School Details

Norma Coombs Alternative School

2600 Paloma Street, Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 396-5660
7

(out of 10)

Public Grades K-5 440 students 26 students/teacher (CA avg is 21)

Test Scores by grade

60%
57%
56%
62%
65%
65%

California Standards Test (CST)

In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.
  • This school in 2013
  • Pasadena Unified average
  • California state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

66%
48%
46%
80%
68%
66%

California Standards Test (CST)

In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.
  • This school in 2013
  • Pasadena Unified average
  • California state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

79%
62%
65%
77%
69%
72%

California Standards Test (CST)

In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.
  • This school in 2013
  • Pasadena Unified average
  • California state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

62%
55%
60%
63%
62%
65%
70%
58%
57%

California Standards Test (CST)

In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.
  • This school in 2013
  • Pasadena Unified average
  • California state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

About this school

Norma Coombs Alternative School is a public elementary school in Pasadena. The principal of Norma Coombs Alternative School is Jennifer Smith Jackson and can be contacted at smithjackson.jennife@pusd.us. 440 students go to Norma Coombs Alternative School and are mostly Asian; Hispanic; and Black, non-Hispanic. 21% of the Norma Coombs Alternative School students are "limited in English proficiency." 63% of the 440 students here have subsidized lunches. The student to teacher ratio at Norma Coombs Alternative School is 26:1. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School is one of the nearest elementary schools.

Extracurricular activities

Arts

  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Computer arts
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra

Languages Taught

  • Japanese

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Asian 7% 3%
Hispanic 40% 56%
Black, non-Hispanic 29% 21%
White, non-Hispanic 20% 17%
Filipino 2% 2%
Multiracial 1% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.7% 0.2%
Unspecified 0.5% 1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.5% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.2% %
Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.2%

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 63% 52%
Limited English proficiency 21% 22%

Community ratings & reviews

  • (3 months ago)

    My daughter goes to this school Kindergarten I would give 5 stars for Miss Debbie best Kinder teacher hands down the progress of my child was unbelievable plus Miss Debbie is the most wonderful teacher you can wish for kindergarten.My daughter is now in first grade good teacher as well Miss Glenn of course nobody will ever be at Miss Debbie's level she just set the bar impossible to reach for any other teacher.The principal is not good she is extremely ignorant never helpful kids love her but parents are on their own I would say this principal must go.I am also very concerned of the future teachers my daughter will have because I hear a lot of yelling almost like in jail I will not allow this to happen to my child we will probably change schools before she gets treated like that.

  • (8 months ago)

    My children are in Kinder & 2nd grade at NCAS. Both kids have caring supportive teachers. The new principle is devoted to her students. Literacy is a top priority at NCAS. Students are happy and there is a lot of parent involvment. Parents are asked to donate to help with some programs but isn't that the norm at all schools these days. We have school choice options and we choose to go to NCAS. Demographics is an even slice out of Pasadena. My children are academically on par with their friends from private schools.

  • (10 months ago)

    The school has a new principal and is making progress. There is still ceramics. There are still music programs for 3rd 4th and 5th plus after school choir for all grades. There are new mobile computer carts but funds are needed to continue computer instruction and the school is asking families to donate. There is still a part time librarian and teachers do take students to check out books throughout the year. True there is not much of a science lab but it needs funding. Parents who want to get more involved or who have ideas for solutions are welcome to share. Every school has its challenges and I think this school is making good effort to move forward. My kids have made progress every year thanks to the many dedicated teachers there.

  • (10 months ago)

    Sadly Norma Coombs has had two disappointing principals in a row and it isn't the school it used to be. The website promises great programs but the school doesn't live up to them. The science lab is a joke. My child's mixed grade class was terrible. The Library is never open. The Principal only cares about her favorites and if you aren't in her special clique don't expect to have any issues with your child addressed. But she won't hesitate to ask you for money over and over. She only cares about using technology for education and is willing to strip out all creativity to pay for computers. It seems her goal is to have robots for teachers and chase out and shut down any human that doesn't follow her regime. If you want your kids to learn first hand about fascism then definitely send your kids here. There are some good teachers but most have lost their light and are just going through the motions. There are a few great parents working hard to do good things but they get little support from the majority. It is the same small group doing everything while the rest drop off and pick up and never look back.

