Cleveland Elementary School

Community Subscriber
Public School
operated by Oakland Unified School District
(510) 874-3600
745 Cleveland Street, Oakland, CA 94606

Parent Q&A

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  • Some family decisions now hinge on where our daughter goes to school in 2021. I'd love to learn more about the Sequoia and Cleveland Elementary communities.

    As engaged POC parents, we hope our kids' learning environment will have engaged and creative teachers, diversity diversity diversity (racial, economic, abilities, families and all), safety, and relatively ok academics. Really nice to haves are a big outdoor space, active parent group to get plugged into, a good teacher to student ratio, project based learning, art and an after school program.

    From what I've read, cleveland elementary and sequoia check off many of those... But Im just piecemealing random sources. And I'm assuming there won't be any tours this year, though hopefully a virtual one. Any current parents that can speak candidly to their experience at Sequoia or Cleveland? What are the campuses like? Communication with parents? Is it worth moving to the school neighborhood? We're not far right now, close to the lake.

    Lots of questions! The decision feels pretty big, especially with younger siblings to consider.

    I toured Cleveland and loved it. I think the values and community there will reflect your values. We are waitlisted there but we started at Lincoln. Please consider Lincoln too. It's a wonderful school and so far we are very happy with it. We are also near the lake. Best of luck with the decision! And remember there is a lot of shuffling in the first weeks of school, so if you dont get your first pick, you have a shot through the waitlist.

    Cleveland checks a lot of the boxes you listed.

    engaged and creative teachers — this is our third year at Cleveland and every teacher has been passionate, engaged and brilliant teachers.

    diversity diversity diversity (racial, economic, abilities, families and all) — yes, yes, and yes

     safety — we feel quite safe at and around school.

    and relatively ok academics. — this is dictated by the state and the district. We think it’s ok but sometimes we feel gifted / advanced kids get held back in public school. 

    Really nice to haves are a big outdoor space — it’s not a big school. It has a garden and is not as ugly as some other schools but it’s not Park Day and it’s comparable to other public school. Why do all public schools look so institutional......

    , active parent group to get plugged into, — absolutely! PTA is strong, engaged, and welcoming 

    a good teacher to student ratio, — nope. This does not exist in any public school in Oakland. 

    project based learning — nope. I don’t think this exists in any public school. Sadly.

     art — we have art, music and PE

     an after school program — yes. We have a few options. 

  • Does anyone know if families falling within the Cleveland neighborhood boundary are ever turned away because the school does not have enough spots? Our child will be starting kindergarten in 2020 and we are wondering how aggressively we need to explore other options. TIA!

    Yes, I believe a few neighborhood families were turned away this year (though it's the first time I can remember this happening). Most/all will likely get in as the numbers shake out through the summer, but it's always a good idea to have some other options. OUSD will go down your list before bumping you to a school you didn't choose, so you're always better off filling it up on the off chance you don't get in.

  • Cleveland Elementary 2017

    Nov 13, 2017

    Have a daughter entering kindergarten in 2018, and I noticed the information on BPN about Cleveland is quite old, so would appreciate hearing current families opinions/experiences about the school.   Also how is the after school program there? 

    Thank you! 


    My family loves Cleveland!  The school culture has been transitioning for several years under the leadership of the current principal. New teacher hires are all progressive and enthusiastic about "positive culture" best practices.  There are a few hold-outs (some first and fourth grade teachers) who are more old-school re. discipline, and less interested in social-emotional teaching. But overall the school climate is very positive.  The community reflects almost maximum diversity -- economically, racially, and linguistically. There's an active PTA that raises money for art and ecoliteracy classes and plans community-building activities.  

    There are 2 after school programs, both described on the school website.  JCC's Kids Club is smaller (maybe about 50 students?) with a very high staff-student ratio.  The kids enrolled tend to be younger grades, and the gentle, nurturing environment is great for them.  OASES is the larger program, with sliding scale fees. There are probably upwards of 100 students, and they skew older.  It's a rowdy, active, fun group, great for high-energy kids.  I've noticed that some parents start their children in Kids Club and transition to OASES around 3rd or 4th grade. Both clubs offer homework time.

    Other good things about Cleveland:
    Free breakfast and lunch for ALL students; diverse teaching staff; beautiful gardens and "outdoor classroom" for ecoliteracy classes; high test scores and low achievement gap; very safe and quiet neighborhood; safety patrol for easy morning drop-off; a casual, fun Dad's service group (all genders welcome); and special annual traditions like Fall Festival, Culture Night, and Lunar New Year celebrations.

    I hope you'll check out the Cleveland website for photos and lots more details!

