Park Day School
5.00 (15 reviews)
Tel: (510) 653-0317
Park Day School Photo #8 - Students at Oakland City Hall for their campaign to make the Black Crowned Night Heron the official bird of Oakland which recently came to a vote and passed!
Classes, lessons, and experiences at Park Day emphasize creativity, exploration, and discovery.
We value each student`s ability to take risks, think critically, build lifelong friendships, and contribute to the world around them.
At Park Day School we educate students about social justice and help them understand their power to make positive change.
Through the selection of literature, the study of history, and the exploration of scientific discoveries, underrepresented voices are highlighted throughout the curriculum.
Through this exposure, Park Day students develop strong academic skills along with compassion, a sense of fairness, a commitment to activism, and global awareness.
|School Type||Alternative School|
|School Membership(s)School Assoc.||State or regional independent school association|
Other school association(s)
|Grades Offered||Grades Kindergarten-8|
|Awards||Blue Ribbon School - Selected in n/a|
|Total Students||275 students|
|Student Body Type||Co-ed|
|% Students of Color|
State avg.: 45%
|Students by Grade|
Academics and Faculty
|Total Classroom Teachers||38 teachers|
|Student : Teacher Ratio||7:1|
National avg.: 13:1
|% Faculty w/Advanced Degree|
|Average Class Size||16 students|
|List of Courses Offered||Link to List of Courses|
|Classroom Dress Code||Casual|
Finances and Admission
|Admission Deadline||Jan. 13 / rolling|
|Yearly Tuition Cost||$27,500|
|% on Financial Aid|
|Admissions Director||Josie AG Shapiro|
|Admissions Associate||Amalia Bob-Waksberg|
|Total Sports Offered||6 sports|
|Sports||Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, VolleyballBasketball, Cross Country,|
Flag Football, Track and Field,
Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball,
- Since 1976, Park Day`s progressive approach to education has embraced a vigorous curriculum within a joyful learning environment. Classes, lessons, and experiences at Park Day emphasize creativity, exploration, and discovery. We value each student`s ability to take risks, think critically, build lifelong friendships, and contribute to the world around them.
- At Park Day School we educate students about social justice and help them understand their power to make positive change. Through the selection of literature, the study of history, and the exploration of scientific discoveries, underrepresented voices are highlighted throughout the curriculum. Through this exposure, Park Day students develop strong academic skills along with compassion, a sense of fairness, a commitment to activism, and global awareness.
- Our graduates are community members who approach challenges from multiple perspectives and have the confidence to question, create and contribute when they venture into the world. While at school, students thrive both in and out of the classroom, approaching a variety of academic challenges as designers, makers and analytic thinkers. They study and grow in our gardens, playground, sports field, neighborhood, and the wider Bay Area-- participating in field work, and benefitting from an array of community partnerships throughout Oakland and Northern California.
Profile last updated:
- School Location Miles Grades Students
- Oakland Grades: K-12 | 686 students
1 Hiller Dr
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 843-2512 1.9 K-12
- Oakland Grades: K-12 | 877 students
4315 Lincoln Ave
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 531-1300 3.4 K-12
- Oakland Grades: K-5 | 90 students
40 Dulwich Rd
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 428-2606 1.6 K-5
- Oakland Grades: K-8 | 392 students
116 Montecito Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 285-9600 1.4 K-8
I have sixth grade twins at Park Day School, and our family couldn't be happier. After elementary school at a public school, the transition to independent school for middle school has been seamless. Given all that's going on in the world, we came to Park because of the tight community where we knew our kids would be both held and challenged. Distance learning is never easy, but Park has done a great job with communication and maintaining the inclusive and progressive community that we came to the school for. And the kids have been able to come back on campus in a way that we feel more than comfortable for their safety. I can't think of a middle school experience I'd rather have for my kids.
