Manzanita SEED Elementary School


Public School
operated by Oakland Unified School District
English, Spanish
Phone: 510-535-2832
2409 East 27th Street Oakland, CA 94606
Program Type: 
Language immersion
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Q&A

Manzanita SEED Elementary - recent experiences? Jan 23, 2020 (1 responses below)
Updated review on Manzanita SEED? Mar 14, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • My son will be in Kindergarten next fall and Manzanita SEED in OUSD is one of our neighborhood schools. We've toured the school a couple times, and chatted with some parents, but we're hoping to hear from others about recent experiences at the school (and any associated aftercare).

    Some thoughts about who my kid is right now in case anyone who responds has a child with similar traits: he's very physically active and independent-minded; he's a little guy with a swagger; he can be resistant when told what to do unless you give him a rational explanation or you ask him how to solve the problem; he's very sweet and affectionate with a small group of friends to whom he is very loyal; he loves being silly. He'd start school understanding Spanish but not speaking very much.  


    My son is in 1st grade and entered in Kinder. He is in the EBAYC after-school that is on site. We are an English speaking home with no Spanish exposure (except for neighbors) when we entered. 

    Good: Teachers so far have been amazing. My son has loved all his teachers. Ms Saleski for K last year was so great. My LO struggled A LOT with drop off. My partner and I had recently separated so I think that played into his separation anxiety. Ms Saleski came to US with solutions & to partner with us closely to figure out how to support him during the difficult transition. My LO loves his 1st grade teachers as well. 

    Academics seem as good as they could be. All lessons are age appropriate & comprehensive. They often have a subject span through reading, writing, math, history, etc. 

    Diversity of the school is great. Though we haven't met too many folks in our neighborhood that go.

    After-school program is wonderful. My son LOVES Mr Marcel who runs the program. It's SUPER cheap and all staff are good. They incorporate some activities like Soccer for half the group in Fall and the other half Spring. They also focus on doing homework as well. Otherwise, I haven't noticed too many organized "themes" - which would be nice, but I'm ok with it being just play based at this point. 

    Whole school is on Free Lunch program, so breakfast is available for those that want it and lunch is free for all kids that don't bring their own. Food seems fairly healthy. My kid likes it but I also had to put parameters around it like: always choose a vegetable and a fruit; plain milk only (no chocolate). 


    - Lots of homework. A lot of other schools I toured have adopted a no homework policy. I'm torn. I like knowing what my LO is learning but this year in particular there is A LOT of homework. Huge packets with tons of pages plus a math workbook. We never get through it all in a week but teachers also seem ok with that. It doesn't seem "mandatory" to complete but we just do what we can and don't stress the rest but it does feel like a lot of cramming (which I assume is largely attributed to Common Core standards - ugh)

    - Lack of funding. The school is definitely lacking in funds. I toured International Community School and was impressed by the principal there (at the time) that had a lot of experience in grant writing. She was able to leverage that to get "free" funds for the school and donations like tablets and such. SEED does not have this. I don't think there are any computer or tablets available for kid use - not that I've seen in the lower grades anyway. The library has struggled to raise funds to stay open and have equipment, books, etc. Though the librarian - Mr Todd - is amazing and has done so well with the little he has. Fundraising group is getting stronger but we do not meet our goals most of the time. 

    - Split community based on language/culture. Hard to fully unite when there is a bit of split between parents based on language/culture, as well as who has time. Lots of working parents so we see each other at drop off/pick up but hard to get to know folks and feel connected otherwise. But I'm probably also not the most social. 

    Overall good school and if it's your neighborhood one, I encourage you to attend as it is a GREAT way to make the school better and encourage more healthy and strong public schools in the flats. 

  • Updated review on Manzanita SEED?

    (3 replies)

    We got assigned to Manzanita SEED and were wondering if anyone could share updated insight into this school. The reviews on BPN seem slightly out of date and recent reviews on greatschools aren't very good. I get the impression that it used to be a great school but it's not as good as it used to be? Our child will be entering TK. We are non-Spanish speaking full-time working parents with no flexibility in work schedule, so any insights on drop-off / pick-up logistics and after school program will be much appreciated. Do they use behavioral charts? How do they discipline kids at this school? Do they give homework for TK/K? Are lunch hours reasonable? Do they have music/arts/PE? Do kids get plenty of recess / movement time? We live in North Oakland and work in SF. 

