Students enrolled 282
School leader MS. BARBARA R SOTO PUJADAS
Transportation options Yes
District Dade County School District
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

5300 Carillo Street
Coral Gables, FL 33146

School website
(305) 661-7661
(305) 662-2935
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Henry S. West Laboratory School address.

4 stars
Based on 42 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

October 29, 2014
Far away from being an "A" school. There is more to be an "A" school than only having students writing "A" grades. Of course, there are a few good teachers working at West Lab Elementary but even these teachers overwhelm their students with huge quantities of homework every day not realizing that some students are bored all year long. "Students who can't follow are left behind without support or additional help." Students who follow with ease don't get progress related worksheets. The absolutely worst experience I've ever made was the encounter with the school management and office administration, a group of disorganized and unfriendly people not able to deal with criticism constructively. Instead of a friendly welcome they make you feel like an intruder entering "their" territory. They prefer chewing gums, eating and talking to each other and don't mind you standing and waiting at the office desk. Is this an appropriate behavior you may expect from an "A" school? At the end of this unbelievable but true experience I feel sorry for those children who can't move to another school. We took our child out of West Lab Elementary and are looking forward to a great new school year.

- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2014
Principal runs this school worse than a third world country factory. Not only is she the rudest person I've personally ever met, she cannot manage to save her life. The only reason why I have my child still attending this school is because it is in a very convenient location. I wish someone from the district would pop-up and make a surprise visit so they can see how horrible this once great school is being ran. It makes me sad because this school used to be such a "wow your child goes to West Lab" kind of school. Now I believe I'm not the only parent counting the days down until we can get out of there and never have to deal with such utter rudeness, bulling and lack of structure from the principal and her gang. If I could give half a star I would.

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2014
West Lab had a lot of potential but sadly it has become child unfriendly. It really is run by bullies that make families feel very unwelcome. Many of the teachers have lost their enthusiasm. Kindergarten is by far the grade to avoid with an oversized combo class taught by 2 teachers who use negative reinforcement daily with a chart displaying each student's name. The kids have no place to go but down and this chart is very prominently displayed in the classroom causing 5 year-olds to feel horrible about themselves in front of their peers. If you are looking for a nurturing environment that boost student's confidence, this is not that type of school.

- submitted by a parent
September 30, 2014
We waited two years to get into this school. First through the lottery process and then waiting in line overnight, we put so much effort. When we finally got the call, we never expected the school to mistreat us the way it did. A few weeks before school started, they wanted to test my son, claiming it was because he came from a private school (testing for admission is not a prerequisite). He did not pass the test, so over the phone she told us that I was "inhumane" for sending my son to first grade, when it was clear that he had to be retained. She has never met my son or bothered to speak with us. We felt discriminated and without a plan B only two weeks before the first day of school. Things happen for a reason, I am happy my son is far away from that "human" principal.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2014
This is in response to the comment that was posted last night, and probably removed by someone's complaint. I totally agree that the school is run by few bullies (the principle and few mom's).

- submitted by a parent
June 03, 2014
Very stressful experience. Focus of education is on how high the kids may score in the SAT and FCAT tests. Recess 3 times a week only and it may be skipped. If your child does not meet their expectations short term, the pressure is on you and your child is left behind. I was lucky enough to be able to find another public school where my child is happy and thriving.

- submitted by a parent
April 09, 2014
Principal and some teacher are animals. I had to move my lovely daughter to another school.

- submitted by a parent
March 20, 2014
This school is an embarrassment to the profession. The principal is a stubborn, self-righteous woman who runs the school like a dictatorship. They move staff around like chess pieces. The school librarian was teaching a class, the school counselor is monitoring recess, and the spanish teacher was fired and then brought back. Not to mention the bullying problem, my daughter was harassed by several male students, knocked to the ground and stepped on and nothing was done (the bully was a staff's child). There was an incident where the boys lifted her skirt during lunch. The student was written up for that but they did not even notify the parent that they had written him up; I had to call her and tell her. The kindergarten teachers are hostile and jam 37 kids into ONE room and call it a successful program despite the fact that kids are failing. Several other parents have removed their students and have filed complaints with the school board and the FDOE Bureau of Exceptional Education. Both of my children are thriving in their new school. In an effort to secure their test scores, the school "gets rid of" any students who would hinder this. They should be ashamed of themselves.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2014
My two sons attend this school. The oldest since first grade and the youngest since Kindergarten. Although there are many things I would like to see changed within Florida's Public School system, I believe this school does a pretty good job within the system's boundaries. Teachers are skilled and motivated, great parent involvement and some real diversity in the student body. Beautiful campus. It is a sweet little school where I have been able to shelter my kids from the craziness that comes with bigger schools. Everybody knows each other and it really feels like a community. Glanced over the comments regarding the principal and from my own experience I have this to say: I have never heard a "no" from the principal as a response to many of the initiatives I or other parents spearheaded at school. I cannot relate at all to the dictator comments. As a matter of fact, she appears to be very lenient as long as activities don't interfere with the curriculum. Very happy here :)

