My, how things have changed! What happened to this great school? Westside is in a constant state of flux. The front door is revolving and staff and faculty come and go yearly, sometimes in the middle of the school year. A huge emphasis is now in place to further enhance the facilities of this school and has unfortunately become the predominating cause. Academics are average favoring self motivated and extroverted children who already have a leg up. Socially the culture is off putting unless you have money. Wealth above character and integrity is an obvious theme in the process of admissions and fundraising practices further divide community members. Want everyone to know how much you donated? Plenty of opportunities for that. Tacky. All this I could tolerate if my children were getting what one would expect from an independent school but Westside totally misses the mark socially and academically. The new building can't disguise the fact that the school is going through some serious growing pains and it's obvious when you talk to teachers that they are unhappy. Future generations may benefit from all this but in the mean time current students are the guinea pigs for the failures of this current administration.
We are in our 4th year at Westside school and we are having an amazing experience. My children love their school and whenever I bring up thought of trying another school where we don't have to pay tuition they tell me they never want to go anywhere else. They love westside and so do I!!! The community of parents, teachers and kids, the curriculum are all great. I'm sorry some others have had not so great experiences but I just don't see it....I guess everyone has a different perspective. Westside is just what we were looking for, perfect for our kiddos & our family:)
We have been a Westside family for five years, and now have kids in second grade and pre-K. We cannot say enough about the positive impact Westside has had on our lives. It offers the best educators and education available, and classes of 20 students or fewer with two full-time teachers, so each child and each parent receives caring personalized attention. Westside is at the forefront of character education in WA, creating not just confident and competent learners, but kind and empathetic people and citizens of the world. When you meet a Westside kid, you immediately feel the confidence, maturity, and responsibility that the school instills. Westside is also the best independent school value in the city (by a wide margin), and over 80% of tuition goes to paying our incredible teachers and staff. (Criticisms on this site about Westside's finances and use of funds are simply false and can be easily corrected with proper information.) Tuition includes a wide array of events, sports, and extracurricular programs, as well as advanced technologies, that you would pay for separately at other schools (public or private), and tuition assistance is available. We also have a brand new facility that, in addition to being beautiful and inspiring, provides the school long-term stability. No institution is a good fit for everyone, but the negative reviews here that claim Westside is not a nurturing, supportive environment are clearly anomalies and do not reflect the experience of the vast majority of Westside's nearly 300 families. My wife and I are smart, educated, well-informed parents and (like you) our kids are our top priority -- if Westside did not provide the best education at an excellent value, we would go somewhere else. If you have ever considered independent school, I strongly encourage you to explore (and please visit!) Westside. I am also willing to talk any time with prospective parents to provide more information about the school and our family's experience (feel free to call me 206-779-4841).
We have been at the school for several years. The 4th grade experience is not good. One of the 4th grade teachers breaks down the love of leaning that has been such a part of our child's growth. Children fear asking the teacher for help, are assumed to be doing something wrong, and yelled at. Assignment instructions are vague and incomplete. Very little academic progress in a pivotal year with a lot of material to cover and focus on preparing for middle school. Not the caliber we expect and extremely surprised at the mean spirited instruction. Shouldn't be the case with a class of 17 kid,, a teacher, and an assistant.
A good school, but 4th grade is a bad experience. One of the teachers teaching 4th grade removes the love of learning that has been built in the previous years. Children should not be fearful of asking a teacher for help, assumed to be doing something wrong, or yelled at. A disappointing experience with 17 kids in the class with a teacher and assistant.
Westside school is an outstanding school. The teachers, the administration, the students and the parent community are exceptional. As a parent of two students there, I am very happy with all aspects of the school. Those complaining of tuition increases and dissatisfaction with the school should simply go elsewhere. It is an exciting time to be a part of a growing institution and the opportunities that are going to be available to our kids and the community.
I agree with some of the other posters, this will also be our last year at Westside. Tuition went up 20% so I asked why, I was told it was because they needed to have a better bottom line so they could get the loan for the new school building!!! So basically all the parents have to pay more money so it could stay in the bank, not because it was benefitting our children. The test scores for our school shows we are falling behind in many grades compared to other private schools and even some public schools. Do you know what they did to fix this? Our kids were just tested again this month and given the test to do for the previous grade (5th graders given 4th grade test etc) Makes me think they are trying to make the numbers look better rather than fixing the problem. Westside your priorities are wrong, you are supposed to be educating children not running a profitable business!
Westside School is an exceptional independent school and our son is excited every morning to attend. We have been at Westside for four years and we are continually impressed with the high academic standards, the variety of learning opportunities, amazing teachers and the administration's good leadership. The school has an involved and caring parent community. Since the school opened it has rented space, but next year Westside will finally have its own building. The school is re-purposing an existing building in West Seattle which we think makes great sense. We also noticed the comment regarding tuition and while it has increased somewhat, it is still a good value compared with other independent schools in Seattle and absolutely worth it. The focus remains on students, their individual learning styles and how to create strong and confident learners. We are so happy to be part of the Westside community and the great learning experience our son is having at the school!
This will be our last year at Westside. We have been here for several years...when we initially enrolled we were told that the administration strived to maintain affordable tuition. The tuition has increased every year since. Last year was 20%. There are credible accounts from parents who serve on boards that families are ranked according to financial ability to give - they are remodeling a church for their new facility and, despite assertions that the present families will not subsidize these construction costs, this fall we received a very direct communication informing us that a Capital Campaign would be launched and that every family is expected to contribute. A survey was distributed last year to solicit anticipated contributions from each family, and ranges of contribution varied widely between families...ours was different from other families in our grade who had lower survey levels. Administratively heavy with little attempt made to incorporate parent input into hires, resulting in the departure of several outstanding teachers this year. Teachers are great, class sizes good, but administration and board are consumed by expansion and will lose more good folks.
This school over-values administration and under-values teachers and instruction. It has seen beautiful, committed teachers leave again and again and has done nothing to keep them there. In fact, the administration has little communication with staff about their plan for the school's future and the instruction of children. I have never seen a school that functions so poorly and misuses funds as much as Westside School. The tuition is exorbitant and has gone up again this year. I am selecting one star only because I cannot select zero on this rating system.