Civicorps Elementary School


No longer in business
Charter School
Oakland, CA
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Archived Q&A and Reviews

August 2010

Hello Everyone - I'm trying to get some current information on Civicorp Elementary. I've heard that the school has gone through some changes...are these positive or negative? If you are a Civicorp family how would you describe your experience there? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank You! anon

Hi! My two daughters attend Civicorp and we love it! They have a wonderful spirit to the school that focuses on community service (i.e. interacting with people in your community, keeping the community clean, and volunteering, etc.), teamed with an extremely earth-friendly climate, seriously wonderful teachers, and a fun, colorful campus that includes a garden, play structure, and blacktop area with colorful murals.

My girls are going into second and third grade this year, been there since Kindergarten. While it is true administration faced some challenges this past year (what school did not?), everything seems to be moving along fine with a positive outlook for next year, and improving where the school has fallen short in the past.

The PTA was slightly under-staffed last year, so we are working on getting more parents involved, and generating more funds for the coming school year.

I have met some wonderful people, teachers, parents, and students over the past three years and would highly recommend the school to any family looking for a caring, respectful, peaceful community for their child. Feel free to email me with any questions! as

April 2010

I will be moving from Denmark to El Cerrito or Berkeley in July. My daughter turns 6 this april and speaks little English. She has gone to a Rudolf Steiner playschool for 4 years here in Denmark. I have a place for her at Civicorps elementary school, either K or 1st grade this fall. I noticed that there has been many principals over short time and I wonder what the school is like? I am looking for an intimate school environment with an emphasis on art, music, social skills and academic skills -listed by priority. My daughter is bright and socially skilled, loves to sing and dance. Any kind of advice is welcome.I also expect to be offered a place at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito because of our address in the US. Thanks!! Danish mom

Hi Danish mom -

We are a family who was inspired by the vision of Civicorps Elementary, but will be leaving the school this fall to go to an OUSD school because of the issues we found at Civicorps.

The school is currently led by a capable interim principal, but this is the 7th principal since the school opened in 2000. The most recent full time principal resigned mid-year, and the full time principal prior to that was fired under unclear and vague circumstances. In the past year both the CFO and a past president of the Board of Directors have resigned, other key staff have left or been laid off due to budgetary constraints.

In response to your particular needs around music and art, art was cut by 20% this year and music was cut entirely due to budget constraints. Of course budget issues are a problem for all local schools.

There is a lack of transparency to the school community about the actions of the Board and of the agency. There is currently no parent representation on the Board of Directors, although there appears to be an effort to change that.

The school is going to be up for Charter Renewal next year. You can view the preliminary report by the OUSD Charter School office at it offers a more detailed look at some of the issues the school faces.

Please feel free to email me if you want to discuss further. Scott - disappointed Civicorps parent

Jan 2009

Re: Emeryville public school quality
While looking at Emeryville schools (you didn't mention what age range), you may want to consider two charter schools just across the border in Oakland. Our son attends Civicorps Elementary School (, we love it and they will be having their Enrollment Open Houses in the next couple of weeks. It's a small, 200 student school, just a half block outside of the Emeryville city limit. It's my understanding that for charter schools you don't need any inter-district transfer paperwork (you should check on that to be sure). There is an excellent after school program, and a good curriculum at the school including a full time art teacher, Sports4Kids coach, and a music teacher. The other charter school which is popular in the area is the North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS). Scott

Feb 2008

Re: looking for a public education. Civicorps Charter School has been a great experience. my daughter is in kindergarden and she comes home happy and exciting everyday (well almost everyday). she has a loving teacher that has been able provide a positive learning environment to meet the needs of all academic and emotional levels. the afterschool program has also been an enriching experience. she does art, martial arts, dance and has developed quite a bond with the staff. i feel the school is a safe environment, it is diverse and the community has been open minded and welcoming.

from day one the school staff new who i was and what child i belonged to and have always made me feel welcome. also they are in the process of establishing a middle school which will open in fall 2009.

i write this because i know the challenges of finding a school. it is hard, weather it be pre-school, kindergarden or a summer program. Civicorps is conducting tours and informations. they have a lottery for admissions coming up in march and april. an oakland parent

April 2007

I would love to hear someone's recent experience with EBCC, specifically the Kindergarten classes. Our child was accepted there and it really seems like a gem of a place. Thanks! anon

My child isn't in a Kindergarten class but she's been happily attending this small art-oriented school. Only concern to me is its expansion plan. The school is going to be renovated to add more class rooms this summer. I have no idea how it could be done to its tiny campus and hope that doesn't mean over-crowded yard. Another thing to note is that EBCC is trying to open a middle school in 2008. I think there will be some transitions and changes over next school year EBCC parent

My daughter is a current kindergartner at the EBCC Charter School and we love it! She has thrived with a wonderful teacher and we like the community, the ideals, and the spirit of the school. There has been a change in principal mid-year, but the current principal is engaged, experienced and committed. This leadership change has not seemed to affect the children negatively, but it remains to be seen whether there will be any significant teacher/staff turnover. There is a very active parents association, and I encourage you to get involved! Leslie

This is my daughter's second year at the school and she has really enjoyed it. We've loved the combination of the arts integrated with civic literacy, environmental learning and academics. She is also very excited about the afterschool program this year, especially her Spanish class, the ''healthy happy club'' (learning about health and nutrition) and karate. We like the fact that this is all included in the basic fee, which is very low because of grant funding. There's a nice community feel because the teachers and kids all know each other and we've been very blessed by the teachers she's had during her time at the school. neowright

June 2006

I would like to know if anyone has any feed back or experience with Kindergarden at La Conte or The East Bay Conservation Corps Charter school. These are the two schools that my 5 year old has been enrolled in. She has been in the cocoon of a wonderful pre- school (Nia House)for the past 3 years. I would appreciate any comments. Jose

My daughter is finishing her last week of Kindergarten this week at EBCC and we couldn't be happier. She has thrived both socially and academically at the school this year and having the summer away from her beloved school and friends is going to be tough. We would strongly recommend it (and next year with the lower floor remodeled should be even better than ever!)

