This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Whittier Friends School5
Posted October 07, 2014
- a parent
We're big fans of this environment - my son is in seventh grade here, and he's been here since age 3. The teachers here are bright, dedicated, and have class sizes small enough that every student gets loads of attention. The parents are part of the fabric of the school; the community here is very inviting and accepting. There are frequent field trips, to keep the kids engaged. Parents are involved in much of process of keeping the school running, so the sense of community is very strong; though occasionally amateur. The place is TINY; it's more like a large extended family than a small school. I often say that it's like hiring someone else to homeschool your kids. We love it, while fully admitting that it isn't for everyone.There are a couple of private-school assumptions that people may have; If you're looking for a one-stop shop, where you can drop your kids and forget them, this is NOT your school - parental involvement is a big part of the experience here. Similarly, though it is connected to a church, this isn't a Bible school; The values of peace, kindness, and communion are both modeled and taught, but any doctrinal instruction is viewed as parental prerogative.
My 3 year old son has been enrolled in the preschool for 5 months now and I am continually impressed. At first he used to cry when I would bring him, but now he is much more excited about arriving. I love the way the teachers treat each student as an individual, giving each student attention and care. I love the multi-age grouping, allowing students to excel or get extra help as they need, rather than based on their age. I love the early literacy exploration activities, where the students are individually asked fill-in-the-blank statements and teachers personally record their answers. This gives the child a sense of importance and encourages critical thinking, plus it provides some precious answers! I am really looking forward to watching my son grow at this school and to see how he develops, both academically and emotionally.
My three y/o son has been attending Whittier Friends School for a little over a month and I cannot believe how much he has already learned. He has gone from knowing the first letter of his name to knowing the first letter of all the important people in his life and he is so excited about sharing this new discovery. He points out letter wherever we go and will even tell me the sounds that those letters make. Even though he does not have the fine motor skills to write his name, he is constantly "writing" and practicing on his own to get the first letter of his name written correctly. I "catch" him singing new songs and playing in new ways. The curriculum is a blend of open ended play, guided exploration, and traditional academics. I was very worried about him having behavior problems at school, but the teachers strike an excellent balance between clear, consistent expectations and patience. The students know the classroom routines and are able to meet the behavior expectations without constant reminders. My son really likes the teachers and is disappointed if one of them is out. We love this school. Check out the discoveries the kids make on their blog at Whittierfriends.blogspot.com
Small class sizes and individualized instruction are the focus here. I find that our son recieves the one-on-one instruction he needs to grasp new concepts and absorb infromation. He's in the pre-K class right now and will be entering Kindergarten in the fall here. The class sizes are kept intentonally small so no child gets "lost in the shuffle". Our child is already doing K-grade writing and math and I couldn't be happier with his progress. The instructors seem to really care about the students and will always engage them as necessary. While other reviews have criticized the staff for a lack of leadership, one needs to realize this is a small school, with limited personnel. They truly work miracles with the resources they have! Parental involvement is strongly encouraged and volunteering opportunities abound. Highly recommend this school if you like small class sizes, and focus-oriented-instruction for your child.
My son is entering 7th grade and it's his second year at Whittier Friends School, I just wish I found this school sooner. He has matured so much within the last year. Wow...what a difference a school makes. His teacher listens when he has something to say. At Public School, it was just the opposite. He was ignored because the teacher did not have time for him. My son basically just shut down and kept to himself, which lead to low self-esteem. At Whittier Friends School, my son feels important and has built up his confidence again. He participates and contributes his thoughts and ideas in class. Also, important to me there are NO bullies at Whittier Friends School. Not one! The kids are able to be kids and have fun. Concentrate in class and enjoy coming to school without worrying about being bullied. I highly recommend you check out Whittier Friends School. You won't be disappointed.
Enter the school grounds and you will be pleasantly surprised. Their outdoor area is clean and provides different landscaping that's perfect for a child to explore. There's a grass area, a sand area, concrete for a water table/chalk, a garden, wood chips under the slide, and a couple of trees. The classroom is CLEAN, and neatly organized with learning materials. I emphasize clean because I know how difficult it is to keep classrooms clean and it is an important factor in keeping children healthy (especially as full-day students nap there). There are currently 2 qualified preschool teachers in my son's classroom for about 12 students. They divide the students into 2 groups for small group and I love that there's a sensory activity every afternoon (I feel children learn best when using their senses to explore foods/materials). I also like that students are exposed to different holidays when most public schools are moving away from it. For Christmas, my son's teacher taught them how to sing holiday songs using sign language! They even hire work study students from a local community college to assist in the classroom, making the adult to child ratio even better. My son and I love it.
This school has gone through many changes since my son started attending about 5 years ago. I think the current teachers and adminstor are excellent and the environment is much improved. This is a small environment with tailored instruction. The elementary teacher is credentialed and dedicated. The instruction is tailored, thematic and challenging. A few years ago there were some real issues with the administrator. That person is gone and so are the real negatives I've seen in previous years reviews. There are field trips, science fairs and performances. the school is currently trying to add a middle school and I hope they are sucessful.
Whittier Friends School has been a savior for my son s education. After several psychologist and public school administrators told me that my son would need to be placed in special education I went in search of a school that could give him that extra attention needed. With their small class sizes and individualized lesson plans my son is reading and writing above grade level. His personality is allowed to shine and he is encouraged to do so. My younger son is currently enrolled in their pre-school program and will continue kindergarten there next year. He is already above kindergarten level reading and math. I couldn t say enough great things about this wonderful school.
I am so pleased with my two girls' development and academic progress at this school. The teacher personalizes the work for each student's ability level. Kids don't miss a concept because the class moves too fast, and they aren't bored either, because the work is adjusted to their challenge level. The teacher monitors student progress from year to year without losing ground getting to know students in the fall and then losing them in June. My girls are developing their teamwork, critical thinking, and investigative skills. They are also becoming confident public speakers due to the class plays (one of which the class wrote) and science fair presentations. Subjects are studied in depth accompanied by hands-on projects and numerous field trips. At a time when public schools are increasing class size, and private schools are struggling to stay open, I am so glad my kids go to Whittier Friends School.
I notice there have been no reviews since March2009. The last encounter I had was in Fall of 2009 when we withdrew our child. There were incidents with the teacher and administration, including a staff change that parents were not made aware of. The school enrollment dropped from the 20s to about 6 or 7 children in the ENTIRE elementary school. Parents were asked to sign an enrollment contract, standard procedure, in which they indicated they would owe 50% of the tuition if they chose to withdraw the student after October 1 - NOT standard procedure at all. The curriculum was lacking instruction, was not level appropriate and was disorganized. Children with behavioral problems (read: bullies) are not disciplined effectively and are virtually allowed to "act out". On the positive side, the school's staff is dedicated and cares. Great environment for those in the "in" group.