North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS)

Community Subscriber

Charter School
English, Spanish
225 students
Email: office [at] noccs.orgPhone: (510) 655-0540
1000 42nd Street Oakland, CA 94608

North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS) is a long-running, public TK-5 charter school in North Oakland. Our mission is to help children become thoughtful, informed, and inquisitive citizens. We are a vibrant, caring, and ethnically and socioeconomically diverse learning community driven by respect for each child's unique intelligence and history. An emphasis on the arts and project-based learning are key to the school's approach and curriculum.

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi, thanks in anticipation for sharing your experience. We toured and loved the space and how friendly kids are here. School is very small, one class per grade, and classes had 20 kids in. We are going to apply and wanted to check with current people attending or thinking to attend. Merci!

    I transferred my kiddo from BUSD to NOCCS and have loved it. It's small, community oriented, incredibly diverse, and the staff are very caring. My kiddo doesn't want to be picked up until the last minute of aftercare everyday which to me is a sign of how much she loves it there :) 

  • I am looking for people’s advice about North Oakland Community Charter School? I like that the school is educating the whole child and the citizens of the future - the school is very diverse reflecting Oakland richness and challenges- also I hear the sense of community & family participation is quite strong, art and music classes are twice a week (pretty cool in my book). Not very impressed with the academic scores though but I know they are not everything really especially when you go through two years of Covid and you have a big portion of school population free and reduced lunch students. What do people know/think? I want to raise my child I sheltered from the problems she needs to be prepared to solve.

    Many thanks,

    A caring parent seeking  good education in an inclusive school

    My children are learning and so are their classmates regardless of economic status. My kinder student is writing sentences and my 2nd grader and most of his very diverse class are above grade level in reading. They have implemented a new math curriculum that is rigorous and has students challenged which is great! Great schools might be the worst thing that ever happened to public schools as it completely misrepresents the actual experience of students. 

    Hello! I am a current parent at NOCCS and my daughter is in first grade. I can’t recommend NOCCS enough. I love my daughters teacher, the principal and the whole NOCCS staff. 
    NOCCS is a wonderfully small school and very diverse. The arts are what sold me when we chose NOCCS. Not a lot of Oakland schools offer art. Mr. Mercer, the art teacher, is fantastic.

    Happy to answer any specific questions you might have about NOCCS. 


    My Kindergartener loves NOCCS.  He is learning so much.   His teacher is phenomenal.  Academically,  it's perfect for our son.  I don't put much weight to scores.  He's learning everything a Kindergartener needs to learn.  The students and parents in his class are awesome.   I really like the sense of community that the school fosters. One of my favorite things I like about the school is its commitment to social justice and diversity.   All of the teachers and staff are dedicated to their profession and actually seem to like their jobs.   Choosing NOCCS for my son was an excellent choice.   He'll be attending 1st grade there next year as well.   

    We started our daughter in K the first year of the pandemic and she is now in 1st. We have had an amazing experience through this very bizarre time. The staff has gone above and beyond in so many ways. Honestly, although I have nothing to compare it with, I can't imagine it being better anywhere else. Her core teacher and all the specialty teachers (art, music, mindfulness) are phenomenal. My daughter vocally expresses her love of the school and her classmates daily. She literally doesn't want to leave most of the time. 

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion were all critical for us as well. NOCCS does an amazing job in this area as well. I feel it represents Oakland as a whole very well. 

    Lastly, we don't think that the academic scores of NOCCS in any way represent the quality of education my daughter is receiving. She is thriving in math and literacy far better than I could have expected, especially given the challenges of COVID. 

  • I am looking for people’s advice about North Oakland Community Charter School? I like that the school is educating the whole child and the citizens of the future - also I hear the sense of community and family participation is quite strong. Not very impressed with the academic scores though but I know they are not everything really especially when you have a big portion of school population free and reduced lunch students. What do people know/think? Many thanks- Mi

    I have a son at NOCCS and he learned to read and has been challenged academically throughout this pandemic which I find to be an incredible accomplishment. The scores are great schools for a K-5 school only take into account 3-5 grades and are related to tests from way before the present administration. There are tons of articles about how any diverse school that is inclusive will never have a 10/10 just based on how they work their numbers. This is a small school with a great community that is getting better every year. I can't wait for my second to start kinder next year! 