- submitted by a parent
June 06, 2013
My sons attended this school since Kindergarten and my oldest since first grade. I cannot say how happy I was with the school, the teachers are outstanding, and my sons had the most fun experience learning. Reading and Math are strong, and when the students don't do well they do anything to make them learn, like some of the teachers like Ms Ward, and Ms Cox take time from their personal time to give extra support for students that need it. My sons class scored first in the county in reading and math last year. Also it is a very small school and they know all the kids by name and grade. Betty from the YMCA is a true angel, she knows "very well" each of the kids and shell make sure you know what is going on after school with your child. Lastly, the principal Ms Soto Pujadas makes sure to address parents concerns immediately, I wont ever forget an incident my son had and Ms Pujadas addressed right away with all the seriousness of the case. I hope one day my young daughter can attend this fantastic school.

- submitted by a parent
October 13, 2012
These grandiose statements about the principal are so blatantly political ... parent below is correct; the principal has led to the downfall of what was once an incredible school. The parents/families and 50 % of the teachers make that school.

- submitted by a parent
October 12, 2012
I absolutely love this school! My son enjoys every single day he is at school! He doesn t even want to leave when I pick him up from the After School program. The administration, principal, assistant principal, and teachers are so committed to the school and to provide the best education to the children. They have done so much already for my son that I cannot even express how thankful I am. I really feel as part of a family. I m the mother of 3 children and I can t wait for the other two to come here! I feel proud to be a parent of this wonderful school!

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2012
I have been at West Lab for three years and have been so pleased with the experience. The environment at West Lab is wonderful, it truly is a community. The families are so friendly, down to earth and welcoming. The teachers are professional and dedicated and the administation is dedicated to making West Lab the best. It is not perfect but no school is perfect. I have had my share of complaints but I am certain that I would have complaints at any school. The complaints about the principal are based on a few angry parents who are using this website to voice their anger. The principal is very professional and has an open door policy. I do not think parents at West Lab realize how rare this is and how fortunate we are at West Lab. I hope that she does not change the open door policy because it benefits everyone. Even if you do not like the principal on a personal level you can not deny that she is doing something right. I love West Lab and if I didn't think it was a such a great place I would move my children to another school. I feel very fortunate to be at West Lab, it is a special place.

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2012
In my opinion the 8/13/12 comment was posted by the school's principal herself. I've been at WL 9 yrs & I've put in the time volunteering with the pto, as a room parent & as chairperson for different activities. Bottom-line, I speak to lots of parents & the previous posts ARE Accurate, its either the principal's way or the highway. The reasons why most families stay are because of the amazing families & 80% of the teachers. Furthermore, I wouldn't say any of the previous posts were aimed at giving the school a bad reputation. As a parent, I want my children's school to be the best & if it isn't, it s my duty to take action. The problem remains, when will WL get a true leader? This lady might be great for a different school but we need a motivator not a dictator!

- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2012
I decided to write a comment because I couldn't believe the comments that are written about West Lab's Administration. We've been there for 2 years and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. The teachers are exceptional; very caring and dedicated to the kids. The Principal, in my opinion, is very professional and committed to the students and the school. Her job is to work hard at making our school the best possible. and, that is exactly what she does. She knows all the parents, all the students by name and knows the kind of grades each student has. I personally, met with her about some issues with my child and she was very receptive and understating. Gave me her feedback and told me what the plan of action was. She met with me on the spot; I did not even have an appt. Her doors are always opened to everyone. The students are very happy at West Lab and love their school. The amount of activities is numerous, both within school time and after school! For those parents who have expressed their dissatisfaction with administration and tried to give the school a bad reputation through their comments, I say: Why have you stayed in the school so long? You have a choice!

- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2012
My child started at West Lab in kinder when it was an exceptional school. Over the years the school has lost that specialness it use to have with the pressure and focus now exclusively on FCAT. 1/3 of the teachers are exceptional and really truly care about how the children learn, but most have their hands tied by administration dictating what and how the material is taught to the children. Those teachers who side with administration cannot be bothered by parents wanting to know how their children are doing. Any fundraising has to be towards the ACT fund first which helps get teacher aides, so you encounter a lot of problems trying to raise funds for the library, music or art departments. For my children, the school went from a 5 star to 3 star school. For a school that was exceptional, it is now like every other school you find in Miami.

