This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Westside Neighborhood School5
Posted January 30, 2015
- a parent
This is our 11th year at WNS. My son entered WNS in DK, graduated in 2014, and is now doing amazing things in high school. My daughter is now a 4th grader, and loves school thanks to the experiences she has had at WNS. We entered WNS in 2004 when it was a small brick building with just a handful of classrooms. We loved the small school feel and the personal attention that we and our son received each and every day. Although the school has grown, I am consistently impressed by the "small school" feel that WNS has maintained and the personal attention that is still present. The teachers and administrators are very accessible and always happy to meet with you if/when needed. There are plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved on campus both in and out of the classroom, and through the WNS buddy program, there are several opportunities for the older students (4th-8th grade) to participate in activities on a regular basis with the younger students (DK-3rd grade). WNS is a wonderful hidden gem that has been an amazing place for both of my children to grow and learn, and I am very grateful that we have had the opportunity to be a part of the WNS community.
We have two kids at WNS and have been there for 6 years now. I sincerely can't say enough great things about the school! The school has 4 pillars which we believe in wholeheartedly: academics, community, diversity and character. We as a family, of course want our children to learn and do well in academics, but also want so much more for them, which WNS provides. It is a diverse community, in all aspects of life, except for the one common denominator...they are all good people who want the best for their children. It is like a family! The school also focuses on character, which we feel is as important, if not more, than academics. We want our children to become good people who work well with others in any social situation. WNS provides so much support in the area of social behavior, and also helps them remain "kids" for longer than other schools. I could go on and on about how much we value WNS, and why we sacrifice financially to send our kids to an independent school...but if you are looking for a well-rounded, amazing independent school, just take a tour and talk to anyone here....you will look no further. We are proud and thankful to call WNS our home!
WNS is an amazing school. As a speech-language pathologist, I have the opportunity to work within and observe multiple school sites. I could not be more impressed with the quality of education WNS strives to achieve for each one of its students. The program and staff go above and beyond to bring novel and collaborative teaching techniques to the daily activities with the educational environment. When walking in the front door the feeling of energy and enthusiasm envelopes you, making you want to be a part of what is happening. Strong educational programs help build strong individuals. WNS is working to better education and help better the minds and learning skills of our children.
This is my daughter's second year at WNS. My son went to the Willows K-5 which was also a great school but I have to say, for our family, WNS has been a much more meaningful experience. Brad Zacuto, the head of school is incredible. He is a student of brain development and encourages all of the teachers to constantly grow and stretch themselves to be the best they can be for the children. I was shocked at the diversity of the student body. And, different than many private progressive schools, it's not "artificial" diversity. These are real families, not celebrity kids making up the diversity checklist. The thing that I love the most about WNS is that the kids are encouraged to just be kids, geeky, silly kids! Even the 8th graders aren't trying to be cool. The whole, "who are your parents?" thing is absent at this school. It's a refreshingly normal group of parents who are coming together in this crazy LA town to bring their children a safe, enriching place to learn and play together. I can't recommend it enough! I consider it LA's best kept secret school!
Our family has experienced 4 different schools between our kids (7th grader and alumni 9th grader) & WNS is by far the best. We've been here for 9 years & it's been a wonderful sanctuary - academically, creatively, socially & emotionally. It strikes the perfect balance between progressive & traditional: Progressive because they stay on top of research re how children learn & implement those practices in the classroom; traditional because they realize that kids need structure & scaffolding in order to be successful. But that is secondary to the nurturing vibe that pervades. Our kids (girl/boy) are so different, yet WNS has brought out the gifts in each while addressing weaknesses w/ encouragement & compassion. WNS classrooms encourage individual expression; a hallmark of its arts program. Art/music teachers are wonderful & Desi Friedman is a gifted performing arts instructor who is supportive, authentic & hilarious. But the overarching focus of WNS is to teach kids to be good people & to work with others to create something larger than themselves. We are so grateful to Brad Zacuto for curating such an incredible school & feel blessed to be part of this warm, real community.
Wow, WNS was featured on NPR! I am so proud of WNS and to be a parent at this wonderful school and I just had to share the latest reason why. Every day I wake up in the morning, I feel thankful and blessed to be able to drive to WNS as part of my day, but this week I got to wake up to this incredible story as I headed off to school: Click here to listen to WNS featured in Morning Edition on Tuesday, September 30. Click here to listen to WNS featured in All Things Considered on Tuesday, September 30. For those who don t know about WNS, this is just one of the many examples of why WNS is the amazingly special place that it is. With the incredible leadership that is Brad Zacuto, the teachers and staff are inspired to be great, be bold and be leaders in education. Taking care of our children in every way is on the forefront of every mind at WNS. Their vision of how to keep children safe and protected while navigating and being ready for this technological world is awe inspiring! I am overwhelmed with pride right now!
We are now going into our 7th year at WNS and we all just couldn't be happier on a whole. The level of education is on par. Most importantly is the relationships with teacher and staff communications. They are ALL so easy access and truly have an open door policy. For us, the best thing about being at WNS is the diversity of the community. My husband and I both come from different countries and religions and really wanted a school the emphasizes on not just a few groups but really focuses on all of us as a human race. Our children don't see friends or classmates as class of color, religion, political standing or financial brackets and it is a beautiful thing! We are so proud to be a WNS family, Always have and always will! Go Jets!
I am shocked that people don't think that WNS has great leadership. I have experienced three other schools (with our first child) with varying degrees of leadership. Mr. Zacuto is an extremley open, jovial, visionary. His leadership is appropriate and allows teachers to have a role in the direction of the school. This cooperation is so important for a successful program. Teachers are respected by all and the parent involvement is refreshing. Mostly though I am impressed by the curriculum and the way they fit it to each students needs and abilities. The balance of core classes and the arts is impressive. The project based learing is a great way for kids to learn in a broad self directed way.
I'm a student at WNS in the eighth grade, and can not say how much I've grown from the first day of sixth grade, which was my first day. WNS has a great way of making middle school students be leaders, instead of falling under the radar. There are many opportunities for us older kids to become close with the little ones. The Eighth grade have kindergarten buddies and it really teaches me how to cares about little ones, I have a strong and unique bond with my buddy. The teachers are the highlight at WNS. They constantly check in and make sure each student is content and feeling safe and secure. The teachers are always open to review with you or even just shoot the breeze. I can go on and on, but WNS has truly shaped me for a successful future and has given me an identity.
WNS is an incredible community in which to raise and educate well-rounded, kind, wholesome, confident, competent, smart, culturally- and socially engaging children and adolescents. I have been a WNS parent for ten years and am extremely proud of the people my children are becoming. I attribute a large part of their growth to their WNS experiences (since beginning in DK) and the devotion, commitment, skill, training, and love that the administrators, teachers, staff, peers, and fellow parents provide each WNS student. I give WNS my highest rating.