Kaiser Elementary SchoolCommunity Subscriber
We love our elementary school - Kaiser. But OUSD has decide to close it's campus and "merge" it with Sankofa. My advice to you would be to familiarize yourself with the "blueprint for Quality" schools and what is happening in OUSD currently. The school you choose could be closed in a year or two. Good luck.
I recommend expanding the schools you are considering to include Kaiser Elementary. It is a small public school not far from Bentley. We are also a two mom family, and found Kaiser not only to be supportive, but inviting and welcoming of our family. During the 10 years we spent at spent at Kaiser with our two kids, we never experienced discrimination and were never the only LGBT family in a classroom. The teachers and staff are loving and committed to both academic and social-emotional development for all kids.
Kaiser school, formerly Henry J Kaiser Jr school in Hiller highlands near Bentley school. We are finishing our 10rh year sending 2 boys through k-6 there. Very diverse open supportive community with families from all over Oakland. LGBTQ families, single parents, adoptive families, mixed/multi ethnic-race families, you name it. We LOVE Kaiser. Check it out!
Yes! Kaiser Elementary is a wonderful little hidden gem. Not sure how many kids from the neighborhood attend. Plus, don't discount Glenview Elementary. Great neighborhood and many of the neighborhood kids go, which is fun. And, what about Redwood? Montclair? All of these are great schools with super involved families. My kids attended Kaiser and many of our friends had/have kids at the other three I mentioned. Oakland Public has a lot of great schools!
2016-17 enrollment in upper grades (3-5) is down so if you want a wonderful, diverse and loving experience for your elementary aged child in Oakland, transfer to Kaiser.
We have almost completed our first year at Kaiser and we are so pleased with the experience! There have been a few bumps in the road concerning the district, but the community at the school is wonderful and so diverse in every way: racially, ethnically, economically, lgbt and every other way. It is a commuter school so there is no cliqueing off of residents vs commuters.
The faculty is passionate and involved. The campus is adorable. Check out Kaiser!
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Seeking information about Kaiser Elementary
I am looking for information about Kaiser. I'm interested in the general climate of the school, the emotional support/guidance of the children, kindergarten teachers (great? awesome? Ok?), parent involvement, community, afterschool care, communication with parents, and anything else you wish to share. Pros and cons. Thank you! Finding Options
My daughter has been at Kaiser for the past 6 years, and is ready to move on to middle school next year. It has been a very positive experience for us. Kaiser is a wonderfully diverse school, with kids from all over Oakland, from every socio-economic background. The teaching staff is top-notch, and parents are actively involved. The PTA supports a number of programs such as art and music that are staples of the school. The on-site after care is run by Adventure Time, with several of the AT staff also involved in the day-to-day operations at Kaiser -- so they know the kids quite well. It's a safe, loving community of teachers and families. We love Kaiser! Kaiser Parent
I am a Kaiser parent of a 2nd grader and my son will attend kindergarten starting in 2017. We absolutely love the school and are so happy that we ended up there. The general climate of the school is small, friendly, inclusive, and caring. The community is one of the best things about the school, involved committed parents, grandparents and others, of all kinds from all over Oakland. My daughter attends AT (Adventure Time, the after-school care) three days a week and loves it, she has also done Studio One after-school, but really wanted to do AT to be with her friends. The parent communication is good, both from teachers (some are better/more proactive than others) and from the Principal. We are in the middle of a Principal transition, and I'm confident that the awesome school community, the strength of parent involvement will attract an excellent Principal. It's a great school. Kelly
There is a good chance our daughter will be entering kindergarten at Kaiser Elementary in Oakland in the fall. We are trying to figure out afterschool care options and are considering the afterschool programs at the JCC East Bay site in North Oakland and Studio One in Temescal. We'd like to find an afterschool option that has lots of outdoor play time, has a good variety of activities so she doesn't get bored, and is not too overwhelming for a kindergartner. Any feedback on either of these programs would be helpful. Future OUSD parent
Our daughter has been at the JCC Oakland Afterschool since last August. She's in second grade, so I can't speak for the kindergarten experience, however we have been extremely happy with the program. The staff/teachers are really great with the kids, and they offer a variety of ''elective'' activities throughout the year, such as cooking, music and art, among other things. Eva
Studio One Pros/Cons
There is a small teacher/student ratio here and the kids take ''classes'' with a play break in between each day. My daughter has done weaving, paper mache, they have clay (really awesome projects!), painting, drama, singing. Lots of choices! the classes usally only have 6-7 kids each. They drive the kids from kaiser, so it also saves us a trip up there. Only cons are that there are ALOT of kids there total, so play time can get a little hectic.
