Peralta (or other schools) for bright, sensitive child


We are lucky enough to have Peralta as our neighborhood school and are hoping our daughter gets a spot there for K next year. That said, we’re wondering how she will do there (or at other OUSD schools). She is bright (e.g., taught herself to read at 3, has been reading chapter books since 4, etc.) and also sensitive with big feelings. She can get overwhelmed in noisy, chaotic environments and can take time to warm up in new situations. She also tends to worry about some things (we think it’s because she spends so much time thinking). She is doing great in her preschool, but we wonder what real school will be like for her — both in terms of whether she’ll be academically challenged and how she’ll be supported emotionally. Any Peralta (or OUSD) parents with similar kids have thoughts? Should we be looking for private schools with better teacher/student ratios?

Thanks in advance!

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Peralta is our neighborhood school as well. My daughter attended kindergarten there and we left for a small independent Montessori school many reasons. She does have some sensory issues and anxiety, both of which can lead to big emotions and make her very distractable.  She also did fine in preschool, although she has always had trouble following directions. She has not been tested for being gifted, but her doctor and several education professionals have said that they believe she is (she has not been precocious academically, but learns quickly). Her sensory issues and anxiety seem to be improving with age (she's almost 8), therapy, and with a smaller class where she has more flexibility, more choice/control, and fewer distractions.

Peralta has lots of extras and some specialists, including someone that visits each class once per week (I think) to do social-emotional topics and I think the teachers generally do a good job on that level. The principal is new so I cannot comment on how discipline is currently being handled. We were very disappointed in the academics. I volunteered in the classroom half a dozen times, and I saw lots of "busy work." Many of the more advanced kids flew right through it, but because they were not challenged might be sloppy. Other kids struggled with the same work and may not have completed it. When more interesting ways of learning were presented (such as games), it seemed that the classroom just didn't have the resources to support them.

We did not feel it was the right school for our family and we know several other "neurodivergent" students that have left for similar reasons. My daughter knew other kids that attended Peralta and really wanted to go there. We didn't have a good alternative lined up and were okay to try it for the year. In retrospect I wish she had gone to her current school for Kindergarten so that she could have had one less transition.

If you are lucky enough to get a spot at Peralta, I think it is worth a try. Your daughter may be well ahead of other kids in the class in terms of academics but it sounds like there are other key areas where she could really grow there, and it is a super sweet environment to do so. We found it to be a nice change from her preschool where there were not as many kids coming from various backgrounds. That being said, my daughter did have a hard time adjusting to being with some other kids she found to be distracting and frustrated by trying to filter through that when she was trying to learn or focus on a task. The K teachers are wonderful, creative, and very thoughtful in how they approach learning and she has been challenged and inspired in so many other ways that we found it to be a great fit.

My son sounds similar to your daughter....he taught himself to read at 3 is very sensitive and thinks a lot! If you are interested in private schools, I suggest you check out The Academy in Berkeley. The school is academically advanced with small class size. My son is happy there.