As you can see by the varied comments on this site, parents either love or hate the school. I do not feel that my children are getting the tools they need to be successful later in life.
There are not a lot of choices for students in this school. The math and science departments are, in my opinion, lacking. If your student has an affinity for STEM then I would not recommend this school.
I am also disappointed with the limited options for fine arts. They have a very good art program but after primary school the options for music are very limited. There is no option for band or drama.
There is also a need for an improved technology department. The administration has tried, unsuccessfully, to incorporate technology into the classrooms. I'm sorry, but jut giving a student an iPad does not mean you are teaching technology. They have one design teacher but she is out more than in the classroom.
Overall, I believe that my children will get a better education at the public school. The ISDs offer a wide range of programs including AP classes in many subjects. The ISDs also have a wonderful STEM program and a diverse fine arts program.
Finally, this school is geared to assisting wealthy, helicopter parents. The squeaky wheel, that has money, gets what they want. That may or may not be what is best for all students. As you can see by one of the reviews, their belief is that this is not the place for "low-level students". That seems to be the current philosophy of the administration. I understand that it was not always this way. Having read the IBO statements it is not their way either. I want my children to be exposed to all sorts of people, not just the ones people consider acceptable.
Please think carefully before you choose Westlake Academy.
Tough curriculum. Strong teachers. High expectations. Probably not the right school for average to low-level students. Definitely not the right fit if your child needs a lot of external motivation. Great school for internally motivated, hardworking students who are competitive, high achievers.
Let’s be honest. Change comes hard to those who find it unwelcome. But, sometimes change, albeit difficult, is very necessary. Such is the case with Westlake Academy. Current administration has come in and made some necessary changes in order for this exceptional school to continue to grow and flourish in the years to come. Unlike most of the posters found here, I know each of the administrators at Westlake personally and I can say, without fear of contradiction, that each of them are people of character, commitment, experience and each with an abiding passion for educating kids. What about the negative posts found here? Where there’s smoke, isn’t there fire? Well, no. Intelligent people can clearly see through the miasma of hyperbole, half-truths and innuendo to see an underlying agenda, perpetrated by a vocal minority. And, by the way, “ISD” isn’t a dirty word. Just because a teacher, or administrator, comes most recently from an ISD does not negate the depth of their IB experience or what they bring to the table at Westlake Academy. Still, there are those that would prefer to believe, or perpetuate, gossip than face the truth that the change happening at Westlake Academy is good, very good. So, to those of you that have found it easier to repeat rumors than discover the truth for yourselves, shame on you. To those of you that believe in Westlake Academy, as I do, let’s hear your thoughts on this board. And, for those of you truly seeking impartial information on Westlake, forget the community rating and look at the fact that this site puts a Great Schools rating on Westlake Academy of 9 out of 10. There’s a reason for that. The bottom line is very simple. Don’t be fooled by what you read on the Internet (including this post). Find out for yourself.
Those who have IB training have mostly been great. Unfortunately, in the past years many have been fired or quit, that we are left with ISD teachers who have no IB training and no veteran teachers to mentor them. The Head of school continues to replace IB teachers with teachers who have never even been to 1 IB training.
There are juniors and even seniors who are so used to the higher expectations, that they have purposely tried to address the lack of attention to the curriculum. The current juniors are concerned that they aren't being prepared for the IB exams because the classwork and curriculum has gotten so lax. The fact that high school kids, and a large number of them are complaining that something is too easy, says volumes.
It's very difficult for the older kids to respect the administration when they know they aren't doing their job. Also, the current administration does not respect the students at all. Their feelings and opinions are totally discounted or ignored. Until this past year, the respect of the students for each other and the teachers was certainly earned.