Adventure time-On site
Lots more outside play time on school structures than studio one. Less structured class/activity time. Smaller group than at studio one. Kids also likely have more friends here too. They also do before school care, which is nice since school doesnt start till 845.
Good luck! danim
My daughter is a first grader at Chabot. Last year, as a kindergartener, she attended the after-school program at Studio One for about two months in the middle of the school year.
Pros: Studio One is inexpensive, and they are very flexible if you have to make changes to your schedule or even cancel care on certain days. (And they don't charge you for any days you don't use. It was really wonderful for me, as a freelancer with an ever-changing schedule.) They also have a pretty wide range of activities, and if your child likes outdoor activity, it is definitely available there. The art/dance instructors seemed great, and the projects the kids worked on seemed really neat.
Cons: it is a really large program and can feel really chaotic. Quite often, I got the impression that my daughter seemed a little lost there. She regularly skipped eating a snack there, and I didn't get the sense that she really bonded with any of the counselors/instructors - maybe because there were so many of them? This was very unlike her. Once she even peed in her pants because she couldn't figure out if she was allowed to use the bathroom and couldn't even figure out whom to ask. !! This was also unprecedented - her only potty accident since age 2 - and she is not usually shy about asking a grown-up what the rules are, so I found that a little alarming. The long bus ride from Chabot was also a big downside - although this may be less of an issue if your child is coming from Kaiser. As of last year, the Chabot kids got picked up first, and my daughter spent a long time on the bus picking up kids at Kaiser (and other schools? I'm not sure what the exact route was.) It was incredibly unpleasant for her and gave her motion sickness. We wound up pulling her out of the program mostly because of how long the bus ride was (her sign-in time on the sign-in sheet was often an hour after her school day at Chabot ended, so a big chunk of her after school time was spent in transit - something I had not anticipated, given how close Chabot is to Studio One!) So... if you do decide to go with Studio One, make sure to find out about the bus route and how much time your child will be spending on the bus.
Best of luck with your decision! A Rockridge Mom
New principal at Kaiser Elementary
We were interested in Kaiser Elementary for our 2015 kindergartner and wanted to hear feedback from parents about the new principal Kathy Hatzke. I know she was at Emerson for just a few years previously and other schools before that. Any concerns about the change as it relates to the direction Kaiser is headed or is principal turnover par for the course in Oakland USD schools? What about the stability of the rest of the administration and teaching staff? M
We toured several schools last year including Emerson. We liked the principal of Emerson, Kathy Hatzke, but didn't think it was a good fit for our son. We were happily surprised to find out she was moving to Kaiser when we found out over the summer.
3 months into kindergarten and the school has exceeded our expectations. I have had very little interaction with the principal but all my interactions are pleasant. I know she knows who my son is and shared some positive feedback about him.
Most of my positive feelings about the school has to do with my son's teacher, Ms. Rebekah. She is warm, great with the kids and very communicative. She sends a newsletter home every week and emails photos of the kids on the playground, in the class doing activities, and on school trips.
My son is not only learning to read, write, the months of the year, days of the week, adding and subtraction but multiplication, too! Through a very active PTA, the school has raised money for once a week music, dance, computer and Second Step classes.
The parents are friendly and respectful to each other. Most of the parents I have spoken to are not from the neighborhood. People are going out of their way to take their kids to Kaiser because it is such a wonderful school.
