To second another reviewer, this is not a comfortable place to kids whose families don't have the money to buy them gadgets, to on vacations, drive them to events, etc. It's great for the homogenous groups it serves, and it would be great if a more diverse group could access that kind of education. Winterhaven's not set up for that, though. Parents in our family tried it, and managed to go through and get out at the grades the kids entered in. That is it. Had a very unwelcoming reaction from other families, too, when it came to people that didn't fit in with the rest. Couldn't even have kids' friends and their friends' families from other schools to go events without everyone walking off feeling like we'd come in oozing pus. Not a good experience. Good riddance.
As a completely satisfied student of WH, I couldn't be happier to be here now and to accept the future that Winterhaven will bring me to accomplish. I love the elective system and coming from a small school, I think that WH is a great fit for me socially. It challenges me academically to reach and exceed my limits.
According to Winterhavens site, it is a math, technology and science school. That is NOT true. Sure, the math and science is advanced, but the technology? We do things like take pictures with cameras or make silent films, how, in any world, is that advanced technology? Oh and the computers? Yup, they're easily over 5 years old and you can't do ANYTHING on them without them freezing up or having to restart. Other than the lying about having advanced technology though, it's a pretty good school.
Winterhaven school is NOT a school for special needs children because they have very little support from the district. Neighborhood schools are much better equipped for children with special needs. However, for the children who are above average learners or who enjoy becoming life-long learners, Winterhaven is the BEST! The teachers at Winterhaven really care about their students!
Reading all the comments make me laugh, so what if we have "special" kids? The "special" kids are actually some of the smartest and coolest kids. I haven't had a problem with money, we don't care if someone doesn't have as much money. I love my school because it is equal, everyone is viewed the same. Bullying is not a problem at this school AT ALL.
My student did not feel welcome at this school as a child who's family is living below the poverty line. I guess it's easy to get good test scores at a school that does not have poorer people, ELL students, minorities, or children with disabilities. I am taking my child to a more open school with a more open envirnment.
I attended Winterhaven from 1st grade to 8th grade. For 8 years I was surrounded by enthusiastic, eccentric students and teachers who really cared about me. Everyone knew my name and who I was, just as I knew everyone else. Winterhaven gave me a head start in high school. I entered Cleveland high school in SE Portland with 3 full credits. I am confused by the comment about teachers being overwhelmed by all the "special needs kids". Winterhaven is a magnet school, but it is still a public school. The amount of "special needs" kids would be the same amount you would find in any other public school, and the teachers are inspiring, intelligent, and truly pasionate people. I have very fond memories of my years at Winterhaven. It is a wonderful school, and a wonderful community to belong to. I have just graduated from high school, and I give full credit to my time spent at Winterhaven to my success in high school. It was a bit of a culture shock coming from Winterhaven into high school, mainly because students lost inspiration and interest. Without a close-knit community, I felt alone and as if no one cared about me like they did at Winterhaven. But alas, I made it to where I am now!
Winterhaven is a magnet school - for special needs kids. There is a large population of Aspergers and other special needs kids here who are very intelligent but with few social skills. There are not enough resources for the staff to deal with all these kids and their special needs, and frequently the teachers are overwhelmed and the more "normal" kids fall through the cracks. Some of the teachers are excellent, some are overwhelmed, and some are just waiting for retirement/should have retired already. The electives are largely taught by parent volunteers, some of whom are "special needs types" themselves. The curriculum is advanced, but for the past two years the 6th grade class has lost their field trip privileges due to behavior issues by a large number of students - enough to have the entire field trip(s) cancelled rather that just having 1 or 2 students not participate. To me this is very significant.