Wildwood My child attended Wildwood for several years. It was made most obviously, especially from other parents, that children that were not from the neighborhood were not well-received. This is evident from prior postings. This is a sad commentary.
We moved to the neighborhood because of this school and we are so thankful that we did. Our oldest is in kindergarten and suffers from attachment anxiety among other things. He has been in preschool programs over the past 2 years and the other teachers/cultures just weren't tolerant or helpful. We felt like outcasts and struggled with how to try to help our son while maintaining a level of respect for the other children in his class. We empathized that our son created distractions in the classroom but we also wanted to stay the course so that he he would understand that his outbursts wouldn't just get him a free pass to go back home. Already, our son's teacher, the principal and other team members are devising ways to help our son find balance within defined boundaries while maintaining tranquility in the classroom. Sort of tough love but with a healthy dose of empathy for our son and entire family. I honestly don't know how/when the staff has time for themselves/their families. If I had any concern, it might be burn out for the teachers/administrators. They are all dedicated and focused. We feel very fortunate to be a part of the Wildwood community.
A new principal has brought a more progressive way of tackling some old problems: overcrowding and limited resources. Wildwood has also hired new teachers focusing on literacy and math enhancement. The after school programs are good, although the quality of the the instruction in the science and music programs is uneven. The PTA is a very strong and pervasive presence. The emphasis on excessive amounts of homework for younger children seems to have subsided. Some teachers seem to be spread a bit thin, witnessed by the need for frequent use of substitutes in some classes. Overall, an excellent school with caring and challenging teachers, involved parents, a dynamic principal and caring support staff.
I love this school. Between my two daughters they have gone to 5 Chicago public schools. My older daughter has been in selective enrollment schools and my daughter who attends Wildwood has now been there for 3 years starting in 1st grade. The reason I list the number of schools my kids have gone to is because I can compare this school to many others. I really liked it the first year and that was before the new principle. I absolutely love it now. The new principle is amazing. They teach to the whole child. They do work on test prep a bit, but that is not the entire focus of the curriculum. They offer a good amount of after school activities. They have a wonderful community and while we are not in the neighborhood I still feel such a great sense of community anytime I am there.
Wildwood Elementary is a great place to send your child if you live in the neighborhood. The teachers my child has had up to now have been caring and personable. The new principle has been working on creating a more friendly atmosphere towards the parents, and communication has improved tremendously. The community's involvement in running the school through the PTA and LSC is excellent. Many of the teachers are true stand outs in particular Miss. Melidis 4th grade teacher. She really understands the children and their needs and has an excellent grasp of child psychology. She's a great asset to the school. What keeps the school from earning a higher grading is the physical space. The school is over crowded for sure and CPS refuses to give the school financial help for much needed improvements and with the new budget cuts from CPS next year will be a major challenge for the principle. We're already being asked to pitch in even more financially for 2011-2012. Overall what makes the school a good school are the parents and the new principle seems to be listening and acting on the creative feedback .
i love this school! The new principal is a breath of fresh air! The focus is on learning, not so much teaching to the test. The IB curriculum is awesome. The diversity at the school is refreshing, being in a mostly white neighborhood. Student learning is evident everywhere. The parents continue to be active and involved. I can't say enough about what a fantastic first year we have had under new leadership! This was a good school before - it is a great school in the making now!!
I pulled my oldest son from this school in the middle of kindergarten in 2005, unfortunately we had to re-enroll him for 1st grade due to a divorce and income loss. Both my sons attended this school until october 2009 when we moved them to a top Chicago public school in their Dad's neighborhood, this was the best thing we could have done for them, the principal of this school was awful and that attitude trickled down to everyone, there were 1 or 2 exceptional teachers but over all the feeling in this school was that our children were numbers, they we butts in the seat and represented more dollars for the school. The school was so concerned with the test scores that the kids were drilled for months prior to testing to the exclusion of actually teaching them anything else. There was always a ton of homework (2 hours of homework for kindergarten every night?!) and I often wondered what the teachers were doing as the parents seemed to be doing much of the teaching at home. I understand that there is a new principal as of 2010 and I hope the school will improve under new leadership.
Wildwood is a fine school with dedicated teachers and a highly motivated parents' group determined to keep the program headed in the right direction. One of my children who attended this school is today an honors IB student at a CPS high school. My second child's ISATs show a ranking among the top 5% of math students across the U.S. I am confident that both of these accomplishments are due in part to the hard work of Wildwood's teachers and administrators.