My child had attended Waters Elementary from preschool to first grade. The preschool teacher was excellent, but once we got to the other grades, the teacher quality definitely dropped. My son has ADHD and we were trying to deal with his behavior without the use of medication. We even had a 504 plan implemented and went to regularly scheduled conferences with other faculty members (minus the prinicipal) which did not make a change in his behavior so he fell behind drastically academically. When we pleaded for more help from staff members, we were quickly shut down. I believe it had to do with financial costs they would have to pay for extra help for my son. When I requested to speak with the prinicipal, it took her more than 1 week to get back to me. I had to threaten to go to the school board in order to get her to call me back. I had great hopes for this school but it truly did disappoint me so much so that my family and I moved to Elmhurst. I am so glad we made the move because not only are the teachers attentive, involved and caring, but the prinicipal is actively involved. She even attends all the meetings we have had for our son. It's defintely a 180 degree change
Personally, I think the rating system here is rigged! Waters being a 5 and all. The energy of this school with the parents, teachers and faculty are amazing. As a parent whose child is in the kindergarden class, I was so surprised about how much money the parents have been able to raise year in and out. My child has drama, gym, art, music, and math/computer class. The teachers are great. As a realtor myself, when I list a property and say Waters on it.... it sells. Why have we been stuck at a 5 for 3 years. We are on same path as coonley, bell, blaine etc. Parents, this school is on that track! Highly recommend!!!!!!
I have a story about Waters. My child needed a doctor s appointment earlier this week and made sure I scheduled it afterschool, not during, because, well, here were the reasons: "Oh I can't miss social studies tomorrow, we're starting our group projects, and in reading we are doing our musical puppet show, and math, no I just don't want to miss math (loves it), and not science because today we are using the microscopes to study the microorganisims." My child has been at Waters for about 10 years and has had at least 16 teachers in this school. They have been engaged, they have challenged, my child is not bored. And the teachers work very well together. The principal meets with the teacher-grade-level teams once a week to address challenges that may need attention, and things that are working. I know no school is perfect, they all have pros, cons, or maybe lack something or maybe not. In my opinion, if the majority of the experience is good, let people know. So I am. I pointed out just a few examples my child loves school. But I could write pages.
More than a neighborhood fine arts school, it s a village.Teachers are wonderful, the space unique - garden, playground and field. A Tier1 on its way up (few lottery spots left).The Admin/teachers are implementing new ideas like Calm Classroom, CAFE reading,Coffee w/Principal, and Healthy Schools.There is a need for house cleaning (mentioned in past post) Dreary Drama, non music, Special Ed, few k-2 teachers who lack interest/skills,and 2 Math Specialist positions-all of whom are not the right fit for Waters. We need to be honest about is/isn't working. 90% of the teachers are truly exceptional and collaborate on weaving art, ecology, science, literacy, writing, math, etc. into the curriculum. The good news is the principal is responsive,has admitted to making poor hiring decisions, and committed to righting them! It is nearly impossible to rid a school of a lackluster tenured teacher, but she is working to make changes. Take a look inside and see if Waters has what your child needs-smaller class size, literacy program, afterschool prog, sports, art, ecology, kind teachers, beautiful environment, possible friendships for life.
Teacher and parent involvement here is outstanding! They say it takes a village....well this "village" should be proud of their community efforts. Yeah WATERS !
I'm proud to be a Waters Elementary parent! I live in the neighborhood, and I feel lucky to be part of this school community. The teachers and parents work together to maintain all that is amazing at Waters -- and to improve when needed. I continue to be impressed with the involved, intelligent, welcoming, kind, and very active Waters teachers and parents. Happy children abound, and the programs offered continue to inspire me daily: Mr. Leki's Garden and the fabulous ecology program, Mrs. Vecchioni's stellar art program, excellent reading and Math opportunities, Calm Classroom, Chinese New Year celebrations (and many other opportunities to celebrate and learn about various cultures/holidays/etc.), Field Day in the Spring, field trips, the Variety Show, the Spring Big Night fundraiser, Spirit Week, just to name a few. Fabulous families, amazing kids, and a spirit of teamwork among the teachers, administration, and students create a cooperative educational environment!
Waters is a great neighborhood school. Though like many neighborhood schools there is a small faction of parents who seem to run everything - they do an absolutely fantastic job but it can be a little hard to really get involved. Additionally, I feel that the principal is a good administrator but not great with kids and the same goes for the assistant principal.
Great teachers, great programs, great Parents, great kids! Feels like a family where the kids can grow, learn, and be kids!
This is one of the best schools! The staff, the Principal Ms. Crespo and the parents show everyday their passion for education and put our children first! I have 2 granddaughters attending this school and I volunteer every opportunity i can. Just LOVE Waters!