  • (1 year ago)

    School does not have the funds to help educate your child. California State Test results from 2013 did not count. Funds were pulled from this school. No music class computer class started a few months before school was out. New teachers are needed. New principal is needed who cares about these kids and the their future.

  • (1 year ago)

    This is an appreciation of a teacher that exceeded my expectations! PUSD has a jewel in there system.Mrs Charlotte Caldwell an outstanding and caring second grade teacher at Norma Coombs Alternative School went above and beyond the expected time given for each class. When most teachers are relaxing on their break she would spend extra time with my son to help him become more engaged with his school work. Also I noticed that she took the curriculum and changed it to meet my son s needs to in-crease his learning potential. She noticed my son had a hard time focusing and tookthat as a challenge rather than a problem. My son enjoys going to school now be-cause a teacher cared.

  • (1 year ago)

    My son went here for their hgh-functioning Autism class. The strides he made in 6 weeks were amazing. We moved out of state for a new job and haven't found anything close to this program.

  • (1 year ago)

    Hope I'm wrong and I admit I'm spoiled we used to be able to afford private elementary (it had it's own difficulties) but I felt like a person there not a number on a line in the boiling hot sun chanting. NCAS so far sub-par. A slew of kids. My special needs kid is lost in the sauce trying to figure out an overwhelming situation for neuro-typical kids. Lots of lip service when we get into IEP meetings. They're over their heads and don't call a spade a spade. We're headed for rough roads ahead in this scenario. Playground a dustbin buildings uninspiring curtains faded....no flowers no grass...Kid's still sweet hope they have support at home b/c it's a jungle here.

  • (1 year ago)

    I have a 5th grader and a 1st grader at NCAS. We have been through some transition in leadership over the past few years which has been a challenge. However the teachers have been consistently fabulous. They really care about the kids and have a passion for teaching - even in the face of the budget cuts that all schools across CA have been dealing with over the past few years. Parents are very involved which really helps keep the extras like library computer lab music and ceramics going - as well as fun activities like fall festival. I'm happy we've stuck with NCAS even with some of the ups and downs over the past few years.

  • (1 year ago)

    This a great school. Dr. Williams was a great principal. My son is missing the pledge of alligiance the morning show. He missis Dr. Williams. Thes darn parents from the PTSA think they speak for all the parents in the school. They want to do the principals job so bad I want to see them run a school after they obtain their Doctorate. Other than the PTSA the teachers are great & they really care for our children & their education. They challenge them to think outside the box.

  • (1 year ago)

    My child has been at NCAS for the last 4 yrs. NCAS have faced major challenges throughout the years but we survived. People can complain all they want about the principal but what people don't realize is the principal only has so much power. Every decision must be approved by the district. It's not right but it is what it is. There are too many politics gossips and no nonsense bashing and it's ridiculous. Parents STOP IT! We are here for our children's education. There are parents that should just step aside and see how they act. When you point a finger at the principal there are 4 fingers pointing back at you. Grow up parents!

  • (2 years ago)

    I think that Dr. Williams is a great principal and the teachers are awesome! I do worry about a few of the PTSA parents and there mob mentality............

  • (2 years ago)

    Dr. Williams is running this school down to the ground. Her "quiet zone" is a joke. She yells and screams at students and blows her whistle while in the "quiet zone." She lacks people skills and has no idea how to run a school. She has worked against the parent volunteers by making them schedule appointments to volunteer. She sides with rude office staff and allows them to continue to be rude to parents staff and visitors. Dr. Williams' "open door policy" is NOT an actual open door policy. You must schedule an appointment to see her and she is well known for breaking her appointments. Not a way to run a school. This woman does not belong in education. It's really sad to see a once great school and community being torn apart by an incompetent "educator."

