have found it to be a wonderful school. I am mystified by the previous review concerning a male kindergarten teacher. I have a child in that class and it has been a great year. I worked as a volunteer in the classroom and found the teaching to be fun and interesting. The male teacher is clearly very popular with the kids and I never witnessed any 'unkind', .' aggressive', or 'mocking' behaviour. I found him to be kind, funny, patient and nurturing. He does not tolerate bad behaviour, but I never heard him raise his voice. He is more likely to move a disruptive student quietly to another table. I believe the vast majority of parents are also happy with him and cannot understand this strange review. All three kindergarten teachers are wonderful for different reasons. The outgoing principal has been terrific and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that a similarly approachable and capable principal will be recruited.
This is a safe and nurturing school with mostly caring and involved parents. However much of the success of the school can be attributed to the active parent body and not to the generally weak leadership and staff. There are some wonderful thoughtful teachers here however my daughter was unfortunate to get a male kindergarten teacher who is not just incompetent, failing to teach the children anything except what they can absorb from endless drills from dull worksheets, but who is actively unkind: aggressively and overtly mocking children who do not fit into an average mold in front of other children and parents alike. Many other parents have told me that this behavior has gone on unchecked for years, therefore despite the safe environment and parents who manage to keep arts and music in the school even with the LAUSD budget restraints, I cannot give a school that allows one individual to damage so many anything but a one.
My school is Topanga Elementary and it is a fantastic school. Lots of parental involvement and a terrific principal and teaching staff. We feel so blesses to have our child attend such an excellent school!
We feel very fortunate to have had our child at Topanga for the last 5 years. He is in a very safe place and is surrounded by a principal, teachers and other parents who encourage him to be his best. Regardless of the challenges we have had with LAUSD funding, our TEP program seems to always make it happen each year for our kids, providing the additional enrichment they so need. Overall, it has been a VERY good experience.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Principal Nicole, all the wonderful teachers, the teachers aids, the office staff, the custodian Charles, the cafeteria help and all the wonderful parents that give so much of their time, love and money to our community and all the different fundraisers the school has throughout the year. My grandson has been going to Topanga Elementary school for four years and he has learned so much in these past years that I was amaze when he came home with homework on algebra in the 3 grade. I know for a fact that these teachers have their best interest at heart.. I know there is no school anywhere in the country that always has 100% ratings every year (unless they are teaching robots), so I can only expect the best from all concern. I love their academics. They have a great lab, art classes, computer class, math class and many more good learning activities. Our community is very close and we do look after each others children.. The way the world is now we have to protect all our children.. Thank you very much for having a great curriculum and for the love and security you give all our children. From a grandparent.....
Adequate academic program. Lots of state-testing prep, which explains to a large degree its API. Principal is competent in running academic side of school, but woefully inadequate in dealing with bullying. Quite simply, she will tell you she'll "take care of it," but cannot provide any concrete details when asked for a follow-up. The bullying continues; she agrees to meet with you again and takes notes, but does absolutely nothing about it. By the third or fourth complaint, she'll begin to question if the victim is doing anything to trigger the bullying. Fundraising, while necessary, is far above normal. Your child will be the target of daily fundraising, from after/before-school sales of pizza, ice cream and hot chocolate to large-scale campaigns that happen almost monthly. They offer wonderful, unique field trips -- this is truly a highlight of their program. The only downside is that they insist on using a caravan of parent drivers for at least half the field trips. If you offer to drive, you must take on all legal responsibility for the children in your car and supply your insurance information to the school.
Wow! We are amazed so far. We looked at all the great private schools for our Transitional Kindergarten son and now we are so glad we went this route. Our initial change of heart was simply to get our kids involved in the local community but now, we are impressed and excited about the learning ahead at this school. We are staying!