A wonderful community filled with talented and thoughtful teachers, students and faculty. This is a school that produces confident, cultured, independent adults. So grateful that I am able to send my daughter there. My daughter has attended this school since 3rd grade and is now attending their high school. What high school student, outside of PWHS, looks forward to Monday mornings so they can go back to school? Now that says something!
Portland Waldorf School is filled with creative, dynamic teachers,striving to provide a rich academic and artistic experience to its more than 330 students. As a parent I notice a deep respect that both the students and teachers have for each other and also a strong desire on the part of the teachers to meet each child's needs. The parent community is supportive, friendly, and the staff informative and willing to answer all my questions .PWS is Portlands best kept educational secret. Spread the word
I encourage every parent I know to consider Portland Waldorf School. PWS and the Waldorf movement have been invaluable to our family. My children graduated PWS prepared to meet the challenges they face in life (college and life after college). They have learned to observe first, think creatively, develop original opinions, and act on those opinions. The preparation came about because the faculty knows how to apply proven Waldorf teaching methods to achieve these goals. These are all hopes that I had for the education, but they are not succinctly measurable. This can create challenges. I was always able to gain a new and reassuring perspective of my children's experiences when I approached faculty with questions. The teachers have profound understanding of how the developmental stages of the students affect curriculum, successes, and difficulties. It does take effort on the part of parents and faculty to work together for the benefit of the student. Perhaps there are ways to make this more effortless? But where intention meets communication, these challenges can be resolved. I would rather have it that way, than send my children off and periodically check grades or a test score.
There should be a zero stars option. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that justifies the tuition at this school, or the self-satisfied and entitled attitudes of faculty, board members, and parents. The school is random, odd, and haphazard, yet overrun with so much false conviction about what an awesome job they are doing. Wasted time, money, and energy abounds at this school. So little actually done for the safety and education of, you know, kids. The constant begging for money coupled with blatant waste and mismanagement is embarrassing. If you enjoy dealing with incompetent and woefully misguided adults, and want a school that leaves your kids academically and socially stunted, then you will love this place. To top it all off, it literally stinks, like stale patchouli and pickled foods.
This school has not prepared my child for college - in fact, I doubt she will be able to attend anything other than a community college. Thanks, PWS. A chemistry assignment involved creating a smoothie... really!?!? And how much is tuition?!?! The lack of testing and the atmosphere does not provide for real world application.
I've been a parent at PWS for the last 6 years. Both of my children have attended the school since they were in kindergarten. Reading some of the comments below, I get the feeling that - as with all schools - there are some families that did not find a fit at the school and are bent on attacking it. I can't speak to their experiences, but I can tell you that our family's experience at the school has been nothing but excellent. Both of our boys' teachers are excellent: intelligent, loving, caring and great teachers. Two things stand out to me regarding our experience: 1) both of our children love school and both are eager to go every single day, and 2) compared with their peers at other schools, our kids are at or above their academic levels in every discipline (include math and reading). As long as the trend in these two measures remains, I won't even think about changing schools.
Dysfunctional atmosphere, with hit-or-miss staff. A few teachers are actually good, but some are truly horrible...dogmatic, unkind, and cold. Also, not a terribly smart staff as a whole, both in the classes and in the administration. Furthermore, if you are considering this school, ask how it's administration is structured. Short answer: in such a way that no one takes responsibility for anything. Expect no real help if you ever have a problem. Academics are WEAK WEAK WEAK, with the class moving at the rate of the slowest kids in the class, which is scary slow since they withhold academics until very late. Not big on discipline either; no consequences ever! Lax parenting plus lax teachers equals really bratty kids. The parent "community" they tout is as dysfunctional as the school; gossipy and very strange. Too many really immature parents with no boundaries. If you really must do Waldorf, consider MichaEl.
