Welcome to Peralta Elementary School!

Peralta Elementary School is a designated Arts Demonstration School in the Oakland Unified School District. Established in 1880 as a one-room schoolhouse, Peralta today has about 300 students in kindergarten through 5th grade.

The school has a tradition of family involvement and activism that stretches back to the 19th century.

Our school is deeply committed to the arts, academics, and community involvement. Our students’ academic success reflects our focus on helping every child succeed, and on lowering the achievement gap. For the past several years, test scores for Peralta’s African-American students on the Academic Performance Index have been the highest in Oakland Unified — and in the top ten in California — among schools with similar demographics.

Our abundant gardens and vibrant murals create a welcoming environment where our students feel at home. Our social-emotional curriculum is integrated into the curriculum beginning in kindergarten, allowing students to become skilled problem solvers who take responsibility for keeping our campus peaceful.

At a glance

A glimpse from the street is enough to reveal that Peralta is well-loved. Our building is nothing special, but the colorful murals and lush gardens are. Inside the classrooms, teachers use state and district standards as a base with with lots of room to follow their own passions and creativity.

Our high achievement was recognized when Peralta was selected as a California Distinguished School. Standardized test scores for all students rank among the top elementary schools in Oakland. Eliminating the achievement gap is a top priority for our teachers and administration, and we have been recognized for our high achievement among African American students. Peralta also has had the highest percentage of African American students in OUSD scoring at advanced or proficient levels in math on the California Standards Test. Our students’ hard work was recognized when Peralta was honored as a Title I Achievement School for 2010.

With just under 300 students, our campus has the feel of an extended-family of sorts. Peralta’s after-school program and enrichment classes run until 6 p.m., providing support for working families. Peralta has a long history of community involvement and activism — running back to the 1880s, when land was donated by three citizens to build the one-room schoolhouse (check out an oral history of Peralta’s early days). We celebrate our diverse population and we work hard to build a strong community.

Principal Giselle Hendrie and Peralta’s teachers are dedicated to integrating the arts into all aspects of the curriculum. For the past several years, we have been lucky to have two artists-in-residence funded through a Oakland City Arts and Culture Grant as well as the California Arts Council. We have been designated as an Arts Demonstration School by Alameda County and our partners, Harvard’s Project Zero and theCalifornia College of the Arts. Recently, we’ve built a partnership with San Francisco’s de Young Museum as well as the San Francisco Opera, which piloted its new education program at Peralta in 2008-2009.

We also pioneered Second Step, an anti-violence curriculum that teaches social-emotional skills and is now mandated in all the Oakland public schools. Beginning in kindergarten, students are given a “tool box” of skills to help them understand and express their feelings, resolve conflicts, and respect others. It’s common to hear students using Second Step language on the playground, and this common language is a big part of what gives the campus its peaceful atmosphere.

Over the past decade or so, the Peralta staff and community have been working to make the school a green oasis in the neighborhood. Many tons of asphalt have been removed and replaced with edible gardens, a small amphitheater, a kindergarten play area, and a California natives garden. Our gardens are teaching tools, helping students to learn about healthy eating, science, and stewardship of our land and our community. Families help maintain the gardens during monthly work days, which build community and give students a feeling of ownership and responsibility for their school. Our gardens have been held up as local and regional models.

Every square foot of our campus buzzes with activity, during the school day, after school, and on many weekends. As a community, we strive to follow the Peralta pledge:

Peralta is our name, learning is our game.

   Peralta is our school. We think it’s very cool.

     The teachers teach, the students reach

        For each and every tool

           We need to learn in school.

   Peralta is our name, learning is our game.

      We listen

         We do

            We help each other

               We learn from our mistakes

                 We succeed!