    Hi, For context, I happen to be the Head of School (and a future NOCCS parent). I took over the school in 2018 and have led a really significant refocusing on academic rigor since. Unfortunately because state assessments were canceled during the COVID pandemic, we can't use last year's test score to prove what we as a staff know from our internal work: students are making massive improvements in reading and math while continuing to learn global citizenship through the arts. I hope some current parents can speak to their experience, and I would be honored to have my child taught by any of the NOCCS teachers, especially the kindergarten team. Please join us on a tour (virtually or in-person, Tuesdays at 9 a.m.) or email me with any questions (director [at] Warmly, Mr. Kloker

    I have one daughter attending NOCCS (her third year, 2nd grade) and one who graduated last year and attended for three years. We absolutely love NOCCS; our daughters' awareness of the world around them and academic thinking have soared in each successive year there. I hear from other families that their child found themselves in a safe, warm, caring community when they switched to NOCCS after having negative experiences elsewhere. Teachers and staff there really care about their students and families.  I really like that they emphasize arts integration and social justice. During distance learning, kids have been allowed to bring home instruments and various school supplies. The school was quick to take action when the building had to close last spring - teachers were quick to start meeting kids online for live lessons and continued this throughout the pandemic, including beautiful online events such as talent shows, winter showcases. Love the school and wouldn't do anything different.

    We’ve had a fantastic experience! Our older son is halfway through kindergarten and is getting the hang of reading, writing, and math. I think the funky scores came from exiting grades. Just last year they had middle school kids and now it’s K-5. The atmosphere is very intimate and I’ve found the principle to be conscientious, considerate, and very approachable. Our kid’s teacher, Mr. Kevin, is just incredible and you can tell his heart is in it. Our son looks is excited to go to Zoom school everyday and has even somehow made friends with classmates he’s never even met. We will definitely enroll our younger child when it’s his turn, and I’m glad siblings get priority because I’m confident the school’s enrollment will tighten up once again. 

    My son attends NOCCS and I couldn't be happier with the school. I was floored by how efficiently and effectively they pivoted to online learning during the pandemic. My son's academics are continuing to improve, and he's one of the more advanced students in his class. He gets individualized attention to challenge him despite the discrepancy. He is in 3rd grade in Ms. Ridolfi's class.

    The community at this school is second to none. I've never seen a school with a parent and staff community that is so committed, empathetic, and passionate about their learners. It's truly a gift to be a part of it. Families at NOCCS are extremely involved if they can be, and support is offered for those who can't.

    I only wish my son could continue attending beyond 5th grade, but we'll only get to be here for two more years. If you have any more specific questions, I'm happy to answer them.  

    I recently pulled my son after four years with NOCCS (we’re now at our local OUSD school) - the teachers are a revolving door, and even though I’ve seen them all try VERY hard, they’re not supported by the principal.  There are a number of bright spots there, but overall it feels like it’s at the end of its lifespan.

    We have a K student and have been so pleased with the school and their ability to support students during this remote year. Some things that really have stood out to us as positive elements to the school:

    • The classes are structured so that students will have the same teachers K/1, 2/3.... etc. This continuity in teacher and classmates feels really great knowing that our child will not have a restart when we begin class next year. Our student has made progress on writing, reading and math while remote.
    • Strong, committed and diverse community of teachers and students with a very intimate neighborhood feeling.

    Thank you very much for the useful information all! Sounds like a wonderful place for our Chile to grow. We will sign up for an online tour and get the feeling the school and how it would work for our family. Best! Mi

    I highly recommend NOCCS. Below is a copy/paste from a Facebook group post I did offering my unsolicited opinion about our experience this year as a new Kinder enrollment. Happy to answer any questions.

    Oakland Unified School District enrollment for next year just kicked off. I wanted to give NOCCS an enthusiastic recommendation.

    We pivoted last minute during the pandemic to send our 5 yo to her first year of Kindergarten. It was a spontaneous decision due to a suggestion of a trusted family friend. We liked that they were semi-autonomous from the greater system and community guided in their decision making. Previously they were not even on our long list of considerations.

    Our experience has been amazing. Her teacher has navigated Zoom learning with five-year-olds amazingly. Our daughter adores her teacher despite only meeting her twice in person. She even feels connected to her classmates. Her learning pace has been phenomenal, especially considering the circumstances. Not to mention her supporting art, music, and movement teachers.

    They are very mindful of equity and inclusion. The principal and his team have been very communicative and transparent regarding the pandemic. I really feel heard with our family's concerns.

  • Considering transfer to NOCCS

    (2 replies)

    Hello, My daughter has an IEP since attending Lodestar Charter School last year. She had fallen behind academically while attending Francophone Charter School but, that charter was newly founded and not yet equipped to manage ANY struggling children (IEP or not). I found Lodestar Charter to be a wonderful alternative to fulfill her needs. They really went above and beyond (5 stars!) However, they moved much farther away from our home and for various personal reasons (unrelated to the school) I needed to transfer her mid-year to a much closer school that had a seat avail, which happen to be Redwood Heights Elementary. OUSD traditional public schools are very much like charters, they don't offer everything you desire and there are pros and cons, as well.  However, one plus is that ALL OUSD schools MUST fulfill the IEP requirements. Nonetheless...

