My oldest boy is now in first grade at Bret Harte Elementary and I thought, “Why have I not written about my this before?” We have had such a wonderful experience through kindergarten and now first grade, despite the trepidation some feel about sending their kids to this school.
When my wife and I first began talking to people in our neighborhood (Curtis Park) about the school, there was a general, funky vibe. No one really had anything specific or negative to say about the school, but communicated that it had a poor reputation. We were left scratching our heads, wondering why the nervous responses. Was it due to the socioeconomic differences in the school’s population? (Oh yeah, this school is diverse, which we celebrate.) We never really came to a definite conclusion, except these were families that did not attend Bret Harte. We then met a neighbor whose kids attended the school and who was highly involved – we got the straight scoop… They absolutely loved it and had a great experience! Another neighbor with children similar ages as ours came on strong during a neighborly chat about how Bret Harte should be the best school, and most supported, with the highest parent participation, since it is located in Curtis Park! She was wound up and spoke with conviction about how we should be the ones to instigate change and step up to the plate, and Curtis Park parents should stop shipping there kids out of the neighborhood, etc. Little did she know that we would take the baton and run with it.
It’s funny to look back. My wife had some reluctance to be a part of the PTA, knowing that they are infamous for latching onto warm bodies with an ounce of motivation (give them some brains and leadership skills and they are beside themselves). My wife is now the secretary of the Bret Harte PTA and putting great effort into helping fill in some big voids. We also recently volunteered to write the back page of our neighborhood newspaper, Viewpoint, which covers Bret Harte news. Stay tuned for some positive and in-the-trench perspectives on this blog and in the monthly Viewpoint.
Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker
My family recently moved into Curtis Park, and we have a son starting kindergarten this fall. I have had the same reaction as you to sending my sons to Bret Harte. I am wondering how things are going for your children this year? You are the only family I have found, albeit I found you virtually, who sends their children to the school.
I am admittedly concerned about sending my children to a school when no one in our Curtis Park community does.
Can you provide any insights?
Welcome to the “hood”!!! We’ve actually talked with several parents recently (from Curtis Park) that tried other schools and have now come to Bret Harte, and love it.
Here’s the bottom line – it’s what you make of it AND, without sounding arrogant, we have made it wonderful for us. My wife (who is the one you really should talk with) spearheaded the garden that pretty much got build over night. They got grants, the city’s master gardener came to help, Volunteers of America, and many parents and students participated. This has been a current highlight for us. You may have read and/or will be reading more about it in the Viewpoint (local Curtis Park newspaper) on the back page (my wife writes the column. But we love walking or riding our bikes to campus. We have loved all of the teachers that our boys have had (Mrs. Shelly for Kindergarten, Mrs. Sartelig [sp?] for 1st grade, and Mrs. Bunny [she literally is the best teacher in Sacramento, for 2nd grade. You must visit the school if you have not already. Mr. Chapa, the principle, is awesome too – at least I dig on him. Some say he’s too soft, but I like that approach. They music, with Mr. Cooper is cool. My wife is rallying for some science, math, exercise, and of course gardening/health after school programs. One of our neighbors is sending their kid into Kindergarten next year too – they’ve become some of our dear friends – the mom is one of the librarians downtown!
I could go on and on… Again, you should look up my wife – email@example.com – I’ll tell her you may contact her. You can also call her at 916.996.1320. She sounds like super mom (which I think she is – and super wife) because of all the stuff she does, but don’t let that intimidate you. Really she’s quite down-to-earth and had just made the school one of her priorities. So many good things are happening, which we are thrilled you will be apart of.
And, at the end of the day, there are a lot of good schools and good choices that parents make that are just different from our own.
Also, the annual pancake breakfast is this Saturday – you should check it out. We will be camping, so we’ll miss it 😦 but most of our neighbors bought tickets.
Out of curiosity, where about in CP did you move?
I think I can speak for my wife (Char – short for Charleen), she would love to chat with you, so don’t be shy in writing or calling.
I was re-reading the last post… I typed it and sent it quickly between business. Sorry for the all the typos and grammar errors 🙂