Chabot vs. private smaller

Hello, We just got an offer for Chabot. I understand Chabot is huge and our current private school only has around 250 kids k-8...so this is a big change. How are academics at Chabot when it comes to writing cursive, group projects? Does that exist at Chabot? I read in a recent posting that teachers at Chabot are involved in some type of shaming, not appropriate use of discipline language (yelling or being rude to kid) Is this common? I'm shocked if that happens and no parents bring it up? How chaotic is it really on the playground? I had done a tour 2 years ago, and I recall a nice art space, but I forget if they focus on art and music?

The other downside to having to make this decision is that Adventure Time is so hard to get into and we have missed that mark to sign up. I stay at home so that is not a big deal, it just seems like so many unknowns. Does anyone know the 2nd grade teachers? How are they? My kid is well behaved so I would hate for her to be distracted by so much chaos in the classroom. There is little chaos at her school because it is pretty small and easy to contain. My older kid seems to be interested in making new friends at Chabot and is looking forward to not wearing a uniform and being able to possibly wear nail polish. I'm thrilled because I don't have to pay for school or do drop off, but again, I don't know where kids go after 5th grade and what to expect on the playground.

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RE: Chabot vs. private smaller ()

Hi,

I have a rising 7th grader who did K-5 at Chabot and a rising 2nd grader at Chabot. We have been there for a while! I'll try to answer some of your questions. The kindergarten has a separate play area although they also use the lower yard which is where the 1-3 kids have recess. Assemblies are usually K-2/3. Chabot is certainly a larger school than what you're in now but it doesn't feel that big. Some of that has to do with the layout. K-2 is in one building, Grade 3, the art and music classrooms are in another and 4-5 are in separate buildings on another yard separated by the library and the multi-purpose room. You're right about Adventure Time; at this point, you won't get into it but there are several after-school classes every day that will be available after school starts. They cover a wide range:  art, cooking, music, sports, academics, etc. 

Regarding the school and the academics, I can tell you as a former K-12 educator (even did my student teaching at Chabot many years ago), that the education at Chabot is as good as you will find at any school in the area, public or private, and better than most. My sons have not experienced anything like you describe either in shaming or chaos, in fact quite the opposite. As far as middle school goes, the students go to a variety of schools, public and private. My 7th grader is now attending Black Pine Circle Middle School and is doing very well. He was definitely well prepared at Chabot; the same goes for his friends who are attending Claremont, Head-Royce, Willard, etc. Happy to answer any other questions!

RE: Chabot vs. private smaller ()

We love Chabot! The teachers are great and they definitely do group projects in 3rd grade - I don't remember if they did them in second grade. We were also worried about the size of the school but because K-3 stays on the lower yard and 4/5 is on the upper yard, it feels smaller. The class size has also been great - only 22 or 23 kids per grade through 3rd grade. I haven't noticed that there's been that much chaos in the classroom - most of the teachers are very seasoned and used to managing a variety of personalities and situations. There's also a big focus on social emotional learning at Chabot, so while it's not a small private school class, the teachers establish a very respectful, community-minded classroom environment. Regarding, the second grade teachers - they're all great (some better than others but none are bad) - as are most of the other teachers in other grades. We've been really happy with all of our class placements and gotten close to the teachers each year. Good luck with your decision.

RE: Chabot vs. private smaller ()

Current Chabot family here. Your daughters would not see each other on the playground for the first year.  The playground schedule is K-1, 2-3, 4-5. Chabot is a big school with many amazing teachers, a really great supportive community of families and a PTA that fills in the gaps for what OUSD doesn't provide (art, music, science, kinder language). That said there are a few teachers that in my opinion should not be teaching any longer. They are burned out and still use discipline that involves shaming and yelling. Parents bring it up but it has been my experience that is seems almost impossible to get rid of a teacher unless they break the law. There are some great playground teachers/staff but again others seem to be past their "prime" I haven't found the classrooms to be chaos but it really depends on what teacher you get.  Kids go all over the place for middle school. Some go to Claremont and many go private. It might be a good idea to have your younger start and then see at the end of the year if it might be a good fit for your older.  Good luck. 

RE: Chabot vs. private smaller ()

I have two kids at Chabot, one going into 5th and another going into 2nd. You've gotten solid responses so far, but I'll try to answer a few more of your questions...

Cursive is not a major area of instruction, although some teachers do teach it. It will depend on who your children get as their teachers.

There are definitely teachers who do group projects - some more than others. 

There is not a huge focus on art and music, but each child gets one music class and one art class a week, with a specialist instructor. They also may get more, depending on how much their current classroom teacher focuses on music and/or art. 

Chaos in the classroom is very, very rarely an issue at Chabot. The teachers are all pretty seasoned, and they all have their methods for managing their classrooms, even with large class sizes. (Honestly, this is something that really has impressed me over the years, because my older child is in a very large grade that has had pretty large class sizes, and for the most part, I've been impressed by how teachers handle the kids.) The yard can be a bit more chaotic than the classroom. Recess is usually two grades - so around 200 kids on the yard at once. The yard staff do their best to break it up into manageable, smaller activities. (Organized tag game over here, four-square game over there, play structure over there...) But I think for some kids it can feel overwhelming at first. 

Overall, we have been so impressed by the caring, dedication and just intelligence of Chabot teachers. Many definitely approach their work with an interest in becoming better teachers, and it has been really cool to watch. There are a small handful of teachers who still sometimes use old-school, shaming attitudes toward the kids. I hate it. They are a small minority, and I would say that yelling at or shaming kids is very, very far from the norm. So my attitude has been... OK, we had a difficult year or two, but overall, my kids have benefited from Chabot's terrific teachers. Yes, parents definitely complain to the principal about the few teachers who yell/shame, but my sense is that the principal's hands are tied by union/OUSD rules, and there's only so much she can do about it. At the same time, some of the teachers who are "yellers" also have these really wonderful other aspects to them. (One, for instance, does these truly fabulous, creative projects with the kids that have blown me away. It's not at all unusual to meet kids who will say she is the best teacher they've ever had.) So... after many years I've come to the conclusion that each teacher truly does have his/her great parts and not-so-great parts. But on balance, it all works out pretty well.