Echo Horizon is an elementary school by design, one that nurtures the imagination and creativity of early childhood that are essential for future academic and social learning. The School provides a safe, supportive, community with strong, loving adults whom children can trust. Here, they have time to discover and explore themselves, as they chart their paths into the future. Echo Horizon is a place where great teaching and great values converge and great kids thrive. Get to know us and see our impact.
October 10, 2014
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Echo Horizon is an OUTSTANDING school! I'm a current 5th grade student. Echo Horizon has excellent teachers, incredible art programs, and great after school classes. I am learning so much from my teachers and they're really helping me thrive. The Language Arts teacher is beyond extraordinary. I'm not going to be here next year, and I'm going to miss all the great teachers and students. Echo Horizon has really given me the wings to fly.
It always seems a little concerning when there is a flurry of posts to validate a school's position, vision and all-around "awesomesness" once a negative review has been posted. Silence is a wonderful communicator and life is a continual episode of likes and dislikes. According to the California Dept. of Education Private School listing (updated on 5/6/2015) the school only has 175 students, and an additional 21 in the Echo Center, in a facility that can accommodate over 300 students. Facts speak louder than any amount of rallying.
One point to note is that the Board of Trustees has been intrenched for many years with the same leadership at the helm. If the demise of student enrollment was but one factor of an ineffectual trusteeship then the Board would have been discharged. Take time to find out the facts, ask the hard questions and don't get sucked in to the "rapid response review team" that aims to prove that everything is amazing.
Echo Horizon is an amazing school. Martha Schuur has a true vision of what a 21st century school needs to provide: children who are collaborative, have the grit to manage a challenge and overcome defeat (see the addition of sports) and who are creative enough to innovate in a constantly changing world (see the 20% student-driven inquiry modeled after Google). Combine that with true diversity and you have an environment where the kids are kind, willing to learn and excited to go to school every day. Come watch the early morning line-up and see the kids literally skipping into class. My child reads for hours daily, unprompted, because of the emphasis on learning through a love of reading that the full-time librarian has instilled. This year's sixth grade all got into great schools, including Harvard Westlake and Winward. Yes, it's a time of transition, as you would expect after 30 years under a single leader. But this transition is being managed in a straightforward, logical and sustainable way. The parents are still a group of incredibly diverse and NORMAL people, without the preening and craziness of other westside institutions.
As a current employee of Echo Horizon School, I would like to respond to a previous negative posting about us. Echo Horizon is a wonderful school. Our new Head of School is visionary, hard working and wholeheartedly dedicated to our mission and the future of our school. Our teaching style is collaborative, inspiring and hands on. Recently, we adopted a new school mascot to compliment our newly formed sports team program. I can assure everyone that the sports program and the mascot were both implemented in response to student and family requests. The students then asked that the mascot be displayed on both of our playgrounds. So, we had a mural painted and and a large banner installed. That's the kind of Head we have, responsive. While I understand that the recent changes at Echo Horizon may be jarring to some, for those of us leaving and those of us staying it is very difficult to see a valued member of our community speak of us so disrespectfully. I respectfully disagree with the previous post and sincerely hope that my response is helpful.
Echo Horizon is an amazing school. We feel lucky and grateful to be a part of this community. The school has done a good job cultivating a warm and grounded atmosphere while also evolving into one of the most selective and high-quality elementary schools in LA. Personally, as an alumni of top-tier private schools from elementary school through Harvard, I can say definitively that Echo stands up well to other top-tier schools across the nation. As Echo admissions have become more selective over the years and the school has has chosen to stand apart from the crowd of independent elementary schools in LA with quality at the center, some current parents and unlucky applicants have balked at the changes. Our family counts itself lucky to be a part of this great school.
I strongly disagree with the earlier negative comment. Anyone that is actually a part of Echo knows that this school s mission and practical implementation is simply the opposite of these false arguments. Martha and her team couldn t be more active about driving this school to be inspiring, innovative and flexible. Its students couldn t be more engaged, excited and curious. Echo is a school that celebrates differences, promotes innovative thinking and exploration. It s a really tight community with wonderful families who care deeply about this school and its kids. We know many of the other Westside independent schools and have friends with kids in most of them. All have their pluses and minuses and most are dealing with similar trends of enrollment. We salute Martha and her dedicated team for having vision, passion and for recognizing the opportunity to turn Echo into a smaller school with a clearer direction. Yes, we are sad to see some of the teachers leave but confident that the new structure and direction will only make Echo a better learning and development environment for our children.
I am a parent with two children at the school. We feel very fortunate to have a school such as Echo Horizon. From our experience, bigger isn't better, and the fact that the school is actively choosing the get smaller is a welcome change. The school feels like a home, now more than ever. Losing a few teacher's assistants is regrettable but hardly earth shattering. The certified teacher to student ratio will be even lower, and they're not cutting a single service the school provides -- in fact, they're adding more! Lean and mean! But the most amazing thing (to me) about the school is the community of parents and students who belong to it. Great kids, great families. That's what truly makes a school strong, and Echo Horizon has exactly that. The negative reviewer clearly isn't part of that community, which is almost as surprising as it is sad. I hope you find someplace that better suits your family, mine happily belongs to Echo Horizon.
As a parent who went through the school selection process for our child last year, I want to give as much information as I can to help other families. - TEACHERS & STAFF: I have never doubted the commitment of the teachers and staff since I took my first tour here. We've always felt comfortable reaching out to teachers, sharing tips on how our child learns best and tracking progress. The projects you see decorating the hallways are done by the students (not their parents late at night). - COMMUNITY: We wanted a smaller learning environment, the way neighborhood schools used to be. When you walk the halls, it's peaceful and the children are laughing and smiling. Echo families are supportive and welcoming. - COMMUNICATION: You receive weekly updates via email, and you can always walk in and talk to someone. --->I lowered this review by a star however, due to the way they rolled out the significant changes coming up this year (moving to a one class per grade model, ~20-24 students per class with 2 teachers in each room). At the town hall, parents asked the school for greater transparency going forward, and we plan to stay at least another year to evaluate the changes.
This school is a sinking ship. Due to plummeting enrollment and shrinking revenue, they are planning to eliminate all teaching assistants and half the teachers. The new administration has no vision. Its leadership style is divisive, rigid, and overly reactive; the focus seems to be politician first, educator second. Stylistically the school has done a 180 from a developmental, meet the child where they are approach to a one size fits all, rote learning, workbook-based, drill-and-kill approach with test after test after test. There is a heavy focus on sports teams, logos, mascots, and sweatshirts, and precious little innovation in terms of actual academics. The school once boasted some passionate, talented, devoted teachers, but most have fled or been forced out, leaving behind one or two good teachers and a slew of mediocre or downright awful ones. The original mission of the school, to educate deaf children in a mainstream environment, seems lost in a misguided attempt to become the next Curtis or JTD. It s a shame. The gentle, nurturing place that once was EHS is no longer. Like many others, we would leave at our earliest opportunity, but there is nowhere to go.
We have been at EHS for one year and couldn't be more satisfied. The school is going in the right direction. Every school goes through a change and EHS has the best interest of the students at heart. We support Martha's vision for creating a motivating environment for the school. I question if the negative post was actually written by anyone connected to EHS.