This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Whittier Elementary School1
Posted January 22, 2015
- a parent
I attended UW's MIT program and interned in a number of SPS elementary schools over the course of '05-'08, which set my high expectations for public schools. The test scores and demographics online make Whittier look like a great school. Unfortunately, Whittier has been nothing but a disappointment since our arrival: terrible for new families not entering through kindergarten--little orientation or effort made to properly place students in leveled programs; the school had a high turnover of principals in the last 5+ years, over which time the parents and PTA gained too much power in the school and the teaching staff became dysfunctional and feudal, per the current principal; veteran families are better equipped to navigate the strong vs. weak teachers; and most glaringly: the school tracks the kids at the end of kinder with no hope of movement up or down (assessment and teacher recommendation dictate initial groupings, but then the kids are stuck. No kids move down to avoid parental upset, which means no kids can move up. New kids are just plopped in groups with minimal data and then stuck.); the Spectrum students and local affluence are what inflate the scores for this school.
Whittier has outstanding demographics and a very involved parent and community base. Both of my children are in the Spectrum program at Whittier, and I never imagined I would be so pleased with a public city school. Whittier is a fine example of what city schools can be like again in good neighborhoods in the post-busing era. My youngest is taking up the unicycle now, making her a real Whittier Wildcat.
Whittier is a great school, and my child is very happy here. She is doing well academically and socially. Parents are very involved at this school, with a strong PTA (I really don't understand the reviewer who said most parents work and are not involved and use the school as a babysitter? Not true in the slightest, what an insulting thing to say to working parents like myself). Parents just raised a huge amount of money for the the PTA fund, and are welcomed at the school. My daughter has had good teachers, and like at any school some have been stronger than others. Her current teacher is amazing. We also have a strong principal and I've found her to be very receptive. Like all schools in North Seattle, Whittier is facing an overcrowding problem, but we are using creative solutions to address this.
Ten years ago this was the school to get your kids into. I knew parents at the top private schools who pulled their kids out of Seatte County Day and UCDC once they got into Whittier. No more. It has a negative culture that is about punishment, humiliation, and exclusion. Too bad. Also it is a mostly working class school and many working class parents look at school as free babysitting. The problem is the involved parents left, so most parents work and do not check up on the rude staff and burnt-out teachers. Or worse the burnt out over worked parents seem just as negative to their kids.. So they accept this type of mediocre education environment. While I choose this school for all three of my kids, if I was enrolling a child today, I would look elsewhere.
I so agree with the above poster about administration being rude. I have found so much rudeness in that schhol, among some teachers, staff and certainly the office staff and administration. It's seems to be part of the culture of Whittier, at least part of Whittier. So disappointing.
upset about the poor response and rude attitude from the admins. The admins promised to call me back regarding the matter caused by school or district before noon but never did. I ran to the school in person. My appearance made the administrator no choice but reported this matter to the principle. The principle said that was error caused by the computer's glitch, even though the accurate information was appeared on the district s website and the official mail sent from the district, and was confirmed by the district s operator when I called earlier. Another officer even reminded the principle that matter maybe a simple mistake by the wrong label attached but the principle ignored an idea. I wish I did record our conversation so to reveal her rudeness. I couldn t leave the school with an unfinished because the hard feeling my kid might be encountered when she was being excluded from the program and away from her old friends. After waited for 2 hours with two little kids had no lunchat the office, the principle gave a mercy and made a call to verify my kid s status and put my kid back to the right program. As simple as it seems that people with power plays the game.
Continued.. I simply asked for the solution since the school started the following day (the notification was sent out on Saturday so that left me one day only to get things straight before school started). She said it took a few days to verify my kid s status because everybody was busy. She even commented Parents took whatever the school gave . Couldn't she try to have more senses about the kid's feeling when the kid's friends and other parents see her walked to the different program! What if the kid cannot go back to the program because every spot was taken. The whole conversation made me feel that no sincere feeling from her.
My daughter and I both love this school. There is really good leadership from the principal, staff and administrative staff. I was a little concerned that the Spectrum program would be too academic but there is actually a lot of emphasis on creativity. Great PE teacher, amazing music program that really challenges the kids, and a lot or emphasis on creative writing and art. There is a lot of anti-bullying policies in place and it really shows. Students are for the most part respectful and nice, much more so than when I was in grade school! I have not actually noticed any difference between the quality of education between regular classes and Spectrum. - it seems like all the classes are above average.
Dont send your kid here if they dont" fit in the box" there is no support or understanding for "different" kids. The focus is way too academic with no personal/ social emphasis whatsoever. My artsy daughter is bored with the schoolbook extreme- not being creatively stimulated at all. Spectrum is like an elite club- the kids/ parents dont mix hardly at all. My kids need other kinds of growth not just good test scores!! My son is at Salmon Bay this year WOW what an amazing difference- I'm shocked and relieved- he is like a different kid!!! Trying to get my daughter in there now...