I do have to say - the school counselor at Westside (I believe her name is Mrs. Wood?) is simply fantastic. The kids all love her and it's easy to see how passionate she is about her work. She seems to genuinely enjoy being at the school and I wish the principal and other staff members had her same attitude and presence.
I had high hopes when bringing my daughter to this school, but sadly, I do not think this school is a good match for children who need to be challenged beyond their current grade level. The principal is good at touting how great all their advanced programs are, but it's more lip service than anything else as my daughter has yet to learn anything she was already familiar with prior to attending Westside. There is a lot of focus on standardization and testing, with very little emphasis on helping students maintain and strengthen their love and excitement for learning. There is a significant lack of organization at the school and the principal does not seem to enjoy her job at all whatsoever. Parent-teacher communication is not handled efficiently and I don't feel that parental concerns are given much thought or consideration. There are very few school-organized events throughout the year, and the couple that were held were executed very poorly and were not organized well at all. The school itself is rather dusty/dirty and security is lacking. If I had known these things prior to bringing my daughter here, we would have definitely chosen a different school.
We have had great teacher experiences with both of our kids. The first and second grade teachers rotate so that your child can have the same teacher for both years. We have really liked this idea. The staff is good, but short. Music and PE have been cut quite a bit. Principal is very involved, very knowledgeable and strives to make it the best school in the district. Parents are very involved which is good, but also a sign that they are lacking staff/funding. We have loved our experience at Westside. I recommend it above all the schools in the district and above most in the Idaho Falls community.
Safety standards at this school are nonexistent. There is no procedure in place to ensure that unwanted people do not enter the building. Doors are left unlocked at the sides and rear of the building and there are no security cameras. Children are not allowed to enter the building until start of school, yet there is no outside supervision. Children are forced to go outside during recess, with the temperature far below freezing, even if they've forgotten their coats or gloves. When it is too cold to play, the children huddle together outside until their 20 minutes of forced outdoor time is over. All of the school's policies are directed toward the convenience of the staff, to the detriment of the child. The administrative staff is well-meaning but completely incompetent.