Westgate and their mission/vision sounds great on paper, but this school has been nothing but a disappoint from the moment my child set foot on that campus. As a parent with a twice exceptional student Westgate sounded great, because of how they integrate center types of accommodations school-wide. However, Westgate-and especially Chris the Director-- thinks she has all the answers, and creates an environment extremely difficult to work with in terms of IEP and 504. Bottom line is no outside therapies sought for my child were reinforced at school and his education and progress has suffered. I caution any parent to take any sort of in school testing with a grain of salt, as I did. While Westgate reported on grade level, when tested by a learning specialist outside of school he was two grade levels below. We are now spending almost all our time getting our child outside therapies and interventions, simply to undo what was not addressed at Westgate. Further, the communication between staff at all levels is a joke. Do not expect any progress reports or responses to emails. It should also be noted the turnover in families & staff is extremely high. Westgate should be ashamed.
We are going into our 4th year at Westgate and could not be happier. Both of my gifted children thrive here. Westgate is different. It is not for everyone, But which school is? When checking into charter school, each offers something different, and Westgate is different in an amazing way. Each year, both my children have grown, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is the BEST place for my kids!! I have great communication with both teachers and administration, and have had my children's problems solved in a timely manner.
I agree with the review posted May 5th. Also, the teacher and student turnover rate is significant and not just after the school year ends but during the school year. If another Westgate family recommends Westgate, be aware that they are offering free student fees if you refer a family that stays until the student count (for funding by the district) is over in October. A lot of families have left. We were at this school for a long time but left due to its instability and poor communication. The leadership is very convincing and will win you over at the information nights but they disappear and avoid you once you enroll your student. They will tell you not everyone is a good fit for Westgate. This is true, especially is you like your school to be accountable and communicate in a timely manner.
I usually ignore the single star reviews, but I have to say this school really deserves one star, if any. We pulled our children out mid-year. They were playing at school, and not much else. When I tried to check on my son's progress in math, I found his folder empty. There's no homework and so I had no idea what he was supposed to be learning. There doesn't seem to be any kind of plan or sequence, and one teacher asked me to leave her classroom when I asked how he did on a test. I really wanted to give this school a chance. We have twice exceptional kids, and we were compelled, but you should be very careful when considering this school. There are a lot of very good reviews, but if you'll notice they all kind of come at the same time, like the school has its staff write a lot of positives to offset the negatives from real families. Also, good teachers are leaving due to tense director-down relationships. Turnover rate is extraordinary, and from what I hear there are fears of retaliation from the top down when a teacher wants to look for another job. This negative culture filters down to students and we felt it keenly.
Our sons, grades 1 & 5, are in their second year at Westgate and we couldn t be happier. As a college teacher, I hear constant complaints that students can t think critically. That's why my kids go to Westgate. The level of education is hugely better than at the other two schools my oldest attended. They do projects that challenge gifted kids to think outside the box and see applications for what they are learning. I have amazing conversations with my son at a level that I d be happy if my college students could attain. The teachers, especially the 5/6 team, are the best teachers ever. They re creative, caring, fun, and inventive. My son adores them. Other things I love: no homework, small class sizes, REAL individualized education, responsiveness to parents (both kids were moved up in math by our request), breaks and recess, workshop to teach kids responsibility for their own assignments, amazing communication from the teachers (I know exactly what my kids are working on each week in each subject and I can look up their grades any time), laptops for each kid, etc. This is our third school and we finally got it right. We commute 25 minutes each way because this school is worth it.
Our choice to send our children to WCS was the worst parenting decision we have ever made. In our defense, the parent information meeting and tour was misleading and not consistent with what is really happening once your children actually attend. They have a great sales pitch and act as though they care when you are in the process of enrolling, but once you are part of the community and express any concern you are chastised and made to feel disposable. When trying to have conversations about my children, their safety, their learning, I was ignored. It is chaos. My son's anxiety has become much more intense because of the debacle of a school due to the lack of structure and safety. There is no leadership. They may have a director, but she is not a leader. She does not know any of the kids in the primary grades or anything about them. She has made it evident that she does not care to. She doesn't try to get to know any of them and my kids didn't even know she was the "principal." I feel like such a fool for falling for the false advertisement.
My children enjoy Westgate with all of the freedom it allows and our family loves the philosophy of the school and wish they actually practiced what they preached. Unfortunately the safety concerns, lack of communication including not returning messages or emails, very untimely progress reporting (if at all), lack of cleanliness, not knowing where our money is spent or how the school is functioning, lack of staff considering that the school goes through high school now and the very high staff turnover rate, we have decided to quietly move elsewhere for next year. People's concerns on this site are valid. There are strengths as well, but be cautious entering this school. I've noticed a sudden influx of positive comments just as new families might be considering this school. Buyer beware. This school is a work in progress. My children will no longer carve the rugged path for the next generation, but will get what they need now.
I am a parent of a 3rd and 1st grader. One gifted, one never tested, neither twice exceptional, but they are wild ponies. They have both attended the school since Kindergarten. While the school has had its bumps along the road, it is a wonderful school. I am a regular and vocal volunteer. Here is why we love it, which is also why others don't (there are pros and cons to each of these things):modified year round schedule:my kids need the breaks and it makes for AMAZING times to take vacations. Recess before lunch:my kids would never eat if lunch was first. Computers for each child:every school should have this. Multiple recess/quiet time/soft start:although the day is longer, this is a wonderful benefit for my kids(some feel it is wasted time). Small class size:the con is that there is less $ for the school, but anyone who doesn't think small class size is important needs to volunteer more. No homework:we have tools like spelling city and IXL to do with the kids at home so we can keep an eye on how they are doing but it is on our own time.Gifted programming: I think my 3rd grader would hate school by now if he were in a traditional program. No playground:let them come up with ideas!
