This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Westgate Community School1
Posted February 05, 2015
- a parent
I don't even know where to start. If I could give 0 stars I would. We left this school last year mid year because we were afraid if we waited longer our daughter would fall behind more. This school has NO curriculum, no reading, math, writing or spelling programs. The teachers are left with no guidance from administration to create their own curriculum. This leaves children either with huge gaps in their education or relearning things 3 and 4 times. There is no vertical teaming so my daughter learned the same exact things in first grade and kindergarten math. After 6 months I began to question some of the teaching practices and received no answers or communication at all from the administration. In fact the director told several parents that when she gets too many emails she just deletes them. Ms. Johnston makes it impossible to get answers about your child's education. Even though Westgate is a school for twice exceptional children they refuse to write ALPs for gifted children even though by law they have to. This school is unfriendly and unwelcoming. Many children fall behind after a few years being here. Don't enroll your children here.
We are requesting Great Schools remove this post because it is factually untrue. This parent knows her son received a full semester of credit including two gauranteed transfer college courses (6 hours). All high school students, including her son, recieved full credit for all of the courses they passed. She recieved her son's transcript earlier the time alloted by the district. Although she wanted it immediately, this is not always possible. We are not in violation of district policies and work closely with Adams 12. Our access to Early College is an excellent choice for advanced, hard-working students. This paren'ts experience is hers alone and does not speak to the majority experience at Westgate Community School. The majority of our high school students are well ahead in high school credits as compared to typical high schools and many will earn an Associates Degree upon high school graduation. It may not have been the right fit for her.
The school spends so much time trying to defend their violations and refusal to cooperate with the district. The statement below is an example. It is too bad they do not focus more on instruction, professional development to support teachers with the very demanding needs of twice exceptional children and more productive and positive efforts. Instead, the administration is in constant defense mode defending their inept to run a school.
The school has been in violation of district policies for several years and they have had plenty of opportunity to correct the violations. The district has generously reached out to them many times to offer assistance including yesterday while my son and I sat in the counseling office of another high school waiting for them to "release" him from their computer system. They could not do this simple task because his grades, courses or attendance were not entered into the system for the semester he spent at Westgate. Westgate does not have most of their courses approved by the district or state, so my son will not receive a grade or credit for 5 of the classes he completed and he is now out of contention for many scholarships. The worst thing is that they do not accept responsibility for their shortcomings, instead they make excuses and blame others (including the district who has been MORE than helpful). The executive team at the school are smart and wonderful people with a true love for the students enrolled at Westgate, but they do not have the administrative skills to run the school. This leaves many students with issues they do not deserve.
My son (12) and daughter (10) are in the middle of their second year at Westgate and they have been very happy since day 1. I can say this especially since they have been in two schools prior and we had to beg them to go; one or other hated school, and it was a problem. For the first year at Westgate, it was a family joke. If they were acting out or something, the "punishment" was "you do not get to go to school tomorrow" - and for about 6 months, the threat of not being able to go to school actually worked. It was funny, but they didn't want to miss school that bad! They have excelled in all their classes, they have been moved up individually and unexpectedly into advanced courses, and overall, the school and teachers seem to have been very attentive to their needs - both emotionally and scholastically. We like the reading assignments too that they are being given. My daughter had to read a Steve Jobs biography and I was blown away at that many varying aspects of his personality that she grasped. They are sponges and Westgate is feeding them - love it. Keep pushing!
Another great teacher gone mid-year. The return from winter break is the same every year. No other school my kids have gone to has had turn-over anywhere near this high. Each of my kids lost a teacher mid-year, with no chance to even say goodbye. Glad I am gone so the latest loss doesn't break my kid's hearts.
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!
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.