As with any major decision, you have to consider what is right for your family. We love WO and have had a great experience. Though this school is not known for being academic, we have had a positive experience and any concerns have been addressed; our child has grown & improved in areas where we were concerned. A new principal came in our second year and she has approached obstacles very professionally (keeping the children as the main focus). A few other reviewers mentioned the 'gossipers,' this is going to happen anytime you get groups of people together and it is all about how you communicate with those people. Our family has never had a problem with other parents or staff at school but I sure every person will have a different experience. If you want to be in a school where you can truly be involved, Washington Open is worth looking into.
I cannot agree more with the previous review and cannot describe better the atmosphere. There is this false impression of community harmony that attracts parents to the school only to realize after couples of months how much gossip and fakeness resides under all this. The K teachers are great, so it is hard to realize immediately that the academics are missing from the whole child concept. For us, 3rd grade was a total disaster with 3 teachers barely communicating with each other. Therefore, the information we received about our child was contradicting and deceptive making us to take paths we regretted. It could have been worse if some teacher would not have come back to help. Finally, we found in 4th grade that long waited and promised academic recovery. The school philosophy and vision are misleading parents making them believe that this is the ideal place on Earth to have their children educated. In reality, it is only a bunch of teachers who know what the whole child concept is about and do everything to keep it alive. And there is another bunch of teachers who hide behind it to make an easy day to go to work. In other words, this school is not what it seems.
Potential parent beware! We heard plenty of whole child , and you ll be lucky to be admitted (BS) that we decided to look past the negative reviews and only focus on the good. Unfortunately, we were admitted. At first we were excited to be a part of our child s community and invested wholeheartedly from fundraising to aftercare; but things started to change they went from bad to worse, much worse. Our child was put into dangerous situations and when it was mentioned the supervising staff it was shrugged off as not a big deal. Behind the friendly faces of the parent group and staff is a vicious bunch of gossip hungry, fake individuals who feed off wide-eyed kindergarten hopefuls. This is not a negative towards our teacher, she was lovely. But we are thankful EVERYDAY that we got out when we did. Your child s wellbeing both educationally and emotionally will be better off elsewhere, not to mention your time and money. Good luck and don t be misled.
My family absolutely loves Washington Open! We've always educated our kids using the "learning through play" style. We went to a parent participation preschool for 3 years and then onto Washington Open. I was told by a few other non-WO parents that my children would not receive a good educational foundation here, as there really is no academic structure. Well, after a few years at this school, my children are both excelling at academics and socially. They aren't afraid to ask questions and they love the field trips and how hands on the learning is. Thank you WO for providing my kids with a great learning environment!
My child attended WO for Kindergarten and first grade, this year we have moved out of state and are attending a more traditional, academic school. I love WO and miss it a lot. I enjoyed working with the kids and getting to know all of them. I loved the community spirit and I felt genuine warmth and caring towards myself and my child from all the staff and teachers I met. I love the center style small group learning at WO that allows teachers regular 1-on-1 time with the kids, classroom flexibility for fun and interactive projects, and allows kids to learn from many different types of activities. They also get plenty of socialization time. It was a fun and happy place to be. I can't speak to the academics of the upper grades. I think parent involvement (supplementation) is always a must regardless of the school type. I felt the K-1st activities provided a foundational understanding of numbers, and promoted a love of writing and reading. The children learn more from interacting with numbers, words, people, and problems in different ways than from direct instruction. Our new academic school gets great test scores but doesn't inspire my love (yet).
I am very disappointed with WO!!!! Both of my kids were there since Kinder...and I just pull them out this year. The whole child concept is great, but my children isn't whole because they didn't have the academic side of it. There are good teachers and not so good either, but more missed placed than anything. If you have kids that is going into third grade...good luck. You need to supplement a lot at home. They don't teach them anything..!!! Oh don't even think about bringing it up to the principal...she won't help, but make it your problem to deal with. The teachers are way too entiled there. I was disappointed to say the least. From what I heard and experienced...WO was a good school that has gone down hill.
I am surprised by the response of parents to a neg. review. I think that while some of what the person said might be from personal feelings, I don't think that you can count it out. WO is NOT academic . The reason children do well on Star is because of parents who supplement at home. The teachers have gotten a little lazy and feel entitled. I have heard 3rd grade teachers say they don't get paid enough to put up with the class. I find that interesting since santa clara teachers are the 5th hightest paid in the state. I think that we can be both acedemic and social, it doesn't have to be one or the other. I also think that the principal is more worried about her image than making sure that her teachers do their jobs.The only way you can make it a better school is to acknowledge the problems and find solutions, sticking your head in the sand and pretending the school is perfect is not the option. I also resent the notion that if you disagree then its not the school for you, That is like saying there is no room for discuss. & change. Lets not forget that WO was started by parents who wanted change and a better learning environment for their child, that didn't mean sacrafice education.
As a parent of Washington Open, I am very surprised by some of the negative reviews, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. This has not been our experience at all. WO is not a place were as parents you are always going to get your way, but we have found the school to be very fair and balanced with all decisions. We have found the teachers and staff to be very professional; concerned that our children are getting the best all round education not just academics, but social and emotional, and learning life/people skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This has been a great fit for our children, a caring fun environment where children are allowed to learn with teachers that truly care about our children s development. I have found the Principal to take charge and deal with all issues that arise and not sweep anything under the table or to ignore them no matter what the issue may be. WO is a unique environment for learning that may not be right for everyone, but it has been a wonderful fun experience for our children. Oh and they are learning a lot, both academically and in developing life s skills, the end result will be successful adults.
As a parent at WO, I am very disheartened by the recent reviews of our school. If academics is what your family values most in an elementary school, then WO may not be a good fit,but if you are looking for a school that looks at each child as an individual&sees potential in who they can become&provides an environment that can help guide them to reach their full potential,then yes WO is the place to be. Admittedly, academics aren't aggressively pursued, but then again the test scores aren't too shabby either. WO provides the right mix of emotional, social,&personal growth interspersed with the 'traditional' academic program,WO after all still has to meet state standards. What they are doing though, is meeting those standards while also teaching our 'future' how to think out side of the box. This includes how to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people,how to have their voice heard&needs met without being afraid of authority. Yes, to some, that may seem 'disrespectful', but taken in the context of it being a life skill they will use always, isn't it really a gift we are giving them? So to all that feel that their children are 'suffering' I wish you the best of luck.
I am also a parent from Washington Open. I agree that the school is not strong in academics and I also agree that there are some wonderful teachers and below average teachers. However, I strongly disagree that children are being groomed to be unmotivated, disrespectful citizens from the previous review. I have known this family at the school for a while. The mom is always late (always more than 15 minutes late) picking up her son and the dad simply just doesn't do too much with the boy. The boy is the most disrespectful kid I have ever met in my life. We as parents need to teach our kids to respect us and others. When the kids are constantly being ignored at home, you will of course have an unmotivated and disrespectful child at home and school because they are craving for the attention. The person who wrote the previous review maybe need to look into the environment he or she is providing instead of blaming the school. Most of the children I met at the school are very respectful, loving, and sweet.