- submitted by a parent
August 02, 2012
My child has been at West Lab since kindergarden and it has been a mixture of experiences. What West Lab does stil have is a nucleas of hard working concerned parents that go way out of thier way to make sure their children are getting the best "Public School" has to offer. The teachers are a mix some like Mrs. Wethington who is probably the best math teacher and human being that your child could have th good fortune of having. And than their are others who have not been able to resist the pressure of the administrations focus on FCAT results. Still Westlab has many talented kids and good families. I think academically it starts to come apart at West Lab around 4th grade when children are expected to score higher and higher. But children are still stronger than most come middle school and West Labs reputation makes it easier to get accepted to some of the top middle schools. I gave 4 stars because overall my daughter says she loves it, the families, the campus is open and green and most of the teachers do care.. If would rate the admistration 2 stars. Not the holy grail west Lab used to be from what I hear 10 years ago. But overall still has a lot of good points.

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2012
I was inspired to comment based on the last review; I too was here with past administration & can confirm the change. When my now HS student was here the environment was geared towards learning, respect & being children. WL has always been an A school, thanks to wonderful teachers (few exceptions) & involved parents, but administration is changing that formula. Teachers I used to talk to openly in the halls are now shying away & hinting that they cannot talk while "big brother" is watching. Very Sad! Now I have to email or make an appt. event for quick HW questions. At the beginning of the last 2 school years, admin. has made it clear parents are to Drop-Off & GO. Maybe its me but that feels like a push to get rid of parents. Parents & teachers are what make WL what it is (or was). I see teachers with little respect for admin. & frustrated by their mandates. Although I understand some of this could be rolling downhill from the district, we all know families in other schools. Where they have the same mandates & still find a way to make it work; keep students & teachers happy while remaining an A school. The difference? Good Administration, which is what WL has lost.

- submitted by a parent
January 28, 2012
This majority of the teachers are very dedicated, knowledgable, and concerned about the success of the students. However, a few teachers pick favorites based upon the influence of the PTO. The school administrators are either oblivious to this favoritism or condone it. The favored students receive preferential treatment at the expense of the other students.It has been our experience that this unfair treatment of students created a hostile environment not conducive for learning. These favored students insult and bother other students and when reported little or no action was taken. In the end we had to transfer our child to another school. We contacted the District 4 regional office to file a compliant. These over zealot PTO parents are doing harm to a good school and the Principal is complicate. This mob rule mentality has made an excellent open public school seem like an elitest private school. In my opinion it is the over zealot PTO parents that need an education on better parenting and the leadership in this school should change. The mission of a school is to educate and to treat all students equal. Not pander to an influence peddling PTO.

- submitted by a parent
June 06, 2011
We had an excellent first year at West Lab. We had an amazing veteran teacher who was willing to work with us to instill our child with a sense of confidence and love of learning. The problem with our school system in FL is the Sunshine State Standards, which tie the teachers' hands and diminish creativity since they are always forced to teach the next benchmark and the next--always preparing for the test, rather than having the freedom to spend creative time enhancing learning material in ways that reach all our learners' styles--visual, read/write, aural and kinesthetic.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2011
It was excellent! I can still remember the time when I was captain of school patrol in 6th grade.

- submitted by a community member
February 07, 2011
While the past few reviews do bring up some valid points about the school's administration. Administration can change, but you won't find nicer families anywhere. My child has not had every teacher in the school, but he knows, likes & respects all of them. The teachers that he has had, have all been excellent! He is very happy, loves learning & is excited to go to school every day.

- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2010
West Lab is not what it used to be....Administration has a major chip on their shoulders and they go through the motions with a lack of sincerity. They treat parents as if they are a nuisance. All they care about is their rating, not the student's well-being. The principal is lacking interpersonal skills and runs the school by intimidation. The teachers and staff walk around without smiling and look truly miserable. Do I really want to keep my child here another year?

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2010
Boy, how things change from year to year. Last year I was telling everyone how great 'my' school was. Now I advoid talking about it at all. The administration has diappointed me to the point that I will not help or support them in any way. I will do anything for my child but never for them. I am seriously looking into a new scholl for next year.

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2010
My oldest daughter went to West Lab in 1998, back when this was one of the best schools in Dade County. My son is attending now and I'm sorry to say that the lack of administrative leadership has turned this school into an average small school with little sense of community and stressed out teachers. Parent involvement has declined BIG TIME since every attempt to work along with teachers seems to be interrupted by administration (not parent-friendly at all).