If you are touring schools for next year, I highly recommend you check out Kaiser and see for yourself. Parent of a happy kindergartener
My child attends Kaiser. I think Principal Hatzke was hired as interim because our old principal left suddenly to become principal at Montera. That means parents will have some input on whether she becomes principal permanently. I think it's too soon to tell if she is changing the direction of the school, but she has made a lot of little changes. Some programs have been cut and there seem to be lots more restrictions on the children. The school feels different. I have to trust that OUSD will listen to parents when we share our opinions, so if she does not work out, next year we will get someone who is a good fit. But also I think the teachers matter more than the principal and the teaching staff at Kaiser has been great so far. I think most of the teachers have been there at least 5 years. All the staff that I know are kind, dedicated, and experienced. The families are diverse and everyone seems to pitch in for events. It's a nice school and my child is thriving. I hope you will consider Kaiser no matter how people respond to your question about the principal. Kaiser parent
I can appreciate your concerns so let me answer your questions: Q: ''...is principal turnover par for the course in Oakland USD schools?'' - Principals - in any district - work for the district and, just like any employer, if they offer you an opportunity for advancement as an employee you need to evaluate the consequences of accepting or refusing the offer - personally and career wise. Therefore, I wouldn't say ''it's par for the course'', but it's similar to what happens with any employer. Often, in districts what happens is a chain reaction: a principal actually leaves the district, and then the district fills the opening first by offering to promising internal candidates the chance to fill that opening, if those are not found then looking outside. If an internal offer is accepted, that sets off a similar process for the school they vacate, an so on and so forth. Any offering to fill a vacant position that moves one is viewed as a promotion.This is what happened last year. Two principals left the district, and internal candidates accepted offers as their replacements - what I would term as equivalent to promotions -, and that set off a chain reaction until all vacancies were filled. Q:''...Any concerns about the change as it relates to the direction Kaiser is headed...'' Kaiser has a very solid strategic plan based and focused in STEAM, and we value the place and the role of art in the overall education of our learners from K to 5, and as means of achieving the goals of the district of providing '' a high quality school... with rigorous leaning in every classroom and for every child''. Kaiser has done so for over a decade. To change that vision the principal would have to override single-handedly the School Site Council (SSC) and change the Strategic Plan, extremely unlikely.
Overall I can say as a parent (and as an SSC member), that Ms. Hatzke is continuing to foster what preceding principals also maintained, which is a a spirit of collaboration and easy approacheability for the benefit of our entire community of learners and their parents and from my observation with the staff (although I wouldn't presume to speak for them). S.
Kaiser going to stay around?
Hi Parents of Kids at Kaiser: I am interested in putting Kaiser down as one of our options for kindergarten. A few years back there was talk of putting kaiser on the chopping block. Can current parents please speak about the possibility of this in the next few years? Of course I understand there are no guarantees, but I wanted to see what the open rumors are. -thanks oakland mama
Kaiser will remain Kaiser. What you speak of was later changed by the district to an expansion plan, and that too was voted by the district not to be implemented. shovland
La Escuelita, Kaiser or Crocker?
Does anyone know if it is hard to get into La Escuelita, Kaiser or Crocker if they are not your local schools? thanks! School Searching
Kaiser elementary school usually has more open spots than other schools because a lot of the kids in the neighborhood go to private school. Their loss! I encourage you to put Kaiser as your first choice. We tried two charter schools before landing at Kaiser for my daughter's second grade year and we are so happy. The school is diverse. People will try to tell you the other hills schools are diverse but look at the numbers. Nothing compares to Kaiser who has 35% African American and 19% mixed race. it is a true representation of Oakland. PLUS, and this was important to me, the kids are polite and NICE. When I visited I had 4th and 5th grade girls talk to me at length (that alone is a miracle) but they went on and on about how much they loved the school. The art and music program is robust and they have a library oh AND a computer lab. Test scores are not as high as some of the hills schools (I took this as a good sign that they weren't teaching too much to the test) but they are high enough. The parents are involved in the community. Oh and diversity isn't limited to race as there are a lot of LGBT parents as well. Most of the families at Kaiser come from all over the city so you don't have to worry about being looked down on for not living in the hills. There was a scare that Oakland would close Kaiser but that is NOT happening, Kaiser will stay open and will likely expand increasing your chances of getting in.