For our family, PWS has exceeded our expectations on all fronts. For our children: academic rigor at the age appropriate time, exposure to the complete range of creative arts, as well as the nourishing relationship with dedicated faculty who know them and care about them deeply. Our children are learning, happy and flourishing. For us as parents, we have found a warm, welcoming and diverse community of families. As with any school, you really get your own sense of the quality of education and the type of community by visiting. That's what we did, and I'm so glad...I can't imagine our children being better served in any other school.
I am quite disappointed with the level of education my two students have gotten after many years at PWS. I cannot speak to all Waldorf education, because this is the only school I have personal experience with, but I find that the curriculum has not prepared them for college nor a professional career. The curriculum spends too much time on off-beat subjects, and not enough on core fundamentals. Neither of the kids has hardly any homework, and both seem bored by school. Math and science is so lacking that we are spending thousands on tutoring to make up for the lack. Also, one of the children who has struggled with reading has been very hampered by Waldorf's policy to not teach reading until 3rd grade. Though almost a freshman, her reading and writing is probably at about the level of an average 4th-5th grader. Despite our ongoing concern, her teacher has not made any effort to focus on this. An attempt to transition one of our kids to public education failed miserably. Our student found public school too difficult, with too much homework. I believe a public education, even with all their shortfalls, would actually be better than what PWS offers.
A great school, in my opinion, produces well rounded, capable, confident, self determining, creative young people ready to find and follow their own path through life. As a current parent of three children at the Portland Waldorf School ranging from 1st-7th grade , I am extremely satisfied that my children are receiving the education I expect from a great school. As with any Waldorf School, the class teacher, who teaches the same group of kids from 1st-8th grade is the primary factor in a child's experience and education. PWS has an excellent faculty of grades teachers, all committed to the develpment and education of each unique person in their class as well as the continued personal and professional development of themselves and their collegues. Before lending too much credence to reviews driven by a negative experience or sour grapes or even this one from a highly satisfied parent, please visit PWS, meet the teachers, and administrative staff, talk to current students in the grades and high school, talk to the parents, ask to be connected with alumni, come to a parent council meeting, sit in on a class. I believe you will find a great place to go to school.
This is the only private school I have ever known the inner workings of, but I am horrified at the dysfunction among the faculty and the staff. I find that this inevitably influences the children both in the classroom and outside of it. What is being modelled for them is not healthy. These are immature and underdeveloped adults who do not have a strong sense of themselves. Not only are students here being insufficiently served academically, they are being disserved because of a lack of healthy adult examples of mature social interaction, honesty, cooperation or even receptivity to parental concerns. Looking ahead, be sure to ask about the success rate of their graduates who, time and again, are dropping out of college before even the end of their first year. Ask what colleges are accepting these students. You won't find any big names here--for Waldorf schools in general, maybe, but for PWS specifically, it just isn't happening. I would strongly advise looking elsewhere. I found the nearby Micha-el school to have a far greater sense of integrity on the whole.
I am a current parent at PWS and I could not be happier with the education my child is receiving. It is a full and complete, classical education. My child is appropriately challenged academically, artistically and in the social realm. How often does it occur that students learn care and respect for themselves, their peers, their teachers, their parents and for the greater world around them? PWS does this beautifully. The teachers are completely dedicated to the students. My child's teacher always makes time to answer my many questions. I feel supported as a parent and my whole family benefits from the open and warm school community. I feel very lucky to have made a connection with this school.
My children are so fortunate to be at this school! The caring and thorough education they receive here is hard to find elsewhere. The programs are rich and taught by real specialists. There are no "electives" because every subject is too important! In addition to the core subjects they ALL learn german, spanish, handwork, woodwork, instrumental music AND choral music, physical education, eurythmy, fine arts and so much more. The teachers really get to know each child and the administration is friendly and willing to go above and beyond to help meet the needs of the families. The parent body is also wonderful and very involved. This is more than just a school, it is a community!
