This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Willows Community School5
Posted January 29, 2015
- a parent
I love The Willows. We relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco, and my son was understandably nervous about starting a new school in 3rd grade. But everyone was so amazing and welcoming! The kids are sweet, the teachers wonderful and caring, and the curriculum is challenging and very hands on. My kid genuinely loves going to school every day.
Bravo to The Willows Community School for mainstreaming kids from Park Century into your Middle School. I have a son in the 7th grade at Park Century and was happy to hear that a student in his class is being mainstreamed into the Willows 7th grade this year. The fact The Willows is now taking our kids, and creating specialized programs for them so that they can take advantage of The Willows extracurricular programs while receiving ed therapy creates an exciting option for kids with learning challenges. Choices for these students are limited in Los Angeles, and The Willows can expect a big bump in middle school tours and applications with this new policy.
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.
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.