We have had a great experience. The garden program is priceless. The science and biology they learn through hands on projects is amazing. They raise salmon at the school and walk down as a school to Seward Park in the spring to put them in Lake Washington. I also love the MLK march in January. The Garfield drum line leads the entire school carrying cans for the food bank to Columbia City. Orca leads a food drive all year and is one the largest donors of to the Rainier Valley Food Bank, students even harvest food from the garden for donation. It's not perfect but overall it is a special place and I'm glad my child is here.
Our school in the growing school sits in the diverse Columbia City/Seattle. The school reflects the community in which it serves. The Teachers share this uniqueness at Orca too. They continue to strive and reflect the diversity of the school. It is very rare to find a school that culturally reflects the students and the program. I am very proud to be an Orca parent that shares in this kind of diversity. I think it makes learning more engaging by accepting others!
Orca is an alternative public school that gives the students an open, warm and friendly atmosphere to learn in. They also have a fabulous greenhouse that helps the students understand food systems. This enables them to make better choices in their own nutritional lives.
This is my son's first year at Orca. He's in 3rd grade and we have had a wonderful experience so far. Everyone from the new principal and her office staff to his teacher and other parents have been welcoming and supportive to a new family. Our son loves going to school everyday and comes home excited about what he's learned. At Orca, the kids are very involved in the classroom and are taught that they are contributing members of their classroom community, what a great way to prepare them for the world. Our family loves Orca.
A very clean, safe, progressive school - great attitude from teachers we have met, and wonderful involvement from parents. However it seems in my opinion a bit chaotic and unstructured in terms of creating a respectful, thoughtful learning environment. Our daughter's kindergarten experience has been positive and fun for her, but the class runs wild and is out of control. Also in my opinion the children are afforded too much control of what is going on at any time; they are allowed to bring toys to class, lay down and take breaks when they want, and are generally not told to quiet down when they are noisy or disruptive. When they interrupt the teacher they are not corrected, rather they are asked what they want to say, which encourages bold kids to dominate the class. That said, they are taught empathy and have a great time so overall a positive experience.