I have never seen a more incompetently run school anywhere. There certainly is a very aggressive atmosphere on the playground as well as instances of bullying. The kids seem way behind regarding their grade levels. Teachers and parents seem incapable of imposing even a minimum of discipline. This Co-op does not live up to its lofty goals.
As parents we would say that the most important thing to know about this school is that every child seems to love the place, and to thrive there. Yes, FWS has had some difficult moments this year, but fundamentally it is built on a warm and very dynamic community of teachers and parents, and we think they are doing a great job. If you are considering it, go and visit, meet the teachers and parents and children, and make up your own mind.
Our personal experience with FWS CO-OP has been excellent. As a family that advocates the Home School experience, we have always looked to our children, for at least some guidance in the never ending gauntlet that is education in the 21st Century. We have never had any previous experience with a parent run Elementary school CO-OP, so we don't really have any other reference to draw upon. The bottom line, the children are happy. In fact, the children are so happy, that they cried when school ended this year. That sums it all up for us as parents. (Not sure what your experience was as a child in school, but I can assure you, mine did not involve tears when it was time for summer break.) The positive experience for our children has been reflected in the passionate, caring families that have all made a conscience decision to be a part of the CO-OP, and volunteer their time and energy to do all of the things, and we mean all, that frankly, most people take for granted in a Non Co-op school. We certainly did. This has only served to help us feel more connected. We are grateful to have found a place where our children feel warm, safe, nurtured, and loved. That is truly the greatest gift.
I am a staff member at FWS and I feel very lucky to be working within a community that not only supports the children and families but gives the staff the confidence, respect, and freedom to create and implement an amazing program. In my opinion, just about any child/family will thrive at this school.
My son has had an amazing year at Friends Western School. This school has given me a whole new outlook on what's possible for children in regards to creative curriculum and education. My son loved going to school every day, has written screenplays in class, done incredible art, gone on amazing field trips, bonded closely with friends and has continued to excel in math, science and reading. I would give FWS a 5 star review except one thing that has been challenging. The board is made up entirely of parents whose children currently attend the school. I believe that this fact has hurt the school as an organization because without some objectivity to sensitive issues it can pull the school off track and lose focus as an inspired environment for the children and the community. I believe in this school and I think it's a great choice as a learning institution as long as it works out it's various kinks. With amazing teachers and a small student body this wonderful school has a ton of strong potential. We really appreciated our experience there!
I am a parent with a child who is extremely happy at FWS. This year was a very challenging year for the co-op and i would venture to say that no current parent was pleased with the process or outcome of certain situations. However, next year there will be a largely different board which was voted on by the membership and the outcome showed that people at the school wanted a change. There is active discussion and research into hiring at least a part time director, as well as the implementation of an advisory board which will include members of the Quaker Meeting. A lot has been learned this year and i am hopeful that with the wonderful teachers and strong foundation, FWS will emerge from this year a stronger school. Ultimately FWS is about the students and teachers, unfortunately the fact it is a coop can complicate matters unnecessarily. This will hopefully become less of an issue over time and with a review of the bylaws and implementation of new leadership.
The recent flurry of reviews (both negative and positive) of this school is a clear indicator that there are real problems that aren t being addressed openly and directly. FWS is indeed one of a handful of parent cooperatives in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is a divergence between the theory of a cooperative and the reality at FWS. This is further reinforced by an autocratic, defensive attitude by some members of the board of directors towards calls for meaningful change. Flawed by-laws fail to provide specific guidelines and objective due process for addressing and mediating incidents of bullying and other disciplinary problems. Yes, the teachers are highly competent and dedicated. Yes, parents are engaged in the school it s a requirement of the co-op. And, yes, field trips are fun and educationally enriching. Unfortunately, the leadership has made some terrible errors in judgment which we feel ultimately undermine the true meaning of cooperative. Sadly, we have had to disengage ourselves from this noble experiment. If you are considering enrolling your child at this school, read and understand the by-laws.
FWS cooperate is a work in progress, on the job training so to speak. inspired by/modeled after Crestmont, now it is coming into it's own. We left public school for home schooling. 1 year later we tried FWS on a part time basis, to augment home learning. Soon thereafter, our son was wishing to be at FWS more and more. Now he is full time and thriving. It hasn't been easy for me, as a parent, to learn my role within the coop. This community is diverse and we sometimes have disagreements about approach, but the parents in the community understand that our goal is to create a unique learning environment where our children are free to be children. And the process of working out issues teaches the member families about nurturing our community. Not perfect to be sure, but the heart is sincere and loving. It has been a sanctuary for our child, despite some problems that have surfaced. A big challenge within a cooperative structure is to be truly cooperative for the betterment of the community. The passion for creating a special place and the effort of the parents involved at FWS, to be conscious of their role in that creation, is something that we never experienced before.
