Cragmont Elementary

Our six-year old son was assigned to Cragmont. This was our fourth choice so we don't know much about it. Would anyone have recent experience with Cragmont Elementary. Does it have a stimulating learning environment? Are there major behavioral issues. I just saw that the suspensions rate for 2018 was quite high compared to other BUSD schools. Many thanks for your help.

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RE: Cragmont Elementary ()

Hi there,

Welcome to Cragmont!  I am sorry that it was your 4th choice but rest assured, Cragmont is a wonderful school.  I have one child at Cragmont and one who graduated and have been very happy with their experiences. What stand out for me are the abilities of the teachers, the non-academic enrichment courses and the community activities. 

Our kids'  teachers have been for the most part energetic, engaged and passionate about teaching. Their teachers are truly invested in my kids' learning process and respond to all of my questions how they are doing with chapter books, long division, science projects, etc.  I also appreciate how committed the teachers are to helping the kids navigate social challenges. I get a lot of feedback about (luckily minor) issues on the playground and really believe that the teachers (and other staff) are watching out for my kids' well-being.  Most of the teachers are very experienced (10+ years in the classroom) and are tech-savvy, sending regular emails home and posting updates and photos on their Google classroom websites. 

Like all schools in BUSD, Cragmont has a strong enrichment program.  At Cragmont, there is an emphasis on art, both visual and performance, so students all take dance class once a week and also have an art teacher once a week.  In addition to the enrichment that goes on during the day, Cragmont also has a good afterschool enrichment program that the PTA administers.  That program includes classes for Spanish, martial arts, tennis, Lego-robotics, chess, etc. 

I'm not familiar with the suspension rates so cannot comment on that specifically.  As reported by my kids, there have been behavioral issues from time to time, but those appear to have been addressed promptly by staff and teachers.  The principal is very approachable and pragmatic.  

Cragmont has a lot of community activities which helps families connect with each other, particularly those parents who cannot be on campus during the school day.  There are all-school picnics in September and June, the Halloween Haunted Hallway, WinterFaire, the annual auction, the Black History event, the Spring Carnival and Grandparents/Special Friends Day.  

All in all, my kids are enthusiastic about learning, have developed strong friendships, and feel safe and happy at Cragmont.

RE: Cragmont Elementary ()

I have an incoming 3rd grader and a just-graduated Cragmonter going on to middle school, so our family has been there for the last 6 years. We love the school, the teachers, the principal, and the parent community. Sorry you didn’t get any of your first choices - that is no fun. But rest assured that your child will be safe, educated and nurtured at Cragmont. I believe in the spring of 2018 there were some issues with a particular cohort of 5th graders that might have led to the suspensions you mentioned. This was not a universal issue at all. My kids (combined 9 years of teachers/classrooms) have never been in a classroom with a suspension or any incidence of violence. We’ve had some truly wonderful teachers and a couple who were a little less rigorous but still kind and warm and got the job done! And our principal of the last two years, Michelle Sinclair, is doing a great job - she is liked by the teachers and the families, which is rare! 

Last nut but not least, Cragmont has a grass field, a lovely garden, a modern school building, and a super PTA afterschool enrichment program in addition to the district-led LEARNS program. You don’t get these things at every school! 

Hope to see you at one of our events like the incoming family playdate this Sunday at 10am!

RE: Cragmont Elementary ()

I have a 3rd grader and the incoming TKer. I like Cragmont. I think it is pretty much the same as other schools in the district. District makes sure that children in all schools have similar experience. We got a new principal last year. There is get-together this weekend. You can come and meet other families. If you are concerned, you can sign up for a waiting list for schools that you like. That is how we got into Cragmont (it was our first choice).

RE: Cragmont Elementary ()

Our daughter went to Cragmont from K-2nd grade and, as a whole, we were happy with the school.  Over those three years she had two excellent teachers and one teacher that was very good.  We felt that she was challenged, academically.  She made good friends there and was happy.  Our issues with the school were twofold - the first was the start time of 9am which made life very difficult for two working parents.  While we enrolled her in the before-school program, we weren't happy with the program as we found the caregivers there to be largely indifferent to the kids (chatting with each other, looking at their phones) rather than engaging with them.  Additionally, we did feel that there was a general lack of discipline at the school - in each of my kids' classes there were multiple kids with behavioral problems that the teachers were forced to deal with. Even at such a young age, some kids were borderline violent (punching teachers, continually running out of the classroom) and this went unaddressed.  One field trip that I chaperoned to a museum resulted in one boy shutting the museum down after he flew into a raging tantrum, knocking things off the shelves and hitting the museum staff.  The other kids were unphased because this behavior was so common for this boy.  Even if you spend time in the hallways there you will see evidence of these issues and more.  Kids of all ages can wander the halls unsupervised.  Though I grew up in public schools and am the child of two public school teachers we didn't want our daughter to become immune to this so ended up moving her to a private school.  

RE: Cragmont Elementary ()

My experience with Cragmont was similar to that of the most recent reviewer. After moving from out of state, we enrolled our child in 2nd grade at Cragmont. It is a beautiful school with great facilities, and so close to our house that my son could walk to school everyday. The problems? Indifferent staff and disruptive classmates. The teacher never replied to my emails or held a parent-teacher conference. On my child's first day at school, I heard the teacher say "Oh well, we have to do math, even though nobody likes math" - not the best way to motivate the children to learn. I have never seen any graded work and only saw his sparingly filled-in workbooks (also never graded) after the semester ended. Even though I was aware of the poor ranking of California public K-12 education in the country before moving here, I was still shocked by the quality of teaching. My child was initially assigned to seat with the most disruptive child and was always stressed because of the behavior problems of the other child (screaming, punching). It is possible that we just got unlucky with the class/teacher placement. However, if you have a sensitive child who needs a safe environment to thrive, you need better luck than us to have a good experience there. (For other behavior problems at Cragmont, see https://www.berkeleyside.com/2019/02/05/state-says-berkeley-unified-mishandled-sexual-harassment-case.) Since moving to a private school, our child has thrived and found a community of friends who appreciate learning. Firm believers of public education, we are disappointed that Cragmont did not work out for us. Hopefully you will have better luck!