Mr. Matt - our son's kindergarten teacher was AWESOME. He continued my son's love of learning but was firm with him when it was needed. I was beyond impressed with what my son was learning in the classroom. Thank you!
I read the poor reviews listed here before my son started kindergarten, but I trusted my gut and sent him to Whittier this past year. I AM SO GLAD HE DID. No school is perfect. No organization is perfect. But I have not met a more caring and attentive staff than those I have encountered at Whittier. My son has finished kindergarten making friends from all different backgrounds (and valuing and appreciating those differences!) - is reading and writing beyond my expectations. I can go on and on. Since we are new to Whittier, I get the sense that there may have been some problems in the past. The principal left her position this year and a new one was recently appointed. Changes in leadership (change in general) is never easy. But I support Whittier and the education the teachers and staff are providing my son.
As a parent who used to have three kids at Whittier, I was drawn to the school because of the IB program, as well as the truly diverse student population. That said, I ended up having to pull my kids out this last year due to many poor management decisions that have led to a grossly high teacher turnover. In the four years my kids were in school there, I can't even count on my fingers and toes how many wonderful classroom teachers have left. That is a HUGE red flag for a parent, or for anyone looking to send their child to Whittier. If I were you, I would look into other options in the area and stay away.
It's so unfortunate that Whittier International is being driven into the ground by the unprofessionalism of the current administration. The huge turnover in staff is a major red flag. I could not in good faith recommend sending any student to this school. There are better options nearby.
This school has been and continues to be highly mismanaged. The administration team frequently uses bullying tactics to push teachers around. There has been lack of leadership in particular areas such as behavior support. Many students have Emotional Behavior Disorders and there is little to no help for teachers with supporting them--they are just thrown into classrooms to disrupt at will. There are many highly dedicated staff members at Whittier, but we are not in a positive atmosphere (as far as administrative support goes) that would allow us to thrive. As long as the current principal is running the school, I would think twice before sending your children here.
Both of my daughters graduated from Whittier, and I do not think I truly appreciated what an amazing school it is until they moved onto less inspiring schools. They had 2 principals while there, both strong and amazing women. There friends were amazing, from every socio-economic and cultural background you can imagine which truly prepared them to be empathetic, compassionate people comfortable around anyone! Their teachers were, for the most part, super supportive and amazing! They have lots of afterschool options, jump start, a great Minneapolis Kids program. They have lots of ways for parents to get involved, lots of special programs at the school. It is not always pretty and neat and orderly, but that is because it is a community of diverse perspectives coming together and creating something beautiful. I LOVE and MISS Whittier!!!!!!!!
Whittier is a fantastic school - don't let the 2/10 rating scare you from considering this school for your child. My kids are getting a rigorous education and surrounded by diversity and global thinkers. They are taught to question - not memorize. Great PTA and parents care and engage. Promotes tolerance and that there is more than one way to approach life - Whittier is a gem in MPS.
I can't believe GreatSchools gives Whittier a 2/10. That is ridiculous. This school has stolen my heart. My kindergartner loves to go to school every day and has really thrived in the IB environment that focuses on the "why" behind what they learn. I'd choose it over the "good" schools like Lake Harriet and Burroughs again in a heart beat. It does not have the high-powered PTA of those other schools with so many parents with extra time and money, but there is a strong PTA and an excellent school-family liaison on staff.
Fantastic school, supportive teachers and active parent community. Don't let the Great Schools rating worry you - this school is amazing and the IB curriculum is a huge win. My kids are learning to be critical thinkers - not just memorizing for the tests. Super open-minded environment.