District 44 is very progressive in terms of technology. We had Smart boards before most other schools knew what they were and this year all incoming 6th graders were provided with brand new MacBook Airs that they will keep with them until they leave jr. high. There is a large assortment of extra curricular activities for diverse interests which is great given the variety of student backgrounds. Importantly, the communication at the team level (each student is placed into one of three teams) has been excellent. Some opportunities, the bus company could be more reliable and the administration communication is ok at best.
I have had two students go through Westlake and both of them received great grades and compliments from teachers on how wonderful they were doing, yet they were ill-prepared for high school. The teachers make it so easy for the students because they know if the kid is getting an A or B that the parent will be happy and not complain. The result is the kids get good grades so everyone thinks they are good students but they have not learned what they need to be successful in high school and beyond. It is really a shame. Also the principal is one of the poorest examples of a school administrator I have ever seen. I know so many parents that have (legitimately) complained about him and nothing has ever been done. The school will never be good if the principal is an ineffective leader.
My daughter's been at GWMS for three years and my son starts next fall. I have very good feedback on GWMS. She's consistently had good teachers, great orchestra experience, good sports teams, etc. The school has all modern teaching equipment (mac labs, windows labs, accelerated programs, etc.) Good focus on the whole student - physical, academic, arts. Compared to what I hear from some of our friends in neighboring towns, I can say GWMS is a strong school comparatively.
I am above average and get bored in class with nothing much to learn. No time is devoted to help kids with disability or kids falling behind. [ I know because of some of my friends and other kids I know.]
This school is good (not great) if you have an average or above average student. If your child can't 'keep up with the crowd', he will definitely fall thru the cracks. My child has had reading support since 3rd grade in this district and has not improved! Yet he continues to get pushed thru to the next grade level and his grades do NOT reflect his test scores. This is a middle school with a high school environment and the enormous population is NOT beneficial to a constructive educational experiance for children of this age group. Why are children being forced to 'grow up' too soon?! Let them be kids and enjoy their educational experience. They are not a herd of cows and they are not a can of beans - they are each unique indivuduals and this is totally lost in this school's environment.
Kathy Tomasiewicz the Director of Special Services of District 44 has brought her leadership and skills to GWMS, a much needed addition. I am extremely thankful for her services and knowledge. She is a breath of fresh air, and the program that she has initiated this school year will really benefit all, student & teacher.
I am in my first year in GWMS and I think its great! All the teachers are very organized and the school has many clubs and activities. Thier security program is amazing! You have to have I.D.'s on at all times and the school has so many kids and they do a great job organizing kids great. its split into 3 teams. Great school!
At the best I can rate this school is a 5 out 10. We have made it through 7 years at GWMS and 3 kids. Communication between school and home is almost nonexistent. More than half the teachers websites have not been updated in years. But my main complaint was the overcrowded classrooms. That has been a problem since day one and the reason why students slip through the teacher's radar in need of assistance. The kids are stressed, the teachers are stressed and they seem to push the droves of children through without even loooking up. The best thing that can happen for all students is to base teachers salaries on how well their students score on tests. Then you will see some changes at GWMS. Good Luck!
I've had mixed experiences at GWMS. I think the instructors are great. I've found them to be easily accessible and to have a genuine interest in their students' success. If I needed help or guidance with keeping my son on track, they've been very supportive and offer excellent suggestions. That kind of input helps a busy parent in ways words can't describe. The man at the helm, however, I would rather do without. I think the school does a great job of mediating.
Our child's first two years at GWMS have been quite successful and I am expecting a great final year! There is some culture shock in transitioning from a smaller grade school to GWMS: one challenge facing the school and parents/students is that GWMS is the only middle school in Lombard. The student population is very mixed -- and prior school experiences quite varied, so teachers and administrators have to meld it all together. I have encountered many very strong teachers at GWMS and the curriculum is varied enough to be interesting, but not overwhelming. Parents who are unhapppy with GWMS need to put themselves in the staff's shoes: middle school is an incredibly difficult and delicate time in a child's life. Not easy parenting MSers...can't be easy teaching them either!
After spending time in additional facilities, I realize the building leadership at Westlake is poor at best. There is a ton of parent involvement, too much. It appears as if the parents control the day-to-day decisions at the school (to the detriment of the students). There have been at least three very good instructors who have been run out of the school by these over involved parents within the last three school years; Again, poor leadership....It's a shame to waste such great resources (physical plant, technology and staff)because of poor administrative personnel.
After being so impressed with my children's elementary school, Westlake was a very disappointing experience. The administration seems like they are afraid of the children and as a result try to have absoulte control over all that they do. Although there are some shinning examples of caring teachers, there are others who do not seem to care about their students' success at all.
GWMS offers students a great curriculum, well-qualified teachers and a well-rounded choice of extra curricular activities, including excellent orchestra and band programs. The large student population is organized into smaller teams which offer a personal sense of belonging; discipline is well-maintained and student involvement is strongly encouraged.
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