    Thank you for posting this question and the person who posted an answer. We are also zoned for Cleveland and my daughter will enter Kinder in 2018. None of her current friends will be going to Cleveland, so if we decide to send our kid to Cleveland, I'd be really interested in setting up playdates with incoming Kinder students. Do you know what the best way to achieve this? We're touring the school in early Dec. 

    A side question... how difficult is parking near school for drop-off. My kid and I have only done walk-in and not curb side drop off.

    My daughter graduated from Cleveland a couple years ago, so I didn't weigh in initially, but I wanted to respond to the follow-up questions one of the respondents asked: "how difficult is parking near school for drop-off?

    Kindergarten parents are required to walk their kids to the classroom (older kids can be dropped off at the curb). We usually parked down the hill on Athol. There are a couple good stretches of uninterrupted curb on Athol near Cleveland Street that usually have parking available. You are unlikely to find parking on Cleveland St. in the block where the school is, and you would have to fight with drop-off traffic as well. There is a lower gate to the campus on Brooklyn, so parking down there and walking up through campus is also an option (fewer parking spaces though, and a longer walk). 

    Regarding the question about aftercare from the original post, I would also like to point out that Lakeshore Children's Center provides before- and aftercare for Cleveland with van service to the school. It was a bit more expensive than the on-site options when my daughter was going, but they have pretty generous coverage over breaks and extended holidays, offer a summer camp program, and are associated with a preschool in case you have younger children and value the convenience of one pick-up location.

    Cleveland has a very organized “meet-up” for incoming kinders several times during the summer prior to school starting. Although not in abundance, parking within a block or so of school is available as long as you don’t wait until 2 minutes before the bell rings!

Parent Reviews

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My son starter kinder this year at Cleveland, our neighborhood, and VT (the principal) is amazing. Everyone we've interacted with at the school is great, we adore his teacher (Ms Yan), and we really appreciate their focus on teaching ecoliteracy/spending time outside in the garden. The after school program (Oakland Leaf) is fine, my son loves it but what 6 year old wouldn't love playing with their friends for a couple hours each day. Def tour the schools. I know Cleveland has a couple of tours scheduled each week through Jan. 

We attend Cleveland and love it. Really strong and open armed community for families that join after kindergarten.

Cleveland Elementary School has an outdoor classroom and a strong eco-literacy program. We are at Cleveland. It is a true gem -- a high performing school that genuinely reflects Oakland's diversity. I'm not sure about focus on art or science at Cleveland. Peralta has a strong art program. Chabot has a nice playground. OUSD does not allow a lot of outside time. Recess at public schools is short. You can look at various school websites and see the school schedule. 15 min. recess here and there. 20 min. lunch play time.  Curriculum is dictated by CA state and the district. We have learned that the quality and talent of the teacher dictates the type of experience your child will have in class. 

Our older one attended Piedmont Ave. Elementary school for TK when we lived in that neighborhood. Although test scores scare parents away, we felt the school community and the teachers were fantastic. With a child that has sensory issues and mildly on the spectrum, the teacher, the IEP team, even the lunch ladies were very helpful and accomodating.

We moved and are now at Cleveland Elementary School which is our new neighborhood school. We can also recommend Cleveland with confidence. What both schools have in common are the smaller size, relatively intimate environment for a public school, dedicated teachers and administrators, and truly diverse school community which represents the real Oakland (all of the characteristics that make Kaiser also stand out). Cleveland seems to have a stronger, more resourced, and better organized PTA, although we can't say what PAES PTA is like now, since it's been some years since we left PAES. Cleveland community is not wealthy like the Oakland Hills or Chabot but everyone chips in and PTA raises an impressive amount of money for its size. When our little one who seemed to be lagging slightly behind on reading, the teacher did not miss a beat and helped us get tested for dyslexia and other possible learning differences. 


Cleveland Elementary School! It is a high performing and truly diverse school (both economically, culturally, and racially). Superb leadership among teachers, administrators, and PTA. Unique ecoliteracy program. Fantastic and involved school community without the "Hills" attitude or expectation. The school's core values of Inclusiveness and Respect are very well integrated throughout.  It has all the problems that all OUSD schools share, but if you have to choose OUSD, I think this is among the best and authentically represents Oakland's diversity. My kid is doing pretty well and has made some great friends. The school community isn't wealthy, but PTA raises a lot of money to support music, art, and ecoliteracy programs. All kids get free lunch. 

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. 

You don't mention which school, and it matters. Lakeshore Children's Center provides before and after care with van drop-offs and pickups to Cleveland and Crocker Highlands elementary schools. Historically Glenview too, but I don't know how that's working with the school's current temporary location.