Westgate is a school dedicated to providing an education for individual learning styles. They specialize in teaching to children that have unique learning styles and encourage imagination and individualism. They feel that it is important to nurture emotional as well as educational needs. This has been a fantastic place for both my children to grow and learn. My kid's love going to school and have thrived in this supportive and creative environment. Their out of the box approach to learning has improved my children's lives and educational experience. We love Westgate!
I love my school because my kids are both challenged and encouraged to be who they truly are. We tried the public schools, and she was so bored she was miserable. We had lots of temper tantrums and unrest. Now she has chances to expand, work for something and she's much happier and calm.
Westgate Community Charter is an AWESOME place! The director has an amazing vision that I hope is adopted by many other educational leaders. Her ideas about how to educate out young people and create envisioned adults makes sense. Moreover, it works! My kiddo LOVES to go to school and is thriving! She is learning in a way that doesn't try to make her be something/someone she isn't. Her innate ability and desire to learn and grow is fostered at Westgate. I adore this school and the woman who was courageous enough to take education to another level.
My kids have academically thrived at Westgate. The groupings for literacy and math have helped them be pushed to excel. They do many projects that teach about different subjects and incorporate curriculum across multiple subjects. I like that they are given lots of access to technology. I wish more parents would get involved so the community would have more participation in activities and events.
We have been at Westgate for several years and my child has had an outstanding experience. He is a gifted student who was an underachiever his other school and his scores on both the state assessments and MAP tests have improved every year. He is surrounded by students and teachers who care about him as a person and know who he is. From administration to the front office, the adults model kindness and compassion. I've spent many hours volunteering over the years and so I know what goes on inside the building. I have never met a more dedicated or hardworking staff. A few of the negative comments are specific enough to identify the authors; I know a few things about some of the situations and I wish the school, teachers, and administration could tell you their side of the story. Schools that do things differently are a blessing to their communities. We plan to be at Westgate for many years to come and know that no school is perfect. We still believe in the vision, we believe in the staff, and we watch our child receive the same support from the school. I wish the negatives (parents and staff alike) would be and let be. Talk to the happy people.
I was very disappointed with the application process. Once we received a seat offer the administration were very standoffish and unpleasant. I tried for over a month to visit the school, but the school visits were never scheduled on the site and the administration refused unscheduled visits. I tried to schedule a day visit for my child to shadow a student, frst they didn't allow visits above a certain grade, then they didn't allow visits below a certain grade. This was after my child was told that she could have a visit. I pressed the issue and the administrator finally set up a visit. Then I wanted to discuss my daughters medical situation with the teacher prior to the start of the school day. The administrator ushered me out of the building, was very short with me, and refused to listen to me talk about her medical needs. Then I received a very curt e-mail from the administrator scolding me for talking to a teacher during school hours. I was never told that this was a rule. Why don't they want me to visit the building? What are they hiding? Why are parents kept at the front door and never allowed past the front desk? My children will not be attending this school.
We love this school! Our youngest has been here for 5 years, eldest joined the school 2 years ago. We knew that we wanted to find a place that would allow our youngest child to be able to learn to love school. He's a divergent learner and gifted. Perfect place for him and his older brother loves it as well. Older brother did seven years in another gifted school and decided that he wanted more diversity in the student body. Older child is a more traditional gifted child and says that this school has provided him a different way of learning that has rounded out the other more curriculum-based and rubric based style. Has taught him to think outside of the box and creative approaches to problem solving that weren't presented in his other gifted school. We love that encourages children to develop their own time management skills and gives them power over project management. Could be scary for parents who are used to a more linear and rubric based education. We feel this educational environment is definitely preparing our children for young adulthood more effectively than traditional schools, the bonus being that they are learning a lot and having fun along the way.
My husband and I are huge supporters of Westgate. We have two gifted children enrolled. The teaching staff are truly the best at what they do. Our children come out to the car each day bursting to share what they did in their classes. It's wonderful to hear their excitement and see their love of learning grow.
I love teaching at Westgate. It is my dream job. The kids are so smart. They amaze me every single day. My fellow teachers are dedicated and hard working. We get to be creative and plan together which never happened in the schools I used to teach in. It feeds our spirits to work cooperatively which makes for great learning in the classrooms. The administration is always there for us. Any time you have a question, they stop whatever they are doing and listen. I couldn't ask for more. Westgate is a happy place to be for teachers and students.
This is a great school that understands what creatively gifted kids need. Our child is allowed to investigate her passions and learn topics in a meaningful way. I have never noticed a dirty building - and I volunteer every week. All progress reports are available to us online and we had our 3rd round of conferences this week. We know exactly how our child is doing and we couldn't be more pleased with our child's growth.
Our family has been at Westgate for 4 years and every year it gets better. Our oldest couldn't find his place in a big school. Westgate's small classes were perfect for him. Our middle child would have been fine anywhere and it's been a great match for her too. They both have great friends who think like they do. It's great to see them grow in a community of gifted peers. (And, the no homework policy is a blessing for our home - no arguing at the dinner table.) We can't wait for our little one to start kindergarten next year. We believe 100% in the mission of Westgate.
Our kids love school! Thank you Westgate! We transferred in after out 1st grader started to hate school and wanted to quit. There are no more tears after school. 2nd grade has been a new awakening for us. This is what a school should be for gifted kids.
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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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