This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Westside Neighborhood School5
Posted November 17, 2014
- a parent
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.
WNS has been the best thing for our son. Prior to joining, just 3 months ago, our son did not enjoy school. Now, we have a happy, positive boy, who wants to learn & comes back daily, FULL of his days activities. He cares about his work & genuinely loves the teachers & the other children. The school has this amazing, family atmosphere, that brings out the best in the children. I would highly recommend this school to anyone. My only regret is that we did not send him before 6th Grade & 3 years will not be long enough!
We have been at WNS for 9 years and we have 2 children at the school. Overall, WNS has been the best place for our children to grow and thrive in a nurturing and challenging environment. We feel blessed to have the responsive and continously learning leadership, competent faculty and a down to earth community of diverse socioeconomic, cultural and racial families. It is a rare gem of a school. I cannot say enough to express our family's gratitude to the WNS community. Our oldest is now ready for high school and we believe he is well equipped to excel wherever he chooses to attend. I highly recommend this school for anyone interested in a place that is down to earth and reflects a diverse cross section of Los Angeles.
I am thrilled with WNS! I can't believe that some parents find the faculty and staff to be unapproachable. Head of School, Brad Zacuto and his team are amazing! I feel like the school perfectly blends traditional values and expectations with progressive developmental and educational techniques. My child is thriving academically, while teachers and faculty pay extra attention to various aspects of social learning. WNS children feel safe, supported and encouraged to be their best selves. I can attest to their zero tolerance for bullying. In fact, I have never EVER seen better implementation for expedient, appropriate responses to behavioral issues within the classroom and during play on the yard. WNS offers a community unlike any other I've experienced and I have a daughter who will be graduating from high school this year, as well as my youngest who has recently entered Kindergarten. As a parent, I am receiving exactly what WNS promises - we have found a superb school for our child, a supportive community for our family- and I couldn't be happier about it! There's no deceptive marketing here- just a hard-working group of awesome folks who really want the best for your child!