Our child began K about a month ago. We are thoroughly impressed by Cleveland Elementary and its community. Families are very involved. VT (the principal) is charismatic and passionate. All of the K teachers are fantastic! The school offers music, arts, PE, ecoliteracy. There are several after school options including 2 on-site and many that pick up from school. The slots do fill up quickly, so you need to act quickly. Especially for JCC Kids Club, we signed up on the day we got our school assignment letter and they said we were too late and that we'd be placed on the wait list. Apparently, people sign up at the beginning of the school year or even earlier for the next year's slot before they even know that they'd get into Cleveland?!? I don't think other after school programs are as competitive. We did get picked in the lottery and got into the Kids Club but were told that there were only 4 slots and 21 families on the waitlist. 

So far, my child has not cried at drop off and has marched into class happily. School does a good job of informing parents about various events and opportunities for involvement. 

It does appear to lack a large indoor space (like a gym or indoor basketball court) so I'm not sure how students fair during rainy months. It does share OUSD wide problems (funding, class size, etc.) The PTA is very active to try to mitigate some of the funding issues. 

I think this is a very special school. Somewhat of a unicorn. This is the ONLY OUSD elementary school that has high test scores AND is truly diverse (there is no single majority racial/ethnic group). 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cleveland Elementary in Oakland -- decent, good, or great?

Oct 2014

The reviews for Cleveland Elementary on BPN and GreatSchools are a couple of years old, and I know they've had a new principal come on board since then... If you have a kid currently at Cleveland, would you mind sharing your opinion of the school? How are the teachers? Is the transition to Common Core going well? Any thoughts, really, would be great appreciated. Anon

Great. I'm new to the school with two children there. Veteran teachers who know what they are doing. Parents who are nice and not obnoxious. Great kids. Climate of school is positive. Principal is laid back and friendly. Grew up in Oakland. happy CES parent

Our family chose Cleveland elementary through the options process in Oakland. Honestly, it was more because of intuition than anything else. Fortunately, my intuition was right.

Cleveland is the most INCLUSIVELY diverse school in Oakland I have come across. Their test scores given the number of ESL and low-income students is unparalleled. As a member of the PTA, we work hard to ensure a thriving music, art and eco-literacy program for students.

The teaching staff at Cleveland is very seasoned and there is little to no turnover. It was an adjustment for me to adapt to a more traditional, structured school and learning environment (from a play-based preschool and more liberal parenting views). It was not, however, a hard adjustment for my children - now in K & Gr.2 - both active boys (the youngest I was sure needed nature school!). My kids are thriving academically, emotionally, and socially - and so are we! Cleveland is home.

(Oh, and the new Principal, who goes by ''VT'', short for Mr.VanTassel, is loved by students and parents alike. He is at his second year at Cleveland and has given every indication of being with us for a long, long time - telling teachers they can't retire until his infant daughter is school!) Parent at Cleveland

Cleveland's been called a ''Hidden Gem,'' and I could now see why after 3 years of having my son there. They have strong, veteran teachers, many of whom go beyond their call of duty to help both the students and the school, spearheading the Ecoliteracy program, for instance. The school has a great mix of both diversity and socioeconomic status without feeling like anyone is getting shortchanged. For instance, the mission of the school is to have high expectations of each student. This means that the school assesses each child at the beginning of the school year and then adjusts curriculum to their level. And the teachers do walk that talk. The PTA is down to earth and looks out for the needs of the entire school, not just their own child. It celebrates each child's successes, in particular being the top performing school in the district to make English language learners English proficient. The principal has been accessible, transparent, and responsive, showing great leadership in expanding the school and bringing services to support children in their learning. It's a smaller school with 400 students and has a great community feel. If you are passionate about supporting the aims of this amazing community, we welcome you to check out Cleveland. My son loves the school, its passionate teachers, and has been thriving there academically. The common core curriculum is highly conceptual and there's some real advantages in their approach. However, I think that it all depends on how your child learns best. I found all the teachers I've had there to be accessible and open to thinking about how to adjust the curriculum to my son's needs. Last but not least, as the principal would encourage, just come and visit on a typical school day to see what the school is about. Anon

Our child recently started at Cleveland so I can only comment on our experience from the past few months, but so far we like the school and are very happy our child is going there. The community is engaged. The school and PTA do a lot with the resources that they have. The teachers and Principal VT are committed and hard-working. Our child's class is very well-organized and well-planned. All my interactions so far with the teachers have been great.

