Piedmont Avenue Elementary School

Community Subscriber

Oakland, CA

Public School
operated by Oakland Unified School District
350 students
Website: http://www.piedmontavenueelementaryschool.org
Phone: (510) 654-7377
4314 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
School district-run
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Questions

Piedmont Avenue Elementary TK?(1 response)
Public TK or Private K? So confused.(4 responses)

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 

 Sept 2015

We are a neighborhood family who sends our kindergartner to piedmont avenue elementary school and we have been very happy so far. The kindergarten teachers are phenomenal and very experienced. My daughter is definitely learning and is having a fun time doing it. She comes home and tells me about the fish she learned about in science class, or sings the song about the beat that she learned about in music class. She is starting to learn how to read and enthusiastically points out words she recognizes in her environment. The principal is great and our daughter has made very nice friends. They also have weekly PE class and a computer lab. She had good behavior the other day and was rewarding by being able to use the iPad during free play. The school is very tightly run and any time you see the classes lined up, you can tell that these kids are taught how to cooperate and listen. Her teacher uses lots of singing in the class and her room is very well organized and looked more appealing to me than some of the private schools I toured. The playground is one of the only ousd schools I've seen that has grass. I really don't understand why more people don't consider this school. Her class size is also only 20 children because people choose to drive far away to go to other over crowded schools. There really is no reason not to send your child here, especially if you live in the neighborhood. We always run into classmates on the walk home and we're all getting ice cream, going to cafés, etc. people claim they love the diversity in oakland, but then choose schools that don't have true diversity. We're so happy we're able to walk to such a fine school and we have met nice families in the neighborhood because of it. Happy neighborhood parent

Piedmont Avenue Elementary: Recent reviews?

Sept 2014

All the BPN reviews for Piedmont Avenue Elementary School are old and mainly from one family. Can any current parents provide some reviews on teachers, school culture and parent community? It seems like the test scores have really improved in the last few years, but test scores are only so indicative of school quality. Zoned for PAES

We are not a PAES family, but we did take a tour of the school given by the Principal, Mrs. Ahmad, and I was very impressed by her, the school facilities, how hard the teachers and kids work, and how much they care about each other and learning. The school has a very cool computer lab with a dedicated teacher, as well as the Piedmont library right on campus. There is also a science lab. The school just received a valuable literacy grant, and so is doing a lot of work in that vein this year, including a reading-promotion event that they held over the summer. The PTA has put this website together where you might be able to get more information: http://paesparents.wordpress.com/ a neighbor

Piedmont is a really neat school. The culture is attentive to ensure that all kids learn the basic math and reading skills and provide lots of support to make it happen. I think that explains the test score increases. They also make sure that the kids thrive and are safe.

There's a very diverse school community. Lots of immigrant kids from African, Middle Eastern, and Central American countries, as well as black and Latino kids. A smaller number of white, US born, kids.

Now, I'm going to take a moment to assume that at least some of the readers of BPN are white. I know that some parents find diversity attractive, but don't want their kids to be in a minority at their school. At PAES, white kids are a minority (if you count everyone who's not white as a monolith group, if you don't, then you just have lots of small groups making up the whole). I've heard parents say that they don't want their kid to be one of only a few white kids. I disagree with this because our kids learn about their white privilege in society through the media and everything they see and learn outside of school. I really don't see a problem for white kids at the school with identify or self-esteem or identity.

I will tell you that sometimes diversity gets complicated. When your kid wants to play with a kid who speaks almost no English and the mom doesn't either and you don't know any Chinese, how do you ask for a playdate? There are cultural differences and in some ways, it can be easier when everyone's the same. I think it's worth it. The other benefit of attending your neighborhood school is getting to know kids and families that live near your family (you said it's your zoned school). As the kids grow, they become able to walk to a friend's house or to school. I love knowing people as we make our way around our neighborhood.

As with any school, there are some great teachers and some teachers whom I don't love, but they all get the job done. My mom friends in private and hill schools have the same types of complaints and bumps in the road, so I just think that you're not going to find a school that you love every single aspect of.

