Both of my children attend WLMS, presently 7th and 8th grades, and they both love it. My 7th grader actually hated school until last year when he has Ms. Hodshon (now Mrs. Hawkins) whom he said made school interesting and challenging. He also adored Mrs. Watkins - even thought he hated typing class. And Ms. Venable made my son into a chatterbox about science b/c he couldn't wait to tell me all he learned and how funny she was during class. My daughter, the typical type A first child, blossomed at this school under Ms Hanes, who took an interest in her kids' success like no other teacher I have seen before. Mrs. Becker was also amazing. In fact, I wish I could list all the teachers who have made my kids' experience at WLMS wonderful. I am extremely appreciative of all the hard work the administration and PSTA put into the students at this school.
This school is fantastic! Our daughter is just finishing her 3rd quartered kindergarten and has really excelled. When she started she could barely remember the alphabet. Now she is reading at a 1st grade level. The principal is very friendly and always takes time to speak us. It is obvious he really cares about the school and he kids. The teacher is outstanding and does a great job educating the kids. Mr. Simons and the teachers really work hard to ensure that West Lake Elemtary is one of the best schools in the county!
This school was the absolute worst environment for our kids. We have 2 kids that started the last school year here. The school is so disorganized and overcrowded. The principal tries his hardest I think but is just overwhelmed. He spends most of his day disciplining kids. I think they need to hire someone just to do that all day! The kids get lost and have to scream for help if they need it. The turnover rate is high which doesn't look too good.... Both of our kids had their self confidence taken away from them. We took them out mid year because we just couldn't watch them suffer any longer. It was a miserable experience and although I could walk to the school in 5 minutes, we chose to drive our kids to a different school. Very disappointed to say the least. The kids are happy now and we have never looked back. Best decision we ever made was to get them out of there. Very sad to say that about my neighborhood school since we bought our home based upon the schools being so close!
Although we had been warned about the teacher turn over, we crossed our fingers and enrolled our child in Kindergarten this Fall. The school has faithfully adopted and rigorously implemented all of the common core standards in all grades including Kindergarten. Unfortunately, there is no regard given to where your child actually is developmentally. It is assumed all children entering Kindergarten know their alphabet, know most sounds and should be able to write simple words phonetically. If your child was not enrolled in preschool or if they are delayed in any way, then they will be behind on their very first day of school. The school is over-crowded and does not have the staff to help kids who need remediation. The Kindergarten teacher passed out work sheets daily and graded these assessments with red pen. We un-enrolled our child after the first quarter. I would not recommend this school unless you know the teacher or have friends that can vouch for them. The Principal seemed nice but also looked overwhelmed and tired. He was too busy to speak to us because he was often dealing with discipline issues. My child now puts red x's on his drawings when he is finished with them.
This is the our third year at West Lake Elementary. I currently have a 5th grader, 3rd grader & Kindergartener attending. I have been very happy with the school thus far. It is a highly populated school, but I think the school has done it's best to accommodate and I love the year-round schedule. There has only been one teacher that I did not care for in our 3 years. The other teachers have been helpful and caring. I also cannot say enough good things about Mr. Simons as Principal. I love that he will go out at recess and play with the kids. He really makes an effort to get to know all the kids. He is very approachable and is doing an amazing job. I also want to give a shout out to Ms. Marshall, the Asst. Principal. She and Mr. Simons have created an amazing community feel at the school. Ms. Marshall always has a smile on her face and greets my kids by name. The only one complaint I have about the school is the silent lunches, which seem extreme in my opinion. Aside from that, I love this school and the parents in my neighborhood are very involved in making the school the best it can be.
This is my daughter's first year, but I am pleasantly surprised at how well the school is run. I was talking with my wife and we wish we did some of the things they do when we were kids. I think social media is helping and the teacher is either very organized or works a lot of hours (it could be both). Also I was worried that my daughter wouldn't be challenged since she scored somewhere in the high 90s percentile of primrose students on the bracken test., but I think that the curriculum she is going through now is appropriate for kindergarten.