This is my son's second year at Westgate. He was stifled at other schools frequently getting into trouble for talking or making others laugh because he was bored with the curriculum. He had been to 3 schools previously and they wouldn't/couldn't differentiate for him. However, at Westgate, my son has grown leaps and bounds in his work performance. He has the opportunity to participate in higher level thinking in science, social studies, language arts, and math! He does meaningful and relevant work at school and loves it. The teachers have done a wonderful job in developing my son academically, socially, and emotionally. He has grown as a learner and human being. The teachers and administration have always treated my son with fairness, compassion, and with his best interests at heart. My son hated school, but now he looks forward to go back every day. I am sad for the parents (students?) who have not had a good experience at Westgate. I am not sure what happened. All I know is that my son is thriving, and we couldn't be happier!
If I could give this school "0" stars, I would. First and foremost, my son's TCAP's fell in every category by over 100 points in the two years he was at Westgate - he was often miserable and isolated. Leadership is punitive and mean spirited, and their communication with parents is non-existent (ask other parents if you must). Teacher/student turnover is enormous, and special education services are kept to a minimum and/or non-existent.
I wish that I never heard about this school. My child has lost learning across the board. There is a lack of information shared with parents: lack of timely report cards and testing results along with mixed messages from the administration (if any at all). The administration throws their own teachers under the bus. Children aren't learning basic skills and there is so little support staff for the many children who need help. This school claims to cater to kids who are gifted and alternative learners, yet the staff doesn't seem to know how to meet the needs of these types of children. I will be sending my child to another school in the fall.
We love this school. It's the right fit for our creative child. She is happy and loves school. We can't ask for more than that. We are in for the ride because we have seen great things in our child. The teachers are strong and school leadership is responsive to the needs of the community. This is a school for creative, innovative learning and we have been nothing but pleased.
We are concerned about the turn over as well. The Director hires incredible people, but none of them stay. It is sad and devastates our children who love these people. It is also extremely disruptive to their learning since each teacher creates their own curriculum and lessons. When someone new comes in, it is like starting from scratch. It is happening way too often. We cannot stay. It is too disruptive to our child's learning and for her emotional well being. She has completely flatlined in her growth and repeating what she has already learned.
The question I have to ask is why are teachers and families leaving in droves? It doesn't matter if teachers are leaving for "personal reasons" or being fired. The turnover is ridiculous. Children came back from winter break to find a new teacher(s) in their classrooms. No chance to even say good-bye. This has happened year after year. There is something seriously wrong at this school and I wish I had never moved my children there. The lack of unified curriculum is a huge problem, and I feel that my children have not grown academically as much as they should. It is hard to know, because we don't get report cards in a timely manner. Parent informational meetings are a joke. Ms. J. gives excuses and cries. Ms. J gives a great show at parent introduction nights, but it is all smoke and mirrors. Kids are allowed to be disruptive and disrespectful. Most of the teachers are wonderful, however, I have seen over and over again, teachers with optimism and excitement turn to sad, discouraged and overwhelmed. Then they are gone. The school has lost so many talented teachers and I want to know why this is happening again and again. My family will not be there to find out.
Thank god there's a place for my gifted kid! We are in our 3 rd year at Westgate. NOTHING but good things to say about the teachers, staff, administrators, and board members. They all work tirelessly everyday to help these kids in every aspect. We have not had any of the experiences listed in previous comments. If you need a place for your gifted kid, Westgate is amazing!
I have to address the parent comment on work environment. I love this school. The teachers are free to be creative and it is a wonderfully supportive environment for students and staff. People leave jobs for many different reasons - personal and professional. To make a leap that a teacher leaving a job means the environment is hostile, is untrue and unkind to everyone: students, families, staff and administration.
Wow. I had to give it one star. Another half year down and more turn over at Westgate. Probably due to a hostile work environment. This is not a safe environment for staff. It is not a safe environment for students. Please don't make the mistake many of us have made by enrolling your kid(s) at Westgate. It will be time in your child's life they will never get back. You will like me deeply regret it.
My daughter is half way through her first year at Westgate. She loves it and we do, too. Her teachers are amazing - they are kind and warm, and are pushing our daughter academically based on her individual skill level. We have had experiences at several different schools and what makes this school different is that they have set up a learning environment that kids love and want to be in. It's definitely alternative, and you won't get the same kind of education at another gifted school. And that's why we like it. We have been impressed by what this school has been able to accomplish in a short time and with a small budget.
This school has a great potential, HOWEVER, I believe it will either soar or sink in the next few years. School needs to hire somebody with a solid business sense to assist the principal with financial aspects and turn their dreams into reality. My advice to this school administration (and board of directors) is to get organized, follow through on your plans, address teacher turnover, and hire somebody with a business sense to keep this good school from going under.
This school is aweful. The Executive Director is never available when you need her. If you are not part of the Board or a volunteer than you are a nobody. Some of the admin staff are so rude and really need to find new jobs. They pull the wool over your eyes when you go in for visits. Just be careful before you decide to enroll your kid(s). Visiting it his school will look good during that time. But once you are there this school is not what you saw. They have no playground and probably never will, no custodial service so the student bathrooms are disgusting!!!!! These are all things you won't see. They clean the school and bathrooms before visits. If you join the schools Facebook page than you too get too get to read about all the B.S. That goes on. This is were you hear about all the things that parents are upset about. This is also were they ask you to come to this site and post your positive feelings about the school. So a lot of what you are reading is because they want to raise their score!!! Also this school does a lot of fund raisers. It is out of control. But they can't raise money because more parents are unhappy they just don't come out and say it.