I live very close to Crocker and thought about putting that as my first choice but I hear it is very impacted and even neighborhood kids may not be getting in. It is a good school with a very good reputation and high scores. You may want to talk to the principal about next years projected numbers. Good luck! I know how stressful school choice is. Third time's the charm
Kaiser Elementary in OUSD is a great school for LGBT families, as well as transracial/adopted/foster families. The school is very welcoming and parent involvement is high. consider Kaiser
Kaiser Elementary! It's a wonderful school! I am a single lesbian and have 2 sons there. I couldn't be happier with the school, teachers, and the amazing community which represents true diversity with a very visible queer/alternative family contingent. There will be an open house on Jan 15th. If you can't make that, call to arrange another time to visit. http://www.kaiserelementary.org/index.html Valerie
Check out Kaiser Elementary. They are very LGBT friendly and have many same sex parent families. http://www.kaiserelementary.org/ They also have a very active yahoo group where you can ask more questions. Maya
Hi Queer Mamas! Oakland's Kaiser Elementary should be high on your list! We boast lots of queer families (at least 10% of the school), including single-parented, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans parented families, and several queer staff and teachers. You'll also find foster kids, trans-racially adopted kids and kids from a vast array of socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. There are kids who are 'like' my kid in lots of different ways, and there are lots of kids who are different--which is exactly what I want; diversity is valued and modeled in a host of different ways. His first grade class skipped mother/father's days last year in lieu of 'family' day. Kaiser is also a CA distinguished school, with great test scores, rich after school offerings and a devoted parent base. Good luck with your search. kaiser mom
Check out Kaiser Elementary. It's a wonderful, inclusive school just a 10 minute drive from North Oakland.http://www.kaiserelementary.org/ C
Henry J. Kaiser Elementary! See former BPN reviews. Many excellent teachers, great after school programs, terrific diverse families. Best of Oakland in so many ways. Our now-6th grader loved every K-5 minute there and continues to be close to many of her Kaiser friends. Quick drive from N Oakland,esp if you are heading toward the tunnel anyway. Not sure what is happening with possible closure or expansion, but I'm sure someone can fill you in.
Thought I would update here for Kaiser since tour season is upon us! I am a parent to two Kaiser kids and couldn't be happier with this wonderful, small and very diverse school. Every teacher knows every child by name, whether they're their student or not. Both of my children are working beyond grade level. The enrichment program is fantastic during school hours and there are many more courses to choose from---chess, art, dance, chorus, guitar, piano and more--- after school along with Adventure Time headed the a team of teachers that also work as resource specialists during school hours. Every child receives instruct in art, PE and music and all 4th and 5th graders are taught a musical instrument.The level of parent involvement is extremely high and you will never come to campus and not find several parents volunteering in the classrooms, the yard, the garden or working on various projects. This is a hard working crowd that values their community and the education of their children above all else. Kaiser was awarded the distinction of a California Distinguished School for it's diversity and gains in bridging the achievement gap. Kaiser is a school of choice located on a beautiful plot of land overlooking the Bay, SF and Oakland which is fitting as it draws families from all over town. It represents only the best of life in Oakland and exemplifies why we live and thrive here. Please check the website for tour information: http://www.kaiserelementary.org/ Parent to 2
Parents looking for an academically strong, culturally diverse and community-centered elementary school should put Kaiser Elementary at the top of the list.
My son is in first grade there, and we've been thrilled with his experience. API scores are top notch--885 total, with one of the highest scores in the district for African American students, thanks to our involved and dedicated teachers. And Kaiser, despite its Hills location, doesn't cherry pick for success: the school looks like Oakland--super diverse economically, racially and culturally, plus a large percentage of kids who are trans-racially adopted, foster children, and kids from LGBT families. Kaiser doesn't just tolerate or accept difference, it seeks out and embraces it. The parent community is highly involved, warm and welcoming.
