This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Westridge Elementary School2
Posted February 20, 2015
- a parent
My son attended this school as a kindergartner in 2012. Before we moved to Prince William County I researched schools thoroughly. Everyone I talked to told me that Westridge was the BEST elementary school in ALL of Prince William. Based on these reviews, our family moved in the Westridge Subdivision so that my son could attend Westridge and we were very disappointed. As other parents have pointed out, the communications were very poor and although we registered on time, our son got stuck with a new teacher and in a class of about 28 kids. There were only a few teacher's aids and they were shared amongst all the classes. At that time, the principal and the Asst. Principle was not responsive to issues. Students were not recognized for perfect attendance and other areas. It was such a horrible experience, we could not wait until the year was over. After talking with other parents, they too had moved into the neighborhood for this school and were later disappointed. We left and went to private school where my son is excelling academically and socially. I personally think this school is WAY overrated.
I have 2 children who attend this school. Kinder and 3rd grade. This school has a pretty responsive principle. The school could be better at resolving problems. They allow students to play football during recess on concrete, this landed my son in the ER. They have this safety issue. My son was teased based on the color of his skin and called a racial slur. They didn't find the student therefore they didn't discipline the student, they did tell students to not use bad words. I personally think it could have been an opportunity to promote acceptance of others in an age appropriate way. I think they could have done more than tell kids not to use bad words. Based on information provided to me, I think this diverse school could be more culturally aware and sensitive to all students. Also, they need more assistance in Kinder classrooms. There are limitations in visiting classroom, you will be escorted by principle or vice principle after about 10 minutes you'll be escorted out. If you volunteer your left alone with kids and have no escort, for example field day or field trips. I have only experienced one good teacher with a very effective teaching style Mrs. Arguin.
Westridge is reviving! This is our second year at the school and I cannot believe the difference I've noticed with the new principal! The teachers (and I've spoken personally spoken to several) are much happier and the mood is so much lighter. New teachers have been hired including the addition of two teachers dedicated to autistic students. I've never had a problem volunteering or checking on my children in their classrooms. Every teacher is different and some are ok when you show up spontaneously while others may prefer a scheduled visit. It is what it is. Do not have any apprehension sending your child to this school. It really is a great place!
The Westridge learning environment is excellent. We've been at this school for ten years with multiple kids and are still impressed with the teaching staff, the parental involvement and the extracurricular activities. The principal has hired engaging teachers and provides numerous opportunities for creative learning - the chorus is exceptional and well attended (two separate choral groups due to the outsized interest), elementary strings frequently outperform middle schools, 24 club mathematics competition, running club, excellent support for Odyssey of the Mind (they always have multiple highly creative teams), well represented at the County art fairs and science fairs and all around expectations of student excellence. Mrs. Hayden has also instituted an anti-bullying program that has worked very well - bullying is not a problem at the school. Our kids moving to middle school are more than prepared for the increased academic requirements. When you expect excellence from the students, they respond to the challenge.
This is my son's first year in school and he loves attending Westridge. His teacher is wonderful (Mrs. Forvour). There are a lot of activities that reinforce his learning. I am a first time parent and new to all these things, but I have always been able to get my questions answered by calling the school or emailing his teachers.
I was very disappointed in this school--so much so that we pulled our Kindergartner out mid-year. The teacher was nice, kind, caring, and good at her job but the classrooms are large (25+ children) and the entire school only had 5 teachers assistants to share between all of the classrooms. My son had an IEP for PDD-NOS and yet when I requested opportunities to observe my child and his ability to interact and cope in his classroom I was practically frozen out and every request or action to see him in his classroom was hindered. I was later told that to see him in his classroom I needed to use the phrase "hang out" or I would get the same reaction. The school has poor communication and seems to dislike when a parent wants to know more or details about their child's day or interactions. Maybe they're too used to dual working parents and aren't accustomed to a SAHM who has always been involved and knowledgeable? Also, I felt the curriculum was lacking and that my child was bored in the classroom because of all the sit and wait time. I can not recommend this school to any actively involved parent and/or any parent who has a child with special needs or an IEP!!
I too am disappointed by the remarks by some of the parents here. My first experience was with the Assistant PRincipal, Mr. Kahn, who is just fantastic! He took a personal interest in my 7 year old, and now he has a buddy for life - and the whole staff is that way, including the Principal, who takes no guff from the BMW/Mercedes set that likes to think they run the school - maybe that is wher ethe comments come from. The teachers are great and so is the community if you can get past the many snobby parents - the teachers are EXCELLENT, and it was clear that much though and time was put into their hiring. Now I know why - the only other school I might consider is Springwoods, but this one is within walking distance ina a pleasant neighborhood!
So far I'm disappointed. The communication with this school is the worst I've ever had with any of the three elementary schools our family has atteneded. The reputation was excellent but the reality is falling short of all of my expectations.