A true cooperative is one that not only focuses on the well being of the children but also the well being of their parents. This school is desperately in need of an objective director. Though Crestmont is widely touted as a model for this school, the elementary co-op description is where the comparison begins and ends. It is hard to believe that the departure of 5 families this school term alone and the questionable termination of another family does not raise eyebrows and motivate more people to demand accountability and full transparency. It is unfortunate that the focus of teaching and caring for the children is hindered by an environment in which valued members of the community do not model the very behavior expressed on the school's website. The Quaker values of Community, Harmony, Integrity and Equality are sadly absent from the day to day governance of the school. It is sad to think that memories for some families will be forever marred by how ultimately they felt shunned, abandoned or even betrayed by the very people who were required to represent the needs of the entire membership and not of just a select few.
We have both our children in this school and they love it. The field trips are great, the activities are hands on and engaging, and the community overall is warm and friendly. This is a coop so it entails a lot of hours as a parent, but we have felt that the ability to contribute towards our child's education directly has been extremely rewarding. Thank you FWS.
There are no protocols in place to hold the governing body accountable at this school. Several families have either left or seen their membership terminated with no recourse or third-party review of the board s decision. This is not criminal, but unacceptable in a "cooperative, membership driven organization. Such a pattern and practice of disappeared families has marred our experience there. Further, in spite of the multiple issues pertaining to student behavior, there is no oversight or consistency regarding managing such behavior. And the fine teachers do their best to handle this without much help. The mission statement presented is a lovely ideal, but it is far from being put in practice. This is not a school that adheres to or deserves the Quaker Friends designation.
This is our son's second year at FWS and he absolutely loves his school and his classmates. The multi-age learning opportunities introduce him to topics and ideas that most kids don't encounter until much later, but in an age-appropriate way (last year they read parts of Macbeth, for example!). He also gets to be a mentor to the younger kids. The small class sizes allow for very individualized instruction, as well.
It's summer and my 11-year old son misses school! Friends Western is interested in the 'whole' child - academic, emotional, and social. It's an amazing little school with incredibly dedicated parents, teachers, and students - all engaged and interested in creating a real community.
My daughter has been at this school for almost five years now. It has been such an amazing place for her, and for our family, for the school is more like a big family than a school. What makes it unique is that it is a parent-run cooperative, the class size is really small, and the curriculum is interesting, hands on and anything but boring. It is really a mix of traditional and progressive educational styles. The other thing I love about this school is its relaxed feel. The school has a high level of sophistication, but you will find no snobbery or elitism here- nor peer pressure. Just a lovely place where the kids love to learn! Come and visit us!
We love this school. My son ist thriving. The multi-disciplinary approach has him so engaged that he doesn't even realize that he is learing to read, write, do math and be a scientist and a historian. His level of creativity has greatly increased. The teachers are wonderful.
Do not send your child to this school unless (1) you want him to come home every day so excited about what he is learning (2) unbelievably happy and (3) incredibly enthused about learning. This school is not big or fancy, but the multi-disciplinary approach is very effective. We feel so blessed that we found it and that we trusted our instincts and went with it.
Wonderfully open, allowing children to explore, express, and grow into who they are.
We have been at Friends Western School (FWS) for a year now and we are very happy here. My son is still very excited to go to school every day. FWS 's multiple intelligences model , a teaching method that nutures each child's talent and interest. I notice that my son has a deep understanding and interest in whatever subject the teacher is teaching. Personally, I love FWS because of the fun educational activities that my child get to be a part of: hiking, field trip, yoga, art, gardening, and construction projects. Here a child gets to really be a child. I feel that FWS has not only educating his mind, but his spirit as a unique well-rounded individual as well. If I were a kid again, I would have loved to go to this school.
I adore Friends Western. My daughter has been in the school for one year and we are returning next year. This is an amazing little school with old-fashioned values and great academics. The kids are sweet and happy. They teacher to student ratio is about 10:1. I cannot praise this enough. I am so thankful for it. I really feel this is the perfect education system and the happy, thriving children are proof of this! Before attending a public school (briefly), my daugher went to a Waldorf school for several years. This reminds me very much of a Waldorf school but with more conventional learning. I think it combines the best of Waldorf and Montessouri. Since it is so small the kids can really love and learn from each other.
Absolutely wonderful school. We are so thankful to have found this gem. Our daughter couldn't be more excited about going everyday. Her curiosity for learning has increased 10 fold. The teachers are patient, engaging, and bring out the best in each child. Highly recommended.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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