Fully Accredited by the National Association of Accredited Schools, the Association for Waldorf Schools of North America, and the Waldorf Early Childhood Association for North America, the Portland Waldorf School has proven itself as a leader in education in the Portland area. The experience my children received was crucial to their development as capable individuals in a wide range of abilities; perhaps most importantly being able to think for themselves, and "outside the box". Professionals and friends remark on the high quality of their insight and competencies, and say that they can see the difference it makes to receive an education from PWS . I highly recommend the school, and the teachers who exhibit a depth of understanding of human development which exceeds that of any other school in the area.
We found that the teachers at the Portland Waldorf School are outstanding. My sons grades teacher is an amazing and talented woman who guided him through grades 1-8. His subject teachers in music and art are are not only gifted artists in their own right but also incredibly gifted teachers and mentors.
There are some wonderful things about the education but.... huge problems in the administration and too many sub- standard teachers. The social issues and bullying at the school are heart breaking. Classroom management is more often than not outdated and ineffectual in lower school. The culture in the high school often breeds disinterest and lots of pot smoking. NOT a math and science school by any stretch. Unfortunately "crony-ism" has set in and those in control think it's all good when it is very stale, dysfunction and not a very inspiring place for many. I would recommend the kindergarten program. If you are lucky to get a well trained, professional grades teacher (few and far between), it can be a good place for a while. I think one of the big problems is there is really no apparent supervision of the teachers. They can kind of do what they want. Thus, there is a huge lack of professionalism both inside and outside of the classroom. If your high school student is HIGHLY motivated they can do well. But if they need more structure and a little push to do their best....they won't get it here. They just leave them alone and dismiss it all to "developmental appropriateness."
GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT. Portland Waldorf School can no longer make decisions based on what is best for its students. It has become a slave to its mortgage and makes decisions not based on healthy Waldorf pedagogy, but on the whims of the parents who pay its bills. I agree with one of the reviews below. The brick fortress is quite impressive in pictures, but behind closed doors, tired, unqualified, uneducated teachers use shame and humiliation to "discipline" students. For years now, the school has been running an anti-bullying, social inclusion campaign while its very own teachers and administrators lead by the example of shame, blame, and overt bullying. We were actually receiving free tuition and we opted to take our children to a healthy environment. This is nothing but one, big dysfunctional family unwilling to consider its weaknesses and provide children a happy, healthy learning environment. If you consider nothing else, just look around inside and ask yourself whether people seem to be joyful there. It is an environment of the living dead--not a place where children can be children and learn to like to learn.
This is the second Waldorf School in which my children have been enrolled, the first one considered a flagship school of the movement, and I can say that Portland Waldorf School is, INDEED, a "true Waldorf" school. As a former public school teacher, I recognize that most of the PWS teachers are truly exceptional, giving life to the extraordinary curriculum and to the life of the school. I know that often the disgruntled parents are those who suffer from a sense of entitlement and the sense that because they "purchase" the education, their whims should be honored, whether in keeping with the school's policies or not. That being said, every organization can improve. In this case, a little more transparency in the decision-making process would be helpful to parents. HOWEVER, a family seeking a caring environment with a curriculum that includes movement, instrumental and choral music, foreign languages, and developmentally-appropriate academic challenges or their children pre-K-12grade would be hard-pressed to find a better school. And, yes, PWS high school graduates are routinely accepted to the top colleges in the country.
This is a great school! I have been a member of the PWS community for many years, both as a parent and volunteer involved in the internal workings of the school. I have tremendous respect for the school's commitment and striving as a Waldorf school and the dedication and integrity of the faculty and staff. My children received an incredible education and are successfully making their way in the world as conscious, thinking, caring human beings. PWS offers a diverse and full program in a rich artistic and academically rigorous environment.
The caring, expertise and focus of the staff here is truly exceptional. They are committed to providing stability and support to children from Parent-Child through High School. The developmentally-geared curriculum, foreign languages, movement, social environment, and strong arts & sciences will leave your child ready for the future. Parents enjoy strong community, as well!
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