In a quiet residential neighborhood surrounded by majestic eucalyptus trees, the sound of children’s laughter permeates through the air. Listening more closely, you can also hear the clink of a playground swing, the patter of small feet running, the bleat of goats. When searching for the source of these sounds, you’ll discover Woodroe Woods School nestled next to Don Castro Regional Park.
Since 1974, Woodroe Woods School has provided preschool through 2nd grade programs for more than 5,000 students and families. Over the years, Woodroe became renown for its rural setting, play-based philosophy, and acceptance of all children. Woodroe teachers became known for their empathy and compassion, leveraging their ~300 years of experience to instill a strong foundation for learning and integrity in the children. Woodroe students became known for having self-confidence and self-respect, understanding that there are different ways to achieve, and exceed, the standards expected to be met. Woodroe alumni became known for being successful in their academic and business careers, some returning to Woodroe to teach, to enroll their own children, or both. In June 2016, due to retirement and selling of the property, Woodroe Woods will need a new home.
We, Woodroe teachers, parents, students, and alumni, have banded together to form Woodroe’s New Beginning, a group dedicated to this effort of keeping our 41-year-old school open. We have been gifted the 501(c)(3) school status, existing supplies, and the teachers and staff are ready to carry on. We need assistance in finding a new location for Woodroe Woods School, so we can continue to provide quality early education in the Hayward and Castro Valley communities and keep the Woodroe Woods legacy alive.
As it currently stands, there is already a shortage of early education and childcare options in the Castro Valley area. In a 2014 report, the Alameda County Early Care and Education Planning Council listed Castro Valley as priority one of needing care for preschool-aged children, given a shortage of 83% children not serviced. Compound that with existing schools being at capacity, approximately 160 current Woodroe students enrolled, 140 families recently impacted by another nearby school closure – if we are unable to keep Woodroe open, approximately 300 families will have their children displaced in the space of a year. All of these families will be looking for new preschool and childcare, only to discover the lack of available options. The Castro Valley region will be in dire straits. Property values will decline, thriving neighborhoods will stagnate, and our communities will lose their appeal. Both young families and out-of-work teachers will leave the area in search of premiere preschools and childcare elsewhere. In hopes of preventing this crisis from becoming reality, we have been working tirelessly to find a new home for the school, and the search continues.
The challenges are many. Being a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it is difficult for Woodroe’s
New Beginnings to compete with developers when looking to purchase or lease land, despite that a high demand for housing is accompanied by a high demand for quality schools and childcare services. We have limited resources, as all volunteers are balancing full-time jobs and personal family obligations in addition to making Woodroe’s New Beginnings a priority.
We are working under a tight time constraint, as we would like Woodroe to move into its new home in June 2016 – which is only six months away. Even after a new location is secured, it will take months to finalize contracts, acquire permits/licenses, purchase equipment, prepare the classrooms, and so on.
In the spirit of the “Every Student Succeeds Act” recently signed by President Obama into legislation, please help us provide more children access to high-quality preschool and childcare services. Any form of support will be appreciated, from a monetary donation to land acquisition or business services or any type of referral that would help our cause.
Please, help us save our school.
Stephanie Fry, on behalf of Woodroe’s New Beginnings
22502 Woodroe Ave.
Hayward, CA 94541