My child is in the 8th grade at the Willows and we have been there since elementary school. Say what you want about the school, but my child has learning differences and the school has been great about involving tutors and ed therapists throughout my child's time at the school. The Willows seems to have an unusually high percentage of kids with learning challenges, and they do an excellent job of accommodating them. I have heard complaints from parents with children who don't have challenges that feel their kids are bored. We are lucky, through attrition, to have a very small grade and my child gets lots of personal attention. If your child has learning differences, this would be a great school for you.
I have a child in the middle school, and we have been there since elementary school. I will say that though this school is great for some kids, it is not for everyone. There is a bullying problem in both the elementary and middle schools, and if the prior posts don't think there is, they are either turning a blind eye, or they are lucky enough not to have their children be the victim of school bullies and not have had to deal with the administration about these issues. I am uniquely suited to comment on the school as I also have a child at another middle school in West LA. I can tell you from experience that school's curriculum is infinitely more inspiring and engaging than The Willows. The teachers are higher quality, and the school has a real board of directors who are also educators instead of a board consisting of the highest donors. I think that the families that are happy at the Willows are happy because they have no knowledge of what other school's curriculums and administrations are like. I echo what that other parent said -- if I knew then, what I know now, I would not have chosen this school for my child.
Our boys go to The Willows and look forward to going to school each day and they are happy when they come home. They have LOVED all of their teachers. The teachers are the core of the school and they have an amazing connection with the kids and with each other. The students are constantly learning and so are the teachers - always approaching education with a fresh perspective and always thinking of new ways to engage the kids. Willows is dynamic - always forward thinking and willing to try new things. This energy and love for learning is shared throughout the school and passed onto the kids. The kids are EXCITED to learn, they are learning at the perfect pace, are in a comfortable environment and the teachers are absolutely on top of it - taking as much care with the student's social/emotional learning as they do with the academics. The faculty and Head of the School are equally incredible. As parents, we have many opportunities to have our voices heard, whether it is a concern or an idea. The entire school is absolutely committed to your family and your child's education. It truly feels like an extension of your family when you go to The Willows.
I am a current parent and alumni parent of The Willows. I was brought to the school through the search of a middle school and fell in love with the program, faculty, staff, administration, curriculum and community that we decided to enroll all 3 of our children! The middle school is unlike any other. The kids are provided tools to become independent thinkers, develop their own voice, reach outside their comfort zone all in a safe, positive and encouraging environment. My 9th grader has lifelong friends, high academic skills and amazing memories from The Willows. Reading some of the remarks about bullying in middle school is totally unrealistic. I have been very involved in the middle school for the past 4 years and the administration and faculty are on top of any issues that arise in that area. The kids are given the skills to handle conflict and seak help when needed. I have seen first hand action taken immediatly by teachers and administrators when the occurance of a kid being "mean" seldom happens. We are also experiencing the same positive, engaging, dynamic curriculum and warm. loving environment in the lower school. The Willows is a gift to our children.
This is really a special school. We have been here for 7 years and I am so deeply sad that there will be a day when my children are not at The Willows. The new campus is stunning and a wonderful physical extension of the extraordinary program. The teachers are inspired and inspiring. We couldn't be happier.
I am an alumni parent. Both of my children attended the school and had an excellent experience. They have gone on to be passionate, directed, engaged young adults. The Willows provided them with a wonderful academic program preparing them for success in high school and college. In my experience the administration was very responsive to behavioral issues and worked in partnership with the parents to resolve social issues. The school also offered ongoing opportunities for discussion with the administration. Not every school is right for every family but that doesn't mean there is something wrong with the school or the family. Rather then blame the school(s) families should seek an environment that will suit their child's needs.
I would encourage the family who wrote the previous post to contact the administration and work with them to resolve the situation. It seems unlikely a school would give a child "free reign" to mean. My experience at the school has been only positive and when issues have come up the administration has worked with us. Part of growing up is dealing with different personalities and situations. As a parent I want my child to have the tools to deal with difficult situations and The Willows, despite what the previous post states, does not find "mean behavior" acceptable.
From a students perspective, I have gone to this school for 10 years. The willows has taught me how to spread my wings and they have helped me take my next big step in life. Willows is different, and yes It may have some flaws but every school does. There is no such thing as a perfect school with perfect teachers and what not. When you grow as an adolescent at this school, you learn stuff about yourself and you grow both as a person and a student. I don't regret going to this school, if you ask teachers for help they will help, it may be different for parents but as a student I really have enjoyed my years here.
I went to The Willows K through 8th, and I am now going to be in 11th grade at Wildwood. I had a great time at Willows, but it did not prepare me for high school. I left Willows with good grades, but have realized that I wasn't taught a lot of important stuff. My other Willows friends are also having a hard time at other schools. Kids at Crossroads, Brentwood, Campbell Hall and Oakwood are all having a hard time catching up. I should mention that we don't have learning issues. This is important because the Willows takes in a lot of kids with learning issues. I did love going to the Willows, but most of us Willows grads are freaking out over our high school grades and how they are going to affect us getting into a good college. I have never posted anything like this before, but thought that other parents should know about this.
I have 2 children at the Willows, both in the elementary school. If I had a decent public school in our neighborhood, my children would be going there. There is a big bullying problem at the school, especially in the upper elementary grades, and the administration does not how to curtail this. However, our largest issue is with the quality of the education. For the most part our teachers are green, in fact, several were PE teachers and yard monitors. My kids have been assessed with the hopes of transferring to another school, and both are at least 6 months behind in Math and English according to state standards. In both of my children's classes at least 75% of the students have some kind of tutor. Lisa Rosenstein runs a school that is tailored to the average student. More time is spent preparing for events that parents attend than actually teaching the children. If your child has learning issues, The Willows might be a good fit. My children don't have learning issues, and I look forward to moving them to a school where they can be inspired, motivated and actually taught. If you have another choice take it, speak to parents who will be honest with you before going here!