There's a great afterschool program, plus afterschool enrichment opportunities, from foreign language to music to computer to art. We were worried about the commute--but Kaiser's location, at the juncture of 24 and 13, make it highly accessible from most parts of Oakland. Most families do commute to Kaiser--from West, North and East Oakland, and other Hills neighborhoods--and we do it because it's worth it. happy to be a Kaiser family
The last post of Kaiser seemed to be from a prospective parent, so I thought I'd give our school a plug since we're coming up on the options process. My family has been part of Kaiser for the last 4 years.
If you're looking for a fabulous elementary school that truly reflects Oakland's diversity, fosters an involved parent community (you will never visit Kaiser without seeing parents volunteering) and is located in a safe, beautiful and healthy environment....please visit Kaiser. We welcome ALL kinds of families here from traditional ''nuclear'' to single, adoptive parents, to LGBT headed households and some kids that are in gender variant. Our teaching staff is highly experienced and completely devoted to the school. Somehow, in spite of the somewhat restrictive Ca guidelines thrust upon them, our teachers manage to inspire creativity and spirit, while maintaining high academic standards for ALL our children. Our API goes up every year and is among the highest for AA children in OUSD. We did get a new principal this year and Mr. Avent is inspiring in his energy, generosity of spirit, work ethic and utter devotion. He has been the perfect fit for our community.
In school, art, music, science, PE and computers are offered. After school there is Spanish, Mandarin, Chess, African Dance, Chorus, more music, more art and too many others to list!
Kaiser is included in OUSD Re-structuring plan and the community is working to come up with the best plan most beneficial to our children. We are excited to have the opportunity to improve upon an already fantastic location. The whole experience has made community even closer and strengthened it. We truly are a large, happy, productive family. Happy Kaiser Parent
Hi, I toured the school recently and noticed that the lights in the classrooms I observed had the lights off while the students were there, actively working on their schoolwork. Granted, the rooms have windows, but to be honest, they seemed too dark to hold a class in them. Is it because of the School District budget crisis? worried parent
I've volunteered at Kaiser a lot (every Friday and sometimes more often). I don't remember needing the lights turned on all the time, because natural light is nicer and the classrooms seem light enough to me.
There hasn't discussed turning off lights as an energy or budget issue, though it might be an individual teacher's issue. Teachers usually turn off lights when using the overhead because it's easier for the students to read it. It might sometimes happen that they continue without remembering to turn them back on, but that doesn't happen often and for longer than a few minutes and again, there's enough natural light.
During some of the classes, like art, some teachers may sometimes asked classes if they wanted the lights on or off to create the right atmosphere and spur creativity, and the majority prefer them off (based on the observations of my son's teacher and my volunteering in the classrooms). Obviously, if any child complained they couldn't see well, they would go back on.
Kaiser has been a wonderful school for my son. He's learned a lot there, and made friends - and so have we, his parents. Hope your family decides to be a part of it. Love Kaiser
Re: Kids of LGBT families experience: Oakland schools
Try Henry J Kaiser Elementary! We have families of all stripes and types of diversity (gay and lesbian, mixed race, multi-race and we are from all over Oakland), nice community feel, arts enrichment, openly gay principal, many excellent teachers and fine API scores, good before- and after-care and afterschool enrichment. Love our Kaiser families of all kinds!
