Thousand Oaks Elementary School


Public School
operated by Berkeley Unified School District
300 students
Phone: 510.644.6368
840 Colusa Ave Berkeley, CA 94707

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi, my multi racial family just moved to Berkeley from Boston. We moved to Berkeley instead of Oakland largely from folks reviews of the public schools, but then our Kindergartener got placed at our last choice school. Is there anyway to appeal it? I was not impressed with equity reports of Thousand Oaks, or the statistics on Black kids at the school as compared to white ones. Any insights would be great! After moving cross country I’m just so worried about finding a good fit for him. We were hoping for Rosa Parks as he has a very intense interest in science and nature, another top choice for us was Sylvia Mendez because he has previously been in a spanish immersion preschool and is bilingual. I really can’t afford/don’t want to send him to a private school but am considering it as I think these early years, especially with our huge transition, are so important. Anyone have a kindergartner at Thousand Oaks? Any of the other schools private or public in the area you’d recommend? Anyway to get a placement change? I am looking for a diverse school with a good science program. 

    Hi, there. While it's been a few years since our child went to Thousand Oaks, many of the same wonderful teachers are still there. We regularly talk about how lucky we were to have those equity-focused teachers; people who took a personal interest in our child to help her work on controlling her intense feelings and learn to get along with other children. I was volunteering on campus every day, so I got to see a lot of love and caring in action on that campus. In addition, Ms. Sylvia, who runs the office, is amazing. She has set up programs specifically for children of African descent to help build community. As a matter of fact, we were just visiting the school in late August to say hi to Ms. Sylvia (and also got to see Teacher Jeni!) when another new family was getting registered, and overheard Ms. Sylvia's warm welcome and invitation to the school and to the special program, and to come talk to her if she ever had any problems. Of course, we aren't a family of color,  so I can't speak to that experience. But I think that all of the Berkeley public schools are strong in different ways. I'd recommend visiting and getting a feel for the vibe of the place before you make any moves. I wish you and your family the very best!

    No thoughts on Thousand Oaks, but wanted to recommend the West County Mandarin School, a traditional public school in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. It's very diverse, and (at my last check) about 30% of the students are black. And the staff are diverse -- two of the teachers are black (one English teacher and the PE teacher), many staff are Latino, and all the Mandarin teachers are Asian.

    It's in central Richmond, right off of Arlington. It'd take you about 15 minutes to get there. You'd apply for an interdistrict transfer. In past years, there have been a few families from North Berkeley. The school's become more popular, so it might become harder to get in. But you can always just add yourself to the waitlist. 

    It's a great school. My black son is thriving there!

    If you are interested in looking at private schools nearby, our family was very happy with Black Pine Circle.  Lovely community of parents and kids.  The head of school, John Carlstroem, is amazing (and his daughter went to BPC), and he really sets the tone and vision for the whole school.  Teachers are excellent and experienced.  Great science program.  In the lower grades (K-5) they teach Spanish; once your child gets to middle school (6-8) they can take Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.  I highly recommend you check it out.

    I was right there in your position. I saw the stats and was concerned by the achievement gap and the disciplinary inequities that fell along racial lines. We are white but are upset by the imbalance.  We also have boys and were not looking forward to the possibility of our boys getting also penalized for not meeting the usually stereotypically girl standards of behavior..

    We are now 5 weeks in and are cautiously optimistic I went to the back to school night and first assembly and was pleased with the embracing of diversity and welcoming vibe. There is a new principal starting her second year and I’m hoping there will be a reversal of policies. It seems like a very sweet, positive and inclusive community.

    That said, my only concern thus far has been the use of sending my kid out of the classroom as a consequence. He got very excited by an unusual and verrrrry interesting event going on outside, then  had to narrate it. He didn’t settle in quickly enough, so he got sent to the neighboring classroom and missed an academic lesson.