Waters is a good school. The best thing about it is its ecology program. The art teacher is very good. The music program used to be wonderful...until the excellent music teacher went back into the classroom. The music program has suffered greatly since then. They had one teacher for one year, are trying out another, but these teachers seem to not understand how to get the kids excited about music. Hint--it's not worksheets and essays!!! The drama teacher is terrible, as almost EVERYONE knows. That is a shame in a fine and performing arts school. The quality of the teachers varies, as in any school, but they are mostly solid, with a few lemons. Not a bad school. Great parent community.
I don't write many reviews for anything, but after reading a few of the most recent posts I am compelled to action. Waters Elementary is our neighborhood school, I have been a parent at this school for 3 years now. While the office staff may need to work on their communication skills, please ask yourself, does that affect your child's education - No. What I can tell you, is that the principal is an amazing advocate for our school with CPS. She knows the system and when it changes, she studies it and works in legitimate ways to do what is best for our students - period. As far as the teaching staff - truly wonderful. Art, Music, Ecology, Math specialist, Language arts - you name it. My second grader is learning amazing things every single day. Are there teachers who are not the most desirable? Yes, of course. The world is an imperfect place. However, the community at this school is unlike any other I have encountered in this city and as any study will tell you - that counts for something - including the effect it has on the quality of education your child receives. The strengths of this school FAR outweigh the weaknesses and communication is a primary focus of improvement this year.
I have been very impressed with most of the teachers so far. They show a willingness to work with your child, listen to parents concerns and opinions and provide more than one avenue of learning for the kids. My one main concern- it's a real shame that Waters has such a rare opportunity to teach drama arts to the kids, but they employ a teacher that doesn't seem to have any passion for it. She hasn't had an exciting play or production since my child started in 2008. I think with all the remarkable theater and acting going on in Chicago that it would be incredibly easy to find a drama teacher who would love putting on great children's plays that would excite and ignite their creativity. Unfortunately, this drama teacher is mainly known for her yelling, her close friendship with the principal (very unfortunate) and her complete lack of interest in making drama fun and creative. I say again, it is an incredible shame.
My child attended Waters from k until 5th grade. The teachers she had early on were fantastic but as she went on they became far less so. For two years in a row she had teachers who literally yelled (and I heard them) at the kids nearly every day, really for no reason other than perhaps their own frustration. To say to a 10year old "shut up or I'll shut you up" is unacceptable to me. Also agree with the comment below about the office staff and principal. I have also overheard the principal bring kids into her office, close the door, and really yell. She is not at all interested in communicating with parents, and the asst principal is just as bad. However, the worse thing is that I felt my daughter's academic progress definitely slowed as years went by. She was not challenged and I was surprised that some basic grammar and math lessons that I thought she should have mastered were unknown to her.
My children have been attending Waters Elementary for the last 7 years. During that time, we have seen several changes--mostly for the better. There is an awesome group of parents that work really, really hard to improve the school. Unfortunately, it is a CPS school and there is only so much that can be done, it seems that there are many roadblocks trying to complete any project/improvement. The teachers are wonderful, for the most part. We have lucked out and loved all our teachers, however, I have heard a few horror stories from other parents that get that one bad egg. My biggest complaint would be the principal and the office staff. The principal has very poor communication skills, lacks maturity and tends to have a condescending attitude towards parents. The office staff is disorganized, slow, rude and overall not helpful. This may not be apparent at first glance, but the minute you need something or have a question--the rudeness is there. All in all, the school is ok for CPS...not the worst, but definitely not the best.
It's not often that when you go shopping for a school that a jewel like this one exists right in your own neighborhood. We have been extremely pleased with our teachers there so far, and we have met so many other parents who are committed to making this school exceptional. This school is a fine arts magnet cluster and the art and music programs are outstanding. But really the reason you go to a school goes beyond the warm community feel it offers and focuses on academics. Working with the new principal and our teachers has paid dividends as now the class work seems more challanging and test scores continue to go up at this great school.
I love waters because its a good school and my family attend school there.
We love this school for it's phenominal ecology program and for the emphasis on fine arts and music for all. We love this school for it's passionate parents organization "Waters Today". We love this school for the supportive and hard working administration. This school is located within a wonderful family community and needs to continue to move forward and improve to one of Chicago's top public schools!
It is the best choice for parents that want their children to learn not only academically but also ecologically
Because they care about their students and take a special interest in chidren with needs!
I'm glad the neighborhood is finally waking up and taking notice of this great school. I'm a huge fan of the school's art & music programs and the ecology program is also very strong. The academics have improved year after year and the principal has done a great job of finding new hungry teachers. The new campus park is fabulous, my kids are looking forward to many sunny days on the turf field.
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