PAES doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that you find at the hill schools or private schools. But, they have a lot of stuff that most parents want to make sure is in place. Science, music, Second Step (social emotional competency), arts, dance, a plethora of after school care options. There are several events each year where the school community comes together and the food reflects the amazing community. My kids love the spicy Ethiopian meat dishes. As soon as I send this, I'll think of more that I forgot.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, both during and outside the school day, and I would encourage you to do so. PAES fan

After School Care for Piedmont Ave. Elementary

Jan 2013

I have a schedule change coming up and I need some very limited after care for my 10 year-old son at Piedmont Ave. I have tried to contact Panther City, but I just can't get a hold of anyone. Does anyone know of anything besides what is listed on the school website? Stressed Mama

I have a 10 year old at Piedmont Avenue Elementary too! Last year, my son attended Studio One Art Center for their after-school program. They have a bus that picks them up at the school and takes them to Studio One over on 45th by Oakland Tech. It's a great place with wonderful staff and lots of enrichment programs to choose from! This year, my son is attending Mosswood Rec Center. The same bus as Studio One students picks them up and takes them to the facility at Webster and W. MacArthur. The center itself has lots of options for enrichment but my son only really goes there to attend the tennis program from USTA. Both options give children homework assistance and both offer financial aid. Studio One is a bit pricier than Mosswood but neither is overly expensive. Then there's Panther City, which you already know, and the C.L.A.S.S. program at the school itself. It's a free program and usually full but you can always ask! I'd call the school for the director's number. My son also attended that program for 2 years earlier on, but we found it was no longer a good fit for us. Good luck! Feel free to contact me! Maybe our boys know each other! Michelle

Hi -- Our kids went to Panther City for a couple of years and they enjoyed it and they got their homework done! The staff are very good with the kids and not as good returning calls, as you already know. I would suggest stopping by after school -- I believe they're in the school library -- and asking to speak with the manager. They were very flexible with us, in terms of which days our kids went there.

Later, we sent the kids for a couple of years to Studio One, which was also a good experience. Studio One sends a van over to pick up the kids and bring them to their location right behind Oak Tech High School. My kids really enjoyed the classes -- sports, photography, computers, etc. This year they're in fifth grade and both play a lot of soccer, so they're not doing an after school program. I recommend both Panther City and Studio One. And if you really get stuck, get my e-mail from the moderator and maybe we can help you out. (My daughter is longing to start a babysitting career, and my husband works at home.) Best wishes-- Happy PAES Mom

Buying a house in the Piedmont zone

June 2012

I am looking for first-hand experiences of parents who have sent their kids to Piedmont Avenue Elementary School. There are a few posts that date back to 2009 and 2010, but I'd love to hear from some current parents about the school, it's culture, performance, and general likes and dislikes about it.

My husband and I are putting an offer on a home in the Lakeshore area and it is zoned for Piedmont Avenue Elementary. I know some of the public schools in Oakland are not great, but I am a firm believer in trying to support your public school and would like to send our daughter (now 1 yr old) and any future children we may have to our local school if possible.

Would be great to hear from families who live in the area zoned for this elementary and are actually sending their kids there. Thanks! Lakeshore Parent

We've been at Piedmont Avenue for 5 years, and were involved for a year before our kids started there. Overall, it's been a wonderful experience, and our kids have done well. They both got perfect scores on the math portion of the CST test last year -- that's the same test that kids at every CA public school take. They did very well on the English language arts portion as well.

They interact with all different kinds of kids every day -- each year, there is a child who arrives mid-year and joins their class speaking little or no English. This year, a boy from Ethiopia joined their class in the spring, and they got to know him by playing soccer with him on the playground.

The teachers overall are very strong, and we're delighted with Mrs. Ahmad, our principal, now in her 4th year at the school.

Truly, our only regret is that we haven't been able to persuade many of our neighbors to try the school -- it would have been an even better experience with more local families who could easily attend meetings and with more time to spare for volunteering in different capacities. Regardless, it's been a great experience for us and our kids.

Thanks for asking about PAES! Philippa & Jeff

August 2010

I have looked at some reviews, but have not seen any new reviews on Lakeview. Does anyone have a kid going or know of someone? Or if you live in this area and had trouble getting into a school of yr choice and had to go to Lakeview in the end? This brings me to my second question, the lottery system in Oakland. Our family can not afford private school,and we can not sell our home because of the market. I have read reviews on each persons experience, it's both half and half. Does anyone have some pointers for us? Do we try out charter schools too? Go meet with principals? What does it take? Or is it just luck? Any advice would help!