    I sent an email and let it be known I am not in favor of   making my kid miss an instructional opportunity as a consequence. Basically wrote we needed to come up with alternate ways of intervening that don’t deprive him of learning opportunities. If it happens again I’m calling an SST for a behavior plan that lays  out methods that don’t make him lose instructional time. So that’s my hunch  as to what may be happening. Teachers who are not culturally and/or behaviorally  savvy may be over intervening with methods that are not only ineffective but rob kids of learning opportunities and can create a vicious cycle of not getting the appropriate corrective experience from the intervention, falling behind with repeated ineffective interventions and then acting out as a way of avoiding academics that are now harder due to loss of instructional time.

    So, as a parent, be alert to what is happening at school,. If a pattern of inappropriate interventions is  happening, call an SST and request a written behavioral intervention plan. 

    But overall, I am pleased. But as goes with any school just stay aware and if there's an issue that comes up, address it immediately and insist upon interventions and  consequences that are constructive  and effective. Forcing lost instructional time does not teach the desired behavior, and if used too much can create an achievement gap. Hopefully the new principal will nip that practice in the bud. 

    Be aware, but keep the faith, it could go really well!

    My daughter (now in college) had many friends who went to Thousand Oaks who received a great education there and liked it. I had my three kids all on the waiting list to get into Sylvia Mendez (back then it was spread out over three BUSD schools), and they all did get in! but it took 1-2 years. Lastly, I want to say that I know the statistics look bad for black kids in public Berkeley schools. Because of that, a lot of middle class African American families pay for private school. So the statistics you see mostly apply to the mostly lower income African American families who are the ones who remain in BUSD at the moment. Hope that helps!

    Our son is in 1st grade and loves the school. His kindergarten teacher was amazing and his first grade teacher has been awesome, too. He loves going to school everyday and has a passion for learning. The school is incredibly diverse, both racially and economically. He has classmates whose parents are academics, doctors, lawyers and tech execs. But he also has classmates who have struggled with homelessness. So it should come as no surprise that some kids don't receive the academic support at home that others do. And the test scores probably reflect that. But, when I go to school events, I see parents of all different backgrounds doing everything they can to support their kids and the school. If the measure of a good school is its test scores, then TO has its issues. But if you're looking for a school with a diverse population that reflects our community, then TO is a great place to be.

  • Someone recently asked about Thousand Oaks Elementary but most of the responses were more about zoning in Berkeley than the school itself. Our soon to be kindergartner was assigned to TO (it was our 3rd choice for logistic reasons). Can any parents of current students comment on their experience (pros/cons, teachers, PTA experience, after school). Any thoughts about the current principal leaving? We’re particularly disappointed about that since it was one thing we liked about TO! Any info and insights would be appreciated!

    Welcome to Thousand Oaks Elementary School!  We moved here two years ago and have our two oldest children at Thousand Oaks - 4th and 1st grades. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and share our experience with you.  Feel free to contact me and we can connect.

  • We are considering moving to the Thousand Oaks neighborhood. Part of the allure is the wonderful community feel as well as being able to send our children to public schools. Thousand Oaks is listed as a 5 out of 10 on Great Schools. From everything we hear it is a great school so we can't reconcile the low rating. Anyone have children currently attending or have a recent grad that can provide any feedback (good and/or bad)? Our son will be starting kindergarten in the fall.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Hi, there! Our daughter went through Thousand Oaks, and it's awesome. But it's important for you to know that our school district does NOT assign by neighborhood; your child could very well be assigned to Jefferson or Rosa Parks instead, and will be supplied a school bus to get there and home every day. All of the schools are fantastic, so where ever you land, you will be in good shape. 

    Research how schools work in Berkeley. You don’t necessarily get to go to your neighborhood school because schools are sssigned by lottery within your zone. Berkeley is split into 3 zones. Look at all the schools in your zone. 

    Be advised that moving into the neighborhood doesn't mean that your child will be assigned to that school.

    As far as the school's score, please drill down to check the components of the score, there are several factors that make up the score and many schools are still "good" even with a lower score. You can check to see how students of your demographic are doing as well. There are also schools with higher scores that just don't work for some kids.