- submitted by a parent
April 27, 2010
Great School, love all the parent involvement. 90% of teachers and all administration is Fabulous. My kids started in Kinder, this is our 3rd year there, couldn t be happier that we got in. Excellent academic programs; plus art, music and daily PE! Not to mention all the extra curricular activities available on-campus. If you child is falling behind, there are different programs the school sets-up for you, in house & on-campus. The small size makes it feel like one big family. PTO has tons of fun activities, fund-raisers, etc. There is never a dull moment.

- submitted by a parent
December 03, 2009
The school is outstanding and the teachers as well as the administration are both beyond expectation. Hopefully, since we are trying to re-visit the k-8 school conversion as part of an EESAC sub-committee, this will further enhance and secure the children's future by meeting their educational expectations, learning incentive, enhance self-steem and further their knowledge. In addition to the main factor, secure their emotional well being. All this put together should bring about what every educator and parent wants , a sub-sequent educational program that will instail the student's interest to want to further their knowledge at an earlier stage and want to continue to remain in school plus further their education at the college level. The overall result of the Magnet Program idea at the Middle school level at West Lab is a community and parental desire for the welfare of our kids and hopefully soon to come true.

- submitted by a parent
October 04, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 02, 2006
WestLab is a school of choice, but it's still a DCPS with several problems. The small campus and its location in the Gables are both desirable, but its involvement with UM is minimal at best. WestLab teachers are excellent and they help the parents with various on campus extracurricular activities. The Gifted Program is not what it should be and is only offered for one hour daily. Gifted kids may be better off in another school or magnet program. PLUS SIDE: small campus, good teachers, nice parents and kids, good location and its an 'A' rated school with some association with UM. MINUS SIDE: Outdated, dull buildings, hard to organize PTA since families are from all over town, Cafeteria is lousy and the food comes from Ponce Middle School (terrible), no separate Auditorium, it's a Cafetorium - bad combo. Nope, WestLab is not perfect, but it is still good.

- submitted by a parent
March 22, 2006
My daughter is currently attending this great school. She was chosen through the lottery and despite our daily drive, it's worth every minute of it. The staff is helpful, the teachers are dedicated, outstanding academics. I find the best to be the size of the classes. This makes it easy for teacher/parent rapport and for teachers to recognize students. I wish they had a better Spanish program (now they only have a Spanish class, just like art, music). Also, because the school is small, you can always find parking and has easy access, contrary to other schools were you have to fight for space, especially in the morning rush. The principal is new, she started the 2005/06 school year so I do not have much to say about her yet. There's a very easygoing environment, kids are expected to behave and to be polite, it's just the ambiance of the school.

- submitted by a parent
February 07, 2006
My daughter is in K at West Lab and the quality of the teachers is outstanding. Most have been there a long time. It's also a small school, only about 300 kids,with two classes per grade, so administrators are on a first name basis with the kids. My daughter is learning to read and they're very strong on preparing them to read, by encouraging them to write and keep a reading log. They don't give as much homework as other schools but it seems to be enough without being overwhelming. They are very strict about discipline and doing their work. Sometimes kids who don't finish work aren't allowed to participate in recess, which seems harsh but it seems to motivate them. The extracurricular activities are impressive with an art club, a chess club, violen program, science club and many other things. Parent involvement is also very high, which is great.

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2005
West Lab is great school with lots of potential. Teachers are very dedicated and seem happy to be there. This year we have a new principal. We'll see how that goes. The campus needs LOTS of fixing. And we are hoping for an approval for 7th and 8th grade.

- submitted by a parent
July 28, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a former student
May 16, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 14, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 09, 2005
West Lab Elementary has provides a fantastic learning environment for children. Small class sizes, dedicated teachers, and a great deal of indivdual attention to students' needs are only three amongst countless benefits this school offers.

- submitted by a student
April 19, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 05, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 07, 2004
Nice small school. Parents are very active in school programs.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2004
My daughter is currently in kinder at West Lab. So far I am extremely happy with her learning in the past year, her classmates and most of all her teacher.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2003
The school and teachers are wonderful. The physical plant leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of health hazards that have to be fixed but no one knows why it hasn't been done. Overall the learning environment is the best I've encountered so far.

- submitted by a parent
August 22, 2003
The teachers at the school are excellent as well as the partnership with the Univ. Of Miami. The biggest issue facing the parents right now is the addition of a 7th and 8th grade class. If the school board would consider it, they would make everyone happy and make a difference in education. As for the Principal and AP, both are new this year and we look forward to working with them and enhancing our children's educational experience.

- submitted by a parent
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Henry S. West Laboratory School
5300 Carillo Street, Coral Gables, FL  33146
(305) 661-7661
Last modified Henry S. West Laboratory School is a Public school that serves grades PK-6. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Henry S. West Laboratory School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 42 reviews. Top