Hi -- Wanted to put in a plug for Piedmont Avenue Elementary School, which is close to your house, as your designated school is Lakeview. My 2 kids attend Piedmont Avenue, and we have been very pleased -- dynamic principal, excellent teachers, super-diverse student population, and a growing group of involved parents. [PAES' scores will never reach the sky-high levels of the hills' schools, as fully 20% of the kids are English learners from East Africa, West Africa, Mexico and Central America, but what a great community of kids and families!]

I attended the kindergarten roundup (orientation) 2 weeks ago, and was thrilled to see that 40 families showed up on a Sunday afternoon in July to meet each other! Please feel free to e-mail me directly if you have other questions about PAES or the OUSD lottery. Very best wishes! Philippa

Jan 2010

My kids are in their 3rd year at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, and we have been very happy there. There are now many neighborhood families sending their kids to the school, and we'd like even more local families to join us.

We have a super-star principal, Mrs. Ahmad, who is in her second year with us, and a wonderful group of teachers who are working very well under her leadership.

There is tremendous diversity at the school, which is welcoming to kids of all ethnicities from all across Oakland -- Caucasian, Asian, African-American and mixed race.

Do you live in the Piedmont Avenue area? If you want your child to go to school with his/her neighborhood friends, then try Piedmont Avenue and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Your child will also be in class with kids from Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal), Asia (China, Vietnam and Mongolia), Latin America (Mexico, Cuba and Central American countries) and Europe and the Middle East (Russia, Czech Republic and Yemen). This linguistic diversity means that our school API scores will never be in the 900's, but once you see all the beautiful children lined up to go into school in the morning, you won't care anymore!

Do you enjoy living in the multicultural city of Oakland, in the International Gourmet Ghetto that is Piedmont Avenue? Then put your values into action and send your child to Piedmont Avenue Elementary. We're here hoping to see you!

Send me an e-mail if you'd like to have a cup of coffee and have a no-pressure chat about any remaining misgivings you might have. Philippa

Dec 2009

As a parent of a 4 year old, I'm trying to decide between my local school, Piedmont Ave Elementary,the options lottery, and private school. I'd like to share my impressions of Piedmont Ave so far, but I'd love to hear from other parents in this area making a similar choice. First, undeniably, Piedmont Ave is not in the top tier of Oakland public schools, and many of my neighbors aren't sending their children there but I'm pretty sure they haven't looked at it closely. I'm a big believer in walking my daughter to a local school, so I am looking at it closely. And I've been pretty impressed.

They give tours every Wednesday morning at 9. I don't know if this is typical, but when I went, I was the only person, and the principle gave me an awesome private tour. She took me in to all 3 kindergartens, and into an example of each of the other grades. Given only an hour, it seemed really good - similar to what I'd seen at Peralta. There's a PTA and a group of activist parents working to make the school better, though it's smaller than what you see at the top tier schools. The principle seems really sharp which helps a lot. I have the impression that it would be productive to put energy into the school because there's good school administration, and a decent parents group to work with. I strongly encourage other parents to at least take the tour. You can also join a yahoo group, walktoschoolPANSA, and there's a Kindergarten Information Night happening on Weds. December 9th.

If you're considering this same decison, what are your thoughts on it? Erik

Piedmont Ave Elementary is our neighborhood school, too, and I am definitely considering it. I joined Walktoschool PANSA a long time ago, and have been following the positive changes that have been happening there. My husband does not want to send our daughter there, as he was concerned by behavior he had seen outside the school, but I think that was a long time ago, before the new principal, and I am definitely going to look into PAE as an option for our daughter. PAE bound?

Nov 2009

We are considering staying in the Piedmont Avenue area and considering sending our children there. I'd love to hear recent parent's experience with Piedmont Avenue. It seems to get a bad rap because of the beating a few years back but I know there are other experiences out there.

Hi -- Thanks for asking about Piedmont Avenue Elementary. This is our third year at the school, and we've been really pleased.

Please come to one (or more!) of the following informational events:

There is a school tour with the principal every Wednesday morning at 9:00am. We began our tours in early November and will continue through December. (Note that the school is closed next week, so the next few tours will be December 2nd, 9th and 16th.)

We will have a Kindergarten Information Night at the school on Wednesday, December 9th. More information is forthcoming.

There will also be a more informal prospective family get-together in a current parent's home on the following Tuesday, December 15th, for people who can't make the December 9th event, or who want to meet lots of current families. Everyone is welcome.

