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Old 04-12-2019, 01:01 AM
 
6 posts, read 2,511 times
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I have a first grader looking into camas schools
How are the schools - grass valley - prune hill - dorothy fox - helen - lacamas ?
I dont want to rely on ratings as they dont speak quality of teaching . Doest anyone have kids in the 1-3 grades and can speak from experience ? - such as what kind of standard of maths and eng do they do ?
Do you also have to supplement with private tuiton and if so where ?
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:08 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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I have friends in each (Teaching and with students).

Most in Dorothy Fox, but several in Lacamas (quite different demographics of students / parents).

What tier are you? (socially and economic?)
Does it matter to you? (Do you see that as an 'agenda' in your kid's edu?.)

All are fine, and no need to supplement costs
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:26 AM
 
Location: WA
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My daughter attended Prune Hill Elementary. We liked it very much. There is an extreme level of parent involvement and we were impressed by the standards and rigor of the curriculum. I think you will find that all 6 Camas elementary schools are very much equivalent. Whatever ratings differences you think you might find on different ratings sites like Niche are, in my opinion, just statistical noise. The district has done a very deliberate job of "gerrymandering" the school boundaries so that each school has roughly the same demographics and percentages of wealthy and less affluent students. Consequently, there is no one "rich" school and "poor" school in Camas. They are all very similar. And the teachers (which is the really important thing at elementry level) are all pretty equivalent across the schools and for the most part are pretty excellent as Camas has its pick of regional teachers. The district also moves administrators around from school to school so don't get too obsessed about that. The principal who you like at one school might not be there the next year. I wrote a more detailed explanation of the Camas elementary school boundaries at the end of this thread here: Camas Elementary Schools

No, you don't have to supplement with private tuition. There are various PTA fundraisers but no different from anywhere else. Where you will likely be spending money is for youth sports and for private music lessons if you want your child involved in those things. Camas, like most schools in the US, is weak on both physical education and music education, and many many parents spend their own money for that. Well...I wouldn't say Camas is weak in those areas compared to other schools. It probably has the top sports and music programs in the region. But most kids who are in those programs at school also came up through youth leagues and had private music lessons on the side. Your kid is unlikely to make the varsity soccer team at HS without working up through the recreational and competive youth soccer leagues. And isn't likely to make the selec jazz band without years of private lessons. That's how competitive it is.

What we did not like here in Camas (compared to the schools in Texas where we moved from) was the lack of before school and after school programs. You really can't have 2 career parents working long hours and have young kids in Camas schools because there is no early drop-off or late pick-up. Our daughter was in 5th grade when we moved and old enough to get on the bus herself every morning and ride the bus home every afternoon without us needing to drop her off or pick her up. But if she had been much younger it would have been problematic. In our neighborhood there seem to be neighborhood moms who are around to keep an eye on other kids at the bus-stops and such when other parents need to leave early. That is how people seem to deal with it. But that doesn't seem to be just a Camas thing. It's more how things are generally done at all the schools in the region. In Texas we had excellent before school and after school programs run by the district that hired teachers for the early mornings and both teachers and HS students to run the after school programs. So the school's doors were open from about 7 am until about 5:30 pm with supervised activities. Nothing like that here. They charged for it but the cost was reasonable. There is one before school program downtown somewhere but it is not really convenient.

Last edited by texasdiver; 04-12-2019 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:26 PM
 
103 posts, read 48,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
No, you don't have to supplement with private tuition. There are various PTA fundraisers but no different from anywhere else.
Our kindergartner will be heading into first at Lacamas Lake in the fall. The feeling is night and day from his current kindergarten here in the SF East Bay. It is ridiculously affluent at his current school, with Maseratis, Bentleys, Range Rovers and Escalades dominating the drop off line every morning. The school is well funded by California standards but there is an unending series of fundraisers and requests for donation with absolutely no stated purpose.

Back in the fall, I spent the morning with the principal at Lacamas Lake touring the school and it was such a breath of fresh air. I asked her about expectations for donations and she flatly said there were none. To paraphrase, "we have families from all different backgrounds, some are able to give $20 a year and a few donate $500 or more. We only have one fundraiser a year so it doesn't become oppressive and we use the money for a set of specific projects or programs each year."

Our current school hits you up before school even starts for more than $1000 and then the incessant fundraising activities go on throughout the year.