There is a holistic focus on making all the parts of the school and the kids' education work together. And of course the amazing Eco-literacy program is wonderful, inspiring, and meaningful.

There does appear to be some transitional issues with changes to the after-care programming, but the community really seems to be working together to problem-solve on it, which I also find very encouraging.

The transition to Common Core seems to be going well to me. Our child's teacher piloted the district's math curriculum last year, and is teaching it this year as it rolls out district-wide. A Cleveland fan

Cleveland is having an Open House on Thurs., Nov. 13 at 6pm. We are also having school tours the first week of December 1-5 at 9am, just show up. Last, there will also be a picnic for prospective families on Jan. 4 at the Lower Playground from 11am-1pm. Lisa N

Nov 2012

I haven't heard a lot about Cleveland School (near Lake Merritt), but I recently found out their API score was over 900. Can anyone shed some light on this school. I am starting to look for a school for next year. Thanks.

Our son just started Kindergarten at Cleveland this year. We *love* it. It's been described as a hidden gem to us and now see why. His teacher, Ms. Schriner, is quite warm and engaging. She also runs the Ecoliteracy program there; the kids get to grow fruit & vegetables, etc. and learn about the environment.

The API scores there are no accident and as I'm learning, it's all the more remarkable given that most teachers don't teach to the test and we have a group of ELL's (English Language Learners) and an excellent mixed Special Ed/regular class. The parents and teachers seem quite devoted and committed to learning in a diverse, inclusive environment. And there's a warm sense of community that we've found quite inviting.

One last thing: our son is a small boy, also enrolled in soccer and a play-based after school program on site and we were somewhat concerned how he'd interact with larger and older kids. As it turns out, while the kids are energetic they're also considerate as well. He's in a safe place.

If you have other questions feel free to drop a line. My wife is a child psychologist and could give additional perspective if desired (she's a big booster for the school). I believe there are tours coming up at the end of this month. If you have trouble finding info online you can also contact the PTA or myself to get details. Take care and good luck on your school search! -Ed

I am a volunteer reading tutor at Cleveland. I live near the school. I think that Cleveland is a pretty wonderful place. The class in which I tutor has 22 kids. It's racially diverse with maybe an Asian majority. The school has a cool organic gardening program. Check Cleveland out! Cleveland Tutor

My daughter is in 3rd grade at Cleveland. While it is suffering from the budget cuts with the rest of OUSD, the PTA has stepped up fundraising and is so far managing to maintain funding for activities like art, music, eco-literacy, tutoring, etc. The school is diverse (you can find the stats from the OUSD website or More than half of the students are Asian (from a variety of countries, from China to the Middle East), but there are many black, white, hispanic and mixed race kids as well. Many of the kids are low income, but there is diversity on that front as well. The campus is beautiful and well maintained. The eco-literacy program grows vegetables on campus that the kids get to harvest and prepare in the spring as special events (salad, soup or pizza, depending on the grade). There are events planned for prospective parents at the end of November/beginning of December. Here's the schedule:

School Tours Mon., Nov. 26, 1st tour 9am, 2nd tour 10am Tues., Nov. 27, 9am & 10am Wed., Nov. 28, 9am & 10am
Please note that since we will be touring the school while classes are in session, the morning tours are adults only. All tours have translation services available, upon request. No need to register for tours. Simply show up at the times listed above.

Open House Wed., Nov. 28, 6pm, an evening Q&A session Childcare for ages 3+ and food provided.

Picnic Sun., Dec. 2,11am-1pm, Meet Cleveland parents and students at a picnic on campus by the lower play structure. School information will be provided as well as parent Q&A. Children welcome. Carrie

Hi! Great to hear about your interest in Cleveland! My son is in his 3rd year at Cleveland. We love it. The teachers are amazing! Cleveland is a Title 1 funded California Distinguished School. It is located in a neighborhood setting on the hill above Lake Merritt. Our community is very diverse. The campus has beautiful gardens, that the students help maintain, through our Eco Literacy program. We have Art classes weekly, taught by artists from MOCHA. All students have Music classes, and the upper grade students each have instruments. And, yes, our scores are over 900 for the last few years!

