LGBT Families and Oakland Schools
We are a two mom family that lives in North Oakland near the Emeryville border and are just beginning to explore kindergarten options for our 3 year old. We both work out East so location is not a big issue, as we'll be driving to work anyhow. We're interested in hearing from others about OUSD public elementary schools that are known for being queer friendly or where the children of queer folks might feel more safe. Our goal is to have a few public elementary options that would work well when we get ready to complete the OUSD school choice process next fall. Any feedback is very much appreciated! North Oakland Mamas
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
Sequoia Elementary , in the Dimond district (on Lincoln Ave between 580 & 13) has a lot of two mommy families. I don't have kids there, but my neighbors who do love the school. Sequoia neighbor
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
Hello North Oakland Mamas! My experience is that pretty much all OUSD schools are queer friendly. When we began our quest 2 years ago the principal at Kaiser was a wonderful gay man, who clearly made all types of diversity a priority and a celebration, so that might be a good fit.
I am a mom at Sequoia Elementary in the Dimond District. I love our school, and we have a lot of diversity in terms of LGBT parents, racial diversity, and economic diversity. It is also a school where parents are involved and supportive.
In terms of safety, I think here in the Bay Area especially we are very aware of bullying and it is not tolerated. I encourage you to check out Sequoia. Fellow mom
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. Also check out Peralta and NOCCS both in N. Oakland. Former Kaiser mama
Peralta and Kaiser are the north Oakland schools that spring to mind when you say you want a queer-friendly environment. I have been a Peralta parent for several years and there are a number of same-sex parents at the school. I hope some of them will respond to you. Kaiser also touts themselves as LBGT-friendly (in fact, in this very same newsletter they announced a tour and listed this as one of their qualities). Two excellent schools--visit them both! Peralta parent
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
I wanted to give another shout-out for Sequoia as there are a number of happy queer families among us, within a LGBT friendly community. Not only that, it's a wonderful school with a fun, down-to-earth, active parent community, with great kids and teachers. I highly recommend checking us out! You can take a tour by calling the office at 510-531-6696. Happy Sequoia Parent
We are a two mom family and are planning to do Oakland public schools open-enrollment for our daughter for fall 2011. We are particularly interested in sending her to a school where there are other open LGBT families and where this diversity is appreciated and a non-issue. If anyone has any personal experience with Sequoia Elementary, Redwood Heights, Thornhill, Montclaire, Melrose, or Laurel on this issue we'd love to hear. Feel free to email off-list if you'd prefer. Thank you!
My child currently attends Sequoia and I have another who will begin next year. Sequoia is the most diverse school I can imagine (I'm a teacher myself), and I am glad that the appreciation of diversity at Sequoia includes LGBT families as well. One of the very first things I noticed at the school were gay-positive posters in several classrooms. I know of several kids with two moms or two dads at the school. Last year there was a diversity night where a movie about different kinds of families (adoptive, gay, grandparents raising grandkids) was shown, and a panel of parents spoke afterwards. There are a couple of openly gay members on staff. Recently there has been discussion about bullying around kids' ideas about how girls and boys ''should'' act and I've been grateful for that. Not everyone at Sequoia feels the same way or agrees all the time but there is a respectful and caring culture that many, many different kinds of families fit into at our little school. Sequoia Mom
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!
It would be worth it to put your child's name into the lottery for NOCCS (North Oakland Community Charter School). We are also a two-mom family, and I cannot imagine a more welcoming, inclusive and affirming environment for our daughter. Respect for all kinds of diversity, including family diversity, is an integral part of the curriculum and the school community, and each child's experience/background is validated. Definitely check it out. happy NOCCS parent
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 you to go an upcoming open house. valerie
We are considering moving to Oakland to send our child to Park Day School since we are highly impressed by the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender awareness as an integral part of their curiculum. Can anyone tell us what your feelings about Chabot elementary and LGBT issues/family presence/ and acknowledgement ? ALso, If we leave SF and send her to a private lower and middle school, is there any public high school in oakland that would not be like throwing her to the wolves at that point? Not sure if we can pull off 12 yrs of private school-financially- and people have reccommended building a strong foundation of confidance and pride and inclusion in younger years. ANy LGBT families out there - struggling financially- with strong thoughts about east bay vs sf schools k ALL THROUGH 12? annon
We're a two-dad family living in Oakland and though our ''rankings'' of different school options on a LGBT sensitivity spectrum are more anecdotal than empirical at this point, we have asked many of the same questions. Unfortunately, we don't know anything about Chabot's record in this regard, but if you're considering relocating to Oakland, I encourage you to look at the Redwood Heights neighborhood. Our daughter will be starting K at Redwood Heights Elementary this fall. This is the one Oakland public school that we've heard has a reputation for being especially sensitive to and familiar with gay families. For us, it's less important that family diversity be a formal part of the curriculum than that it be something that school staff and leadership are simply comfortable and familiar with. Our thinking is that such familiarity is either an indicator of or an incentive for higher numbers of gay families to be part of the school, which in the end, is what we really want for us and for our daughter. We've not had any upfront conversations with the principal or staff at RHES about this, but this is in part due to the fact that we don't think its necessary: when we went to the K orientation, we counted at least three lesbian couples in attendance among the roughly 30 families that were there. For middle school, we alternate between girding ourselves for private school tuition or waiting to see which small public schools crop up in OUSD over the next 5-6 years (the district's reform efforts are not to be discounted at this point, we feel, and we think we'll have more options in 5 years than we do now). But if there's one area where we think private school is likely, it's middle school, and our current interest is in the Julia Morgan School for Girls. Though light years away, a high school that interests us is the new Oakland School for the Arts (www.oakarts.org). There's been some traffic about this school on the list, and it appears to be very solid academically, as well as a small and supportive environment. Also making me lean toward this school is that our daughter already shows a genuine interest in song, dance, and theater, but who knows where that will be when she's ready for high school. Feel free to email me.
To the family considering moving to Oakland to have their child attend Park Day School : I cannot respond to your questions about high school, and about East Bay vs. S.F. But I can strongly support your considering Park Day School for your child and your family. We are an LGBT family and I cannot recommend it highly enough for it's integration of LGBT families and kids. We feel very good about the social- emotional foundation our kids are receiving at Park coming from a ''different'' family, and their exposure and comfort with families of all types there. It is an excellent school in many other ways as well, of course! anon
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