I've had two children move from WJHS to New Trier, and one more on the way. Coming from WJHS, my children were 100% prepared for the rigors of high school. And, they confided to me that they felt like kids from WJHS were more prepared than students from other "sender districts". WJHS is indeed a fairly big school with 800+ students in 7th and 8th grade. But, despite the size, I always felt the teachers knew my children very well. My observation is also that the size may be an advantage in terms of WJHS students being well-acclimated to a larger student body when they move on to big high schools in our area (e.g., NTHS, Loyola). The teachers, the facilities/resources and principal are all very impressive. The academic rigor and learning environment has exceeded our expectations.
Amazing school. Team 7b are smart, caring and enthusiastic teachers. They really care about their kids and give them to opportunity to work to their fullest potential. The curriculum is advanced compared to other schools and prepares the students for high school and beyond. Much of the credit goes to the Principal, Dave Palzet. He is progressive and really listens to the parents. Totally worth paying the outrageous property taxes in Wilmette!
While the education and curriculum is very good, there are some issues on the way this school is run. First of all, the school puts a lot of money into anti-bullying programs that are useless due to a basically 0% of bullying at this school. Because of this, most of the teachers are blinded. Really it just gives students a chance to tattle. If they just say exactly what the program says to say, they can get the other student in trouble. This also leads to the Merits/Demerits. If a teacher gets a student in trouble when not at fault, when the student tries to say something, the teacher just checks another box saying, "Talks Back". When trying to get a merit (reward) students just get obnoxious. Only newer teachers or long term subs get these problems. Some of them even skip the anti-bullying curriculum because they know the students really don't get much out of it other than boredom. On the good side, some of the teachers are great and give support such as staying after school for 2 more hours so students can get help or study for a test. Money wise, this school also replaces APPLE technology every 2 years but still, there are no good, working drinking fountains.
This school is wonderful! Most of the staff is very good & cares about the students. They keep bullying to a minimum. Communications are outstanding. The kids can log into their class website & parent's can track their kids grades weekly if desired. I can't imagine a better school for my kids & feel very comfortable recommending this school to anyone! There are advanced classes remedial classes & everything in between. My daughter has ADHD & needs extra math support. We love the Academic Strategies (AS) option for kids that have executive functioning difficulties. An LBS works with a few kids during this period, to help organize their work, reteach difficult concepts & work on long term projects. Her LBS (Megan Spellman) was outstanding. There are so many options offered that other kids don't notice the pullouts. Her teachers were very supportive & understanding, with the exception of a surly science teacher. I am also very impressed with the principal Dave Palzet. He is capable, kind & approachable & the kids really like him. He is frequently seen roaming the hallways & greeting students. WJHS offers a ton of after school clubs & free before & after school study sessions.
My family recently moved to Wilmette from Skokie and my younger sister started 7th grade here. The first few weeks it was a bit rocky socially but after that she had tons of friends and liked it much better than her old school. The curriculum is much more advanced and some of the things she is learning I wasn't taught until my junior year of high school (investments and stock market operations for example.) The teachers teach the kids the basics but then expect the students to use that to teach themselves the more advanced topics on their own, which results in me having to tutor her a lot as she isn't much of a book learner. Class offerings are broad, such as Photography, Mathematics in Economics, and 2D/3D Art. She gets about 2-3 hours of homework a night, compared to the 30 mins to an hour she used to get.
With the exception of a few, all of the teachers are bad and very unenthusiastic. The administration will not take responsibility for anything that goes wrong, and the sports selections are unfair and biased.
This is a very good school. These reviews here are pretty old and lots has changed. The teachers care about the kids and are responsive to academic and social needs. The music program is great and even though my kid is kind of a band nerd, we've had a great experience at a time when lots of kids struggle.
While academic offerings may look good. Watchout. the teachers are not committed to delivering anything more than the basics. The algebra program for 7th grade is a poorly coordinated program which falls to the High School curriculum. The High School and the Middle School are different school districts. The Middle school has no control over what is taught by High School Teachers in the Middle School building. The High school teachers expect High School performance form 7th graders. The kids in this class are very motivated but struggle to keep up with a High School expectation. This system is not working for the students. The Middle School has no control over the situation. The High School doesn't care. Steer clear of this school it is not what it appears.
The school has an elite attitude from just inside the front door to the teachers lounge. There is no electronic grade book like K-12 Planet.com where parents can see grades on all homework, quizes and tests. When you email teachers not all emails get through or work properly. When there are issues about missing work or late assignments teachers don't want to send an email to help correct the behavior - 'Check in once every few weeks' is the answer. I guess in a 9 week grading period they don't want to be bothered too often. When parents ask for teachers meetings it takes weeks to schedule. Proactive communication from teachers is non existant.