    As of today [April 2019] I am shopping for a school that can provide IEP, extra academic support, AND an authentic close-knit community of families.


    Does NOCCS have their system set up to accommodate the needs of a minimal needs IEP? I am considering transferring my child to this school starting FALL 2019, and that is the ONE priority I need the school to meet above all else. 

    Second Question: 

    Is there an organize Parent Organization (like a PTA) already and to what extent are they involved with the school? Organize fundraising events, walk-a-thon, talent shows, festivities, extra-curricular events, Dad's Club (w/ Mom's), outside-school parent-child social gatherings (picnics) etc. As a single Mother, I would prefer to find a community of families who are welcoming and embrace building bonds with other families from the school. My daughter is now in 2nd Grade and we still have not had any play-date invitations, or made personal connections with the families despite my efforts.  


    My son is in kindergarten at NOCCS this year.  I've found the FTO (Family/Teacher Org) to be inviting, although not huge.  There are a few parents who are incredibly active, and they're very friendly and encourage participation.  My son doesn't have an IEP, but I know our principal has a strong background in special ed.  I would suggest contacting him directly with your questions - he's always encouraging parents to email him with questions: kloker at

    I've been very happy with my son's experience at NOCCS so far!

    Unfortunately I can not answer your first question.  My child doesn't have an IEP.  I can answer your 2nd question.  Yes NOCCS does have a Family Teacher Organization, FTO.  We are going to have a multicultural pot luck this upcoming Saturday and have events throughout the year.  We have a walk-a-thon, usually some kind of October carnival event, first Friday coffee, just had our talent show last month, an oratorical event, and more.  We thrive on community involvement and most events are parent led.  

  • recent experience at NOCCS?

    (1 reply)

    My kid got offered a Kindergarten spot  at NOCCS.  I heard last year was quite an upheaval with the principal and teachers leaving.  PLease give us an idea of how the school is functioning this school year. It would be much appreciated.....THANKS!

    I live in the neighborhood and have been involved with NOCCS for a few years; my daughter is currently in first grade.  Last year was definitely an upheaval, and things are still settling.  The upper grades are shaky, although I believe the school is on the right track and everything will get better with a little time.  The early grades, particularly kindergarten and 1st grade, however, are terrific.  The teachers are incredible, and the family community is fantastic.  My daughter loves her teachers and friends, and feels very confident and happy at school.  I would absolutely take advantage of the spot you were offered!

  • Are there any families on this list currently attending NOCCS who can share more updated perspectives? (Most posts about the school on BPN are from 2015 or earlier.) We were lucky enough to receive a spot for kindergarten next year (2018/2019 school year) in the general lottery. I'm trying to get a sense of how things are going and how it feels to be there.  I've heard and read that the well-liked Head of School is leaving and can deduce from reading the Board meeting minutes posted online that there is/was a fair amount of drama surrounding his departure...and that the drama has been stressful to the staff. I'd like to know what of that (if anything) has trickled down to the students and may be impacting the teaching/learning environment, and how families are feeling. I'd also love to hear impressions of the teachers and the rigor of various subjects as students get into the middle school grades. In addition to any perspectives on these current challenges, I'd love to hear what is going well or is particularly inspiring, because I'm sure there is that as well. Thank you in advance for any current insights you might have.

    Make no mistake, the head of school was only well liked by a SMALL faction of the staff and families. He is a good hearted person but a leader he is NOT. Our sense of community has been eroding for the last three years. The families that have left were families of color and white- don't take the bait if anyone tells you this was a racial thing- it was NOT. It was a performance issue and nothing else. In fact, the first families to leave were not only families of color but on the board. Drama-yes! You will be inheriting a lot of turmoil. That's not to say that a new head, remaining staff (some of which are amazing esp. on the K/1 team) and new dedicated families (read- you must volunteer) can't right the ship but it will be difficult. You need to know that many dedicated families that have been there for 5 or more years and have volunteered immensely have or are leaving. Again, these families are of color and white and 50/50-maybe a bit more families of color, actually. Yes, this has impacted learning-two amazing, experienced and veteran teachers left MID YEAR. Our family left because of constant disruptions in the classroom, bullying (and absolute lack of discipline as it related to those involved) and the administration not supporting and ultimately undermining veteran teachers. It broke our hearts to leave. New blood is needed for sure. The core values, small class sizes,project based learning are great-but without solid leadership it will falter. If I were you, being a K parent, I would give it shot despite it all. But the rosy NOCCS  of the past colored glasses should be removed-this school is in crisis. If you truly believe in the values and can help, again, volunteer! then try it. After all, we are talking about K here - if your child is already doing well academically then they will likely be fine. You can always opt in to OUSD and there are plenty of good schools. We wish you the best. 

