This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Westwood High School5
Posted June 11, 2014
- a parent
Westwood has to be experienced to be believed. I mean this as a very positive thing. Graduates are more than prepared for life after HS, particularly life at a competitive college or university. Parents, educators, and administrators who are heavily involved and with a single goal- making Westwood the best HS it can be. A diverse student population with oceans of extracurricular activities available. Yes, competitive beyond belief but it pays off, even if the student and parent don't realize it at the time. When your child graduates from Westwood, colleges know they've been challenged. They readily recognize the name and reputation, an amazing fact given the sheer volume of schools in a state as populous as TX.
This school is absolutely the worst thing you can put yourself through. I am an A /B student with a GPA of 5.1 and I am outside of the top ten percent. In order to set yourself above the rest, say goodbye to sleep and extracurricular activities as school will take up more then 8 hours daily. The stress level is so high that peer pressure to get high isn't needed, many kids are searching for an escape from this place. Please do you child a favor and don't make the mistake my parents made by sending me here.
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.