    If you drill into that score some more, you'll notice that there are racial and socio-economic correlations with standardized test scores. White students scored better than black and hispanic students on the standardized tests. Low income students score poorly.  And because their student body comprises of multiple ethnicities, the school average score is not so high.  We love our son's school because it's close, and it's part of the Berkeley public schools in which no school is worse or better off economically (cf. the PTA of a public school in the Mission in SF raises $90K whereas one in Noe Valley raises $400K!).  Personally, in our family, we know that we can readily support our children academically.  What we can't easily supply is socio-economic and ethnic diversity; learning about people from different walks of life, with different problems, exhibiting different kinds of resilience.  

    So... if your child is black or low-income will she do poorly on standardized tests?  Of course not necessarily.  And, the comments seem very positive.  I have some white (jewish) friends whose kids went there.  One's at UCLA now, the other probably will go to a comparably competitive college when she graduates BHS.  For another data point.  Good luck!

    The community - teachers, parents, and students are truly awesome  - diverse, friendly and approachable. The teachers are also really passionate. I also found them to be very kind and nurturing. 

    However, they also have their challenges. With not too many resources to rely on (like most public schools I guess?) their plates are full. So, a child who is going well might not get much attention to further his or her learning or to keep him/her engaged. In one particular year, the set of students in my son's class had some disciplinary issues and most of the teacher's time was spent on kids that needed attention on that front. And of course on slower learners as well. This adversely affected his learning as he stopped caring about doing his best as no one seemed to care. We ended up moving him.

    However, the same school turned out OK for our daughter whose personality is very different and doesn't care about getting validation from teachers.

    Besides this, we hated that the school did not teach the kids science!  The science teacher was terrible. In 5th grade, the teacher only covered 1/3 of the state syllabus in class. I brought this up with the principal but nothing changed. 

    That said, we loved the teachers! We're still friends with a few. The music program is awesome! We also loved the gardening program (not sure they still have it).

  • Before/Aftercare at Thousand Oaks

    (1 reply)

    We recently relocated from Indianapolis to Berkeley and our oldest son is just about to start back up in Kindergarten at Thousand Oaks.  I'm struggling to find a before/aftercare program that has openings at this time in the school year, and will need full time care, as we will both be working full time.

    I'm seeking recommendations for options, alternatives, perhaps aftercare nanny least for the remainder of the school year.  

    Thank you!

    The We Rock program run by BUSD at Thousand Oaks is great.  Jason, the coordinator, is awesome. 

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

LGBT Families at Thousand Oaks Elementary?

April 2015

Our daughter (we're gay dads) will be attending Thousand Oaks this fall and we were wondering if there were any/many LGBT families whose kids are also at TO. We don't know many other LGBT families in Berkeley and were just curious. Would be great to meet some other LGBT families with kids our kids' ages (we also have a 2-year-old). John B.

Hi John, There are only a few LGBT families at Thousand Oaks that we know of, but it's an incredibly warm and welcoming school, and the other families and the staff are great. As gay dads we have never ever felt excluded or funny, but it'll be nice to have some other gay dads! Our 2nd grader will enter 3rd in the fall, and our son will be in Kindergarten. Would be happy to tell you more about it and look forward to meeting you! David

Recent feedback on Thousand Oaks?

Nov 2013

Hello parents, I'm looking for recent feedback about Thousand Oaks Elementary School. What are your experiences with the staff and principal? Quality of education? Parental involvement? Anything else you can offer? Thank you so much. anon

Thousand Oaks is fabulous!

I often hear parents who have children in upper grades or have graduated T.O. say '' You can't go wrong here. All the teachers are good.'' That's been our experience. The kindergarten teacher was fabulous. She connected deeply to the children, taught social-emotional skills, had lots of fun...Great music teacher. First grade teachers are top-notch too, calm and warm. I see lots of great learning going on for kids of all levels.