I invite you to attend our Open House and School Tours at the end of this month. Tours will be Nov. 26-28 at 9am and 10am. We will have an evening tour, with childcare provided, on the 28th at 6pm. Our Open House Picnic will be Dec. 2 at 11am-1pm. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, or need any more information. Thank you. Liz S, Cleveland PTA Co-President

My son is a kindergartener at Cleveland and just loves it there! He always wants to go to the school events like the spaghetti night and loves his teacher. They have an hands-on science program there once a week called the Ecoliteracy program where they do gardening, make and prepare foods like apple sauce and more. I've been impressed with the high-quality education as he has been already learning to read books to his little sister. I also value the diversity and dedication of the Cleveland community from its students, parents and teachers. There's a lot of passionate people who work beyond their call of duty to make the school what it is. Cleveland mom

My son is in first grade at Cleveland Elementary. We feel very lucky that he is able to attend such a great, diverse public school in Oakland. When we were looking at schools, the first thing I noticed when I visited Cleveland was that the kids seemed happy to be there and respectful of each other. I still find this to be true, and I am able to spend a fair amount of time helping at the school, so I get to observe the kids first-hand quite a bit. The school has a very positive community feel to it. When my son was sick a few weeks ago, he actually started crying when I told him he couldn't go to school.

Academically, we have been really happy with Cleveland too. The kids get a strong foundation from very experienced teachers, and have music and art in all grades. The Ecoliteracy program is amazing and the kids really enjoy learning about science and nature in a hands-on way.

So, I would say, come check it out! We will be having tours, a picnic, and open houses later in November. Here is a link to the Cleveland Facebook page for details (you don't have to be on Facebook to view this, by the way) - Chris

July 2012

Re: El Cerrito vs. Oakland home values & schools
To MSG from ''El Cerrito vs Oakland'' for home buying and schools - I don't know good schools of No. Oakland personally (tho have heard Peralta is quite good - but our son went TI Cleveland Elementary in East lake neighborhood (also called Cleveland Heights). It's a great school, and so is the surrounding 'hood, and lots more affordable than Berkeley. Nance

May 2012

Hi BPN'ers, We've been assigned Cleveland Elementary School for our son who will be in Kindergarten. People seem to love Cleveland, and everyone says it's a good school, but I can't get a good read on the school, and I don't have a good sense of what people like about the school. Unlike a lot of other high performing schools in the district, Cleveland's website doesn't seem to have a lot of information. In particular, I am trying to find out more information about:

After school program offerings: (Are there cool classes?/Can we go just a few times a week?) How much art, music, and movement (PE or otherwise), and outdoor time do kids get? Is art incorporated into the work? How much hands-on work is done? Is it mostly worksheets? Are there any options for foreign language instruction? (Before, during school, or after school?) How is discipline handled? I've got a sensitive/emotionally young, and socially awkward kid who does best in environments that are compassionate, yet structured, but not so much that he'll be harshly penalized every time he cries.

I'd also love to hear your experiences if you're a Cleveland parent of a black male child-- positive or otherwise. Thanks in advance! Does Your Child Love Cleveland?

My child (and I do too!) loves Cleveland! Yes, there are after school offerings. We have enrichment classes that include foreign language, sports, chess, lego and others. There are after school care programs as well.

My son was in Ms. Luong's kindergarden class and he loved her. Really. She is a patient, caring teacher, and she's a Cleveland parent. The kindergardeners have art classes weekly that are taught by artist/teachers from MOCHA. All students take PE with the wonderful Mr. Tumor. He has been an educator and administrator in Oakland and Berkeley school districts for many years. The music program includes all grades. The older students all have instruments provided by the district.

I encourage you to attend the orientation for new families on Tuesday, May 22, at 5:30. I will be there. Please introduce yourself to me. Welcome to Cleveland! Liz

Dear soon to be Cleveland Parent Welcome! My son has just completed kindergarten and he loves it! He is in the more Chinese immersion class, so it's bit more structured. As for the other kinder classes I have heard great things about the teachers.. After school enrichment programs range from Music, Soccer to name a few. It is offered if there is enough participation. Foreign language offerings, there is mandarin classes offered at the moment.. Ms Aquino is a fabulous principal, she handles conflict and disapline wonderfully...

As for your son and his sensitivity to new situations, I highly recommend meeting and touching base with your assigned teacher. They know how to handle these situations.

I am on the PTA board, and love this school. It truly is a little gem, great families, and wonderful teachers.

