Sylvia Mendez vs Private School


We're a family choosing between Sylvia Mendez and our top choice private school for kindergarten. Both have the benefit of being very near our home. We like the language immersion of Sylvia Mendez, but via word of mouth we've heard mixed things about the level of academic rigor, whereas at the private school this doesn't appear to be a concern. The private school is of course also very expensive, and we have multiple children. We're fortunate that we can afford it, but is it money best spent? We wanted to hear from other parents who have experience with Sylvia Mendez. How satisfied have you been with the level of academic rigor, especially when it comes to reading and math? I've read many articles about parents supplementing outside of school, but for both my spouse and I this is a foreign concept. We both grew up outside the states, and for both of us our schools were quite challenging with a high focus on strong academics, and outside supplementation for academics was not very common (neither of our parents did so for us). Any other comments would be welcome. Note, we hear it's harder to get extended care in public schools, but this is not a concern for us as we have no need for extended care.

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Hi there- 

We have been at Sylvia Mendez for three years. My daughter is in 2nd grade and she speaks spanish beautifully and she has an absolutely fabulous teacher this year (mixed in previous years). At the end of second grade, they have started to incorporate more time dedicated to english reading (each year, english instruction goes up by 10%) and the english instruction is far below her level but she is challenged in other ways. One of the reasons we chose SM is because academic achievement is not the first priority at BUSD (which we have definitely seen) and figured that the second language component would add a level of academic challenge, which of course it has because she doesn't come from a Spanish-speaking household. We're not too advanced in math at this point but she has received good instruction thus far. We also give her many reading and math opportunities at home.

Socially, it has been pretty rough. There's insufficient supervision at recess leading to bad behavior, frequently being knocked over, and injuries. In addition, the relationships she's had are not particularly stable and tend to be volatile which is not usual for her. She is still closest with her preschool friends. I don't have a lot of volunteer time but I am always glad when I spend time there and feel like it's a good school - but that they need more help. So my biggest advice is to be as involved as possible at the school and board level. We need more parents from the community advocating for and emphasizing the importance of academics, arts education, socio-emotional well-being, healthy nervous system development, and healthy environments. Finally, the district plans to renovate the SM campus over the next two years and they usually move students to another campus during that time. They can't seem to find anywhere so they are planning on keeping the school there, running in portables with porta potties, noise, dust, and building materials for the next two years. We are appealing to the district to postpone until they identify an alternate location. I invite you to come to the school board meeting tonight (4/26). 

I know this choice isn't easy. Good luck!!