Updated reviews of Connecting Waters?

We're debating what to do next year. If anyone has experience to share about Connecting Waters (or Connecting Waters vs Hickman,) I'd appreciate hearing about it.

It seems a lot of people switch back and forth between Connecting Waters and Hickman. If you have, can you tell me why you did?

We're in Berkeley and one draw of Hickman is that its classes have always been held in Berkeley. I've been told that the Connecting Waters Educational Consultants will be located (or will drive) to a location closer to you? The official address is in Union City and I don't want to drive out there:)

I know Connecting Waters offers more vendor money and fewer classes. That seems to be the main difference? Do they offer in-person classes? If so, are those classes in Union City--or do they have other locations closer to Berkeley.

Connecting Waters current vendor funding seems to be $900/semester--but cutbacks might make that smaller. Does anyone know the vendor/supply allocation for Hickman or Connecting Waters?


Parent Replies

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We are a Connecting Waters East Bay family who has been with the charter for five years.  Yes. The main resource center is located in Union City however, we haven't had to travel there more than a dozen times within the 5 year period.  (Picking up/returning textbooks, PSAT testing.) We have also traveled to Alameda for state testing once a year. Many classes are offered on-line or in other locations closer to home. One advantage - our son was able to attend Jr. College classes to both fulfill high school requirements as well as UC undergrad required courses. Yes.  Educational consultants will meet with you in your home and meetings are required every 20 days. Your ES will become a valuable resource and help you navigate through the school year. This past year visits were conducted on-line. Vendor funding has restrictions so I would contact the school for more information.  We've used funding for classes, textbooks and occasional supplies with unused balances being donated to other families in need.  

Our son graduates this year and is headed to UC Berkeley.  As an advanced learner this option made sense for us in his academic journey.  Parents need to be involved with their assigned ES and through the entire process.  If you are not willing to put in the work, public school may be a better option.  I'd highly recommend this charter for any child. Those with learning differences or students who need flexible schedules, other approaches to what a brick and mortar school offers.  The administration has worked to maintain state standards and accreditation.  CWEB continues support of student learning aligned with state standards.  We appreciated the organic approach of working at a pace that fit our son's needs that didn't hold him back according to a systemic approach to education.

Just FYI we never heard of Hickman so can't really compare the two. Best of luck!

We’ve been to both Hickman and CW, and they’re very different experiences. Both charters require monthly meetings, but Hickman is quite small, and while the funding amount is drastically lower than Connecting Waters, they do offer in-person classes (in non-pandemic times, that is!). The classes are geared toward enrichment (not academics), the options are pretty limited, and we just didn’t click with the small community there. However, the teachers are truly wonderful and caring.

Our recent experience with Connecting Waters has been great, but for different reasons. It’s a much bigger school with more red tape, but the funding made it worth it. Our EC was very helpful but hands-off (though I’ve heard this differs by EC) and the instructional funds paid for independent PE and academic classes, books, and supplies. Their library/resource center is also much larger than Hickman’s. I’ve only been to the Union City location once to visit the resource center, but in the past we could put books and supplies (even musical instruments!) on hold and our EC would pick them up for us. Our child also had an IEP, and we were very impressed with the services they received from CW.