If your child is very high achieving, independent and motivated, they'll do fine. If they are anything other than that, they will struggle. This school caters to the elite, it is not set up for students who need any kind of help. The instruction is almost non-existent. Students are expected to listen to 90 minutes lectures and in some cases they are just given materials and expected to teach themselves. There is no attempt to make classes interesting or to vary teaching styles. Many of the teachers are not in touch with current technology. To put the competitive nature of Westwood in perspective: a friend's son was in all AP classes and achieved A's and B's. He is in the bottom 50th percentile of the class. You must be TAG/IB/AP and achieve only A's to be in the top 10% at Westwood. My son was also in the marching band, but the directors were very authoritarian, handing out disciplinary referrals and assigning Saturday detention for things like laughing, talking, or even playing the wrong music accidentally. The assistant principals backed them up, even while admitting that the punishments were very excessive. This school will kill your child's love of learning.
MY SCHOOL IS AWESOME !!! MY SCHOOL IS EPIC !!! Up until high school I really struggled socially in school, but was received with open arms by students, and faculty alike at Westwood. Before Westwood I had only attended private schools, where I fell prey to pretty much any, and every negative stereotype of public schools you have ever heard of and more, but Westwood provides a fantastic learning environment for all, especially those with learning disabilities like myself, and an even better social environment. At Westwood I have been able to compete as part of the Men's and Mixed Choirs, which during my Freshman, and Sophomore years received nearly perfect scores, and therefore were recognized accordingly with UIL Honors. I have also placed in the top three at various national creative writing and poetry competitions under the teaching of wonderful English and Creative Writing teachers. Lastly, I am currently in the process of starting a fencing club at the school insured by United States Fencing Association. As you can see pretty much anything you can think of or want to try you can find a way at Westwood. Westwood is hard, but anyone who works hard will be prepared for college.
Westwood High School has a history of great academic scores overall; however, individual student homework tends to be fairly heavy, with an average of 3 hours per night (easy to confirm by asking the school counselors, teachers, or students). Adding the homework time with daily time spent in school yields an average 10 hour plus day. This may be good from the standpoint of keeping kids so busy they have little to no time for a social life or a job; however, it also translates to students having very little time to interact with their own parents, a concern parents wanting to involve themselves, more so than others, in raising their children may not appreciate. It appears the overall study time exceeds what I experienced at UT earning a B.S. in Geological Sciences. This overwhelming amount of homework is partly attributable to superfluous aspects of homework assignments many teachers issue, as well as inefficient classroom teaching. Speculation suggests a better balance could be achieved; but so far there have been no sympathetic ears in Westwood's policy makers. Is psychological burn out, with its range of related symptoms, including suicide, considered by the administration?
My son graduated from WWH 2 years ago, he had mild learning disability. To help him we had requested 504 program where he was supposed to sit in the front, get notes ahead of time etc None of the teachers seem to care and follow the requirements for 504, He passed, but during his journey to complete HS, he lost motivation and drive to study. He was an A/B student in MS. WWH only caters to students who do not have learning disabilities. When we asked for extra help, it was not accommodated. The school is successful because of the population it caters to . Most parents are highly educated and are immigrants who value education. Many families make many sacrifices to buy an expensive home so their children can attend WWH, however my personal feelings are allow your children to grow with self esteem and with their friends rather than get crushed at WWH.
- Self-studying capacity is needed to be developed for college, true. But most History teachers leave it completely on the students to learn by reading on their own; no real teaching in the class at all. All of the history is learned by reading new text, taking notes and testing oneself in the quiz! - Westwood is the only high school, where Geography subject can be totally avoided in all 8 semesters of 9th through 12th, and yet graduate HS! In Westwood Physics, Chemistry, Biology are alternatives to each other under a common name, Science. Students have to do these subjects as electives, but will not have blocks(periods) to do all of them in all the grades. A school where science is optional! - If Westwood ranks well, in spite of all these, it is because of students quality and competitiveness, not the teaching staff or school resources.
- Teachers are old generation. They are not trained to put accurate info in H.A.C. - About half of the teachers don't keep the teacherweb info up to date. - Three out of four teachers will not reply to an email from the parents. - The principal and the counselors will not reply to email as well, mostly. - Grading the quiz/test papers is arbitrary: One math teacher would give 5 points for right answer, but reduce 20 points for a wrong answer! - Most of the teachers will not give the score in a quiz/test, before running the next quiz/test. Thus there is no feedback to the student about performance, so it can be improved in the next quiz/test. A significant part of the assessment is done in the last week of the grading period, sometimes even after the cycle is over. - Home work is not inspected for accuracy. A completion grade is always 100 making the student believe he has done well, until he finds the truth in the quiz/test. - Review continued below as another review, beginning as "Self-studying capacity is needed to be developed for college".
Westwood really isn't like most high schools. It's incredibly difficult, even if you don't take advanced placement classes. It's a lot like college, and it will make you much more prepared for college. Westwood is also different in the sense that it is a lot less socially centered than other schools. People stick to their groups, and it has much less bullying. Teens here are generally much more focused on their education and it is a very competitive environment. That being said, it's still possible to have a social life here, but you have to be good with organizing your time.
