My son just started at this school this fall and loves it. He is in middle school and is very bright however due to problems with bullying at his last school, he began to hate school and it was tough to get him to go. Since he started at Westgate he is eager to go to school on a daily basis and feels comfortable learning in this atmosphere. He has really turned back around from the support the teachers at this school has offered and their supportive philosophy.
I am very happy with the education my children are getting at Westgate. My children, at the elementary and middle school levels, are both growing in ways I never imagined. The conversations we have in the car each day after school are thrilling to me as a parent. We really talk about their learning. I wouldn't trade this school for the world. It's the right fit for my family. Teachers are great. Administration is available. The community is supportive. I am so grateful.
I love Westgate! My children have pretty much attended every different kind of school, ranging from traditional to non-traditional, and we have been over and over again discouraged by the "fit the mold" approach to education that many traditional schools enforce. We consider ourselves very blessed to have found Westgate, where creative and "different" learning styles are celebrated, rather than condemned. I have seen a night and day difference in all of my kids, when learning is fun and they are allowed to be kids. The teachers are very capable, gifted, positive, energetic individuals, and after parent-teacher conferences, I am encouraged that even when there are issues to discuss, they are presented with hope and a "how can we help the student?" attitude. I wish more schools followed this model. As a parent, it is such a pleasant surprise to get a positive review and encouraging notes about how my kids are progressing, rather than constantly bemoaning to me how they are failing and don't measure up. I am so grateful to Westgate and the fabulous teachers that work there!
This "school" should be shut down. One hand has no idea what the other is doing. My rating is zero stars.
Notice that all the 5 star reviews come at the same time, if not the same day? Don't be fooled. People are leaving this school in droves. Teachers are leaving this school in droves. Avoid this school if you want your school admin to listen to you. We did. Not only that, it's not a safe environment. Discipline is a problem. Classes are out of control, and parents can never be sure what they're being told is what is actually happening, nor what their children might be learning. It was a nightmare for us.
This school is great and there's been a great vibe this year from parents and students alike. The teachers can't be beat either. As a happy parent of an elementary school age kid, I'm thrilled by the progress my child is making and the attention given to each kid. And I've never met an insincere or unkind administrator there. The school may not be the right fit for all families, but I'm not sure why anyone would say it's unsafe!!?? That blows my mind. It's a safe, warm, nurturing and happy place, and my kid tells me how happy she is on a daily basis. Westgate deserves kudos for trying something different and succeeding at it.
The school is truly incredible. Like any place, it has its challenges. Westgate rises to the challenges and kicks their butts mostly due to the fantastic teachers. To say that the teachers are rock stars would be selling them short. Our kid has been at Westgate for two years, and I have been constantly impressed by the teachers' level of commitment to the kids' development, their competence, enthusiasm and flexibility. If your child needs a little extra attention in some area, they are on it. If your child just gets a subject and needs a whole different level of challenge, they are ready. The flexibility of the teachers' approach and willingness to adapt classes to let the kids lead the way in their own education, while ensuring that quality learning takes place is impressive. True professionals. And don't even get me started on the concept of working at school, and coming home ready to be at home, not to do hours of homework. Life is insane enough without hours of homework. This also lets kids develop a healthy concept of leaving work at work -- something I could be better at. Most importantly, our child LOVES school, loves learning and loves the teachers. Win.
Westgate Charter School is an outstanding out of the box school that focuses on the non-traditional learning styles many gifted children need to be successful. Our children absolutely love the staff and attention they receive making them want to learn more and more each day.
Last night I was driving back after curriculum night and decided to have a date night with my 2nd grade daughter enjoying our shared guilty pleasure: strip mall chinese. From the back seat she asked if she could read me some Jack Prelutsky poetry (um, yes please), and she bravely tackled crazy words like "burgeoning." Then at dinner she assessed whether the soup should be considered a solid or a liquid since it was thickened with corn starch, and decided since it did not keep its shape it was a liquid. Then she diagramed the motion of molecules in different states of matter on her napkin and discussed the process of condensation. Sometimes you don't need grades or MAPS or TCAPs to know how school is going. Thanks Westgate!!
What a nightmare school! We attended all the intro meetings (they require multiple ones) filled out a ridiculously long application (which we did not, in the end, turn in), did the tour, etc. We head heard about how poorly behaved kids can sap all the teacher attention, but we still wanted to go view for ourselves. We were appalled at the lack of safety measures and most of all at the rude attitude towards parents. If you have any concerns and would like to speak directly to the administration, they are simply not willing or available. And this attitude goes all the way to the top, the Director. Honestly, during every interaction I got the impression that they like students but hate dealing with parents in any capacity. We simply won't send our kid to a school where we feel the administration views parents as "necessary evils to be avoided."