    As a parent and volunteer, I had to respond to anonymous’ (Apr 2) account of what’s  happening at NOCCS. First of all, the Head of School was, and is, well liked by a majority of teachers and parents.  After being constantly undermined by the Board and a group of parents who complained that the school was getting ‘too dark,” he stepped down this year.  There has been a lot of turmoil and turnover due to all the changes, which has caused good teachers to leave.  It has not been easy.  However, the interim Co-Heads of School are working very hard and the staff is dedicated, as are many parents who continue to volunteer!  There is a lot of love for students, and a lot of people stepping up to make sure that our students get a solid education.  I do agree with the post that you should give it a shot and check it out for yourself!

  • Updates on NOCCS for middle school?

    (1 reply)

    My child is almost in middle school and I'm wondering about what current families think about NOCCS these days. How has the leadership change worked out? Do you feel your kids are being prepared for high school? I'd love any info, both good and bad. Thanks. 

    I had a student at the NOCCS middle school last year but we left mid-year, as did several other students. Still more transferred out over last summer. The teachers lacked control over the classroom and the students simply weren't producing much work. I hope things have improved but I would be wary.

Parent Reviews

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Hi there, 

We are at NOCCS and love the diversity, cross topic art programming, STEM and time in the garden beyond recess. Not sure you are open to charter schools. :) It is small and has an ever growing community of involved families. I will have a kinder and second grader there next year :) 

My son is at North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS) and the teachers are doing an amazing job. Our school did provide chrome books and has daily activities for the kids, small groups and one on ones. I think this is all a big stress test for teachers and schools and some are going to succeed and some are going to fail.  

We love the community feeling of NOCCS and that my son is in a nurturing environment with teachers who care and go above and beyond.
It’s exciting to see him thriving and growing here alongside his buddies!
We love the social justice focus of this school. Especially with the current global/national political climate, it is refreshing to hear my son talking about being an ally and talking about various artists and historical figures that he is learning about. He is also getting the basics of learning to read and getting excited about math, but I honestly feel he would get that at most schools. The thing that sets NOCCS apart is the strong community feeling and the fact that our children are learning to be cooperative world citizens that we can truly be proud of. 

North Oakland Charter School had 5 available kindergarten spots this year, as they prioritize siblings and then faculty's kids (seems like a problematic ranking, but then...charter schools are problematic). We were in the neighborhood with preference after those criteria and we were 125th on the waitlist. Don't really understand how that's possible, but anyway....We got into Glenview, which was 3rd on our list, but we also had neighborhood priority.

Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Nov 2015

RE:  Oakland Middle Schools? NOCCS, Claremont, EBIA

I can offer some advice about NOCCS for middle school. First the good news: NOCCS always goes through its waiting list for middle school. So, if history is any indication, you will get a spot there for your child (if you don't mind waiting until the end of summer). Also, adults at NOCCS are very emotionally supportive of the kids so I think sensitive kids have a relatively easy time with the transition. Now for my concerns: It sounds like you have a very academic child. Look into the school's math program. They are currently not preparing students for Geometry in high school like most of the other local middle schools; and many people are unhappy with the computer-based math curriculum they use. The school's ability to present ''academic rigor'' and to differentiate levels of academic challenge/support seems to vary from year to year depending on who's teaching. This applies to your other concerns as well. The school seems to be in a constant state of flux which affects their ability to provide a cohesive education and to predict what any given year at the middle school will be like. I hope that's helpful. I'm interested to see whether other NOCCS parents respond. Good luck with your decision!

NOCCS good for kids with learning issues?

Aug 2015

I am looking for some information on the NOCCS Charter School in Oakland. We are on the waiting list, hoping to get into a school that has a great supportive, diverse community and is not overwhelmingy big. My research generated a lot of positive impressions. However, I have a child with learning and related behavioral challenges and I wonder how NOCCS is when it comes to supporting children with special needs. I am particularly interested in the transition from Elementary to Middle School. I am now confused and insecure in my desire to change to this school and would appreciate feedback from families with children who receive(d) such support at NOCCS - positive or negative. -Need help choosing the right school. Thank you.