- Posted by Parent - Jared Karol
Our family has been so grateful to have our daughter at Park Day. She's in first grade now and absolutely thriving. She has exploded into reading this year, and is loving math, gardening, workshop (YES, they build really cool stuff!), art, PE and music. I personally appreciate the integrated approach to teaching, where the teachers work together to identify and build connections in the curriculum and interweave ideas between disciplines. Approaching ideas from different perspectives encourages critical thinking skills, excitement, and also empathy... which I think we can all agree is super important for budding humans to develop. The campus is tear-inducingly beautiful, an oasis that has obviously been cared for and loved for decades. They utilize the grounds in the curriculum, teaching about how to grow and care for plants, how to respect the balance of the environment, ecosystems and animals (they have chickens too!). The social justice and equity focus of the school is present and forward in the curriculum—these kids are learning how to be engaged civically, through kid-initiated fundraisers for nonprofits, peaceful protest through letters and marches, and a deep dive into identity work, respect and honoring diversity. This work starts in kindergarten, and just continues from there. I greatly appreciate Park's commitment to having a diverse staff and student body. They obviously have a resonant voice throughout the Bay Area's diverse circles. They also offer financial aid options for families, which is greatly appreciated by all. I am so impressed with the new head of school Angela Taylor. She came on as Head of School at the height of covid, and soon after George Floyd was murdered. She has been working with such fervor to discuss and address the social dilemmas and broken systems that our kids are growing up in. Her passion to lay a foundation for this upcoming generation to be present in the world as compassionate change makers is inspiring and is perfectly aligned with the mission of Park Day. She is an incredible leader. Angela and the incredible staff has worked so hard during covid to keep the kids and staff safe with outdoor learning, strict sanitizing and social distancing and mask protocol, and of course remote learning when needed. This year, even with much of it through zoom, has still been an academically blossoming year for my daughter. The communication between teachers and parents is great, and easy, and the evaluations that each child gets twice a year are very thorough, packed with information and detail about all kinds of skills. You can tell that the teachers spend hours on these, and they clearly KNOW these children! This is a place where creativity is nurtured, collaboration and flexibility is routine, critical thinking is inspired, fairness and empathy are guiding lights, and children are honored as unique and valuable individuals, collaborators in our communities, and accomplices in the fight for an equitable and flourishing future.
- Posted by Parent - Sara Gambina-Belknap
As a parent with two kids in the lower grades writing a year into the pandemic, I can say Park Day has been SO valuable in navigating this time with our kids. An education at Park Day focuses not only on academics, but social and emotional needs, as well as what I see as important context for understanding the world right now, and how you can prepare not just to live in it, but take it by the reigns. I'm confident our kids will be better people and citizens thanks to the curriculum Park Day provides.
- Posted by Parent - Tom
We are in our second year at Park day. My 9-year-old son entered in 3rd grade and did so seemingly seamlessly. He was welcomed socially and fell into the rhythm with new friends almost immediately. We were entering after a 3 year stay at our local Charter school. My son had endured numerous challenges within the structure of his last school. So far he is happier than I've ever seen him in school and is genuinely excited to be there and motivated to learn. I think it's important to note that my son is black and it's very important to me that those who I've chosen to educate and support my son understand the challenges that come from learning in an environment where you are a minority. I have felt welcomed and supported and can see that effort is in progress to create true diversity in our school and hope to see that progress continue with a new person of color in our head of school position.
- Posted by Parent - Angelica
We are first year parents at Park Day School with a daughter in Kindergarten and were excited last year when we toured the school. We loved what we saw (and felt) from the faculty and students as we toured each grade in the lower school, K-5. As we talked to kids, and looked at the inspirational postings and lessons on the walls, we could clearly see our daughter thriving in that environment. Fast forward to now, one year later, and that same committed energy to joyful learning and social justice have rung true every day across all aspects of our family's experience. It is said a lot in a lot of places out there, but Park Day School is truly a community. We are still early on in our journey at the school, but are so looking forward to all that is to come. We highly recommend Park Day School to our friends and neighbors in the Oakland community!
- Posted by Parent - Brandon P.
