Francophone Charter School of Oakland Kinder Q+A

I recently took a quick tour of the Francophone Charter School but we could not visit the Kindergarten located At Howard Elementary. I'm intrigued with program and our parent guide had lots of positive things to say about the teaching and parent community but it was clear the facilities are bare bones at this stage. I understand the Kindergarten campus may be moving but in the likelihood it stays at Howard for 2020 I'm hoping some families would answer a few questions about the facilities and the kinder program?  How has it been sharing the campus with another program? Are the classrooms in mobile units or physically in the school? Do the kids have access to the play-yard and climbing structure? Is there any overlap with the Howard kids in the communal spaces? How did the school handle air quality issues when we had wildfires? How has the Francophone Kindergarten experience been overall? Thank you! 

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

We have a kindergartener this year at Francophone's location with Howard, as well as an older child at the other campus.  To answer your questions, it's a mix of classrooms in both portables and the main building.  I would say that the co-location for the younger grades has been challenging at times, and there have been some issues around sharing access to the play structure, etc, but in truth it's probably more challenging for the adults than the kids themselves.  The principal at Howard is great and most of the parents and teachers have been friendly and welcoming, but of course no one likes the idea of sharing a campus and it's hard to build strong relationships between Howard and Francophone when there is no clarity from OUSD on long-term plans.  That said, we love the school and have been lucky to have outstanding teachers each year.  We love our Francophone K teacher this year and continue to be very impressed with the academic side of the school.  We're really starting to see this pay off with our older child's French skills after 4 years of immersion, and he's also reading in English at a much higher level than we would have expected.  The facilities issue is a challenge for sure, but for us the language immersion is worth it.

Hello! We are a first year FCSO family with a child in Kindergarten. I will say that the transition has been difficult for our child. When we toured last year, Kindergarten was at the Toler Heights campus. We later found out the lower grades would be moved to Howard but didn't get an opportunity to tour the classrooms until right before school started. The Kindergarten classes are in the portable units, not on the main campus, although I think TK is in the main building. The classrooms are fine. The teachers have done a good job of making the classrooms suitable for the kids. The complaint I have about the location of the classrooms is that the bathroom is on the other side of the playground. The school has implemented a buddy system so that the kindergartners don't go alone. Recess and lunch is scheduled so that it won't overlap with the Howard kids. Until recently, the FCSO kids were only allowed to use the play structure once or twice per week during the school day, with daily access available only for the kids who stayed during the after-school program. There were several complaints so it appears Howard is now allowing FCSO kids daily time on the play structure. Sharing with Howard hasn't been all that great. I get a clear vibe that the teachers/staff don't want FCSO there but the Howard students have been kind. The school (like many others in Oakland) was closed due to PG&E power outages that occurred during the wildfires. On the other days, kids were kept inside. I have mixed feelings about the school. There are many things I love including a diverse student body, wonderful parent community, dedicated staff, and the French immersion aspect (which is the main reason we enrolled). However there have been some drawbacks.  We came from a super organized preschool with very experienced teachers and small class sizes. We knew that FCSO would be a much different environment but decided to give it a shot anyway. Overall, the school seems chaotic and disorganized. I suppose that is typical for any new school, but it has been very tough on our child.  We are on the fence about sticking around next year. We will see how things go with the remainder of this school year.