NOCCS has not done a good job serving our kid who has a learning disability. In fact, we as parents have banded together to fight the school district for compensatory services to make up for services our kids missed out on last year. In response, the school is revamping its special ed program for the coming year. There has been A LOT of turnover at the school-- new principal and many new teachers. This may be a good thing for special ed students. However, the teachers at NOCCS tend to be young, inexperienced and new to teaching (and very energetic and caring) so, in spite of their love of kids and dedication, they just don't have experience with a wide range of learning issues. We have also had concerns about classroom management/behavior management/ ''peacemaking''. If I were you, I'd ask to meet with the principal, bring your IEP if you have one, and ask if the school would be willing to get permission from some special ed parents of kids your child's age for you to talk with, so you can hear their experiences. Good luck!

I have children at NOCCS. Though there are many wonderful aspects of the community and academics, this year will be a big transitional year. There will be a new director, secretary, and 4 of the 5 core middle school teachers will be new. The one that stayed only came in last year. The reasons for staff leaving were various and not due to any conflict. However, teacher retention is challenging. Meeting the needs of students with learning issues has also been a challenge. There have been moves to rectify this but I would not say the program is solid. Though OUSD does not have the best special ed. program, Charter schools get less support than public schools. This year several students with learning challenges left NOCCS for OUSD. I hope this information helps. concerned

Thoughts about the NOCCS Leadership Change?

July 2015

Our family has been strongly considering joining the lottery for NOCCS for our daughter in Fall 2016. We understand they just announced a new principal for the school and wanted to know if this was cause for concern within the community. We've been impressed by what we have read of the school and heard from past families, but we don't have any direct contacts currently attending. Hoping this network can share any thoughts on the matter! want to learn more…

We haven't been at NOCCS long, but the time we've there, we were blessed with a wonderful teacher who made NOCCS feel amazing. NOCCS has parents that are truly dedicated to seeing the classrooms thrive and they make everyone's experiences richer. There is also a Family/Teacher Organization that hosts all kinds of community building events. This past year, for instance, they also organized several parents-night outs, and even a racial equity facilitated series to help NOCCS parents, teachers, and staff talk about some of the disparities families were seeing on campus.

We have not had much interactions with the previous principal, but we were told she left voluntarily. She is not the only one that left, several teachers and admin staff also left.

Our family was upset that these announcements were not made earlier, some parents however also ended up leaving. The new principal was selected as a community. The parents were invited to meet the candidates and the new head of school, Stephen Ajani, seems to be very promising. He's been open to meeting parents and families one at a time through the summer.

Many families rave about their experiences and continue to come back for their subsequent children. It's also telling that most of the teachers who are parents, bring their children to NOCCS. I also hope that the new leadership will make a huge difference in addressing all of these concerns. This will be a telling year for NOCCS, the applications are due in the fall, maybe check back with BPN right before then, when the school year is in full-swing.

Hopeful For 2015-2016

NOCCS for late elementary/middle school

April 2012

I've checked the archives and there are no recent reviews of NOCCS. We're considering NOCCS for the last two years of elementary and for middle school -- hoping that since we're high on the waiting list that we'll get in. Can anyone talk about grades 4-8? What is middle school like? What electives are there? What are the positives and the drawbacks? How do the mixed classrooms work? What about the cell tower near the school? Has there been any environmental impact? I'd appreciate any feedback about the curriculum and extra curricula activities/concerns. Thanks Thinking about NOCCS

First off, NOCCS is an amazing school overall in the classroom. The teachers are generally top-notch, and the theme-based progressive education is quite inspiring. The middle-school is relatively new, and when it first started a few years ago there were a few bumps/problems, but I think overall these growing pains have worked themselves out. That said, there are a few caveats.

First, the school is ''experimenting'' with allowing some teachers to go part-time - mostly four days/week. The substitute teacher on the fifth day (or whatever the situation is) is an ''accredited'' teacher, but never is this teacher someone the school would even consider hiring full-time. This has created quite a few problems across the classrooms where this has been implemented, such as continuity challenges for the students, so this is something to investigate.

More importantly, I think, is your question about the cell antennas. To be clear, European standards (i.e. the EU) require that *one* cell antenna be at least 1500 feet from a school, but there are now *nine* antennas 100 feet from our children at NOCCS. Yes, the current setup meets FCC guidelines, but these were written over 15 years ago and do not meet current cutting edge (and yes peer-reviewed) medical research and standards - just telcom lobbied standards. Certainly, there is a debate about the health effects, but NOCCS children are now guinea pigs in studying these effects. noccs parent

At NOCCS Grades 4 and 5 are made up of two 25-28 student classrooms each with a teacher and teacher asst who splits time between the two classrooms. Good teachers, but one is leaving to return to MOSAIC next year full time, so a new one will be found. They break the mixed Cb class 4th/5th graders apart only for math. Grades 6-8, about the same size, are taught by a mix of three teachers, who mostly specialize in math, science, and literature/history so the students rotate among them, plus teacher assistants.