  • (2 years ago)

    NCAS was my first and only choice for my kids. NCAS is the most diverse school in the district the teachers are top notch and the principal(Dr. Watkins) was the complete package. These are the reasons why we chose to bring our kids here. Two years ago Dr. Watkins decided to head back home to Georgia. Her departure and the arrival of Dr. Williams left most of us wondering if things were going to change. Well they did. Dr. Williams has NO leadership skills. Her inability to talk to parents allow volunteers on campus and her constant screaming in the "quiet zone" are driving my wife and I to change schools. Also the office staff is very rude and will only act nicely to those they know. The fact that my kids LOVE the school's teachers and their friends had us stay for one more year. If things don't change as far as Dr. Williams is concerned we will be headed elsewhere. I know of a lot of families that have left and it's a shame. The school has lost a lot of good families and will be losing a lot more because of Dr. Williams.

  • (2 years ago)

    Since our kids began here at Norma Coombs we have found a very warm and loving environment in all of their classes. The teachers genuinely care about each and every student. Our Kindergarten teacher sent home a note with a list of the children and each of their "special qualities." This impressed us with how well she knew each child. You get a real community feeling here which you can see after dropoff in the morning when MANY parents stop to chat with one another and check in. We have a very active PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Assoc.) Board School Site Council ELAC and AAPC - the parents are committed to tackling any issues thrown at them in an effort to make this school a great learning environment. We are thrilled to be Lions and to call Norma Coombs our home!

  • (2 years ago)

    Norma Coombs needs to address their number one problem teacher 5th grade teacher Ms. Whitley. She is a bully who verbally abuses children who is unflexible and uncaring and I wish the principal would LISTEN to all of the parents of the children in Ms. Whitley's class. Norma Coombs is an ok school until the child reaches 5th grade and they HAVE to deal with this teacher. Very sad.....

  • (2 years ago)

    The teachers at this school care about our children and the volunteer parent community is very involved and passionate about providing the "extras" even while school budgets continue to be cut. These programs include Computer Lab Music and Ceramics. It is a great school and we are happy with our choice.

  • (2 years ago)

    My daughter started at Norma Coombs in the 3rd Grade (2011-12) and while it was a difficult transition her 4th Grade year is going very well! The 4th grade teachers are both awesome and I stay in constant communication with each to ensure my daughter's progress and success! The teachers parents and staff make NCAS a great learning environment for our children and I couldn't be happier with the Music Ceramics and Computer Lab programs in place! This was an excellent choice for us...I am very excited about the rest of the school year!

  • (2 years ago)

    Norma Coombs is a "choice school" in the Pasadena Unified School District which means it doesn't have an assigned neighborhood. As a result the student body reflects the diversity of Pasadena as a whole rather than one of its neighborhoods. This is one reason we chose Norma Coombs. Another reason is that they still emphasize the arts (ceramics music choir etc) when most other schools have cut their programs. They've keep their library open while most other schools have lost theirs. All these factors make for a very well-balanced education for our two children. Unfortunately 2010-2011 was a rocky year for Norma Coombs PUSD was threatening to close the school despite its great successes. The parents and staff fought hard and kept Normal Coombs open. And then our principal left. As a result our API has not grown as it has in the past. The new principal is still adjusting to our somewhat unique school community but she is making good progress. Norma Coombs has a very strong parent involvement and its PTSA (the S is for Students) does a fantastic job at fundraising and generating a sense of community. As budget cuts keep coming Norma Coombs keeps roaring.

  • (2 years ago)

    We are so thankful that our daughter was granted admittance to NCAS. She has completed 2 wonderful years and is doing awesome in 2nd grade... We continue to be impressed with the teachers faculty/staff parents and students. We love NCAS because of the sense of community the drive for excellence in all areas and the well-balanced curriculum inclusive of ceramics computers and library... Norma Coombs is also invested in the community providing meals to families for Thanksgiving participating in Toys for Tots for Christmas and numerous other community efforts... All of the boards at NCAS (PTSA SSC AAPC ELAC) contain highly qualified parents and staff to provide excellent leadership... NCAS has always risen to any challenges and continues to prove triumphant.... GO LIONS!!!

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Overall score

(based on 69 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement

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