I graduated in 2007 and am a student at Texas State in San Marcos. If you consider yourself an average student (AKA not overly wealthy, have a part-time job, a social life, etc) Westwood is going to be a struggle. There is a huge lack of culture at Westwood. You're around almost all the same type of people. Going to college was a real culture shock for me, one I wish I had experienced in high school. To do well in high school (as in A's and B's), don't get a job. Unfortunately, I had to have a job to pay for some of my expenses, and my grades suffered as a result. The workload is absolutely insane--more than I have currently as a junior in college. The AP classes ultimate only benefit you if you pass the AP exams. I didn't, so I wasted my time!
Very very good school, especially in terms of academics. But beware- the environment among students can be excessively cutthroat and competitive. Students who are not prepared will be destroyed in terms of class rank at this school
Westwood is a great school, but it is nearly impossible to stand out if you aren't in the IB program. It is very difficult to get in the top 10 percent because of the high concentration of AP and IB students. The athletic programs are well organized and the faculty is more than helpful. The worst part of Westwood is the parking. Even after building the new parking lot, they gave parking to all Juniors and all Seniors and as a Senior, there is absolutely no parking for me this year. After waiting 4 years to have a parking spot where I didn't have to arrive at 4 A.M. to be a mile away, this was very disappointing.
I graduated 07. WW is a very good school, but is the AP and IB program that more prepares students for college than the regular classes. There are a lot of hardworking students, so making the top 10 is very difficult. Still, most of the teachers were good, and some classes are harder than some other schools. Sidenote: band camp during the summer in the parking lot is not fun. They need to have a week to teach freshmen to march, so everyone else doesn't have to relearn every freaking year. There are 'bad' kids and potheads at any school, but I never once felt at all unsafe at WW. Just watch out for Parking Lot Bob - he'll get your car with those orange stickers if you don't have a senior lot permit. Haha
We relocated from out of state to Austin. I researched schools on this site and chose Westwood. My daughter was fortunate to get into the IB program here. I have to say the education she has received at Westwood is on par with (at the very least) a Private school and feel strongly many of her courses are college-level. She is applying to 7 competitive colleges this year as a senior. Westwood has prepared her to compete with the best.
The academics of Westwood High School are equal to a lot of private schools. The teachers are caring and knowledgable and the students are all for the most part serious about their academics. As a whole WW has a lot ot offer in the areas of sports, dance, art, and most importantly content. I graduated from WW in 2000 and then attended TCU and graduated in 04. I have thus moved to the D.C. area and can still say that my time at WW has continued to serve me in life. I have met people from all over the US and when they talk about high school and we compare stories, its very apparent that WW is a very good school.
If you want to waste your life doing a large amount of superfulous work, this is the school for you. The school has a way too much emphasis on competition and colleges wont care if you come from this school so doing extra work is just wasting time from when you could be studying for more important things like the SAT
I graduated in 2003 and just wanted to let parents and students know this school has thoroughly helped me through my college experience. I knew other kids who did not go to Westwood, where academics were not as emphasized, and are struggling through the college process. Westwood prepares you! Also, the fine arts are a major plus! Choir, Theatre, Orchestra, Band...all are exceptional extracurriculars. Do not be afraid of the challenges because they help in the long run.
Considering this is an IB school, it's really a pretty good high school as far as Austin is concerned. My daughter is in the JROTC program here and is excelling in all of her subjects. This school, like CVMS, expects their students to do well. Eddy S, parent
Given the opportunity to do high school over again, I would pick Westwood over any public or private high school in the Austin area. IB is a fairly heavy time investment but well worth it if you can manage it. The best teachers in each department usually teach those classes and IB kids end up having them 2 or 3 years in a row. I will say that dropping IB after freshmen year or first semester sophomore year if you are struggling is worth consideration. The workload will not let up if you are having trouble in the early stages and IB may just make you miserable for the rest of high school. Fine arts are also pretty exceptional. The band does well in competition and the orchestra is phenomenal. A wide variety of fine arts classes is offered in everything from music theory to dance. Go Warriors
I agree with parents who say drug use is high and the school lacks control in safety and dicipline. Students with problems or households with working parents have no place here. This has been going on for some time as I have met others who have had children get lost at Westwood over the years. Most of the kids have enough apptitude to Texas skills tests.
Westwood High School offers a variety of activities for students with a variety of interests. Their extracurricular programs are strong all around and the sponsors are dedicated to providing the children with the best experience possible. Furthermore, the teachers at Westwood push their students to greater academic heights. They really set a standard that could be more closely associated with a college as opposed to a high school and this really helps the students grow academically. Westwood offers both AP and IB opportunities for students looking to earn college credit and they do an amazing job preparing these kids for the tests. Beyond academics, Westwood also provides their students with a safe and fun environment and this is exemplified best in the activities they put on for their students including Prom, Homecoming and the Senior Project Graduation.
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