The upsides include small school atmosphere, a blended practical-intellectual approach (called "teaching for understanding"), good teachers, and the volunteer commitments of many parents. Downsides include difficulties in retaining some faculty, the widespread and constant struggle for funds, and the lack of a decent playground - though they now give credit for regular outside sports participation. Middle school elective period options: music, visual art, Community Action Learning (required), P.E. (required), Spanish, biz world, media and technology.

A set of 9 Verizon cell antennas were installed on the building across 42nd Street from the school last Thanksgiving after a long battle on the part of a small group of parents to keep them away had delayed but not stopped them. (It had been easy to get the permit; since then, Oakland has changed its regulations around cell antenna installations in mixed-use neighborhoods.) Recently the Verizon antennas were upgraded (power was increased) to handle the 4G network communications. Hooray for Verizon and its subscribers.

Any effects on students and teachers are as yet unnoticed (or unreported) but if there are any they may not appear in the short term. A small long-term epidemiological health study was started before the antennas were installed but the sample size may not be large enough to document the full effects. ItC",E!s not certain there will be any effects but itC",E!s not well studied yet in the U.S. Cbbbbbcause the FCC and Congress have done the bidding of the cell phone companies, and everyone loves the technology. A few scientific studies that appeared to show bad effects from EMF exposure were quickly disparaged. Who's working for whom? Anyway, so far, in 6 months of exposure, no clear and documented effects are known to have appeared at NOCCS.

I think that answers your questions but if you have more, e-mail me directly:

Dennis R., parent of 7th grader at NOCCS

NOCCS middle school reviews?

March 2011

I would love to hear about your experiences at NOCCS' middle school: teaching staff, curriculum, school climate, administration, school site. I know that the middle school is only a couple of years old and that there have been growing pains and bumps along the road. I'm not looking for perfection, but an honest assessment of how things are going for your middle schooler would be great. Thanks so much.

This is the first year that NOCCS has had a full upper school 6/7/8. The core teaching staff is very strong and the Dean of Students is wonderful. The teaching methodology and curriculum content is also solid. The elective program is really weak and needs a major overhaul, though, to measure up with the electives offered at other schools. It's worth checking out if you have a child who would do better in a smaller K-8 setting. NOCCS parent

Cell phone towers near NOCCS?

March 2011


Hi, Does anyone know what is going on with plans for a cell phone tower near NOCCS, the North Oakland Community Charter School? I'm interested in the school but wondered if a cell phone tower is indeed going to be built close by. There was an article in the SF Chroncile about parents organizing against it, but I've lost track of what is happening with this. Much thanks, D.

Verzion is in contract to place a cell tower on the building across the street from NOCCS which is less than 150 feet away. Also worth noting, it is also within 400 feet of Anna Yates Elementary. Because this area is zoned for mixed used, the plans were passed despite the efforts of many to prevent this from happening. Many areas, including Europe, take a precautionary approach to the placement of cell towers, particularly when it comes to schools, day care centers and playgrounds. A distance of at least 1500 feet between cell towers and schools has been suggested. It is an issue that all schools should look at. If it doesn't affect your child's school now, it could in the near future. A new website which will rank schools according to their proximity to cell towers is launching in April: Since parents have to apply to get into NOCCS, people should know that this cell tower issue has not been resolved. Anon

Nov 2010

Re: Kids of LGBT families experience: Oakland schools
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

Jan 2009

Re: K-8 private / public school around or in Berkeley
North Oakland Community Charter School -- one of the Bay Area's most successful public progressive schools -- has expanded to a K-8 model. NOCCS is currently accepting application for students who will be entering grades K-7 in the Fall of 2009. We have one Open House left this year scheduled for Saturday, February 7th at 1:30 PM. The Open House is open to both students and their families. TO download an application, go to our website at or give us a call at 510.655.0540. Carolyn

May 2008

Hi All, We live in Oakland and have a child who will start kindergarden in 2010. We love Oakland and do not want to move, but are feeling grim about our public school options. I know that admission to NOCCS is through a lottery. However, I am wondering if there is any chance that I could increase our chances of admission by volunteering at the school for a year or so before we apply. Has anyone out there had experience doing this at NOCCS? Does anyone have any other suggestions? I have heard it recommended to do this at other public schools, but don't know if it would make any difference at NOCCS. Worried Wilma

The only way to get into NOCCS is to fill out an application just like everyone else does. Then they literally pick numbers out of a hat, so to speak. You can't ''up your chances'' any other way, so they keep the process as fair as possible. I have donated to their Walk-a-thons and so forth for 6 years and have dear friends who helped found the school, and we did not get in. It is the luck of the draw and is NOT a school you can in any way COUNT ON getting into. The Scoop

