The have a program called Zap (Zero's Aren't Permitted). If you do not finish a homework assignment, you get zapped and have to serve a detention after or before school. You are still required to do the assignment but only get 50%, no matter what the circumstances.
From the beginning of the year, the kids are expected to know how to be completely independent when it comes to their schoolwork and notes and time management. From the 3rd day of school, he has had about 4-5 hours of homework each night, for a 7th grader! The school fought with me to get him back on a 504 plan. The plan has already been revised and the teachers are still not following it, counselor is awful, doesn't do anything, principal refuses to talk to me and none of the teachers are responding to email. The elementary system is great!! It all falls apart once you get to the middle school. I'm very disappointed.
Westside is an amazing school district. My parents opted me in and it was the greatest decision we've made. To a previous comment: Things have changed. The gifted program is now a way students can participate in seminars with much extracurricular activities that are also presented in a fun way and everyone I talk to has fun. And students do get punished for mediocre work. It's called failing. The grading system is very tight in order to weed out good grades from bad. Nowadays there is also specialized reading classes, for those who need a little extra help. You can choose between three languages to choose as well. And Spanish needs to be the way it is. The first semester is a well needed review, and the second semester starts on more of the advanced stuff. New students to the district take a special Spanish class to catch them up, if they choose to take the Spanish route. Based on previous comments, I, as a student can surely say things have changed, and Westside Middle School is nearly perfect, despite minor inequivalent errors.
For everyone who is saying Westside is a bad school below, get with the times. I am an EY (excellence in youth) student which is an advanced placement thing. The teachers will adjust the difficulty of the work based on your ability, so it doesn't matter that they are all lumped together. The fact that we have the variety of ability in our school makes it feel like you are never alone. We constantly read and type/write, taking notes, reading out of textbooks, reading examples, every Tuesday reading for 30 minutes. The honors English program is now available to all kids in the high school.
Westside has excellent elementary schools, but the middle school is a disaster. It is a waste of two years. Other than Math, all kids take the same classes, regardless of ability. So, in English, Science, etc., you have the brightest kids sitting next to the slowest. There is very little writing or reading in the curriculum. Students are allowed to turn in mediocre work, with no consequence. Communication with the parents in nonexistent. The EY (gifted) program is a joke; students take a one-quarter-long class and that's it. That particular teacher refuses to answer parent questions and the administration does not care. We had to move one of our children to a private school. Another is there now. Despite being very bright, he is failing classes. Discipline is a problem. Students will be removed from class (by the resource officer) for swearing at the teacher, then they'll be back 2 or 3 days later. It makes it very difficult for the good kids to learn.
Lacks discipline in classroom and accountability for student work. Teachers are not supported by the administration. Kids allowed an entire quarter to turn in work without any consequence (reduced grade, or a 0)! Does not challenge high end learners in the classroom, except for math. All other subjects, all learners lumped together. Only district to not have Honors English for Freshmen. The Middle school Honors English program is for only 12-15 students (out of 440 students) and while good, it's only a semester. This district has the 'we know what's best attitude and studies show...' Very disappointing experience.