Have two kids at the park now and could not be happier. The teachers are incredibly thoughtful, caring, and skilled. The kids are exposed to critical, yet age-appropriate, views on all topics. The school is in transition following the retirement of several founding members, and as it adapts to the rapidly widening gulf between the wealthy and non-wealthy in the Bay Area, but the current administration is warm, experienced, honest, and capable. Just a lovely place for my kids and family to call home.
- Posted by Parent - N.K.
After touring and applying to several Oakland private schools, including Head Royce, Aurora and Redwood Day, my family was lucky enough to join the Park Day School community last year. It's been nothing short of transformational for my older daughter, who transferred in from one of the Lamorinda public schools. I have no idea what Tito here has gone through because we've found the academics to be an incredibly thoughtful part of a whole-child curriculum. I guess if you want your kids to be ace test takers and then develop substance abuse problems later in life, you might not like it here? But for us, it's amazing. The administration is great (Tito, it'd be incredibly easy to get the lowdown on why the school is looking for a new head - make some friends and get the story!). The teachers are even better. Five stars, and can't wait for our little guy to be old enough for Kindergarten!
- Posted by Parent - P.M.
Academically (and in how my kid is becoming a thoughtful human, aware of the world outside herself), we have been really happy at Park Day School. The emphasis at the school is on critical thinking, and the skill-based learning is embedded in larger, deeper projects. In math, they solve problems using multiple strategies, focusing on understanding the big mathematical concepts. In social studies, they are teaching the kids to analyze from the point of view of different parties and perspectives, which I appreciate. There seems to be a lot of direct lines to the kid's interests in writing, reading and absorbing basic skills around research, persuasion, and presentation. There's also a ton of group work and collaboration which is helping my kid negotiate other people's ways of thinking alongside her own. The emphasis on questioning and critical thinking may not be for everyone-- they don't do a ton of memorization and cramming facts for the sake of regurgitation, but it works really well for my kid-- she truly loves going to class.
- Posted by Parent - Alexander
I have been very disappointed by my experience at Park Day School. The focus on social justice has positives, but comes at the expense of academics, which are very deficient compared to other private schools in the area. The leadership is not cohesive or connected to the student body, which may be why they haven't been able to keep a head of school, and there is not enough staff to ensure the children are learning, safe and happy. I hear this used to be a great school, but they have a long way to go to get back to that.
- Posted by Parent - Tito
We were first introduced to Park Day through the Mini Maker Faire, which in some ways is the perfect embodiment of the school's philosophy and purpose. Innovation, depth of learning, fostering creativity and academic rigor is an inherent part of the Park Day's ethos. Simply put, they make learning fun. My daughter looks forward to school everyday and comes home excited to tell us all about it. As parents, we couldn't be more relieved that as she enters middle school, she's in a supportive community with thoughtful teachers who inspire academic, social and emotional growth.
- Posted by Parent - Happy Park Day Parent
We first discovered Park Day School through the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, and our daughter, who was in pre-school at the time, announced that she wanted to go there. She's loved it since her first day in kindergarten. The teachers and administration are exceptional - not just in teaching kids how to think and learn, but they're also kind, patient, and nurture all the essential skills of being good human beings like resolving conflicts peacefully and without judgement. The curriculum and class activities integrate social justice in a very holistic way, and class projects across subject areas tie into overarching themes in a really impressive way. The kids are encouraged to present and implement their ideas, collaborate on projects in teams, and work on their own.The aftercare program is varied with a range of activities, especially for a small(ish) school of about 300 kids. The school grounds are also wonderful with amazing trees, and the lunch plan is healthy & prepared fresh everyday.
- Posted by Parent - Prisna
Park Day School is a great place for my kids to grow up. They focus not only on knowledge but thirst of knowledge. My child was reading at a high reading level, and his teacher came up to me and said, "your child is reading at a high level, but he doesn't seem to be enjoying what he's reading." It took some doing, but we finally found some books that excited my kid, and he loves reading until this day. At other schools, I think they would've been satisfied with the fact that he was so advanced, but this exemplifies Park Day's philosophy and methods.