A key driver for our move is getting our kids out of the bubble we're in and into a place where they can grow up to be better grounded. I really like how Camas economically stratifies the schools. The other thing I like is that the Camas elementary schools are so much more community and family oriented. Whereas our current school will have parents only wine and beer parties at mansions on the golf course, Lacamas Lake has family movie nights in the gym. Totally different way of life and perspective.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:26 AM
 
Location: WA
4,079 posts, read 5,176,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 182pilot View Post
Our kindergartner will be heading into first at Lacamas Lake in the fall. The feeling is night and day from his current kindergarten here in the SF East Bay. It is ridiculously affluent at his current school, with Maseratis, Bentleys, Range Rovers and Escalades dominating the drop off line every morning. The school is well funded by California standards but there is an unending series of fundraisers and requests for donation with absolutely no stated purpose.

Back in the fall, I spent the morning with the principal at Lacamas Lake touring the school and it was such a breath of fresh air. I asked her about expectations for donations and she flatly said there were none. To paraphrase, "we have families from all different backgrounds, some are able to give $20 a year and a few donate $500 or more. We only have one fundraiser a year so it doesn't become oppressive and we use the money for a set of specific projects or programs each year."

Our current school hits you up before school even starts for more than $1000 and then the incessant fundraising activities go on throughout the year.

A key driver for our move is getting our kids out of the bubble we're in and into a place where they can grow up to be better grounded. I really like how Camas economically stratifies the schools. The other thing I like is that the Camas elementary schools are so much more community and family oriented. Whereas our current school will have parents only wine and beer parties at mansions on the golf course, Lacamas Lake has family movie nights in the gym. Totally different way of life and perspective.
Exactly. Honestly I don't really remember how much fundraising was going on at Prune Hill Elementary. They do have some sort of carnival every year. But there was a lot less than at our old district in TX come to think of it. In TX they were always doing the cookie dough thing, the gift wrap thing and all the other things where the kids go door to door. Except that my kids were in the after school program and got picked up later so by the time they got home the neighborhood had already been hit by 15 other kids who rode home with their moms at 3 pm. And you end up not wanting to deal with that hassle of bothering neighbors and friends so you just buy the junk yourself and it gets annoying. Especially when the schools offer all kinds of prizes for kids who hit fundraising benchmarks like pizza parties, limo rides and so forth. They did all that in TX but refreshingly none of it here.

At some point I came to believe that there were three truly evil forces in the world....ISIS, Ebola, and school fundraisers because we were dealing with about 15 of them per year with 3 kids in school plus 3 kids in music plus 3 kids in multiple sports.

Camas does have more fundraisers at the HS level for things like the marching band field trips to Disney World and that sort of thing. But those are really just individual fundraisers for your own child to raise money for his/her own trip. They aren't for the school or band budget. So you can just write the check yourself, or let your kid try to sell blankets and mattresses and such. Or tell your kid to get a real job.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:45 AM
 
Location: WA
4,079 posts, read 5,176,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 182pilot View Post
A key driver for our move is getting our kids out of the bubble we're in and into a place where they can grow up to be better grounded. I really like how Camas economically stratifies the schools. The other thing I like is that the Camas elementary schools are so much more community and family oriented. Whereas our current school will have parents only wine and beer parties at mansions on the golf course, Lacamas Lake has family movie nights in the gym. Totally different way of life and perspective.
Exactly. Between my two daughters, the best friends that we see all the time are: Two daughters from doctor's families with $1 million + homes, one tech engineer with average Prune Hill home, one single mom who is a food service worker in modest downtown rental home, a divorced middle class single mom medical assistant in a downtown area home, a daughter of recent immigrants from Afganistan, and a daughter of Mexican immigrants who do house cleaning and construction. So she has some friends who's parents drive Teslas and live on the lake and other's who can't afford new clothes or cell phones and have to help their parents work on weekends.

It makes for a good mix because your kids are exposed to a lot of families with very high standards and expectations about schoolwork, college, and such. But also a lot of families with more diverse backgrounds and modest means to keep them more grounded.
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:25 AM
 
136 posts, read 92,995 times
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Just to add to the mix, we are in Grass Valley and my kids and all of our neighbors’ kids have had an excellent experience, my kids are a few years past elementary now. I’ve never heard a negative thing about any of the Camas elementary schools except for Woodburn and that was when it was brand new. I haven’t heard anything negative since then.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:49 AM
 
6 posts, read 2,511 times
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Thank you for the info . Seems like its great anywhere in Camas.
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