    Thank you. 

    We live a couple blocks from Manzanita Seed and just met a neighbor who has 2 children there. This mother spoke very highly of the school-- she mentioned that they had a music program (don't know more specifics) and that the principal had recently left. She also said she was very happy with their after school program (andI lol I know from doing my own research that the Oakland JCC picks children o from Manzanita SEED and brings them to their site in North Oakland for after school care.

    as a former teacher, I would strongly suggest asking to go on a tour of the school. You learn a lot about the culture of a school when you spend time there!

    Hello.  I worked at SEED for 7 years and my daughter is a current 5th grader and also attends the after-school program.  I agree with the previous post that prospective parents can learn a lot from a school tour.  I myself took 3 days from work to visit prospective middle schools for my kid.  Additionally, current information about after-school program enrollment and lunch schedules is best obtained from the school.  This year there were 1 music teacher and 1 PE teacher.  However, budget cuts have been announced for OUSD and sites are always impacted.  I would ask about plans for next year.  At the same time, this will most likely be a factor in any traditional (aka noncharter) public school in OUSD, unless it happens to be located in a more affluent zip code where the PTA/PTO fundraising  can compensate for budget shortfalls.  In terms of language background, some of my more successful students have come from non-Spanish speaking households.  I'd say that more important than language spoken at home are the literacy skills students have when they first enter, motivation and individual differences in language acquisition.  Finally, when we received the Title 1 award in 2010, I had 18 students in my classroom.  These days, thanks to the state LCFF language on "school-wide' averages for k-3, classes may have up to 26 students, which definitely affect teachers' ability to serve individual needs. At SEED, the 5th grade classes this year have exceeded the state cap of 31 students in order to avoid combination classes. Again, I think these issues will be present in many other district elementary schools next year, not just SEED. I will be happy to give you my perspective on any other questions that you may have.  

    My child will also be attending in the fall. I toured so many schools and fell in love with Manzanita seed. I spoke with parents and teachers and really felt the inclusiveness of the school. I am looking forward to next year. They have music one day a week, arts & PE. They have an after school program, though it's not large. I'm excited to hear that the JCC has a pick up program since I work in North Oakland. Time will tell with a new principle but I think the teachers are good and the school has great parent support. 

  • I've just arrived in the area and am interested in learning about public Spanish immersion/dual-language in the area elementary schools. Our family is bilingual and we're interested to know about folks' experience with these public options for dual-language- how they operate, admission, performance, school culture (specifically if there are actually Latino children in the schools, a mix of learners and native Spanish speakers), and overall satisfaction. Where do kids go for MS or HS when they finish?

    Thanks for any insights!

    Check out Melrose Leadership Academy, in Oakland near Mills College. It is a dual immersion k-8 school with a good reputation academically and as far as the Community goes.

    I don't have first hand experience but have heard good things about Melrose Leadership Academy and Manzanita Community School. 

    Welcome! Berkeley's public elementary two-way immersion school is at LeConte in south Berkeley. My child attends and the following is my understanding of the aims and policies, though I may be off on the official line. They aim for 50% Spanish-dominant population and in practice I believe get 1/3 Spanish-dominant, 1/3 bilingual, 1/3 Spanish-naieve/English-dominant. At a glance, the school appears to be roughly half Latino (including biracial). BUSD uses a lottery for all their elementary schools. Any Berkeley resident can apply to LeConte. Because they aim to get 50% Spanish-dominant, it is harder to get in if your child does not speak Spanish. If you claim Spanish language on the application, your child will be tested. While I once heard that bilingual children end up filling in the 50% Spanish dominant slots (because it's hard to fill those), it seems like you may only get preference if your child is actually stronger in Spanish than English. But that may not be true. LeConte offers 30 min of language lab 4 days a week for language learners to focus on their weaker language at their level--this seems to be a very good program. The two-way immersion works. My child was Spanish-naieve and speaks, reads, and writes well in both languages after 3 years (English spelling is rough, though!). Kids speak English on the playground but I think the aftercare teachers speak in Spanish. I know a mother who speaks Spanish at home and has sent 4 children through BUSD's two-way immersion program. She says her children are very strong in both languages and she is very happy with the program. Students can attend Longfellow Middle school to continue the immersion. (But FYI the immersion is 90% in K, gradually reducing to ~50% by 5th, and middle school is <50% Spanish, I believe.) I've heard Berkeley High has lots of great classes for advanced Spanish speakers. Good luck!