Volunteering at a school will not increase your chances of getting in through a lottery. To be fair, a lottery means that everyone has the same chance of getting in. However, volunteers are incredibly valuable to all schools, and you will give yourself and your child a great feel for what the school is like through volunteering. We live in north Oakland and our daughter goes to Civicorps Elementary, a charter school in our neighborhood (also lottery to get in), established around 2002. We have been really happy with the school, our whole family has been very involved with the school and its mission, and I urge you to check it out at -Civicorps Elementary Parent

I am a parent of 2 kids who have gone through NOCCS from K-5th. Unfortunately there is no way to improve your chances of getting into the school. The Lottery is the most fair and unbiased way to getting accepted. I wish you luck. This school is a shining example of a well run, academically excellent institution. anonymous

Volunteering is always welcome, but unfortunately it doesn't affect your chances of admission. We are obliged by law to use a lottery. I encourage you to get on the waiting list. Even though you may be far down the list, there can be last-minute openings after the school year starts. For example, someone has to move for their job all of a sudden in mid-September. People ahead of you on the list may be set and so you have a better chance of getting in if you can be flexible at this time. Richard

March 2008

I would like to hear some recent parent opinions of NOCCS. It seems like it's THE place to be, but I'm not totally sure why. I have friends who have their kids there & they are happy, though not blown away. Is it really that much better than, say Civicorp? I've visited both & spoke to the administrators and I liked them both about the same, but Civicorp was so easy to get into & NOCCS has such a long wait list. It seems like a fine school, but does it really live up to it's hype? -Can't decide!

Our family has been very happy with NOCCS. The staff are passionate and dedicated. My kids are getting a great education. If you are looking for a small school with a caring, supportive community, then look at NOCCS. All families are asked to volunteer time every month to support the school. There are lots of different ways to do this, but if participation and community are important factors for you, then you will be hard pushed to find a better place to be. Richard

My daughter entered NOCCS this school year (2007-2008) as a Kindergartner and we have been thrilled. We have experience with other public and highly selective private schools in the Bay Area and feel that NOCCS competes and wins on most dimensions. Our daughter absolutely loves school and is thriving. The teachers and staff are caring, progressive and committed to developing all children. The ''Teach for Understanding'' model, developed at Harvard School of Ed is innovative and brings learning to life. Most of all, we believe that NOCCS is grass-roots, progressive public education at its finest. Diversity of all types (social economic, ethnic, cultural, etc.) is the norm. Parents pitch in (they must under the schools volunteer requirement) and as a result, there is a feel of happy chaos to the place which underscores the message to the children that their education and development is a community commitment and effort. It really is a special place and we feel very fortunate to be part of it. As the school cheer (boomed out every Wednesday morning at the all school meeting!) goes: ''NOCCS Rocks!!'' Parent of 2007-2008 Kindergartner

We are new to NOCCS with a son in the K1 class. Our local school would have been Peralta. I have to say that NOCCS has been a GREAT experience so far. His teacher Ms. Landers supports and challenges our son in creative and innovative ways. He always comes home with a new song or story connected to some learning concept of the week. He has learned good social skills and made friends easily. Both of us work and are happy for the enrichment programs available in the Afterschool Program. The school is now serving organic hot lunches. The classroom, communinity and school reflect the rich diversity of its students and families in a respectful inclusive manner. Come check out the school for yourself. jb

NOCCS is a vibrant, fun, supportive community with a very high level of parent involvement. This can make things a little loosely organized, and I would suggest that you consider whether you would find the high level of parent involvement exasperating or rewarding.

My son came to NOCCS because he was suffering from teasing and bullying at a private school with a very similar ''progressive'' philosophy. At NOCCS he has become a very confident learner and a much happier kid. NOCCS really does walk the talk in terms of promoting respect among the students, and grappling with the challenges of meeting the needs of a community that is truly racially and socio- economically diverse. If this is important to you, and you/your child don't need lots of structure, I say go with NOCCS. Good Luck! bt

We are a new family of a Kindergartener at NOCCS this year and feel so lucky to be here. I just attended the Alfie Kohn lecture in Berkeley last night and found myself counting my blessings many times over in regards to the curriculum and teaching methods at NOCCS, which are creative and focus on teaching for understanding. One of the best pieces of advice I got in searching for kindergarten was to look at the art in the classroom. Is it all cookie-cutter or does it honor the individual? The curriculum usually follows suit. The sense of community at NOCCS, especially among the kids, is strong and nurturing, with older kids showing compassion and understanding for younger ones. Carolyn is a passionate, creative, witty, and focused director.

