This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Goethe International Charter School5
Posted March 10, 2015
- a parent
At this time last year, we were looking for a school for our very shy soon-to-be kindergartner. My wife and I only speak English. We have only lived in the U.S. We wanted our child to know more of the world and its many different cultures. Goethe is perfect for us for this reason and many more. Our daughter LOVES Goethe and has made many new friends. Her favorite part? Learning German. Go figure! It is amazing to watch her confidence and abilities grow due in great part to the environment created by the gifted teachers, staff and parent volunteers at Goethe. If you are sitting there, like we were, wondering "Why would we want our child to learn German when so many people speak Spanish or Mandarin?", I would suggest taking a tour and getting a feel for the wonderful teaching method an International Baccalaureate school offers, or go to a Goethe event to feel the love and commitment. If dollars are on your mind for your child's future, check out searches like "free college tuition Germany" or "highest paid second languages."
My son has been at Goethe from the day the school started. He is in 5th grade now and is already sad that he has to leave this wonderful school. I always loved their IB program where the children learn about a certain topic like for example "water world", where my son did research on how we can conserve water in our daily lives. They emphasize team work and talk about how we can all get along and become better citizens. Every school year I was amazed by the teachers, they are dedicated, inviting and always open to communication.
We have been at Goethe for five years now. The quality of the education my children receive is excellent. Goethe is so much more than just "the German school." Yes, it provides children with the life-long gift of a second language, but it is the IB program that helps them develop the skills to become global citizens. Besides an emphasis on critical thinking children learn to be open-minded, tolerant, and compassionate. My children's classrooms practice regular community circles. When problems like teasing or exclusion surface they are dealt with immediately. For example, I was impressed by how a recent teasing incident was handled. My daughter's class did a community circle that was also attended by the administration. The students then collaborated on a "no-teasing" poster that was signed by the whole class. Then parents were informed and encouraged to discuss teasing with their children. In sum, we are happy at Goethe. The teachers are passionate and really care about the children. The administration is responsive and consistently works with parents whenever issues arise. The Goethe community is the most supportive, involved parent body you could ever imagine.
My daughter has been at Goethe since Kindergarten, the first year the school open in 2009, therefore now in 5th grade. I couldn't disagree more with the review on 2/13/15 claiming that the school doesn't do anything about bullying. The current school administration is most proactive and helpful in resolving any issues. Throughout her school years, not once she said, she didn't want to go to school, in contrary she was most concerned when she had a beginning of a cold or something that couldn't go to school the next day. As stated in other reviews, the school community is amazing. I could write many pages of our very positive experience at Goethe, how very fortune we are that our daughter got this kind of elementary school education, being exposed to so many different cultures and is a true citizen of the world community. I very highly recommend Goethe to any parents.
My son is in his third year at this school. I'm overwhelmed at the school's ability to nurture my entire child. Academically, socially and emotionally nurturing my child to become a citizen of the world. The school really exemplifies a caring school community. Recently, my son missed school due to illness and the students in my son's class took it upon themselves to write get well cards. The teacher told me it was the student's idea! The children included phrases like, "I'll help you when you come back, we miss you so much. Please get better soon. I'll help you catch up with the work you missed." The children truly care about each other because they are being nurtured to care about each other. The administration has been amazing at helping us during a very stressful time and the teachers care so much about the students. I'm amazed that my son (with no experience in a foreign language) is reading in a foreign language and understanding the content. The community is amazing, the parents committed. A jewel on the Westside and I'd give the school a 10 out of 10 for amazing teachers and admin!
In response to the below review about bullying and "not even wanting to give Goethe a star". I would give Goethe 10 stars if we could. Although it troubles me to hear that your son had a bullying experience, I can't help but wonder if it was the same event which my daughter was involved with? And if so, our experience was quite the opposite and I commend and appreciate Goethe's handling. She witnessed a boy being teased during PE, she stood up for the boy. We spoke with the teachers and administration that day. They all went into action immediately. They held a council meeting with the entire 4th grade. The children came up with ideas and a pledge of how to treat one another, which they all signed. The administration met with individual children and some parents were called. I was impressed and grateful for the swift, fair and complete attention given the incident. I have been a part of this incredible school since it's start. Our children are now bilingual, they are encouraged to be critical thinkers, leaders and empathetic peers. Every teacher we have had from K-4th has added positively to our child's development. I give Goethe 10 stars!
I don't want to give Goethe even a star. The school administration isn't able to resolve discipline's issues .My son was bullied and nobody from the school informed me .He feels that the school isn't safe and doesn't want to go there. The principal refused to talk to me about bullying. It seems to me that people who run the school are incompetent and don't want negative publicity due to appealing to LACOE for the middle school. How will they control the middle school if they can't control 4th graders? The school's IB program isn't designed for elementary school students and required parents involvement because children are not able to do assignments independently. They teach about children's rights violations in African and Asian countries but violate them in the school. The math isn't important as the IB and often skips for other activities. On my concern about not learning English grammar a teacher responded that they learned it in 1st grade. Parents can express their concerns but the school will do whatever it wants to do. I feel that my son is wasting time in the school. The only reason that kept me there was German but after bullying I'm running out.
I would have to object to the previous reviewer's comment about Goethe only celebrating German culture and traditions. There have multiple opportunities both inside and outside the class where other cultures are shared and taught about. International Fairs have been held over the years presenting the food, traditions, dances, artifacts etc of countries from all regions of the world. To name just a few examples - my daughter's class learned about Native American culture, my son did a class project on Thailand. His class learned and performed a traditional African dance taught to them by their classmates' mother. My daughter's class just went to Olvera Street after spending multiple days learning about Dia de los Muertos. Her classmates' mother was just in class wearing a beautiful sari and bindi teaching about Diwali. Two interns from her previous class was from Spain. The list goes on! To say that the school only honors and teachers about the German culture is obviously incorrect and misleading.
Goethe has been an AMAZING opportunity for our kindergarten daughter! We are not bilingual but SHE is on her way! Yes, we would have preferred Spanish, but one look at all the amazing experiences she has already had in the 2 months she has been there we are not looking back! She has made great friends (she's shy!), the parents are super supportive of the kids, other parents, teachers, staff. There's always something fun going on which is great! A big plus was a group social for incoming and current Goethe fathers - love it! Affordable after care as well until 6 pm! Every day I drop off our daughter I feel grateful we won the lottery (literally!) to get her in to this school, and grateful we found a solution to securing the highest quality education without paying private school tuition. For those of you who don't already know- Goethe is an International Baccalaureate school (IB), LAUSD Distinguished school that scores 9 out of 10 on greatschools.org website, has an API of 921, and is WASC accredited. It's a language immersion school- 50/50 English/German language, with Spanish starting 3rd grade. It's in the Westside in the Del Rey/Mar Vista area. **GO FOR IT!**
In response to the review that the administration is slow to respond to concerns from parents. How else would you want an administration to act? They are calm and patient in dealing with concerns and measured in their response. In general...I find the administration to be fantastic, the teachers a good mix of caring and strict, and the curriculum to be top notch. Thanks to this school, my three children are trilingual and scored near perfect scores on last years API test. What more could you want from a publicly funded education. Plus the amount of diversity has to be among the top 10% in all LAUSD Schools. I would like to see more after school sports options.