Parent Reviews

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I wanted to update my review of Manzanita Seed from Sept 2105 now that we are most of the way through the school year. My daughter is in kindergarten and I remain impressed with the school. My daughter's teacher is absolutely excellent and the curriculum is well thought out. It combines math, science, and learning to read (in english and spanish) with themes that tie everything together (now they are studying trees: forest animals, leaves, paper, wood, etc). My daughter's Spanish is coming along by leaps and bounds. I would say that she now understands most casual, spoken Spanish, which at the beginning of the year she did not. Learning Spanish is improving her Italian (her second language) in many ways. She continues to be happy socially.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2015

Our son will be entering kindergarten in 2016 and we'd love to hear from parents with kids enrolled at Manzanita SEED. We live in the Hillcrest district so Manzanita would definitely be a drive for us. However, we are really interested in continuing with the Spanish he gets in his current preschool. I'd be curious to hear from parents who choose Manzanita over the local school. Are music, art and PE offered? Is their an active TPA? And more importantly, is your child receiving a quality education and happy there? Thanks in advance for any insight. stephanie

My daughter just started K at Manzanita Seed and we are very happy with the school so far. Her teacher is excellent. He is energetic, has a great way with the class, and is a native Spanish speaker. I see my daughter's Spanish improving quickly. I like the curriculum which is heavy on the Spanish. The kindergarteners have a weekly music class in a separate music room. They learn new poems in English and Spanish every other week. They do some drawing/coloring as part of their language and math curriculum. My daughter made friends right away and seems happy socially. On the whole, the school seems pretty organized. The only thing I dislike is the drive from north Oakland. north oaklander

Manzanita SEED for non-neighborhood kids

Jan 2014

We are considering Manzanita SEED for TK next year. We are an English-only, middle class, caucasian family. We love the expeditionary learning and dual immersion approach of the school. However, we are wondering if the school makes efforts to make all students and families feel included in the school community. When I visited the school, it seemed like my child would definitely be a minority student at the school. What sorts of efforts are made to help non-neighborhood families/students feel like they are part of the school community? Interested prospective parent

We have a child in first grade at Manzanita Seed. We do not live in the neighborhood and applied through the options process. There are definitely lots of non-neighborhood kids at the school and quite a diverse student body. The location is in the middle of Fruitvale so many of the local kids are Latino and they do strive to have 50% native and 50% non-native Spanish speakers so that does affect the demographics.

This is definitely not a hills school. Most of the kids are on the free lunch program (free lunch and breakfast for all the last two years because of this). Onsite programs focus on nutrition and education. And the afterschool programs is very inexpensive. They do also focus on neighborhood integration and community partnership. They offer lots of programs that hill schools usually need to fundraise for-music, science, enrichment after school. There is fundraising but it is nothing like the hill schools (I can say this having recently attended the Joaquin Miller crazy bidding auction fundraiser).

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer and participate and this is probably your best avenue at integration. That said, as we are a middle class family, sometimes I do feel bad that we have more than many families at the school. But I also know my daughter is in an environment where kids are not competing to have the latest toys, tennis shoes, clothing, cell phone, etc...

And I've really enjoyed all of her teachers thus far so I cannot complain about the education. non-hood manzanita family

Sept 2012

Re: How many kids in your K class?
Our daughter just started at Manzanita SEED. I think they over-enrolled and expected a lot more kids to not show up to register. They were up near 30 as the demand for the school has skyrocketed this year. They managed to open a fourth kindergarten class and now she has 22. Happily surprised at this hidden gem with lower than average class sizes. NikNik

Oct 2010

Re: Oakland elementary that values creativity, peace, fun, learning
Have you looked at Manzanita SEED? It is a public OUSD school that is a hidden gem! My son is a kindergartner this fall and I have been observing the school for the last several years. They have a wonderful community that really promotes family. It is a dual immersion program so your child has the chance to be bilingual! We are an english only family & my son loves the spanish aspect and thinks he is so cool to be able to interject spanish words into his everyday speaking. Ms. Carter, the principle, and all the teachers are AMAZING! They were even featured in the Tribune a few weeks ago on their gain in API scores to 842. Please feel free to email me with any specific questions!

