Alameda Schools

We are looking to move to Alameda from SF.  Can anyone talk about the schools?  I have heard great things about Maya Lin and Paden.  Im very curious about Love Elementary as that is a neighborhood we keep being drawn towards and I hear mixed things about this school.    And I know people love Edison and Otis yet I don't know anyone who attends.  Im looking for a school where community, arts, and play are all valued.  I fear kids are pushed into academics too hard at such a young age and Im curious if any of these schools support some of my same values.   

And, is it hard to transfer out of your neighborhood into another elementary school?

Any input is welcome.  Thanks.

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RE: Alameda Schools ()

As a longtime Alamedan, I would say that the strength of AUSD is that our schools are all neighborhood-based, with active PTAs and parent communities. This means, though, that you really should focus your school research on the neighborhood(s) where you would be moving to (or Maya Lin, which is a magnet), because transferring is a very iffy proposition. Kids will only be let in to another school if there is room, and if in a subsequent year, the grade fills up with neighborhood kids, your child will not be able to stay.  The good news is that I have heard good things about all the schools. We were at Edison, and to reassure you, it is not "academics-focused," but was a well-rounded school experience, with art and garden docent and other wonderful programs.  But we have heard great things about other schools too, so I wouldn't focus on a specific "name brand", and muchof it depends on the teachers you get and the school community. In general, there have been a lot of families moving into Alameda, so all the schools have a fresh influx of support and you really can't trust old information (especially on web sites). Your best bet is to talk to prospective neighbors, or reach out to the PTAs to talk to parents or join local Facebook groups.

The one thing you should know about all the Alameda schools is that AUSD is very short on funds, with the lowest paid teachers in the county, old infrastructure, and limited budgets for extras. This is because Alameda lost federal funding when the base closed and we never got State funding to replace it. Schools very much depend on PTA volunteers and funding for the "extras," so you will find that is a difference between schools. Edison, for instance, has a particularly amazing PTA.  My strong recommendation is that any school you send your child to, you plan on getting involved and supporting your PTA, as that will make all the difference in your family's experience. Good luck in your move to Alameda - it is a really wonderful place to raise kids.

RE: Alameda Schools ()

I agree with a lot that Mspark has already posted, but want to make a clarification regarding Maya Lin, which is my neighborhood school. After the closure of Lum Elementary, the district re-drew school boundaries and Maya Lin is now functioning more like a neighborhood school than a magnet, due to the influx of students from the neighborhood Lum was in. So if you choose a home outside of Maya Lin's new boundaries, it may be tougher to get in now. My younger child goes to Maya Lin and I think she's getting a better, more well-rounded education than my older child did, who went to one of the island's richer east end schools (because we used to live in the east end). It really comes down to teachers and school climate, and Maya Lin has been great with both. 

RE: Alameda Schools ()

I agree with the two previous posters. My son attended Edison because we lived the Edison school zone. But I was comfortable sending him to any of the other schools. Edison tests well because there are few poor families and families who are English language learners. I thought Edison was a fine school and my son liked it.

I also toured Maya Lin and was impressed by the level of passion the staff showed for the school. Maya Lin incorporates art into their classes which might be of interest to you. I was told that Edison and all the other elementary schools had adopted the same art based approach. But I didn't see the same level of integration at Edison. Maya Lin pioneered this approach at AUSD so I guess they bought into it the most. We were friends with a family who had a child at Edison who was bullied for being "different". She transferred to Maya Lin and thrived. Interestingly when the same family sent their next child, they didn't hesitate to send her to Edison. I was told the second child had a "regular" personality and would do just fine at Edison. My son got into Maya Lin, when it was a magnet, but we chose to send him to our neighborhood school, Edison. The ability to walk to school and walk to friends was and is one of the most important things for us and I guess he is a "regular" kid. But it would have been cool for him to attend Maya Lin.