You can also sign up for our neighborhood's school Yahoo group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/paesparents/info

Thanks again for your interest. Philippa

Nov 2009

Re: transferring to a school closer to work
Hi there!I'm sorry for your dilemna of basically trying to be in two places at one time!I can't even imagine the challenges you face being a single mom, dedicated to making sure your kids are delivered and picked up from school on a daily basis, along with your own work schedule.But if I were in your shoes, I'd probably make the effort to transfer the kids to a closer school to BART. You had mentioned Piedmont Ave. Elementary, and a bullying issue. There was an incident a few years ago, but since that one time, Piedmont Ave.Elementary has blossomed into a very warm, inviting, multi-culturally diverse school, with wonderful innovative & energetic teachers, a wonderful Principal, alot of parent involvement etc. I know, because my children have been attending Piedmont Ave school for the past two years, and they LOVE school so much, they make it a point not to miss a day of school!( fortunately they are healthy).My husband and I are active PTA members and I am a daily school volunteer.Feel free to contact the school to come in for a tour and/or to talk to the Principal, Mrs. Ahmad. Or if you prefer, you can Google''Piedmont Avenue Elementary'', and the link will connect you with the ''Great Schools.net'' web site, which can give you some current insight of our wonderful school. Good luck and hope this helps! Denise

Nov 2008

Re: Small public elementary school in Oakland
Hi -- I read your question about searching for a small public elementary school in Oakland and I want to encourage you to really consider Piedmont Avenue Elementary, near where you live.

It's not a particularly small school, but I don't know that you'll find a smaller one that you can transfer into -- not to mention that OUSD is considering closing elementary schools that have fewer than 360 kids enrolled (exactly Piedmont Avenue's enrollment). My twins are in first grade and we have really been delighted with both teachers they've had. They are reading and doing increasingly challenging addition and subtraction. They take Spanish after school two days per week and they enjoy a vibrant music program and a great P.E. program (with our Sports for Kids staff person) during school hours.

We have a wonderful new principal, who herself taught kindergarten at Chabot for many years and who is building on the good work of the previous principal. The school is extremely diverse -- Caucasian, Asian, African American, East African, West African, Middle Eastern, Hispanic -- Mexican and Central American, Eastern European, mixed race, and more! Last year we counted at least 17 different languages that the kids' families speak at home, including Spanish, French, Amharic, Tigrina, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Arabic, and Swahili.

To learn more about Piedmont Avenue Elementary, please join our community Yahoo group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/paesparents/info

Please feel free to contact me directly at my e-mail below. You can also come to our next PTA meeting, which will be on November 10th at 6pm in the school library. Hope to meet you soon! Philippa

March 2008

Parents keep saying that the public schools don't do enough for their children. I moved to Oakland and was very scared about sending my child to a public school. My children and their happiness is top on my list. I could either work overtime to afford to send both my children to private school or I could get involved with my public school and help make it great. I joined the PTA. It wasn't easy because I work full time. PTA, the dedicated teachers and principal were able to bring lots of programs to our school from all of the hard work.

Piedmont Avenue Elementary now has music classes, a great after- school program,and retired professionals coming to the school to talk to the children, and a garden outside. We are looking into having a foreign language at school. Starting in April, Kaiser Hospital will be picking up 1 class a week, and taking them to a farmers market where they will be met by Doctors, Nurses, and other staff to talk about different careers. There will be a series of informational lectures at the school on health, fitness, careers, disaster preparedness, etc. Piedmont Avenue is a great school and a true hidden jewel.

Here is the take home point: Ask not what your school can do for your child, but what you as a parent can do for your school. RENEE

Dec 2007

Re: Oakland ''Hidden Gem'' Elementaries
Regarding ''hidden gem'' elementary schools in Oakland, I want to spread the word that Piedmont Avenue Elementary has a lot going for it these days. We have 2 kids there, and have been very pleased with the teachers, principal, the physical plant and the growing involvement of the PTA. The school needs some more parental (and grandparental) involvement, and that is starting to happen. There are also some great volunteers -- local retirees and the Experience Corps -- as well as two high- quality after school programs. Two music programs, an art/dance teacher, and a Sports 4 Kids physical education teacher round out the school time offerings.

