Don't understand the hype. The curriculum is sterile and uninspiring.
They offer only what is required by the state for graduation, and little else, unless you count the utterly useless "x-block" classes which don't even appear on the school transcripts (nail art - really!). All students are required to be enrolled in at least one x-block class at all times. What an absolute waste of an educational opportunity every day! There is such rich assortment of electives that could be offered instead: mechanical drawing, art history, sculpture/ceramics, philosophy, geography, geology, drama, human anatomy & physiology, astronomy, journalism, comparative world religions, robotics, computer science/programming, etc. New West offers NONE of these classes. And don't even get me started on their nearly non-existent athletic department.
Their big selling point is that they "require" more math and science than the state mandates. Big deal, unless you can offer an interesting assortment of math and science classes (see above). If you want your kids to be bored and have all creativity and imagination sapped from them, then this is the school for you!
I wanted to offer a quick response to the two parents and community leader who recently rated this school at 1 star. First off, they are not parents with children at this school so how can they judge the inner workings of the school? I sympathize with parents regarding the unfortunate "arithmetic" of admissions, as the school has been unable to achieve it's maximum enrollment of 900 due in large part to Councilman Michael Bonin. As a result, the numbers of "outside" sixth graders that were admitted were very low as New West's charter calls for guaranteed "admits" from the local elementary school, Brockton Elementary. The school then provides admissions for siblings of current students. After that, most unfortunately, there are just a handful of slots remaining. As the school has keen interest from the community, it manages the process by holding "one" Open House and managing a lottery process.
One word sums of the School, it's Administration and it's Teachers. "Fantastic." The biggest shortcoming of the school is limited sports teams so if your son or daughter is an athlete it is likely worth considering others depending on the sport(s) interests of your child. New West may eventually have a strong sports program, but for now it is modest. (Note: in contrast it's Dance Program is truly exceptional). Other than that, this school is like an educational oasis in big LA. Given it's modest size (approx 125 per grade level), nearly everyone knows each other, which I find very attractive, both for accountability and realness. My wife and I both feel very fortunate that we were lottery winners and able to secure entry into this school for our daughter.
I too was taken aback by the process of getting into this school. They give you one chance to go to a mandatory meeting and if you can't make it you have no chance of getting in. Even if you can make it you have little chance of getting in. They make you jump through hoops and make it impossible to communicate with anyone about admission. Not a very welcoming process!
From our experiences -Overrated & a poorly run private school taking public funds. Nothing is really high academic even though they pretentiously say their classes are. Teachers are mediocre at best. Compare curriculum and school work at other schools, you will find that New West is not really academic. Most schools have to teach kids of all stripes and do not have the generous funding from wealthy parents that New West does. If your child has any learning differences this is not the place for you since they will most likely try to bully your child and you, so that you will leave. they can barely teach the regular classes. For a school this size you will find all the same problems of drugs, cliques, fights etc. If you live in the area University High is excellent so why would you bother with this school. No real sports, or extracurricular and advanced classes are combined so really not challenging for anyone. This is really a HUGE PASS and Sigh of relieve to the person who worried about the lottery. They can barely manage a small school well so giving them a student body of 875 is frightening thought to the community we work with.
I'm posting to complain about the application process. As prospective parents we had to first go to a mandatory meeting at Santa Monica High School on a Saturday morning. Hundreds of parents showed up. Then we had to return to the school to pick up a lottery number a couple of weeks later. After the lottery, on the results, only 6 (yes 6) of the hundreds of people who spent their valuable time applying to this school were accepted through the lottery. All the rest of the students were "preferences" in. Knowing this in advance, why on earth would the school waste our valuable time? Other schools have lotteries too, but at there is a reasonable chance you'll get in.
New West is an amazing school. I have a 7th grader and one in 6th. I think what sets New West apart from other schools is the teachers. My daughters come home every day excited and informed of all the curriculum. My daughters have relationships and a voice with all their teachers. No matter what they have access anytime to receive help. This school shapes the whole child. My daughter has advanced in their dance program and really is excited every morning to get up and learn something new. We have been in other schools where my kids were very unhappy and what a difference in their attitude when thy're thriving and enjoying. If your thinking of sending your child I recommend it 1000 times over
New West is an exceptional school. My son began as a 6th grader and is now in 10th grade and I have seen him internalize the school's values of holding oneself to high standards and taking responsibility for one's work and actions. He is eager to learn and to feel challenged by his teachers. There's a warmth and camaraderie among the students and teachers that I have rarely seen in other schools. The students seem smart, confident, poised and cheerful and the campus has a refreshing lack of snobbishness. I highly recommend this school.
As a parent of two children at the school, I really did literally "win the lottery" (admission is fair - your number is pulled out of a hat or it isn't). Everyone who is at this school wants to be there, so the parent participation is outstanding and high. The facility is beautiful and technologically advanced, the staff is amazing (outside-the-box teaching as needed with enthusiasm and passion) and the administration is experienced and dedicated. Kids can be themselves at this school, whether your child has an IEP, is into sports, is learning how to play an instrument, is a reader or dancer - there is something for everyone at this school. Are there limitations? Of course - there are at any school, and it may not be the right fit for your child. There is no field, there is a strict transportation policy, kids and parents must volunteer, etc. The pros far outweigh the cons, at least for my family.
Wow! that is all can say. My child will be a Jr. at New West in a few days, and has been a New West Student since the 6th grade. I cannot say enough about the quality and caring of the teachers and staff. The school leadership is awesome as well. All focus seeing the big picture, the students doing the best they can and succeeding in life and school. Yes, they have rules, and yes, it is not for everybody. This is a school for parents who are involved and want to see their child happy, self confident and smart, in a safe and friendly environment. No, this school is not for everybody, no school is. My child is of mixed race and is very comfortable with all the students, parents and staff. It is a pleasure when seeing them about as to how well all the kids behave and the respect they have for themselves and others. WE so need more schools like this one!!!
New West is truly a wonderful gem. It is a high performing charter school with heavy parent involvement. I am the parent of a seventh grader this school year who for the first time is actually excited to go back to school. My student thrives in the environment that New West fosters which in my opinion is, academic excellence while also nurturing independence and leadership... among other fantastic attributes!