Re: Kids of LGBT families experience: Oakland schools
You didn't mention Kaiser School, but it is a very welcoming community. I am a lesbian mom and I feel very supported there. I'm very happy to see all kinds of diversity represented by the families at Kaiser(single parent, adoptive, transracial, gay/lesbian parents,etc). I live in the Laurel and looked into that school 3 years ago when I was looking for a kindergarten for my son. While I was told that they accept all families, I didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling (and they don't have aftercare which I need). The Kaiser principal is an out gay man and father. The motto for Kaiser School is ''A Fabulous Oakland School!'' I invite to go an upcoming open house. valerie
Re: Seeking advice and guidance on the Options process
Don't know exactly what is going on with options these days, and don't mean to be pushing Kaiser (I recommended it in another post as well), but I encourage you to check it out. Call Robin in the office (# is on the OUSD website) and ask her about tours, enrollment etc. When we did options a few years back, Kaiser was a hidden gem-- I think because fewer folks from the neighborhood send kids there, it is easier to get into than some of the other hill schools. And folks come from all over Oakland, so there is no feeling like an outsider. Kaiser is wonderfully diverse, friendly and high performing. Happy Kaiser Parent
Re: Oakland elementary that values creativity, peace, fun, learning
Check out Kaiser Elementary (Hiller Highlands neighborhood, off the top of Tunnel Road) and Peralta (North Oakland, lower Rockridge). We have a 4th grader at Kaiser. Curriculum is pretty standard public school, with STAR testing, workbooks, Open Court reading. But there are many excellent teachers (and some so-so, but we have had only excellent so far), arts enrichment, good afterschool programs, great families from all over Oakland, nice community feel. Our very creative kid has loved it, and has liked the academics as well. Don't know Peralta first hand, but loved it when I visited (but ultimately decided on Kaiser, partly because of better after school choices, and our kid would need 5 days a week after care), and most families there rave about it. Kaiser Mom
Re: Looking for an affordable K-4 private school
The best deal in K-5 education is the public schools. Despite the negative press, Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro all have some excellent elementary schools. My daughter has been at Kaiser in Oakland since Kindergarten (now going into 5th.) I have been at least as happy with her school experience and my friends paying for private school. Plus daily lessons in diversity, tolerance and mutli-cultural living that are hard to come by in the private setting Good luck. A Happy Public School Mom
Re: Elementary schools where African American boys thrive
Kaiser Elementary in Oakland may be a good option for you. It is very diverse, economically, socially, family make-up, race and ethnicity. In a recent newsletter, the principal commented: ''I received an invitation to speak at the Association of California School Administrators about the achievement of our African American students. We are one of the top nine schools in the state in this category.''
My son is a first grader at the school and we love it. I encourage you to make an appointment to tour the school and meet with the prinicpal. It's in the Hiller Highlands area of Oakland off Highway 13, so a bit out the way for many, but we have families attending from many different neighborhoods. There really isn't a feeling of ''neighborhood'' kids versus the handful of kids from outside the neighborhood which is common in other schools.
The School's phone number is 549-4900. anon
I only saw one recent posting about Kaiser Elementary School on BPN. If possible I would like to get more feedback on the school as a whole, pros and cons. How are the teachers/classes in the older grades. Thanks for your insight. Is Kaiser right for us?
Shhh. Don't tell! Kaiser is a hidden gem and we Kaiser familieslove it that way!
All kidding aside, I am the parent of a Kaiser 1st grader and couldn't be happier. The teachers are terrific. The school is extremely diverse -- there are gay parents, straight parents, mixed race families, etc -- it really feels like a good representation of Oakland. And, it is because the kids come from all over the city. As it's motto suggests, It is a true ''Community of Learners.'' The principal supports and encourages the best from the staff, the students, AND the parents. Parent volunteers are welcomed, even encouraged. The PTA raises a lot of money to keep art, music, physical education, a computer lab, the library and some of the support staff part of the Kaiser curriculum. They also have a wealth of intervention specialists to help children who may be falling behind. (Our child struggles with reading a bit and this was identified early and he is getting the extra help he needs both outside of the classroom and with volunteer aides during class -- daily!) We feel blessed to have gotten into Kaiser on the lottery, even though our neighborhood school is a very good quality school. We love the small size of the campus, as well as the small number of children who attend. It really gives you a chance to get to know the families and feel a part of a close-knit community. The garden is beautiful and is kept in great shape by the gardening club -- a student group led by a volunteer parent. In first grade, the children switch classrooms one afternoon a week to study Spanish with one teacher, social studies with another. EVERY child in fourth and fifth grade is required to play a musical instrument. Art and music are a HUGE and valued part of the school's culture.
Cons? Hmmmm. Sometimes the commute on 13 can be a bit of a bummer. (15-20 minutes, max.) Usually not, though. And, some teachers are better than others and there are no guarantees that you'll get the ''best'' one -- but where IS that a guarantee? And, the lack of grass on the play yard is a bummer. But, NO Oakland Public Schools have grass -- it's too costly to keep up.
