This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Henry S. West Laboratory School1
Posted October 29, 2014
- a parent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.