FYI, this came over HM this afternoon. Let me if anyone has anything to add or wants to respond. I m not inclined to do anything more at this point. JustMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2011View Source
Valdez v. Brown ECE
FYI, this came over HM this afternoon. Let me if anyone has anything to add or wants to respond. I'm not inclined to do anything more at this point. Just wanted to flag it in case anyone thought we should put together a response.
[HM] Summary - ECE: Brown vs. Valdez?
Subject [HM] Summary - ECE: Brown vs. Valdez?
Date Sat, 22 Jan 2011 14:25:18 -0800 (PST)
In-reply-to < 1613895592.1295567705159.JavaMail.dmslogic@... >
Date: Sat Jan 22, 2011 02:25PM
Many people are in the same boat and asked for a summary, so here you go! Thanks for ALL who took the time to respond, all the info is very helpful!!
I probably won't help you come to a decision very well, because I have children in both Brown and Valdez (talk about being tor and not being able to make up my mind!). But I can assure you that I am very happy with both programs, and both communities of schools. My son is now in 3rd grade at Brown, and I think the IB program has been a great fit for him. He's the kind of kid who likes to go deeply and study something over a period of time, and the units of inquiry have provided him that. The teaching staff at Brown is dedicated, and I'm pleased with the reading and writing instruction there. He loves school, and is doing well. He started there in 1st, so I don't have direct experience with ECE and kinder, but I have heard great things about both levels.
My daughter is in her 2nd year at Valdez. I've never been a huge fan of Montessori (more because of ignorance than anything), but it's been great for her. She's more of a social kid, and I think she likes the freedom of moving around the classroom and choosing different activities. It feels like it's appropriate for that age level, to have choice and not have to sit and listen to a teacher for long periods of time. Of course, the big selling point for me (and I'm sure for you too), is the fact that she's exposed to lots of Spanish every day, and will learn to read and write in Spanish ase well as English. Again, the teachers are young and energetic, and the principal has lots of good leadership. I didn't put my son there because he is the grade that they expand the dual language program to each year. I didn't feel comfortable with the fact that every year the teachers would be figuring out how to make it work with his class. And he's happy and doing well at brown, so why change him?
So I guess we'll continue to be a two school family! I don't think you can go wrong with either school. They are both strong. Of course, they are both public schools, who have to function in a big bureaucracy, and probably have various problems because of it. But they are both solid schools.
If you have any particular questions about either school, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
Hope my comments have been helpful and good luck with the decision! It seems like such a huge decision, but I'm glad we have such good schools to choose from!
You really do not need to choose right now. Put an application into both. Valdez is a special magnet school, not a neighborhood school. The app process is separate. So DEFINITELY do both to hedge your bets.
We couldn't do Valdez due to my dd's delay in English, so speech therapists recommended against dual language at this time.
I have friends at Valdez who love it. The only complaint I ever hear is the physical plant is depressing. We are at Brown and are very happy there.
The only comment comparing them is related to educational style. I attended the Compass Montessori open house in November. They had a worksheet comparing and contrasting traditional education v. montessori. My thought was that Brown fell somewhere in between the two. It isn't "traditional", but it isn't in montessori method realm.
I'd say come to Casino night to get a feel for the community at Brown, but it really isn't the best example. I went 2 years ago thinking it would be that, but it isn't. Its adults only atmosphere, lots of cheap drinks and general a great time. Its a blast, but doesn't really compare to the everyday tone of the playground. Still, you're welcome to come and I'd be happy to introduce you around. At minimum, its a fun date night. These school auctions can have lots of good deals on things you'd normally buy in the hood :-)
You're welcome to call if you have any questions or want to pick my brain.
I didn't really look at Brown because I really wanted a dual language program (there are so many benefits from a learning perspective beyond just the fact that they know another language). The montessori program in the ECE/Kinder grades is also awesome. I really don't think you can go wrong with either program, but I am biased and think that Valdez is just wonderful. Also, once you are in at Valdez you are in as long as you decide to stay (which is hopefully through 5th grade) ... I have heard from friends who have their kids at Brown that it is a little harder to guarantee spots just because you get into the ECE program. Also, Valdez offers an ECE program for 3 year olds and a full day program for 4 year olds (that is optional but is great for kids/parents who decide to participate in it).
Those are two very different schools, language immersion (Valdez) or a more traditional school (Edison). But you can apply to both and then do your research! Valdez is a charter school, so you need to go to the school to get the app, but it doesn't count as one of your "choices" on the traditional app (which is online). So you could possibly get into both Edison & Valdez, and then make your decision.
We did consider both Brown and Valdez and ultimately the dual language won out over IB.
We have many friends at Brown and they are very happy.
I will say I think my children have benefited greatly from the Montessori classrooms for ECE-Kinder.
There is an amazing leap these kids take to reading in Pre-K that I really believe is fostered by the Montessori method.
I am the first to say that I was VERY resistant to Montessori and was happily won over. The kids all seem to have such fun with their learning and the skills they "work" on during the school day all translate into reading, writing and math skills.
I am happy to connect you with my Brown friends too, although I am sure you will get a good number of responses from the listserv.
I should say that neither school was our home school.
Bottomline they are both great programs and it really comes down to what excites you and your child more.
Please feel free to ask any and all questions you have!
My 3-yr-old goes to Valdez and I think it's the most amazing program. I can't say enough about it. I didn't look at Brown, however, so I can't speak to that.
However, the good news, I think, is that you don't have to choose now. Valdez is a Montessouri program so you can apply to it apart from Brown, which you'll need to use as one of your regular choice schools. So just apply to both and then see what happens. It's hard to get into both, so you might not even have as much choice as you'd like.
Good luck. I know how stressful this can be.
My son is in kinder at Valdez and we have been very impressed with the program. Just FYI, you can apply to both as both are likely to end up with wait lists this year. Valdez is a magnet rather than a neighborhood school so it's a slightly different process. If you get into Valdez and want more info, I'd be happy to share what we love about it!
________________________________ From: sarahjw98@... Sent: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 15:55:05 -0800 (PST) Subject: [HM] ECE: Brown vs. Valdez? Can someone please share their experience comparing/contrasting Brown and Valdez ECE? Did you consider both schools and what made you pick one over the other? I would love your impressions and knowledge of both programs please!
(feeling VERY torn right now regarding ECE with app deadline approaching quickly!!!)