We are having a kinder orientation on May 22... There will be a bunch of parents there to answer your questions.. Also I can connect you with a mom whom is black and has 4 boys that have/ are going through Cleveland... She's lovely. Please email me with any questions or concerns you might have! Alexandra

Nov 2010

Hello. We are looking to move to Oakland, and found a home that we really like that would put us at Cleveland. Everything that I have read about the school is very positive. My only concern is the demographics. The school is only 5% Caucasian, and mostly Asian. I also saw that many of the parents and kids speak Cantonese. I am concerned that my child (who is white) may have difficulty fitting in and making friends at school. I guess we are just not used to being the minority. How inclusive is the school? Do the children integrate fairly well? While I love the idea of exposing my children to different cultures, I just don't want my son to feel left out. I would love to hear from current families at the school and learn about your experiences. Thank you! Rachel

There are about 50% Chinese and 15% Vietnamese or other Asians at Cleveland. One really does not hear Cantonese or any other language, besides English, being spoken among the kids. There are usually a few white kids and maybe 4-5 African American kids per class of 20. Your child is just one of many minorities at Cleveland. All the kids seem to get along with each other. The kids tend to group themselves by interest and not by ethnicity. The level of learning is high and, in general, the kids seem very well behaved. There are lots of fun activities after school to choose from as well as a 10 week art program and year round music program. The teachers all seem kind and hard working. Cleveland Parent

My daughter is in first grade at Cleveland. I'm white, my husband is ethnically Chinese but doesn't speak the language and isn't particularly connected to Chinese culture. I remember looking at the demographic stats for our schools and cringing over the small percentage of white students. Of course, my daughter is mixed race so it wasn't really appropiate for me to project my apprehensions on her. But even though your son is white, he will find kids to fit in with. Remember that in addition to the 5% white students, there is another 9% or so mixed race, and many of those kids have one white parent. Also, it also seems that with blacks and whites both in the minority, the barrier there seem to break down a bit.

What I have observed since my daughter started at Cleveland, is that the kids who aren't culturally/linguistically asian tend to hang out together. My daughter's best friend is half Korean/half white, her other best friend in K was half black/half hispanic. Which is not to say that there is a hard and fast diving line with Chinese speakers (at home, I mean. Almost all the kids in my daughters class speak English well) on one side and everybody else on the other, but maybe a blurry porous dividing line. My daughter definitely has friends on both sides of the line, but her best friends have tended to come from side A.

It isn't an ideal situation, but I definitely don't think that you should let it keep you from Cleveland. Know where you are coming from

March 2010

Looking for recent information/reviews on Cleveland Elementary. Considering attending this fall for kindergarten. Pros/cons? Kindergarten class size? I am also concerned about average age of kindergarten students as my child's birthday is late in the year. Any information is much appreciated! Thanks. K ready mom

Hello, I am a very involved parent with two children attending Cleveland Elem, our neighborhood school. This school is wonderful in so many ways and has been a real hidden gem in the Oakland Public School system.

We are a diverse school, with excellent, long term and experienced teachers and staff that are truly committed to our school and our students. We have great API scores (886!) that has gone up every year for the last several years ( check us out on ).

Our school offers music for K-3, orchestra for 4-5, in- school art provided by MOCHA, PE program, a fabulous Ecoliteracy program (taught in our amazing outdoor classroom!) as well as many other enrichments during and afterschool (chinese caligraphy, various afterschool classes, etc). We will begin Mandarin and Spanish language classes next year in our afterschool program. We also have two fantastic afterschool care options: OASES which takes kids based on academic and economic need via lottery as well as BearCub City, a private, low cost care program. Both offer homework help, tutorial, arts/crafts/enrichments and support our school in many ways.

Our parent community has become much more active over the last few years and we do many great things for the students and staff to raise money for programs (first ever walk-a- thon happening soon!), as well as raise awareness for themselves and their local and global community (discussion on Haiti by Haitian natives).

Of course with the budget cuts that will effect each and every school, we are anticipating some shortfall, but we are certain they will not touch the programs listed above as we are making plans now to make sure they remain in place. We are committed to keeping Cleveland as one of the best OUSD has to offer.

I can talk for days about my enthusiasm for Cleveland, and OUSD in general. Feel free to email me for more specifics or just to chat. jamie

Nov 2009

Re: transferring to a school closer to work
I don't have any advice on the mid-year transfer, but my daughter is in kindergarten at Cleveland and we are really happy with it. There are 3 aftercare options: Oasis, which is geared toward low income kids, has limited enrollment and not much flexibility in terms of early pick-ups. Bear Cubs is new on campus this year, and I don't know much about it, other that a couple of my daughter's friends go and seem happy. My daughter goes to Lakeshore Children's Center (their preschool is reviewed on BPN but they also have aftercare serving Cleveland, Glenview, Crocker Highlands and Lakeview with van pickup after school.) Carrie

May 2009

Hi Everyone, The most recent info on Cleveland Elementary I could find was from 2007. Do any current parents have some feedback on Cleveland? We are thinking of moving into the neighborhood and would like some more info on the school from parents who send their kids there. Are you happy with it? What would you say is the best thing about it? What would you say is the biggest challenge? Do you feel your kid is getting a stimulating, enriching education even though Open Court is mandated? Do you feel your child is safe there, and is getting enough individual attention? Any feedback is welcome! Thanks, Isabel

