I volunteered here one day/week in 2013-2014 while my children attended Belvedere. It's a wonderful place. The new administration and PTA completely turned this school around from where it was in the early 2000s. Both of my children had wonderful years, met terrific friends who live in our neighborhood, and had outstanding teachers.
Belvedere Elementary has experienced a dramatic transformation for the highest standards in education excellence since the arrival of Principal Vanderhye in 2010. The tone for parent-teacher interaction has improved markedly resulting in greater parent participation. Belevedere now warmly welcomes parental involvement. The PTA is unbelievably active and supportive of the schools many diverse programs. One of the most recent additions has been the introduction of the WATCH D.O.G.S, a National PTA sanctioned program that involves fathers and father figures to be present at the school to support any activities that the principal request of them throughout the school day. Over 100 dads are looking into how they can sign up. Transformative!!
The Advanced Academic Program is an excellent opportunity for more advanced children to further develop and improve, (and not getting bored), beyond the standard class room curricula. The AA Resource Teacher, does an outstanding job in this respect. However, as far as the normal class activities goes; it depends entirely on the teacher's capabilities and attitudes. Unfortunately, the principal is most interested in being a principal, and does not foster any welcoming environment for parents to get, and be involved with the school. This is evident when you look at the participation at the PTA events. Fund risers are always the same old hat, new initiatives, of any kind, are non-existent. Spend one year involved in activities at Belvedere ES, and you will know how the next year will pan out. And the next....
I am very surprised at this schools ranking. I moved here from Frisco,Tx which has excellent schools. My children LOVE Belvedere! They are being challenged, have great responsibilties in school, and are having fun. The teachers and staff are always kind and are prompt in handling any questions I have had. There are so many things going on at this school it is hard to keep up! I am truly happy with our decision to send our children here and hope others will visit the school before judging it. It really is a wonderful school.
I have been a Belvedere Parent for several years now. I completely agree that the Principal comes across as defensive. However, I do like the Assistance Principal and she is understanding, easy to work with, and does a good job communicating with the Parents. I also have a GT child and our GT experience has been good, so far. I was very disappointed with the K, 1st and 2nd, as a result of the no child left behind, my child was bored b/c he was not being challenged and as a result, I received daily emails about him talking in class. My expectations of the noise level in the lunch room/cafeteria are different than the people who run the cafeteria. I understand kids will be kids and they like to talk at lunch, but silence from the children should not be part of the lunch period.
We are fairly new to belvedere. So far the principal comes across defensive, looks out only for her teachers and is not a student advocate. Parents that are advocates for their students are considered 'intense' helicoptering parents. so far not so good.
The Belvedere GT Center has been a big disappointment for our family. The teacher turnover ratio is very high. For the past several years many of the teachers in the center classes have been new to Belvedere and new to the GT curriculum . The school administrators are remote and unapproachable.
We have 2 chidren in this school. It is a very diverse, creative, and caring school. The Special ED program is fantastic full of amazing teacher with extra degrees and certification.,The ESOL classes are well done also. The GT center is highly regarded, and hard to get into. The principal is a hard driver, but runs a great school. The PTA is relatively small, but hard working. The school offers a number of afterschool programs: music, SAC, Young Astronauts... Classes are a bit large.