We spent one year in the preschool program at FXW, following two years at an exceptional preschool. Early childhood challenges dealt with in stride, without drama, by enlightened and supportive teachers were elevated to major issues at FXW and the we do things one way approach seemed only to exacerbate any problems. As educated professionals, we found teachers and administration consistently (and oddly) imperious, and communications with them to be generally inauthentic. We struggled throughout the year to appreciate the reputation that the school continues to enjoy (garnered years ago when it was undoubtedly deserved), but honestly never did on any level. A disturbing exercise of discretion/judgment by the teachers made our decision not to re-enroll our children at the school an inexorable one. Strongly encourage you to talk with a number of different families about recent experiences before determining that this is the best school for your child.
We absolutely love FXW. Our son is in the preschool program. He is always excited and loves going to school. The teachers are excellent. You can genuinely tell they love the children and are committed to providing the best learning opportunities that foster their growth and development. Our son is thriving both academically and spiritually. The overall environment of the school is a happy one. Children are smiling, laughing, and actively engaged with faculty and their friends.
This school was excellent! It allowed my child to become a responsible high school student. My son now attends, Mt. Carmel H.S. FXW students matriculate to some of the best high schools in Illinois. To name a few; Public- Payton, Jones, Brooks, Lindblom, Whitney Young, Lane, Lincoln Park, Westinghouse, Northside, Ogden Intl, Chi-Arts/ Catholic-Mount Carmel, Queen of Peace, LaLumeire (IN), Loyola Academy, DeLaSalle, Notre Dame for Boys, Trinity H.S for girls & Mother McCauley/ Independent- Latin, Lab, Parker, Morgan Park Academy,Chicago Academy of the Arts (CAA) & Lake Forrest Academy. The tuition is high but with financial aid, it can be a reality. From the field trips, to curriculum to the excellent tea teachers, this school excellence in every catergory...worth every penny & dime spent. It is a true investment!
I went to open house last night. The school building looks really nice. The hallway, the gym, and the classrooms seem very clean and neat. However, inside the classrooms (primary and kindergarten levels), the furnitures and materials are not as impressive. The teachers look more like business professionals. Some of them are nice but some of them are not. The principal and the parents seem pretty involved with the school. The kids are very well-behaved and have good manners. However, they seem lack of fun and energy. I personally would like to see the kids having fun and enjoying the school rather than just doing well academically. That is just my first impression of the school. I might be wrong about that.
We thought the school was a good school. However, the parent interview was a complete waste of our time. We knew from the very start of the interview that we were not being considered for admission. That is completely unprofessional and shows a poor administration staff. We did not have a unique experience. Comparing notes with another applicant family showed the same ill treatment and lack of a "real" interview. It was a scam to collect application fees. This school already knows who they are going to admit way before the application process is complete.
FXW is THE BEST school in Chicago. The education is fantastic, but its more about the community. There is something about walking down the hall and knowing every face. I was able to strike up a conversation with every teacher and talk to any kid. You always feel secure and home. Also, it is right downtown. You grow up in a diverse area, you become independent, and I believe kids in the city mature more rather than kids in the suburbs. Also, from the second you step in that school they prepare you for that second when you walk on stage at graduation. The support system for getting into high school is AMAZING. Every kid is guaranteeing to get into a great high school. I cannot tell you how many times they saved me when I didn't get a letter from CPS, or I was nervous about the catholic schools test. Not to mentioned the kids are very well mannered, just great kids. I trusted everyone there, and there was never a reason for that trust to be broken. FXW is truly the most amazing school in Chicago. I didn't realize how much it did for me until I graduated this year after being there 11 years. If you can, send your child there, there are even lots of scholarship opportunities.
I think FXW is a very good school for our children thus far. In just a quick response to one of the posters here about not enough communication regarding curriculum and class study. Frankly, I'm not sure that parent was paying attention. My child too was in first grade last year and we received more communication about class focus and studies than I knew what to do with--both via written weekly communication sent home with the child as well as weekly parent emails from our teachers.. All were very informative and was able to read emails at work about what the class was studying, and then go home at dinner and talk coherently to my children about what they learned that very day. FXW may not be flawless, but communication is not one of their problems.
We are new to the FXW family, and the 1st year was amazing for my daughter who was in 1st grade. She flourished socially and emotionally forming some great relationships with her peers. As a parent, I was disappointed with her academic growth. The goals/objectives the teachers had for the students were not communicated throughout the year. The online newletter didn't contain specfic strategies /skills that were being taught in the classroom for a certain week/month. I didn't know how to help my daughter at home with the skills she was learning in class, because I didn't know what was being taught. A syllabus/newsletter of some sort would be extremely helpful in knowing what she is learning in school so I can reinforce those skills at home. I would like to see FXW inform the parents more about what is being taught and use a progress report system before parent conferences.
My son was at FXW for 10 years and he recently graduated from 8th grade. While I may not have agreed with all the administrative decisions over the years, in the end my son flourished and found his true self while being a student at the school. We feel lucky that this school was a good fit for him, and my only evidence of that is how happy and mature he is at the ripe age of 14. But, if you feel the school is not a good fit, then it is best to move on and find one that is. The school's success is dependent on all the families' involvement, from volunteering to helping with fund raising. It is a given in today's world that everyone needs to pitch in in whatever way possible. I believe that parental involvement is a key reason the school has been successful.
I'd be very cautious when considering FXW. I'd have said they have the education part right but in our experience that depends on whether you're easy to teach. We had two kids attend -- the easy one flourished academically. But frankly he would flourish on the dark side of the moon. The other was continuously labeled a troublemaker. Strangely he hasn't been in trouble since he left. What he has been is in continuous (and expensive) tutoring -- his high school figured out in 2 months that he was dyslexic. 10 years at FXW and no one noticed? Eventually we took our younger child mid-school year following a very troubling judgment call that made us lose all confidence in the school's leadership. No school is perfect, but this one is too expensive to be this inconsistent.