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!