April 2010

Re: Spanish immersion school with strong art program
Have you visited Manzanita SEED in Oakland? My son began there in K and is now in 2nd grade. He is very artistic and it has been a great place for him to learn and grow. SEED has had a resident artist teaching art once a week to each class since the school began several years ago. The art teacher also provides art instruction during the After School Program. The After School Program is free. Along with art, students can also choose to join a choir, learn expressive dance, or work with an amazing theatre arts teacher. SEED has a partnership with MOCHA so that artists come into each classroom to do several projects with each class every year, and also provide teacher training. I have seen the quality of art instruction improve among the teachers, and art is integrated often into writing, science and social studies projects across all grade levels. The Spanish instruction is wonderful and fully integrated so that students are learning science and math concepts as they improve their Spanish literacy and oral language skills. I feel I must tell you that I am both a happy parent and a teacher at SEED. I discovered SEED when I was looking for a school for my older son who is now in middle school. I was so impressed with the school and principal that I applied to work at the school myself, and I continue to be very pleased with the high level of instruction my son receives along with the opportunity for him to continue developing his artistic, social, and Spanish language skills. I feel that my older son also benefitted greatly from his instruction at SEED. anne

May 2009

I know that there are openings at SEED for Kindergarten this Fall. So I wanted to write to agree with what was posted here by another parent. Manzanita SEED is an excellent program. I think it is a wonderful option for any parents who need to put their children in public school - and even for parents considering private school.

I have been very pleased with both the dual immersion (all kids spend half the day in Spanish and half the day in English) and the exploratory curriculum. They really encourage the kids to see themselves as scientists - at school and through a series of educational field trips.

In addition, the API scores have been continually improving. When you consider that Oakland School District as a whole is the most improved urban school district in the state, and that these kids are learning many subjects in their second language, this is a huge achievement. There are no low expectations for kids at SEED. The teachers support them and give them homework and class activities that prepare them for success.

The school has taken many steps to increase safety on and around campus and I have found them responsive to my input and concerns. In addition, many parents are involved at the school above and beyond the 2 hours a month that the school asks for. (Through Parents Council or just volunteering on campus.) Even though many public schools are suffering from funding cuts and removing programs and services, so far SEED has continued to find ways to thrive and grow. The cafeteria food is supplemented with a fresh fruit/vegetable salad bar, Sports 4 Kids runs recess and after school programs and there are community celebrations held about 3-4 times a year.

If you are thinking of ''bilingual'' education for your child/ren, please look into SEED. Other ''bilingual'' programs in the public schools are designed for Spanish-Speaking children and phase them out of Spanish. (Due to a ''no-bilingual Education'' law passed in CA a few years back.) In Dual-Immersion at SEED, all children are expected to speak, read, and write *both* languages fluently by the end of 3rd grade.

There's also a celebration of the diversity of the school/students throughout the curriculum and other activities that's really great. My kids are friends with children of all different races/ethnicities from the ''hills'' to the ''flatlands'' and everywhere in between. I highly recommend Manzanita SEED.

(By the way, Manzanita Community School is on the same campus. Also a great school, but I'm describing Manzanita SEED in this post.) Another Manzanita SEED Parent

Jan 2009

Can anyone give me more information about Manzinita SEED's bilingual immersion program since they started in 2006? Since they are so new, I'd like to know current parents' opinions on the teaching, on how their kids are doing... advancing, if safety is ever a consideration, and if this program is comparable to private school immersion programs like that offered through The Renaissance School or EBI. Thanks! anon

This is the second year my daughter (currently in 1st grade) is at Manzanita Seed dual immersion program. We are very happy with the program, her teachers and the principal. I couldn't offer comparison with private schools, but our daughter is doing very well in both languages - and we are pleased with other aspects of the program such as learning through expeditions, where children focus their learning (language arts in both languages, math, science and social studies) on themes that keep the children engaged, and interested in learning. The program has from the beginning had arts integration and excellent and dedicated teachers. Since the school is small, children are known by name and all teachers and staff take responsibility for the students and their safety. They have a great conflict resolution program that is reinforced in school assemblies on the school yard and in class rooms. We too had safety concerns when she entered the school as a Kindergartener, but we feel comfortable with her at the school, although are careful to accompany her when outside the school grounds. One great asset you get from the location of the school is a great diversity in students ethnicity and backgrounds. The principal, Katherine Carter, is very open to discussing the school program, culture and assets, as well as challenges. You can schedule a visit to see classrooms. She can be reached at 510-879-1373.