Is Kaiser right for you? Hopefully I have helped to answer that question. -A Blessed Kaiser Family
Hi, I have two children at Kaiser (one in kindergarten and one in second grade), and have nothing to say but wonderful things about the school. It is a small, community oriented school, with great parents and nice kids. The children all get a chance to know one another (in all grades) because it is so small. The principal is loving and also very good at getting children and parents to participate. As a whole the teaching staff is very supportive and really on the ball. Our children have come to feel happy, loved, challenged and very safe in their learning environment. If you have any questions feel free to email me. Sarah
Hi there, I was checking the archives and noticed there are not many recent comments about Kaiser Elementary. I'm thinking of sending my child there next fall, and would love to know how current parents feel about it. I know there is a relatively new principal -- how's he doing? I could move into another school district if I need to, but if Kaiser is still as good as ever, I can save the effort!! Thanks so much! Abbi
I have a first grader at Kaiser. It has some wonderful qualities, but I feel a bit mixed about the place this year.
1. I think the 2 kinder teachers are terrific. My daughter had a very good kindergarten year despite her teacher being brand new and a few difficult kids in the class. (the other K teacher was also new to Kaiser). Next year (assuming both K teachers are still there) I believe they will both be really excellent teachers: they are both really bright and creative teachers and both infused the standard K curriculum (ie, Open Court Reading and basic math stuff) with lots of interesting life stuff (eg, bugs, art, science etc). By next year they will both have a couple years under their belts and I imagine the classes will be excellent. The Ks also get a decent amount of art and music on a regular basis.
2. Kaiser has a really great community. Mel Stenger, the principal, is very visible, knows all the kids by name as far I can see; he seems to really support staff development and at times he is movingly eloquent about education and life in general in his regular communications in the Kaiser weekly paper. The support staff is excellent: very warm and loving with the kids, and very helpful to kids and families. The families are wonderful, and it is an especially great place for folks who value diversity of all kinds: gay and lesbian and mixed race families are mainstream, and because folks come from all over Oakland everyone wants to be there and feels pretty connected to the school; one does not get the sense that there is a divide between those from the neighborhood and those outside the neighborhood. The various community potlucks and kids performances throughout the year are well attended and really fun, and when I'm there I'm so proud to be part of Kaiser and a resident of Oakland--it feels like the best of Oakland, and why so many of us love the Bay area.
There is a very active PTA and we raise a bunch of money for enrichment activities. The fundraising is very good spirited and fun (an auction, waltkathon, and a few other things). Lots of parents volunteer in the classrooms and other areas of the school. People at Kaiser really care about their children and the school.
3. The adventure Time aftercare is pretty good, with some great staff members. Kaiser had some very good quality pay extra after school activities like African Dance, Chess, Legos, Drama, Music etc. which is great for us working parents who cant drag our kids all over the place during the week. So your kid can get a good amount of on-site enrichment.
My hesitations: I don't have other schools to directly compare it to,since Kaiser is the only elementary school my daughter has attended, but I think if you want private-school quality, or if your kid has special needs (either extremely bright or needs extra assistance), you may not find what your child needs at Kaiser. We all try really hard at Kaiser, but I sometimes feel we are held back by being part of OUSD, with the regimins of standardized testing, Open Court reading etc. Despite having a fabulous teacher this year, my daughter gets alot of busy-work homework. She talks less about curriculum content (eg, bugs, art, science, etc)than last year and the focus is much more skill building (which is fine in moderation, but seems oddly removed from the real world or interesting ideas. Maybe this is just what first grade is about?) She even took her first fill in the bubble test this year, which was a bit dismaying.
There seems to be a bit of attrition of families in the upper grades--there is only one 5th grade class this year, of 35 students, (taught by a very talented and dedicated teacher). I don't know why this apparent attrition--maybe some other Kaiser parent does? But it seems like those who can afford it end up pulling their kids and going to private school? Again,I don't know this for sure, but it does make me wonder if in the upper grades the school does doesn't cut it academically for those who want a more creative, thoughtful, well rounded education for their kids, instead of a curriculum basically designed around the absurd rounds of testing, with some art, music etc thrown in. Also, being a public school, there is a wide range of abilities etc and between the testing and this wide range I think the education ends up at the high end (perhaps the very high end?) of mediocre. Which is great for OUSD, but might not be quite enough for some families who can afford to send their kids elsewhere.