Seems like the staff really get along. The school is well run, green and spacious. The principal is well received and experienced. The bilingual program is an asset and there's Spanish enrichment afterschool. There's a sense of community at T.O. Folks linger and connect on campus, at the park next door, Solano, weekdays or weekends. Parents are active and PTA continually make good things happen. API scores aren't everything. T.O. is a gem. - happy parent

Our oldest daughter has been at TO for 4 years. It wasn't our first choice but it has been really great. Every single teacher ( the teachers turn over rate is very low) we have had has been wonderful. They were all caring, fun and just good at their job. There is a very strong social-behavioral program and as a result the kids are very mindful and inclusive. This year there is a new principal and she seems nice and on the ball. TO parent

Oct 2010

Re: Seeking feedback on Northwest Zone schools
I have a 2nd grader & Kinder at Thousand Oaks (TO). All the schools in our zone our generally really good. (Don't know much about BAM. Not in NW zone when we were looking at schools.) Because of the quality of BUSD schools, your 1, 2, 3 choices really come down to what works for your family & depends simply on your priorities/point of view. Select a school based on what you feel is good for your kids. We listed TO as our first choice mainly because of the outdoor space, big grassy field for kids to run around. We liked the campus/classrooms and that it was a big school as far as BUSD goes (which I understand for some whould be a con.) Also it was simply in a good location for us. Now 3 yrs at TO, we continue to be thrilled with our school. We've had incredibly caring, top-notch teachers. Can't say enough good things about our entire teaching staff. Our test schools continue to improve every year, but test scores as you say are not all that. We have involved parents that help in the classrooms and an active PTA (I'm a member) that organize many fun community building events as well as provide/fund extra-curricular activities/programs for our kids. Our PTA also has a solid fundraising committee. Finally, as someone who didn't consider diversity as a factor in selecting a school, I know really understand, appreciate & greatly value the diversity of our families and think TO is a great all- around school. For us a negative might be the lack of after- school activities for non after-school care kids. But I'm not really sure that's a negative for us, because I'm not into filling my kids free time up with classes/activities However, I suppose it might be nice to have some on campus after school choices should my kids seem interested in say, drama, chess or whatever. Good luck and may you get in to your 1st choice school & if you don't, know that all the NW Zone schools are great in their own ways. Extremely Proud TO Parent

After-school program at Thousand Oaks: we don't need 5 days a week

August 2010

My son will start Kindergarten at Thousand Oaks in the fall and he has a spot in the onsite after school program. I understand that he needs to attend every day until approximately 5 p.m. to ensure the program is fully funded. However, we really only need care three days per week, but I apparently cannot pick him up early on the other days. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternative after school care? Is there a day care in the area that cares for older children that might be able to do a pick up? What have other parents done? Anyone interested in a part-time nanny type arrangement with their school age child?

The JCC East Bay has a great afterschool program which offers pick up from Thousand Oaks. (My son has been attending for 3 years, and my daughter will start next year, also as a kindergartener from TO). You can choose as many days as you need. Paula

What do you think about Thousand Oaks?

March 2008

Hi. My son got into Thousand Oaks Elementary and I have tried to find out more about the school via this site and the PTA site, and the information on those sites is rather sparse or out- dated. (I plan to attend the May open house.) My questions: What do parents think about the school (pros and cons)? What do parents think about the after-school program (pros and cons)? For parents whose kids ride the bus to school, what tips do you have about using the bus (I suspect I won't use the bus until my child gets into first grade)? What tips do you have to pass on to novices like me, who have no experience with the elementary school system? -Novice Mom of a soon-to-be kindergartener, YIKES!

