They have multiple student that are grade levels behind. They have no established education plan or philosophy and are essentially making it up as they go along with little collaboration among the teaching staff.
We attended Friends Western School last year (2014/2015) and I did not hear about any of the previous scandals and issues until after we had enrolled. Had I known what I know now then I would have never enrolled my child at the school.
Our experience with the co-op was the stuff of nightmares. All of the negative things you hear and read about the school are true. Our own experience included a horrendous incident involving our kindergarten child that included bullying to the point of the unfathomable, and we had to abruptly leave the school before the end of the year because FWS proved to be an unsafe place for our child. Read my yelp review for more information or contact me directly, I am more than happy to share my experience. Stay away from this school at all cost.
They are not equipped to run a school. There are no paid administrators and everything is run by a very unstructured and chaotic parent volunteer system. Students are routinely left unsupervised and there is little adherence to what they claim to be their guiding philosophies.
Friends Western is a wonderful match for our family. Our daughter loves school and we are proud and excited to be members of a community of parents building a values-based environment for our children. We continue to marvel at the high adult-to-child ratio and focused attention to the children's needs throughout the day. Our daughter is thriving as a student and as a whole, well-cared-for growing person.
When it comes to the volunteer hours, we find it important to pace ourselves and maintain a sense of humor. With those in hand, we relish being part of this unfolding, noble endeavor.
It is a privilege to be a part of this community. Prior to FWS our son attended a nearby public school with high ratings on Great Schools. At that school we found the class sizes larger than claimed by the district. The homework for a 3rd grader was nearly unmanageable. We saw our son’s love of learning wane with each passing week. We were so fortunate to learn about Friends Western and made the transition last spring. Over the course of the year, our son is asking more challenging questions about the world around him. He is building his “toolkit” for how to go about answering those questions. These are habits of mind and skills that will he will carry with him a lifetime. Inquiry-based learning, one-on-one instruction, in a caring, nurturing environment where the Quaker values are not “taught” but lived by each staff member and cultivated in the children. It has not just been an education for our son, but for our entire family.
This is our second year at Friends Western School, and we are so grateful to have found this little gem of a school where our 2 children love learning and are happy and thriving. We wanted a school where our children would get a lot of individual attention and care, and we found it here. The small class size is a tremendous advantage that doesn't exist anywhere else in LA. The teachers my children have had are talented and caring and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure our kids get exactly what they need. No school is perfect, including this one, but the advantages so outweigh the disadvantages that I need to give the full 5 stars.
The teachers have innovative project-based programs that engage the students in many capacities. There are frequent school hikes and field trips that take advantage of the many learning opportunities in our area outside of school. High parent involvement means that the community truly feels like a family, especially to the children. My children are sad when the weekend or holidays come and they can't go to school.
So what are the disadvantages? Well, anytime a group of parents get together to work on their children's education, there are going to be challenges. Passions run high, and people don't always agree on what is best (anyone who has ever been at a PTA meeting knows what I am talking about). As a democratically run co-op, the parents at Friends Western make all the decisions about the school's direction and how it is run, and it is inevitable that there will be some who don't agree with the majority. On the whole, though, I have found that this group of parents are easy to get along with and work tirelessly to provide the school they want for their children. One of the advantages to being a parent-run co-op is that anyone can propose a new program or policy directly to the whole group at any time. If it's something that appeals to the majority, then you can get it implemented right away. At any other school, public or private, this process would take a lot longer, if it happened at all.
All the parents! The school is a parent-run coop and all of us contribute, but I especially want to thank the board and other parents who truly go above and beyond what anyone could expect of them, and have dedicated themselves to creating this gem of a school for all our children.