There are better schools to serve the needs of your gifted child. From Westgate's "about" page, they claim, "Westgate Community School (WCS) is the dream of a group of parents & educators who believe that all gifted learners deserve an educational experience commensurate with their unique needs and abilities...Our goal is to make our students feel successful, understood, and appreciated for who they are." My child, a highly gifted student with an identified disability was at Westgate for three years. My child was isolated in class, physically grabbed and pushed around by support staff members, spoken to in a negative and demeaning manner, and treated like an outcast. Upon filing a complaint with the state, it was found that they were in violation of state education laws. This school fails to hire qualified and licensed staff at all levels to support the needs of gifted children. Check state license web sites. Turnover is very high in this school for both students & staff. Ask yourself, "why" and look toward other schools to effectively meet the needs of your gifted student.
We.are very excited this year at Westgate. Our high schooler just began his first classes in college and our 6th grader couldn't be happier in her classes. There are some new teachers this year, but i only count 3 this year. Sure some teachers have switched teams, but they are still at the school. There is a new counselor but she is AMAZING! Our high schooler was worried about starting classes and she worked with him to be sure all of his questions were answered and she went with the students to FRCC on the first day of classes! We feel so supported by all of the staff at Wesgate. This is a wonderful place to be if your children are gifted and craving challenge!
This is the third year my daughter has been at Westgate. She has had a great experience here. She has had great teachers, she has learned a lot, she has made tons of friends, and when there have been issues, they have been resolved. In addition, she has been in the BASE program and the BASE director has been awesome, providing lots of activities and I feel she is safe and well taken care of. While things aren't always perfect, I'm not sure what school is. Overall, I feel Westgate is trying to do what is best for kids, and because it is not a traditional school, it's not the best fit for everyone.
My kids at first loved this school; smaller ratios of teacher/students. Over time, I had been nervous at the fact that the teacher turnover rate is incredibly high, where behavioral issues are more than obvious with many classrooms, teachers/staff abusing their job titles, (taking personal cell phone calls during class while ordering kids to remain silent throughout class period) classrooms are their cafeteria, and weeds and blacktop/parking lot is their recess living, our gifted and talented kids are to 'use their imaginations' when playing. If you're a stay at home parent, this may be the school for your kids, anyone else used to district level policies should reconsider where you send your children... putting them here may in fact send them back.
We've had our son at Westgate for 3 years now, and I'm finally pulling him out. I wish I'd done it long ago. His Kindergarten year was great, but then the bullying and teasing started. He kept getting told to work it out for himself, and no support was given at all. In any situation outside of his academic classes (e.g., BASE, PE, recess) they have no structure or adequate supervision, so the kids essentially have a free-for-all. My son was teased, punched, kicked, and hit, and no teacher could stop it, or would even claim to witness it, and would completely dismiss my son's complaints. We tried to get him help, but that went nowhere.
I have struggled with what to write for many months since there is little information available about Westgate for prospective families other than Chris J's presentation. While Westgate was founded on a great premise, it has fallen short in execution. While happy with my children's teachers, we were very disappointed by the administration, the BASE program, and the lack of any type of playground other than a cracked, weed-ridden blacktop. While my children were safe overall, some very alarming behavioral problems occurred in the classroom, some of which directly impacted my children and their learning environment. While we feel that our children received a good education during their year at Westgate, we are happy to get them out before they develop any gaps as mentioned in other reviews. Westgate is a choice that we made after winning the lottery at many District 12 schools and we are now exercising our right to send them somewhere else after winning the lotteries at many schools. We hope that Westgate will work through their problems for the sake of the students that are still there but it will need a major overhaul before that happens, both administratively and financially.
The reviewer who said 20 teachers have left since the end of the 2012-13 school year was wrong but didn't lie. More like 28 teachers (K-12, Specials + the school counselor) have left since then, some mid-year, and many were great teachers. Just open up your yearbooks and count for yourself.
We have been at Westgate since the first year and we are so excited about the start of this year. There is a buzz in the building. The teachers have jumped right in. The morning routine for little ones seems more organized. It just keeps getting better and better. We have three at Westgate with number four on his way. He can't wait to start school. Our children come out each day with something interesting to talk about. We couldn't be more grateful to Westgate, Chris J and all the teachers. It's a wonderful place to be. (And to the last reviewer, all of out kids got their ALPs last year - are you even real parent here? Also, 20 teachers didn't leave. That's a lie.) Thank you Westgate! You ROCK!
I would encourage all parents of GT students, new and veterans, to demand an ALP (Advanced Learning Plan) as is your child's legal right in Colorado. Westgate will tell you that your child doesn't need one since they are a GT school but insist on one anyway to hold them accountable. Ask to view it and have it available at conferences. Also, the teacher turnover is very high as other reviewers have pointed out. From the end of the 2012-13 school year to the beginning of the 2014-15 school year 20 teachers have left the school ( 3 of those left during the school year and no there was not a baby boom). This does not include support staff which also seems to have a high turnover. The % of students who leave is just as bad. Even board members, board presidents and the founding members have pulled their kids from this school. Many families have loved this school at one point, only to be shocked and disappointed when they discovered that no matter how loyal you are, this school will hide something important from you or simply ignore legitimate concerns.
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.
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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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