DO NOT enroll in this school!!!! please save yourself the heart ache. This school is in trouble. Meant to be positive learning environment for TAG kids that have extra social and emtoional challenges. DO NOT BUY IT. I like a lot of the teaching staff but they do not have adequate training , if any, in how to deal with gifted kids. Leadership does nothing to support staff development. The school is badly organized and the classroom environment is chaotic and stressfull for my child. If you are a parent considering this school I would highly reccommend that you take a day when school is in session to visit and judge for yourself. Also, ask how they are doing with staff turn over. Many of the best and most experienced teachers have left. At the end of each summer we return to many new faces. My son has yet to make it through an entire school year without changing teachers. The last two years have been a disaster. Many of my sons best friends have left to go to other schools. We are seriously contemplating doing the same. Leadership doesnt communicate with the parents and they are inaccessible and unresponsive. We can't even adminster CSAP tests properly. Your child deserves better!
This school is exactly what our family needed! The teachers and administrators are so honest and hardworking. I have never been to a school where administrators are so accessible to parents. (Maybe some of the 1 star reviewers have never been in another public school before, but in my experience, I NEVER got to meet as a parent group with the principals and board members to have our questions answered). This is a rare and wonderful place. There are parent coffees twice a month, community volunteer days once a month, parents are welcomed to volunteer in classes and there are committees that parents can join as well. And most importantly, my gifted child is THRIVING. He is happy once again in school. There are no more tears and he has friends who think like him. He has found his educational home and we no longer fight over the kitchen table about school. Thank you Westgate - for being there for our kids who need you!
I had to give One Star... One word to define Westgate, Debacle. I feel sorry for the parents that had the wool pulled over their eyes by Ms. J 's sales pitch. Westgate sounds like, at first, that it is a wonderful learning environment where your child will thrive and grow. Let me assure you that is not the case. The classrooms are in a constant state of choas with zero structure. If your child is normal to gifted this is NOT a great environment. There is very very poor communication between teachers, staff and parents. However if you are the type of parent that doesn't want to know what is going on in your child's classroom or with their process, this is your school. Another fact that I find puzzling is the turn around with staff. I have NEVER heard of such high turn over anywhere. Teachers are running from Westgate. There are good teachers at Westgare. Westgate can't keep around. T
This is our third year at Westgate, and I feel we've now been here long enough to see both sides of the good/could use improvement sides of the coin. Westgate has had their fair share of growing pains, but I am continually impressed by the staff's efforts to address and respond to parent and student concerns. I also believe every school has its challenges, and nothing is perfect. I can't stress enough how much we've seen that this school can be the right fit FOR THE RIGHT CHILD. One of our children struggled last year, and we determined there was a better fit elsewhere. Our other child has absolutely thrived at Westgate, and loves it. I feel the greatest atribute of Westgate is their ability to embrace each child as an individual...the school and staff are great at recognizing and celebrating the unique personalities, talents and strenghts of each child.
My 3 kids have truly been transformed through the experience they have had at Westgate. They now know what school should feel like. It should be a place where they feel loved and accepted, a place where they know the teachers are on their side and not against them, a place where they can learn and explore and be challenged in the safety of the knowledge that if they try and fail, they can get back up and try again, they will not be judged or given up on. It should be a home away from home, and that is truly what Westgate has been for them. So I just want to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!
It is inconcevable to me that anyone can post false accusations on this site and others believe these things. I have recently read some incredibly ignorant posts that are inflammatory and libelous to put it mildy. ALL teachers at Westgate are highly educated, licensed professionals who undergo many hours of additonal training to help gifted children have their special needs met on a daily basis in aloving, caring, nurturing environment. Students are very well behaved: take a tour! Every school has a naughty child at least once a day. My own children have attended several different schools in six different states over the years and I have never come across a school whose standards for caring and education are higher than at Westgate. If you read a negative post, ask yourself: have I seen this with my own eyes? Who takes the time to post such nonsense? What is it that (if it even is a real parent, or is it another school?) they hope to achieve by posting such negativity? Call, go online to the website, take a tour, attend a parent info night; see for yourself! And for heaven sake: don't believe everything you read on the internet.
I am sad to say that I'll be moving my child out of Westgate after 3 years there. There are exceptional teachers on staff. They are truly caring about the kids, but its shortcomings far outweigh the benefit. There is no consequence or reward structure for behavior. Bullying and disruptive behavior goes unchecked. The chaos there is overwhelming. Teachers turnover is alarming. And if it weren't for the parent Facebook page, no one would know what is going on because of the culture of silence set by the administration. The ED has a brilliant vision, but manages very poorly, does not do well with parents, though she's great with kids, and is very defensive and controlling. I'm so disappointed in her. This year has been a net loss for my child which I attribute to inept management. It has been 6 weeks since the end of the last trimester and we have yet to see progress reports. I can help but wonder, because they're not telling us (parents) anything, is that they didn't like the results on the MAPS testing that saw, so they decided to retest. I wish them all the best, but am not going to risk my child's education until they get their house in order.
After seeing a recent review, I feel compelled to provide some feedback. The review states that teachers are not required to have certificates or register with the state. I am sorry, but this is so completely off the mark. All of the teachers have their teaching credentials and are deemed "highly qualified" in their areas of teaching. This is done through certification exams, such as the Praxis. As people, we work in different ways and have unique opinions. Even though many students (and parents) thrive at Westgate, it doesn't guarantee that every single person will. But I can't just sit back and read blatant inaccuracies and not correct them. Trust me, this school is different in a good way.
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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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