There are 2 upcoming house meetings for people interested in learning more about Piedmont Avenue for their incoming kindergartener or older child. Philippa

March 2007

I went in to Piedmont Avenue School to check it out unannounced. What I saw impressed me a lot. I saw classrooms in which the students were engaged and studying. The classrooms were clean, quiet, and not overcrowded. I made it a point to talk to teachers that I met in the hallway. I found them to be friendly, well spoken, and polite. After that I asked the secretary in the principal's office if by any small chance I could meet the principal. I didn't expect to meet her. I was surprised when she came out, greeted me and invited me into her office. I got to ask her questions about her school, what I had heard about the school and her, and talk about the philosophy of the school. She encouraged me to get involved with the school and the PTA. I left there very excited. Up until now I was not sure if I was going to send my children to this school. My husband and I were thinking of trying another district or going the private route. I really wanted this school because I live in the community. I have decided that from my brief meetings that my option is to get involved with the PTA, volunteer as much as I can, and become part of the school and make it mine. I want my kids to go to a place they can be proud of, learn a great deal from, and be safe. I invite everyone to check it out. You may leave very happy to have found a public school that you can call home. Renee

January 2007

Dr. Angela Haick, the principal of Piedmont Avenue Elementary School in Oakland, is leading school tours at 9:00 am each Friday in January for parents of prospective Kindergarteners. You'll visit all of the Kindergarten classes and tour the library and computer center run by our full time librarian/computer teacher. You'll find out about our Arts/PE program run by a full time teacher, our band program that includes a component for all third graders, and our afterschool programs. Piedmont Avenue School has a diverse student body and a beautiful facility that blends an earlier Art Deco building with a modern wing built in the last several years. We're located at 4314 Piedmont Avenue in one of Oakland's most vibrant neighborhoods. Come check us out! Susan B, PTA Mom

April 2006

Re: Did not get your public school choice in Oakland?
We also applied to a charter school, only to find ourselves competing (unsuccessfully) with 74 other families, for 5 kindergarten spots! To me, it seems pretty clear that we will not be able to transfer to an already excellent public school outside of the neighborhood, this year or in the near future. Therefore, I am hoping to feel comfortable sending my child to our neighborhood school next year -- we're doing 1 more year of preschool, for a number of reasons. For those who live in the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School neighborhood, and are thinking some of these same thoughts, I hope that you will sign up for the Yahoo group I started. Group home page: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/paesparents/info. Let's talk about what we can do together so that our kids really can walk to an excellent Oakland elementary school.
Piedmont Ave parent

Feb 2006

Hi. I am a parent of a 3.5 year old and am starting to look around at kindergartens for my son for September 2007. I just attended an informational meeting for Piedmont Avenue School, our neighborhood school, with its relatively new principal, Dr. Haick (she's in her third year there). I was very impressed, and I'd like to encourage other parents in our neighborhood to please take a look and visit the school before making a decision about where to send your child. In the past the school has not had the greatest reputation, and parent involvement had been quite low. Dr. Haick and some very dedicated teachers and parents have changed all of th at -- there is now an active and growing PTA. Test scores have improved dramatically in the past few years. Dr. Haick is also doing her best to bring more art and music into the school, as well as to improve the computer facilities -- they now have a computer specialist on staff. I encourage everyone to check it out for themselves -- there will be tours every Friday morning at 9am from now till April -- just show up at the school, located at 4314 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Diane

Jan 2006

Thinking about a public school in Oakland? Check out Piedmont Ave. Elementary on Piedmont Ave. at Echo. It's really up and coming with a very dedicated principal, teachers and staff. The PTA is very active with fundraising and increasing parent participation to make the school the absolute best! Before you think about enrolling in another Oakland school, or have a preschooler and are just beginning your search, come visit the school and see the good work going on! Pam

December 2003

I am looking for other parents iliving in the Piedmont Ave. area who are interested in looking into Piedmont Ave. elementary. If you would like to consider Piedmont Ave. school as an option for your child -- or would be interested in improving the school for others -- let's talk. (My son is only one year old, so school is a ways off for us -- but would like to find out more, meet others, begin to organize, etc.). also -- any advice from other parents who've worked to improve other oakland public schools most welcome! Jacqueline

To the person interested in organizing parents to improve the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School -- such an organization already exists (it includes both parents and non-parents from the local area). It is called the ''Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood School Association'' or PANSA. It is an offshoot of the neighborhood association, the Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement League (PANIL). You can get more information about PANSA at the PANIL website, which is www.panil.org . PANSA meets the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the school library. The next meeting is Tuesday, December 2. -- another Piedmont Ave mom