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.
This school should be embarrassed to call itself a Wellness school. My daughter is in a class of high achieving students. With no communication to the wonderful & involved parents of this class, PE has been replaced twice weekly with math FCAT prep--- on a computer program.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was excellent! I can still remember the time when I was captain of school patrol in 6th grade.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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