Windward is an excellent school. The adminstrators and teachers care deeply about students academically and emotionally. The academics are challenging and their are ample extracurriculars to meet a variety of student interests. Windward is, however, a very traditional school. This is a great school for kids who are comfortable and can function under a great deal of pressure and do not need a more creative learning environment. If you are the parent of a student athlete or future doctor, engineer or attorney this is the school for you. If you are the parent of a more creative, divergent kind of thinker -- look elsewhere. This is a pre-professional high school for kids who are heading to pre-professional colleges. That's not a bad thing. It is just the truth.
Our daughter is finishing up her first year as a 7th grader at Windward School. We are very pleased with the academics, athletics, and the community as whole. She has grown and matured as a 13 year old, both academically and socially. Our experiences with the teachers have been very rewarding and satisfying as parents who only want what is best for their child. The teachers, partnered with the administrators, work very well together to help the students reach their full potential while holding them accountable for their roles in the community; fostering responsibility, integrity, and social morality.
Windward is and has been an amazing experience for our girls. Both have excelled academically beyond our expectations and are enjoying the social environment. High points about Windward are the diversity, size of the school, small enough that no student goes "unnoticed," and the teachers, staff and families - mutual respect amongst all. Very, very satisfied with Windward!
As a substitute teacher of 6+ years, I have worked throughout LA, and am exceptionally qualified to compare Windward to other schools. Hands down, Windward is my favorite school to work at. The culture is friendly, supportive, academically rigorous, and there is almost never a problem of students acting out in class! They instill acceptance, compassion, and mutual support among students and faculty alike. The kids come to class prepared to learn and work, and I don't witness the same apathy and defiance I do at other schools. I've never seen students get in fights. And despite a diverse student population, racial tensions are nonexistent. The highly negative reviews seem fictional to me. In my 6+ years coming to Windward I have never witnessed bullying/mean-girl issues or excessive cliquey-ness. Some cliques will naturally appear in any large mixed social setting, but there's nothing outwardly malicious or exclusionary going on. People complaining about Windward are in fantasy land. Schools really don't get much better than this. As someone with a truly independent perspective, I can say that the positive reviews are consistent with what I've seen at Windward; the negative are not.
I gave the school 2 stars as they have some great teachers. HOWEVER the counseling program here is in need of a drastic overall as is their approach to dealing with teens out of control. The mean girl movement is in full swing with no control nor real concern by the school. The academic standard is high but so much so that if you don't shine you are left behind, not picked for various leadership roles, and your child's self-esteem is damaged. Boys fair much better than girls here. Beware!
Windward has been a more wonderful experience than my family could ever have dreamed. Our daughter was admitted for the 8th grade from an over-crowded Santa Monica public school. The teachers are beyond incredible and as my child observed, "The teachers treat you with friendliness and respect. They aren't always assuming you're going to screw around." As one of the three incoming 8th graders, my daughter could easily have been miserable if the grade was "clique-y" but she was fully welcomed. By the end of her first week she "knew" everyone in her class and felt completely at home. This welcoming attitude has continued throughout her current 11th grade year. She loves her teachers and they all go out of their way to help the students succeed. Last year my daughter was ill and missed almost 1 month of school and her teachers worked with her on their own time to bring her up to speed. I can't imagine a more loving and supportive environment (as well as a wonderfully challenging one.)
I feel incredibly lucky to be teaching at a school that really embodies its mission to offer a dynamic education and a nurturing environment. I ve been working at Windward for five years now, and I am energized and excited by the school s focus on assessing itself in order to best serve the students. Part of that examination has involved finding effective partners, whether in the world of business, government or academia. Those outside partnerships have enriched the whole community, and I know that I, as a classroom teacher and educator, have learned much from them and am better because of them, whether it is a faculty trip to Stanford s Program in Writing and Rhetoric or helping students to prepare for their presentation to a group from a consulting firm. How fantastic to work at a place that thinks about what it does because the students and teachers matter so much.
Windward offers something for every type of student. Excellent academics, great athletics and fantastic arts (theater, music and fine arts) departments make Windward a truly well rounded school. But more importantly, Windward produces well rounded students who graduate with the skills necessary to excel in the world. A wonderful sense of community spirit has made Windward the perfect place for my son (and our family) to spend the past five years.
I have been working at Windward for 6 months and I have been incredibly impressed by what this school offers its students. The academic programs are definitely exciting, but what has really surprised me is the community. From what little interaction I have with the students, it's easy to see that they all love being here. I chaperoned the senior trip last year and saw what a cohesive group that class had become. I work with many alumni and hearing them talk about their time at Windward, the connections they made with their classmates and teachers, and how well prepared the felt when they got to college is moving.