It's not perfect -- there are conflicts among parents, but that's to be expected in a place where parents are highly involved in their child's education. The volunteer requirements are vast and can feel overwhelming to some, but there are many ways to participate. I visited EBCC several times and was also impressed with their curriculum, so they seem like a great school, too. They have nice outdoor areas and gardens and seem geared toward conservation. I love that a major part of their curriculum is community service-based. If you have visited both places, you must have a gut feeling about them. Where do you see your child thriving? That's really what it's all about. Everything else will fall into place. Good luck. NOCCS Rocks

My daughter goes to NOCCS and we love it. The academics are strong and the community is tremendous. Be prepared to volunteer on a regular basis. High parent involvement is one of the things that makes NOCCS so great. Admission is by lottery and some grades have more openings than others so it's worth a shot. Kathy

As a longtime parent at NOCCS I would say that what makes NOCCS different, and creates its "hype", is the combination of a strong community of wonderful people (families and school staff) and an organization that is attempting to be a different model in the world. Just that very effort to be more progressive and engaging is attractive to many families in the Bay Area, given our largely shared values around social justice, diversity, and wanting to live in a more democratic way. There's a balance of academic and social/emotional aspects at NOCCS that has generally been pulled off successfully - our test scores are good. NOCCS works well for families who are interested in investing their own valuable time both in the school and at home with their kids. On the flip side, NOCCS doesn't work for all families. To me, it's like anything -- who you are is going to impact what your experience is. I'd be happy to talk with you more in person if you want. I have a 5th grader and kindergartener at NOCCS. Good luck with your decision! Wendy

Dec 2007

Re: Peaceful, Kind, Elementary School in Oak/Berk???
Try North Oakland Community Charter School. There is a lottery and a long waiting list to get in, but it is a great school. I work for OUSD and am there one day a week and have been very impressed with the way that peaceful solutions are found for ''discipline'' issues. I think it would be a good fit for you. Laura

Dec 2007

Re: Oakland ''Hidden Gem'' Elementaries
Try NOCCS, North Oakland Community Charter School. We are very happy there, Progressive education and lottery to get in. Tours are going on now. Google, NOCCS for info. Good Luck parent

Try North Oakland Community Charter School. It is by no means a hidden gem...there is a lottery and a long waiting list to get in, but it is a great school. Laura

Oct 2007

Re: Lonely 2nd grader is the only African American in her class
I think if the private schools you are looking at will not let you see and observe the classrooms that your daughter would be in if you chose the school, and let her come and spend some time there so that you and she can get a sense of what it would be like for her there, then I would not consider that school as an option at all.

If you are an Oakland resident, you might consider looking at N. Oakland Community Charter School. It is fairly diverse, though small, progressive, and challenging, and you could see both of the K/1 classrooms and the 2/3 classrooms for yourself. There are probably no openings now, but could be for 2nd grade next year (there always seem to be a couple of spots, but you never know this early in the year). anon

June 2007

We have been waitlisted for first grade at NOCCS (North Oakland Community Charter)and would like to hear from any families of color (African American/Latino) about their experiences there. We very strongly agree with their educational approach/philosophy, but want to know more about how students of color do there? Our daughter is currently at a very diverse school in Oakland and asked me when we went to visit, ''Am I going to be the only brown one there?'' I guess I would like to hear from any parents of color out there who have sent their kids to predominantly white schools and how they have fared? Any advice? Anon

I am an African-American women married to a Caucasian/Creole man, so our children are multi-racial. This is our first year at NOCCS, and we are very happy with the school. Our son enjoys his time at school everyday. There is a small number of multi-racial students and students of color. However, one of NOCCS's core principles is ''valuing diversity'', and wants it's school to reflect the diversity of the city of Oakland. To me, this is a work in progress, but one that is important to our school community. Bottom line is, NOCCS has very strong parent involvement, made up of people who really care about all the children and their educational and emotional well being. If you have any other questions about NOCCS, feel free to email me anytime. crj


July 2000

The North Oakland Community Charter School is opening September 2000 for a combined classroom of 20 kindergartners and first graders on College Avenue in the Rockridge section of Oakland. It is open to any California resident. One or two grades will be added each year through 6th grade. The school seeks to create an intellectually challenging, student-centered environment focussed on early literacy and learning for understanding. The school and has hired an experienced, dynamic, one-of a-kind teacher for its inaugural classroom. There will also be a teacher's aide and an on-site aftercare program. There are currently a couple of openings for first graders and a very short waiting list for kindergartners. The school's number is 655-0540, and a rudimentary website is at Allison