Our daughter has had a wonderful experience at Thousand Oaks. She is currently in 3rd grade and each year has been great! The Kindergarten teachers are all warm, gentle and very savvy about helping kids learn to love school. The community at Thousand Oaks is lovely as well with lots of opportunities for involvement. The teachers truly make the school outstanding! Best, Kelly

March 2007

I have several questions about Thousand Oaks:
- My child is already reading, and is also advanced in math. How well does the school serve children who are on the 'accelerated' end of the academic spectrum?
- What is the after-school program like? I know other schools have enrichment classes in addition to basic after-school childcare/homework help. What does TO have?
- How are the arts - - visual, music and performing arts -- integrated into the curriculum and/or offered as enrichment?
- Discipline -- are the classes, especially the upper grades, well managed and orderly?
- How does 'full inclusion' impact the distribution of resources in the school, and are students with disabilities served at the expense of enrichment activities or advanced academics for other students?
- How is the academic level and student focus in the upper grades when the class size jumps? How are the 3/4/5 teachers?
- How does the Spanish bilingual program interact with the English classes? How well do these two streams of students integrate with each other when they merge in the upper grades? Is there a cohesive sense of community among the students across the language barrier and separation of classes?
- What is the culture of the PTA? How much are parents involved in the school and in what capacities?
- The yard strikes me as sprawling and huge. Is it well managed and safe, especially for the little kindergarteners? Thanks for your input! Surprised to find ourselves at Thousand Oaks

As a first grade mom at TO here's what I can tell you:
- Outstanding K& 1st Grade teachers - don't worry which class put in you can't go wrong.
- Given teaching skills, you need not worry about a successful child succeeding and I applaud the schools efforts to actively address the achievement gap
- Teacher Kim once told me she thought there was little to no teasing in her classes because of the inclusionary program - a gift to us all
- Discipline is kept in younger grades because the kids respect the teacher and each other and love what they are doing - I can only hope this is true in older grades
- yard has some problems for older grades but vocally addressed and younger children are out at separate time and well watched - if a child is intent on escaping they can and this has been reason to return to preschool. As children's universes are increasingly small, the universe the yard offers is one I appreciate. and they are always looking for more parent volunteers!
- afterschool is generally fairly basic but offer fun 8 week clubs 2days a week geared to kid interests: garage band, sign language, Indian dance for just a few examples
- afterschool blends english and spanish langague learners as well as in 1st grade joint field trips, mixed activities and shared core curriculum (oh and we are going to Monterey Bay, Zellerbach, Dia De la Muertes at Oakland Museum, and the Basic Brown Bear factory)
- The monthly Feliz Friday is a truly special celebration of song and dance that focuses on developing peace cross culturally
- PTA has a strong core base, recruiting heavily in the younger grades, Support classroom grants, arts & science activities, and special events like parade on Solano at halloween, harvest festival, Carnival.
- When I describe how happy we are with teaching, garden and cooking classes, facilities and all around great experience I am always asked if our son is in a private school and i am very proud to say no he is at Thousand Oaks one of BUSD's fine schools. Happy TO 1st Grade Mom

September 2006

Re: Looking at kindergartens
My daughter is in 2nd grade at Thousand Oaks so our kindergarten experience is stil pretty fresh! It was an absolutely wonderful year. She had Teacher Libby who is lovely, kind and so in tune with the kids. Kindergarten totally exceeded our expectations in every way. The other Thousand Oaks K teachers are also great. We did several group activities so we got a sense of their styles as well. Also, lots of parents end up wanting their younger kids to have the same teacher as the older ones--which is a terrific testimonial to how great the teachers are at Thousand Oaks. The sense community at Thousand Oaks is very strong and positive, too.
thrilled TO parent

April 2005

Re: Kids of GLBT: Where do they go to School?
Sounds like you may be considering only private schools. If you are considering Berkeley public schools, then I recommend Thousand Oaks School on Colusa. My partner and I have been very happy with the gay-friendly atmosphere there, and our 3rd grade son has several friends in his current class from gay families, as has been the case since Kindergarten. I can count at least five of the teachers who are gay and out. Moreover, the teachers who have taught our kid have been excellent, in addition to being gay friendly. Please feel free to contact me if you want any more info about the school.

