Posted by CT, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm
Being a part of the Castro community has been an incredible experience for our family! The teachers are passionate and experienced, the parents are ultra-involved, Dr. Crates is energetic, unbelievably capable, and so devoted, the extra-curricular experiences have been so rich, and the sense of community is so tremendous. I feel so grateful that my kids have been so well-prepared academically, are bilingual and bi-literate, have had such a rich cultural experience, have had fun, and are prepared for the "global world" ahead. A hidden gem, indeed!
Posted by Interested_in_DI, a resident of the Rex Manor neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm
I am a Caucasian, non-native Spanish speaking parent interested in enrolling my child in the Dual Immersion program at Castro. I was impressed with the parent information night, the parents who spoke, and the students who read and spoke in Spanish.
However, a colleague of mine shared her alarming experience that caused her to actually pull her children out of the program when they were in the 1st and 2nd grades. She said her children had to sit through "remedial math" everyday (weren't challenged), and that her 2nd grader's classmate was unable to spell the simple word "bug". Regarding cultural exposure and making friends from other communities, she said the Latino group of girls in her daughter's grade were very cliquey and since her daughter lived in a different part of town, she could not easily join in social activities. This parent said she knew others who had pulled their children out of the program.
When I asked if her kids had trouble adjusting to an English-only curriculum (b/c they were still laying the literacy foundation in Spanish before plunging into English), she told me they were "ok because we pulled them out in time."
I realize this is the experience of just one person who may have a separate agenda, but I'm interested in hearing if other bad experiences exist -- that have occurred in recent years. This parent DID emphasize that her experience occurred several years ago, and the math program has now improved, as have the activities for social integration. Responses please!
Posted by Castro Parent, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:13 am
You should go to one of the other schools. Anyone who wants to focus on "bad experiences" is not a fit or match for Castro. You probably will have issues where ever you choose to place your child. I think you have more issues than we can address at our school. The math program is just a small part of our school, and it can change at any time. You should go to Huff, Bubb or Landels...I hear from friends that kids at these schools never get bored!
Posted by saw-it-through-know-better-now, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Mar 1, 2013 at 10:09 am
Interested- A very high number of children from Castro place in pre algebra in middle school. You can ask around. Sometimes the pace at Castro at this point in time can be too fast and not all kids can handle it, especially when the parents really want them to be 'advanced and not bored'. It ends up catching up later. The demands are too high in public schools and getting the time to be bored is a gift. Boredom or sitting through something you already know/repetition is a necessary skill for which creativity, original thought and potential innovation can come from (if that is what you are into).
Also, sorting through cliques and making a connection, even if it is the smallest connection. There were plenty of cliques of people who were Caucasian and non-Spanish speaker as well. So it is not a phenomenon that belongs to 1 culture, really.
There will probably be cliques at other schools, it may look different and it may be a group that you feel comfortable with and share a language and culture with. Imagine how the few that don't share that would feel? It's just a little switch and uncomfortable when turned around.
With all that said, Castro has made many strides, a work in progress which is understood. Our children become better people for it in the long run.