Seeking recent reviews of Oakland public elementary schools

Hello parents in Oakland!  Our daughter will start Kindergarten next year and we're trying to find the right school for her.  We've applied to private schools (Redwood Day and Head-Royce) but we're hoping to get lucky in the OUSD lottery process and get her into a good (or good-enough) public school.  Our lottery picks are due Feb 8, 2019.  I've read all the BPN reviews, but many of them are a few years out of date, so if you have recent experience with OUSD schools, please share with us anxious parents.  Right now our top choices, based on school quality and proximity, are these:  Cleveland, Sequoia, Redwood Heights, Joaquin Miller, and Glenview.  Any feedback on these schools?  Or other recommendations? Thanks!!

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Have you looked at Aurora School? It's a sweet little independent K-5 in the Upper Rockridge area. Both my kids have gone there since kindergarten and our family couldn't have been happier. It's an amazing place -- a truly joyful community for kids to learn solid academics while having their socio-emotional needs understood and supported. Good luck in your school search!

As far as other recommendations, have you considered Aurora School? (https://auroraschool.org).  My son goes there and my daughter will start Kindergarten this Fall.  It's an amazing school.  If you applied to other private schools, I would strongly suggest you consider if Aurora is right for you.

With regard to the public schools you listed I know a couple families at Sequoia and Cleveland who seem satisfied.  

Best of luck with your search!

We are a Cleveland elementary school family. Cleveland is a wonderfully diverse school full of great kids, dedicated and fantastic teachers and staff, exceptional principal, and very involved and supportive families. There are 1 - 2 teachers at Cleveland who are more old school and just about everyone complains about them but other than these known 1 - 2 "problem" teachers, parents LOVE all of the other teachers.  Kindergarten teachers are beyond fabulous -- fun, engaging, dedicated. PTA is very active and the school does an amazing job of keeping all families informed. Cleveland has many community events. It's a relatively small school and the campus is small in a nice and cozy way. I do wish that we had an indoor gym. The school lacks a large open indoor space. Its eco-literacy program is unique and lovely. It has OUSD district wide challenges and PTA works very hard to make up the difference. The school emphsizes inclusiveness, respect, and kindness.

Although we have been satisifed with Cleveland, if we had the money, we'd want to be at a private school like Park Day, St. Paul or Redwood Day. Private school education is better in many ways. Private schools win hands down on teacher to student ratio alone. Our K class at Cleveland has around 22 kids with one teacher and no aide. The on-site after care programs do not have an option to add enrichment class like musical instrument or martial arts unlike private school after school programs.  The curriculum is rigid. My spouse and I both went to private schools where learning was more project based. That is not how public school students are taught, so we're a bit disappointed and feel that private school kids really get individualized learning and get to develop love of learning and intellectual curiosity while our public school kids get a bit shortchanged on that front. In K classes, there is quite a bit of crowd controlling as opposed to actual learning due to large class size and varying maturity levels of kids. But, we can't afford private school while paying off astronomical mortgage and student loan and supporting elderly parents, so among the Oakland public school options, we are grateful to be at Cleveland. The thing about many of the schools you listed is that if you are not zoned for the school, you will most likely be waitlisted and then come off of the waitlist very late in the summer just before school starts or within the first 1 - 2 weeks after school starts. By then, you will have started at a private school and probably don't want to switch school. Cleveland was considered a hidden gem for a while but the word must be out because last year there was a very long waitlist for Cleveland.