I THOUGHT I hit the jackpot when my son received a space in last year's lottery. I quickly learned that the impressive Principal presentation, open houses and fun activities on the west listserve were really just a show. The early childhood teachers can't make up for the poor environment (there was a recent shooting directly across the street from the school and a bullet found on the early childhood playground - both incidents were separate), high attrition rate amongst teachers (they are not given much leeway to be creative) and early childhood parents (families come but don't stay) and incredibly horrible parent involvement. There are only 3-5 people on the PTA. The school has very limited resources, even as a title 1 school. I attribute this to a lack of parental support. There is never is enough books, toilet tissue, or even soap. Finally, this is an education campus. I never really thought too much about how impressionable my son would be around 6-8 graders. This has not been a good fit for our family. I really wish I had taken more time to dig deeper. We are lucked up and got into Creative Minds! So happy. Good luck.
The Principal has instilled a strong system of discipline that rewards good behavior and creates a productive learning environment. The teachers are very involved and concerned with every child's development. Our child is in preschool which has been known for its excellence for several years now. Its excellence is attested to by the fact that an increasing number of out of boundary families are choosing to send their students here. West is one of the quiet success stories of DCPS. Overall the schools relative strength is in the earlier grades, but the academic achievement in the upper grades should naturally improve as more families chose to keep their children there into the middle school grades. One positive distinction is that West offers more extracurricular activities and opportunities than may other schools. West is a neighborhood school in 16th Street Heights which is itself rapidly changing into a younger, more family-oriented place and these families are sending their children here. Greater city-wide recognition and more parental involvement are two factors that can accelerate the already positive trends. Consider choosing this school.
I am an 8th grader here at West and I started here when I was in the 5th grade. I personally believe that this school is better than my old school. It feels like I'm learning more. Even though the teachers can have a rude attitude with the students, I'm still learning. The other middle graders are rude but very off track with their work and they're an "okay" influence towards younger children. While the younger children are no different. ~Thanks for reading :P
My son is in Kindergarten at West and has been attending for three years, since preschool. My son's preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten teachers have all been fantastic. As kindergarten is finishing he is almost a year ahead in reading, and I am particularly happy with the art program he has had this year. The principal and staff all seem very dedicated and focused, and they are working hard to provide a world-class education. It seems the DC-wide adoption of the national curriculum has really helped provide a foundation for them to work with, and (from what I see) the principal is continuing to support her teachers and generate a cycle of improvement.
I am currently a parent, PTA President, and LSRT Chairman. Students at West continue to excell in the areas of reading and math. Test scores continues to rise for several reasons. The Administrative leadership has set the tone and has lead the school community with high expectation, high standards, high quality teaching and learning. Parental involvement is welcomed, parents are engaged, and encouraged to be involved in the child's education. Computer technology is infused in academic programs, and teachers continue to stay engaged, informed and educated as technolgy evolves. School climate is a clean in immaculate condition from the interior to the exterior. Students are expected and encouraged to be high learners and achievers. As a result West was the recipient of the 2003 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School award. The students test scores continues to climb and the school continues to meet AYP. West is one of DCPS jewels.
So far I am happy with West. My daughter is in the Kindergarten there and she can already identify words. I believe she will be reading before the end of this school year on her own. The only thing that bothers me is there is not a library in the school. I was told it was previously but due to funding, it was removed. I also would like to see a music program and a science lab at the school. With all of us parents and staff pulling together we can make that happen.
This is my daughter's first year at the school. Thus far, I am happy with her teachers and the involvement of the faculty and staff. My only complaint is that they do not have arts or music on a regular basis. The Arts are very important and needed to be reintroduct to the curriculum.
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