I may be over stating the down-sides a bit, and I certainly would not discourage anyone from checking out Kaiser and deciding for onesself. And for some families (esp those who value diversity) I think it is an excellent choice. For those of us who can't afford or dont want to paythe $20,000 a year for private school we just keep plugging away to make it a great place to be. But honestly, sometimes I don't quite see that our efforts add up to a truly excellent education. That being said, it is certainly adequate, probably similar to what I got in a decent suburban public school back in the 1970s; my daughter and is happy there, and we are committed to it for the time being, with some reservations... Current Kaiser Parent
We are so excited to learn that we got our first choice elementary school for our oldest son who's entering kindergarten in the fall - Henry J. Kaiser in Hiller Highlands. Now, we have to figure out how the commute time is from Montclair/Park Blvd. on Hwy 13. Anyone do that drive each day? How is it?
-Curious about commute time
Welcome to Kaiser! I have 2 children there now and we live off the Lincoln exit. Worst case scenario is about 25 minutes. The usual commute is 15 to 20. Kaiser mom
Re: Gay Friendly Schools in Oakland
I would suggest checking out Kaiser Elementary School (25 South Hill Court Oakland, 94618), which is very near Chabot. Kaiser is VERY welcoming towards LGBT families. The staff is diverse and warm. You will feel very at home... and your child will receive an excellent education experience. You can call or drop by the school anytime to see how the campus operates. Just check into the office. Renae
Can anyone provide me with any feedback (positive or negative) re Kaiser Elementary School? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
I am a preschool teacher in Oakland. We currently have two families who have older siblings at Kaiser. One is in kindergarten and the other in second or third grade. Both parents absolutely love the school and highly recommend it! Nanu
My son is in the second grade at Kaiser, his third year there. Our experience has been very good overall and I can't give enough praise to the three teachers he's had so far. I love that it's a smaller public school and embraces diversity on many different levels. The principal, Katie McLane, is the kind of leader and role model I want for my children. If I can answer specific questions you have please email me. kb
Our son is in 1st grade at Kaiser and we are very happy. The school is small - about 260 students. It won't grow much bigger because they don't have the physical space to add more portables (there are already a few). It was an Arts and Humanities magnet school until last year, when they changed their magnet school designation because they stood to loose a great deal of federal funding as the application process was separate from the general application process for other Oakland public schools - this had to do with new laws enacted through ''Leave No Child Behind''. I don't fully understand but I know the principal, Katie McClane, would cheerfully explain it. They are still committed to an arts and humanities focus and have not changed their curriculum despite no longer being a magnet school.
The principal is wonderful. She is everywhere everyday and knows every child at the school well. She knows the parents well too. She is unfailingly cheerful and optimistic, and is kind and firm when necessary. There is a lot of parent involvement at the school, which is terrific and important. The teachers and staff seem proud to work there and they seem to feel well-supported.
The test scores are very good, and Kaiser was 1 of 5 schools in the Oakland school district to pass some test standard set out by the ''Leave No CHild Behind'' act.
The school is inconvenient to most people, located on Hiller Highlands just above Bentley, and the traffic during rush hour is pretty bad. I think taking Highway 24 to the Broadway exit is a little better in the mornings than taking Highway 13, if you can.
Despite the commute unpleasantness, our family is really pleased our son is there. He likes and is proud of his school. I really recommend you call Kaiser and speak with Robin (Office person extrordinaire) or Ms. McClane and set a time to see the school. It may well be a good choice for your family too. Terry
Kaiser is a small gem of a school in the Oakland hills, off Hwy 13. It is a K-5 setting with such a diverse (across many lines - socioeconomics, race, sexual preference, culture and religion)faculty and parent/student body that it brought me to tears 4 years ago when my child started kindergarten. It's focus is the arts, with visual and perfoming arts to enhance the learning environment. The principal calls all the children ''my dears, my darlings'' and means it. I can't say enough good things about this school. olivia