We have two kids at Cleveland Elementary, in the 1st and K grades. We feel we have really lucked out with this school. I think it is the best diverse school in Oakland. I have no concerns about who my children will get as teachers because they are all very good. The Principal is a strong leader and knows my children personally. Its a safe, warm environment that we all enjoy hanging around during and after school. The PTA has become very involved and really made a big difference at the school. While there is a good selection of after-school co-curricular opportunities I think this could be improved even more if more parents were able to help be the foundation for such a program. Right now there are a handful of parents running a lot of programs and as more parents become comfortable taking charge and really understand how they can be involved in the school, the better such programs will become. Happy Cleveland Mama

Cleveland Elementary is a small neighborhood school with very experienced teachers. Most have been teaching 15 to 20 years so Open Court hasn't been that big of deal, for us anyway. The teachers know what they're doing- proof is in the school's high API score. The principal is fantastic. She truly cares about the kids, teachers and diverse community. And our community is diverse. Many parents speak Cantonese so communication at meetings is always translated. Bottom line: My 2nd grader has attended Cleveland since kindergarten and loves it. We feel lucky to have found such a hidden gem in Oakland. Working parents need to be aware that spots in the main after school program are limited, but it's a terrific program. bh

Cleveland is great! I am the parent of a 1st grader and pretty involved with the school. Cleveland has seemed to always have been a really good school for scores, wonderful teachers and very minimal discilpine / behavior issues, but activites within the school have really picked up over the last couple of years, too, which has really been fun. Cleveland has an afterschool program, PTSA sponsored after school enrichment, a great garden with an outdoor classroom in the works, full on recycling program starting up next fall, and on and on. Every year it gets better. We live in the neighborhood, but didn't know about Cleveland when we bought our house. We lucked out! Hope to see you at Cleveland! jamie.

Dec 2007

Hello all, we're a new family to the Cleveland community, and very happy I might add! My children are in the 2nd and 4th grade. They've both transitioned very well, and are thriving in their new learning enviroment. They have two wonderful teachers, who are caring, knowledgable, and aware of the whole child. I'd like to mention that all the teachers, and staff work very hard at Cleveland. Thanks for all that you do! Ms. Settles, who is our principal is awesome! She is hard at work making sure all Cleveland students receive an equitable education. Her vision to help make our children become aware, will produce critical thinkers, and children that have a love for learning. We have some wonderful families in our community. We all know that It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, so let's keep working together in an effort to continue to be a welcoming community, and raise Critical Thinkers. I know that their will be some trying times in our educational journey here at Cleveland, but I belive to resolve any issuses, the key is communication and respect, which will help us move forward to our ultimate goal: The Children!!! Cleveland Elementary is a hidden treasure in the OUSD! Terry

April 2007

What has been your experience with Cleveland Elementary? Any families currently going there or going to start this fall? What about after school programming? Thanks for any and all information. julie

Hi- I live in the neighborhood and am sending my son there this fall for K. Although my son is not currently there, I am actively involved with the PTA now and have already met a few parents of attending kids - even doing summer camps with a couple of them! It is already warm and inviting and I'm really happy to be becoming a part of the fabric. I am a BIG supporter of this school for lots of reasons, but think that the much more involved PTA, new ideas being generated by active parents (and of the soon to be enrolled parents)and the great teachers will really only make this school even better. I really would love to see more families living in the neighborhood attend Cleveland - and feel good about going, not just that they were assigned to it- and get that real 'community' going. We have even started a 'Cleveland Neighborhood Parents Group' to encourage parents of incoming this fall and next fall to learn more about the school and attend it - we even had the wonderful Principal, Ms. Settles, over for a really frank discussion with our group. I think it is one of the best advantages to be able to walk to your school and have kids from school close by to play with afterwards...and it being a great school, to boot. As far as the afterschool programs go, I know that there have been some changes but I can't be specific enough for you- hopefully someone else will address this. Please feel free to contact me if you want to be on our groups email list and maybe get together with others around here before school starts so the kids know some pals! jamie

I am a Cleveland parent (my son is in K). After nearly a year at Cleveland we are very happy with the teachers and staff and students. My son loves the school, is always happy to go and takes special pride in the garden which is community built. The diversity, size, location and community spirit are really fantastic at this neighborhood school. But like all public schools it depends on active families to bring the ''extras'' like art, playground improvements, after school care etc.. Our family used the afterschool care brought in by last year's PTA. At the beginning of the year it was done by the YMCA. It was basic, but worked well for us. It was flexible and inexpensive if uninspired. Personally I did not need it to be academic-- after a full school day I felt my five-year-old son had enough of that and just needed some play time. They did have a homework time, which was nice since those evening hours go fast and who wants to fill them with worksheets? We appreciated the low cost ($75 a month) and flexibility. But I would not call it enriching.

