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West University Elementary School1
Posted May 29, 2014
- a parent
West University Elementary is awful. The school is a big promoter of the parents doing the projects for the kids based on the Texas History Fair with the trifold the students had on display. It was obvious that the parents did the work last year not the students. I am a teacher and I can identify student work vs fourth or second grade work. The second grade Science fair was not any better. As far as the principal he has demonstrated inappropriate behavior discussing issues with parents with the local barber using the parents name. When my children report back and tell me what the barber heard from the principal there is a problem.
The negative comments about this school are counter intuitive. Why do over 1200 people continue to chose this school when comparable schools have approx 70. ? Why do people pay $100 a square ft. for mere dirt to be zoned to this school. True, the school's after school program is inferior to others. I'm sending my kid here next year because the Principal - whom I've never met - has the guts to create all GT classes and then rank them so that the brightest in are classes with the brightest, not those who passed the GT test with a real score of 60 (another issue). Other principals are worried about how this segregation of students may affect their overall test scores, performance of those who poorer performers in the classroom or the racial quotas that they deny. It seems this guy just wants each kid to reach full potential. Sadly, a lost priority in public secondary ed.
It is a shame that a parent would "bash" a school when they are mad at someone. It is important to be factual. Here are the true facts: 1. WUES has 3 administrators and 1 Inst. Co. Three of them have their masters and have been with the district for 29 plus years. I would say they were more than qualified. 2. ELL policies are set by state and federal governments. Take your complaints to them. The school only follows policy. 3. The principal has no political aspirations- he is about to retire! The magnet coordinator has multiple jobs. She is the VIPS, Vanguard and Testing coordinator. She keeps the school calendar and sets up for all events. She is also the PTO liason and is an administrator over 3 grade levels. If she is aggressive ( which I have never seen in 6 years) it is because parents in WU don't like the word no! 4. Last,but not least - the ethnicity % is not set up by the school. It is their zoned area make-up. The school holds 1250 students and only 50 students come from outside of that zone. A parent should be a positve builder of their child's school. The school listens and updates its curr. on a yearly basis. The vanguard program is very impressive .
West U is a large (+\- 1200 students) elementary school in a GIGANTIC District (>210,000 students). The school is overwhelmingly WHITE (see data on HISD website) and most come from families with plenty of resources. West U offers ELL only for non Spanish speakers. Many families walk to school in the morning and socialize in the playground in the afternoon. That said, the school has been following a formula for the past -who knows how many- years that is overly outdated and inappropriate for learning in the 21st century. The principal is a figurehead who seems to view his position as more political than pedagogical. He hardly makes himself available to parents or students. The magnet coordinator (why the position exists, nobody can explain because the school is SUPER over subscribed -which supports the idea that Houston's magnet school system is primarily a way of selectively segregating schools.) is aggressive and under qualified for the leadership she assumes. The school runs like clockwork (part of the formula). Students must be silent in the halls, form lines, practice most of the year for exams. Many teachers are good, some are novices & a few are burned out. 0 Creativity Zone.
This is a wonderful school. As a dad of 3 kids that currently attend the school, I've noticed that the quality of the teachers, students and parents is top-notch. The large number of sharp, active, dedicated stay-at-home moms (ex-lawyers, doctors, professors etc) provides a big boost to the school programming, support, etc and makes the school one of the best out there. In addition the school consistently ranks at the very top on statewide measures, competitions (Odyssey of the Mind, spelling bee, etc).
After reading these reviews it is hard to ignore some of the complaints & criticisms by several parents. This is a very good school with many excellent teachers and a strong PTO, but agree with statements made by several about the emphasis on test scores, little administrative interaction and communication with parents, hiring of brand-new teachers with no experience and poor track record with kids (but a parent who works in HISD admin), and a lot of political maneuvering. Many teachers who have been complained about repeatedly remain in their jobs b/c the deliver good test scores each year. I do strongly disagree about the PTO criticisms and community service projects done throughout the year. The PTO is active, organized and raises a tremendous amount of money that goes directly back into the school. The community service projects are for excellent causes and at least show some of the kids who live in a bit of a bubble that there are many people in need outside the perimeter of our neighborhood. I do also agree with one reviewer that it is really sad that this school has no foreign language ancillary class and a pitiful art and music program. Overall, a good school.
I find it interesting that the person reviewing West University Elementary School could say in such an anecdotal manner with no evidence to back such negative statements. The TAKS, Standford scores, and the number of placement into high ranking middle schools are quantitative evidence of the academic excellence of the school. The PTO is active. Almost 82% of all money earned goes back to the students in way of teaching material, curriculum enrichment, or materials for the classroom. The constant preparation by teachers to help students after hours to help tutor kids (NON-PAYING Tutorials) are evident all through the year. Again this quantitative evidence of that the cooperative effort of teachers, administration and parents are doing things right at West University Elementary School.
My son has been in West U for K & 1st grade and we have had a great experience at the school. We are glad that we have access to such good education through the public school system. Yes - it is not perfect but it is a good school academically and socially for my child.
Excellent school, great teachers and strong PTO. My son excelled at West U in less than a year. He is almost finished with kindergarten. He started at reading level 6 and now is reading chapter books. His math is 1st grade level and tested well in all subjects in Stanford. His teacher is very responsive and caring. West U is named the 5th best schools (2nd in HISD after TH Rogers) by 2011 Houston Chronicle Best schools in the Houston and vicinity areas. Most grades tested at 99% in almost all subjects. This is one of the best public elementary schools by far. This is the largest elementary in the HISD and there is still a long waiting list every year.
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