My daughter just finished her first year at EBCC and we couldn't be happier. She had a little bit of emotional problem at the beginning of the year adjusting herself to the new environment but her supportive teachers offered a great amount of help. Also Buddy Reading program (big kids teach small kids how to read) was extremely useful for her to know older kids so she could become a true member of the EBCC family.

Above all, I like the principal, Ms.Gramstroff. She is the greatest (and funniest!) principal all the kids fall in love with. I was amazed how she pays attention to every kid. She knows my daughter's strength and weakness better than I do. I cannot write all the nice things about EBCC here but I can heartily recommend this school. It is a gem of public schools.
EBCC mom

March 2006

Hello All! I am looking for current feedback on North Oakland Charter School and East Bay Conservation Corps Charter School. Has anyone had experience with these schools, positive and/or negative? We have a son who will be attending kindergarten in the fall and we are considering both schools. Thanks! crystal

My daughter is a kindergartner at the East Bay Conservation Corps school this year and is having a wonderful time. Not only is she really excited about learning the three ''R's'', she is also having a great time in science learning about conservation (recent projects include field trips to community gardens, composting lunches and growing plants). She has made a lot of good friends there, both her age and older, and also knows all the staff and they in turn know her. She's feeling safe, confident and bursting with new knowledge this year and we couldn't ask for anything more!
Pleased Kindergarten Mother

We switched from a local private school to EBCC and are very satisfied with our decision. The things we are especially happy about are:
- 10:1 student-teacher ratio (Each class room has a full-time intern teacher as well as a main teacher.)
- arts education (2 visual art and 1 music per week)
- vigorous academics (Now our child reads above her grade level.)
- science/social study based on environmental education
- great on site afterschool care (homework assistance, dance, martial arts, circus club, Spanish, etc.)

I'm glad that EBCC is getting recognized as an inovative school. Check out the recent SF Chronicle article here: EBCC is somehow not good at advertising itself well so there seems to be still openings at some grades. Any California residents can apply.
Happy EBCC parent

Dec 2005

I am looking at schools for my kindergartener next year. Does anyone have experience with the East Bay Conservation Charter School in Oakland (1086 Alcatraz at San Pablo)? I would be interested in hearing feedback about the school, including the after school care. Thanks

My daughter is going to the EBCC Charter School kindergarten this year and loves it. We picked the school for it's combination of academics, the arts and social consciousness and have not been sorry. Tonight in the bathtub my daughter insisted on pointing out an imaginary ''word wall'' with her magic wand and going over what she's learned in the last semester. She also wanted to do ''homework'' by writing holiday cards to her friends. She was also very excited about the ''Showcase of Learning'' last week, which was an evening program to spotlight what has been going on in the last semester. The school-wide theme has been ''environmental justice'' and she was a ''reduce and reuse'' expert for the evening and helped perform a puppet show on recycling. Because we both work full-time, she is also in aftercare every day and seems to be thriving. She has especially enjoyed making friends with the older children during this time. All the classes have teacher interns which keeps the ratio at 1:10. The culture of the school is warm and inviting and we've found staff, parents and students to be genuinely warm, caring and interested in the children.

January 2003

I would be interested in hearing feedback about the East Bay Conservation Charter School in Oakland. Betsy

This is the second year EBCC Charter School has been open and they have just announced that they will open a 6th grade class next fall.

My daughter started 2nd grade at EBCC Charter School last Sept. I love the school. It is small and intimate and it's easy to know everyone. For example, the principal is often there in the morning to greet my child personally as she gets out of the car. A great parent's group has become very involved this year. Parents are encouraged to participate in any way possible, whether it be in the classroom or fundraising or whatever.

The school mission and values are beautifully described on the website ( and the school does adhere to them. The academics are excellent (no Open Court, but a good reading curriculum) and all the teachers seem really terrific. All children attend two art and two music classes each week. There is a PE program and also a chorale group on Mondays. The art and the music teachers are dedicated and talented. The after-care program is excellent. The Art/Music/Aftercare programs incorporate themes kids learn in the classroom.

My daughter's class has a regular teacher, a retired teacher volunteer and an Americorp volunteer as staff. Other classes also have UCSF interns. There are, I think, at least two staff members in each classroom.

The school is located at 1086 Alcatraz at San Pablo. It has a highly diverse population. If you don't live in the area, it can be quite a commute and that concerned me when I was considering the school. I've found the commute to be long but managable and other parents help out when needed.

The school is conducting informational meetings over the next few weeks and deadline to apply for fall admission is Friday, February 28. I don't know when the next meeting is but you can call Virginia, the school administrator, at 420- 3701 to sign up. Carol