My two children have attended the Willows Community School for the past five years. They love their teachers and classmates. Both kids are thriving academically and are growing into kind, responsible people. We were looking for a community and have found it at The Willows -- from the daily interactions with the children and faculty, as well as the school-wide activities throughout the year. If I could turn back the clock, I'd enroll myself!
My husband and I toured many schools in Los Angeles when we were looking for an elementary school for our daughter. After doing our due diligence we found The Willows to be the best fit for our family. Our daughter is now in 4th grade and we have been very happy with the school thus far. The teachers are exceptional. They are committed to the learning process and are able to teach in a nurturing way that has allowed our daughter to grow not just as a student but as a person. She is excited to go to school every day. The students have an air of self-confidence and poise from the DK to the Middle school. A recurring thought that my husband and I have had, since we first toured the school, is that if we were kids this is the place we would want to be!
Our daughter has been at The WIllows for four years and has been thriving! Everyday, she engages in creative, inspiring, and thought provoking lessons... and she adores her teachers and fellow students. The administration is always available and interested in discussing your child's individual strengths, and areas for improvement - both academically and socially. This year, our second child started at The Willows and she, too, has exploded with love and enthusiasm for learning. We feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to send our kids to The Willows - and we know that the confidence and work ethic they're getting from the school will follow them far into the future.
We've been at the Willows for 6 years and I have had a very different experience regarding bullying at the school. There is a zero tolerance policy towards bullying and the way the school intercedes is very age appropriate. In the lower grades, there is a lot of modeling and discussion with the children in how to treat each other. Teachers & administration absolutely provide plenty of guidance while empowering the children to find their voice and develop the skills to resolve conflicts on their own. The school emphasizes kindness and inclusion.... This has been ingrained in my 3 kids. My daughter was targeted in a "mean girl triangle" and I found the teachers & administration amazingly responsive and sensitive in dealing with the situation with all parties. In addition, the education my children have received has been amazing. The curriculum is very well planned and thought out. Programs are implemented if they strengthen the curriculum, not because they are trendy. And I can't say enough about the teachers. In the 6 years we have been at the school, we've never had a teacher that was less than excellent. These teachers truly get to know your kids.
My two children at The Willows both love their school, their teachers and their classmates. The teachers are wonderfully intelligent and caring. They inspire and engage the kids on a daily basis. The school has a supportive community of parents and an extremely accessible administration. My kids are thriving and come home happy everyday. We are so pleased to belong to such a nurturing community.
This school has a bullying problem each year due to a general lack of supervison and care. Teachers often sit and talk to eachother during recess and staff during pick-up time is scanty. As a result, children fight and treat each other meanly. Values like friendship and kindness are not emphasized. The idea is for them to work everything out themselves. Discipline is punitive rather than instructive. If you bring an issue up to administration your kid will be targeted and you may be asked to leave the school. So if your kid is not an alpha dog or mean girl...And all for 25-30k per
The Willows has been a warm and inspiring community for my whole family. My child had some issues and the entire staff including the head of school worked very closely with me to identify the issues and make sure that he got the help he needed in and out of school. He is really thriving and loves to go to school everyday. Lisa Rosenstein is a passionate founder of the school and a true visionary. When I have volunteered at the school and have worked closely with Kim and many of the faculty and staff, I have found everyone who works there to be inspired and they take great pride in their work and the school. It is a true working and warm community. There is a wide range of socioeconomic diversity, but a beautiful thing about The Willows, unlike other private schools, is nobody knows how much money anyone has because there, the economic wealth of a family is not their greatest virtue. Every family needs to find the perfect match for them. The Willows has been that for us and all the families we know that attend. I feel so fortunate and grateful.
My son is in his second year at the Willows and I could not be happier. The teachers he has had have been nothing short of fantastic. They have each been fun, enthusiastic, creative and warm. When my son comes to school, they greet him like they are genuinely thrilled to see him. Although there are some very wealthy families, there is no snobby vibe, no designer clothes or handbags on gaudy display at parent events, and there are plenty of "normal" families to counteract the wealth. In addition to the regular curriculum, my son enjoys music, art, science, gardening, p.e., poetry & library visits every week. Although it is expensive to attend private school, I feel that the money is well spent because they are fostering a love of school & learning that is priceless.
My son eneterd the school in the first grade and stayed for one year. I would say the quality of education was good ,and similar to public charter schools that he has attended. The promise of continuity of teachers between first and second grade fell through as both first grade teachers resigned at the end of year. Like most previous reviewers, my biggest challenge was with the administration and specifcally the principal who lacked flexibility and understanding of how to deal with a student going through adjustment. So, if your kid is not a 100% comformist, save your self a year of aggrevation and $20K and look somewhere else,
The Willows is a good school, however, it is not a fit for everyone. My child entered the school in the middle of the elementary year sequence and had a bit of a time adjusting. Like the previous poster, the administration lacked sensitivity and focused on problems rather than uplifting and enhancing the strengths. I think this school is great for children who are relatively average and not into breaking the status quo. In addition, the location of the school is less than ideal, it's smack in the middle of an industrial area, no lawns and the parking horrendous/non-existent, making it a nightmare to attend school functions.
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