- Posted by Parent - Alex
We enrolled my child in Park Day for middle school. We are really happy with our decision. The school creates a supportive environment for my daughter's learning style and centers progressive approaches to education and learning. The curriculum and classroom activities focus on teaching students personal responsibility, empathy, and kindness, and the academics are taught in a way that invites the children to learn through asking questions and exploring possibilities through critical thinking. If you are looking for rigorous academic curriculum this may not be the school for you. If you are open to a holistic approach that teaches inclusiveness and fosters collaborative learning and teaching approaches, then PDS is a great option. The students are involved together as an active student body, PDS families get together often for school activities, and the kids participate in public service projects to give back to the community. There are some areas of growth at PDS which is the case with every school. I have seen that the staff and administration are open to hear the voices of the parents and the students and are open for the opportunity to continue to grow and strengthen the school.
- Posted by Parent - Renee
Park Day School is a place where my two children (5th and 7th) are thriving -- and they have been doing so since day one of Kindergarten. (Actually, let`s cut to the chase: I highly suggest you take a tour. It`s the best way to experience for yourself and your child(ren) the dynamic and joyful learning environment that is Park Day. And to prepare yourself for the tour, read on-)Our middle schooler comes home unable to contain himself when he talks about the brain science they are studying; and the deep dive they take into ancient civilizations and the building of his ancient Chinese water chain in the Innovation Workshop. Park Day has also cultivated in him a motivation and curiosity to dig-in to his challenging math homework because he wants to really understand it. My favorite days are when the conversations he has at school about the difference between equality (people getting the same thing) and equity (people getting what they need to be successful) continue at home. Two middle school teachers are new to Park Day this year, but NOT new to teaching (one has 8 yrs teaching middle school, the other 12 yrs). They are great additions to the middle school team. What I also deeply appreciate about Park Day is that it has an amazing Social Justice Initiative, which permeates not just the school but the entire community. This place doesn`t shy away from the so-called "hard" conversations. There are guest speakers for parents to discuss and engage in productive dialogue about diversity and inclusion, and at the same time, equity is a natural part of every class for our kids. Example: At the estimation fair (a combo of math and science), some middle schoolers chose as their project to estimate how long it would take to work a minimum-wage job to pay off the national debt. Our head of school, Roel Mason-Vivit, brings so much joy and energy to Park Day. He has brown bag lunches with the students; holds morning coffees with parents; and sometimes in the morning, he`s even in the drop-off area to greet us because he understands that are there are multiple ways to get to know your community. Roel is also bringing excellent professional development for our teachers, and handles with amazing grace and aplomb both the day-to-day and long-term needs of the school. My experience at the school has been phenomenal. The roughest point was a few years ago with the tragic and untimely death of Tom Little, who was head of school for 20+ years. It was a sock in the gut for everyone. Yet Park Day, true to its values, has held every single staff member (classroom teachers and non-classroom staff alike!), every student and every parent through the grieving process. Park Day has been around for 40 years and the alumni go on to do well -- and good -- in the world with courage, confidence, and an incredible sense of purpose.
- Posted by Parent - Dara
Park Day has been such an incredible experience for our family. Our children's transition to the Park Day middle school was seamless. The teachers, staff and community are so welcoming. There is such talent and expertise in the way Park approaches learning making it engaging and meaningful for students.We continue to be impressed with Park's academic excellence and how well our children understand and want to share the content they are learning. My very shy and reserve children have found their voice not only for themselves but for others that need support. We appreciate how Park integrates a social justice focus and social emotional development opportunities into a rigorous academic curriculum and culture of the school.My children are developing their sense of self and an awareness of their role in the community and greater world. They demonstrate the confidence to do the right thing and intellect to communicate why.The school does an excellent job with parent education to ensure our collective efforts to support the students are aligned.We are extremely grateful to be part of the Park Day community and recommend touring the school to get a glimpse of its magic.
- Posted by Parent - Janet
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