Oct 2004

Re: Rosa Parks School
Look into Thousand Oaks school as well. There are bilingual classes (no immersion program), but not all kids who speak Spanish at home are placed in the bilingual classes; some are in English only. Not sure what it depends on but I've assumed it's parent choice. You would be eligible for bus transportation from near Rosa Parks, to TO. There are some really great teachers at TO, and a fairly active parent community. Check it out! Rosa Parks neighborhood; attending TO

Nov 2003

After agonizing last year over sending our daughter to a public or private school, I just wanted to say we are really happy at Thousand Oaks (TO)Public School in Berkeley. We got into the private school of our choice and turned them down to go to TO right in the midst of all that budget crisis stuff. I worried we were making a mistake, but after almost 3 months we are really pleased.

Three things we like about TO. 1) the academics are outstanding. For example, my daughter is putting words together into sentences! and adding! and it is fun! 2) the social situation is varied and respectful. She is hanging out with kids from all walks of life AND the kids are learning how to treat each other with respect. 3) Economically, we are not stressed and can spend more time with our child versus working to pay for private school. Public schools are free AND of high quality. I'd recommend them!! Kellie

January 2003

My daughter is a third-grader at Thousand Oaks, and we have been very satisfied with the school. There are lots of special programs at T.O., including the Julia Morgan/Lincoln Center performing arts program, which is wonderful. Right now the school is in its second year of a three year Magnet grant, and a lot of attention is being paid to arts and technology. The teachers are all receiving training right now in new conflict resolution skills, new literacy programs, and the afore-mentioned arts program. T.O. has after-school enrichment classes such as Spanish, chess, yoga, art, jewelry-making, karate, Indian dance, Mexican dance, drama, world percussion, etc. Once a month, the whole school gets together for community- building via singing and sign language and dance. Additionally, within the school day, each class gets drama, music, gardening and cooking/nutrition, and P.E., each with a specialist once a week. There is a science specialist, but I'm not sure how much time each class gets with him. There are several different programs to help kids who are having problems learning to read. About the only thing I have a problem with is that so far, there are no official, school-wide programs to encourage or challenge academically gifted kids. That remains up to the individual teachers. Nina

March 2002

I am thinking of sending my son to Kindergarten at our neighborhood school, Thousand Oaks Elementary School, next year. I would be interested in hearing from parents whose children are now at the school. I had heard that the previous principal was quite accessible. I would appreciate parents' impressions of the current principal and the teaching staff, particularly the Kindergarten teachers. A Berkeley Mom

Our son went to kindergarten and is now in 1st grade at Thousand Oaks. He's learning a lot (reading like crazy, progressing rapidly in math, etc.), has a wonderful teacher (after an equally great kindergarten teacher last year), and is very happy at the school. We love the after-school program, too. Even the people who work in the office are nice. Dana

Jan 1999

My husband and I have been making the rounds of the Berkeley elementary schools and kindergarten nights. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we both liked Thousand Oaks' kindergarten staff. We understand that there are very few (maybe 4 teachers) left from when Principal Woolbridge came on board 4 years ago. We're interested in any comments (pro and con) about Thousand Oaks. Theresa

Feb 1999

To the parent(s) asking for pros and cons about Thousand Oaks: As a kindergarten parent, I enjoy the Thousand Oaks teaching environment and it's feeling of community. It seems like the principal, Kevin Wooldridge knows most, if not all, of the kids on a first name basis. I have found him easily accessible to parents and teachers. He seems to be everywhere and know everything that's going on. The teachers are caring, energized, innovative and seem to put in a lot of extra time beyond their normal class hours working with parents and students. My daughter is doing great. As to any cons, there are two but both should change in the near future. Obviously, Franklin is not a great site but that should be remedied by Fall 2000. The other is that the PTA seems like it has just been a small core group of parents since the move to Franklin. On the other hand, parents seem to come out for the big events because of a sense of community and the PTA is now in transition with lots of new parent participation and energy.