In January a new after care program was ushered in. It got funding through Prop 49 and is provided free for families with financial need and focuses on academics-- working with teachers to help kids get up to standards. It also has some really fun stuff like dance and drumming. The staff is great and in many ways my son prefers the new program OASES Quest. (check out their website They have been very succesful at Lincoln School. But the hours are not as flexible due to the language of the grant money (hours are 3-6--no early pick ups, which cuts into family time) and I am not sure my son will get in next year (YMCA kids were grandfathered in this year) if acceptance is based on financial and academic need. They have spots for 90 students. The principal tells me we have 200 students who need afterschool care. Currently we are in discussions with the district, OASES and PTA to see if we can come up with solutions for next year that will meet the needs of our diverse population--ESL learners, financial, academic, working families. I am hopeful we can have on campus care for all.

Alternatively many families use Lakeshore Children's Center which picks up at the school, or FM Smith Recreation program. The PTA also sponsors after school art on Thursdays with care until 6. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions. Sarah

January 2005

Although we're a couple of years away from a decision, I'm curious to know of anyone's experiences, academically and otherwise, with the Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland. I live nearby, and hope that the school is a reasonably good option for our son. Michael

Our son is currently in 2nd grade at Cleveland and we love it! Cleveland is not our neighborhood school, we transferred in for Kindergarten, making this our son's 3rd year at the school.

Here's why we love Cleveland:
- Diversity! Cleveland is one of the most diverse schools we've seen in Oakland. With each year that we've been there, we've seen that diversity increase.
- Teachers! We have extremely dedicated teachers at Cleveland. Many of our teachers have been teaching at the school for years.
- Community! Our PTA has been active for the last 3 years and has accomplished a lot. Each fall we have a Fall Festival with games, activities and fun for the students in conjunction with Halloween. We also have Family Reading Nights, Family Health Nights, and a Spaghetti Feed.
- Academics! Our school consistently scores very well on the state standardized tests.
- PTA! Our PTA continues to offer fun activities for the students to participate in. We especially like the afterschool science program during the spring (through Tree Frog Treks) and the school drama program (through Kids Take the Stage).

I highly recommend Cleveland! The only drawback to our school is that there is currently no childcare/afterschool care program. The PTA is working with the school to get something established by the Fall of this year. Heather

Consider Cleveland Elementary School, Oakland's best kept secret!

Why Cleveland?
* Consistent high scores on standardized tests
* Diverse population
* Teacher's who are dedicated to their students
* Active PTA

Cleveland Elementary, 745 Cleveland Street is a wonderful school. We have room for your family at our school and we'd love to have you join our community.

For more information about Cleveland Elementary School contact the school at 879-1080. -Cleveland Elementary Parent

January 2003

I wanted to let any parents looking for a good public school in Oakland know about Cleveland Elementary school. Cleveland recieves extremeley high test scores (ranks 9 out of 10 on and has very dedicated staff. The PTA has recently become much stronger than in recent years and hope to continue to have a lot of parent involvement. Cleveland is a wonderful school and has plenty of spaces for kids looking to transfer in. If you have any questions about this school, feel free to call or email me c/o the PTA: cleveland_pta AT yahoo DOT com

Feb 2002

My son may be going to Kindergarten at Cleveland Elementary in Oakland in the fall. I'm wondering what other parents do for childcare at Cleveland since they do not offer childcare onsite. Also, in a school that is 70% Asian, how well can I expect my 1/2 white 1/2 Latino son to fit in? I recently visited the school in Feburary and only saw one picture of Martin Luther King Jr. even though we were in the middle of African American History month. Is this typical at this school? Have they done a good job of introducing aspects of all different cultures within the classrooms? Anything positive or negative you can share about this school would be helpful to us. Thanks

I just got the OUSD report card and while I can't say anything about their program specifically, I can say that their test scores say A LOT of good things about them. In a school with 63% receiving free lunch, 40% English Language Learners and 89% minority they have a very solid 802 overall score (9 out of 10 and 10 out of 10 in comparison to schools of similar makeup). They also improved significantly from last year to this year. I was surprised I hadn't heard of them, too, since I am fairly aware of Oakland Public Schools. Oakland Mom