Nov. 1998

My daughter attends kindergarten at Thousand Oaks and we have been pleasantly surprised with the school. We looked at some private schools before making the decision to send our daughter to public school. My shock was in learning that public schools do have excellent academic programs and committed teachers. We are fortunate because our daughter got into a class with a new but energetic teacher who seems to empower the kids, has parents who participate in the classroom and has a great bunch of students. Of course, there is going to be 1-3 kids who are not ready for school or who take more time. But don't delude yourself into thinking this doesn't happen in the beginning grades in private school. I have found that the students in my daugther's class do as well as their parents are willing to support them emotionally and academically.

On the downside, Thousand Oaks does not have a big PTA. However, the PTA and the Principal are very inclusive of any parents who want to help out. My impression is that the Principal, Kevin Wooldridge, is very responsive. Last year parents complained about a kindergarten teacher - she now teaches 2nd grade. Additionally, this year the kindergarten is large (110 students) - made up of two LEP (limited english proficiency) classes, three english kindergarten classes and one K-1 class. On the other hand, each individual class is small - my daughter's class only has 19. Also on the down side, Thousand Oaks will be at the Franklin campus until September 2000. It is a large campus that presently houses Cragmont and will probably house a magnet school or more next year. It's not very pretty and when I visited it last year during the rainy season it was downright gloomy. This year the teachers made a concerted effort to put more art on the walls Another plus is that it's the plan that in a year from September Thousand Oaks will be in a beautiful state of the art school near Peets & Starbucks at Colusa near Solano. In the meantime, the school is split up so that each school's students, yard and principals operate separately.

Bottom line, I think Thousand Oaks is one of Berkeley School's best kept secrets and seems to keep on improving. Hope this information helps. I would be willing to answer any questions I can or direct you to the person(s) who might know the answers. Good luck in your decision.


April 1998

Just a few thoughts about Thousand Oaks--it may be hard to assess the situation with T.O. at present because the school is being built and many T.O. kids are being funnelled to the Franklin School site, which until this year also housed Columbus staff and students, and I think will continue to house Cragmont staff and students along with Thousand Oaks until both schools are rebuilt. If you hear anything more, please let me know because many newcomers are asking. . .

April 1998

My inquiries into TO has lead me to some good and some not so good information about the school. The most important thing I learned is that while the kindergarten teachers might not stand out, for the most part the school has a lot of good and imaginative teachers. I was quite impressed with the kindergarten bi-lingual teacher and have heard people sing her praises. Teachers are apparently receptive and encourage parent participation. My classroom visit ( and inquiries) turned up only one kindergarten teacher in whose class I would not want my child. I am informed that the principal appears to be committed, effective and approachable.

The not so good information has to do with us. It would appear that people like us are the reason that TO does not have an active PTA (except for 15 committed families). Many of the parents I know are sending their child to private school merely because of the assignment to TO. They are the kinds of parents who join the PTA and help to spark flames of school spirit and camaraderie. If people were willing to take a chance, TO might become a truly diverse school and the kind of school we perceive Jefferson and Columbus to be. If not, you can continue to pay for something you might get for free.......

TO's building plans seem to be on schedule for the '98-99 school year and it is expected that the move will create an exciting image for the school. The old building has already been torn down. However, Cragmont will probably be at the Franklin site till January. There is much going on around the district and the Northern Zone that could also affect TO in the next couple of years. Many fear that Prop 227 might pass which would eliminate all bi-lingual classes Also, the district is planning to open the Franklin site as a magnet school in the Northern Zone after TO leaves. My impression was that they were talking about the '98-99 school year and that the focus would be on Eco-science.

Thousand Oaks has it's big fund raiser for the year on Saturday May 30th. Sorry, I forgot to ask for the times but I assume it's during the day. Give it a chance, bring your child by . It would be a good way to meet the parents who know about the school and some of the teachers in a more casual setting.

Good luck with your decision. We are going to take each year as it comes.