We've been at Woodlands since both my children began K4 years ago and have been active in the school for years, so I feel I have a lot of history and insight into the school. First the good... The community at Woodlands (Bluemound) is wonderful. Great families and kids and kind, responsive teachers that have the students' best interests and individual personalities in mind. However, the format with multi-age classrooms makes for a chaotic learning environment. Kids have multiple teachers, switch between classes at a very early age, which makes it confusing for them and for parents at times as well. It means in order to keep a close relationship with your child's "teacher", you must develop relationships with the 6 different teachers they are involved with (which is common for secondary education, but is a bit much for 3rd grade). It's difficult to feel you truly have a handle on what is really happening in the school day.
The notion of having French, music and art is appealing. I was a huge proponent of this, until I actually saw it in practice for years. The vast majority of the children come away with little to no ability to speak or understand French, despite years of classes in it, and the music instruction is nothing impressive. Art class is wonderful - it truly feels like they receive something there that is special and useful with a clear direction.
Math instruction has gotten worse as my oldest has gotten older, more and more online and less in-class instruction. No workbooks or textbooks for parents to have a sense of what to follow and how to support at home - just a lot of links to online content that is overwhelming. I have concerns about how my kids will adjust to a high school with rigorous academic expectations, and mine aren't even students who have historically struggled greatly in academics. I worry about those with less active parents or those with true difficulties in learning.
My kids are happy here, which is important. They feel cared for and comfortable and the culture is supportive. I just feel like they are missing out on academic instruction compared to other schools, and we are left to settle because of few options in Milwaukee.
First year for my grandchildren. They are so happy here. Teachers are fabulous and work with the parents. Feels like a family. Love that music, language and arts are just as important and are not left behind. Wonderful school!
The teachers, principals, and staff are amazing! I love the way their teaching system is set up and how they work with the children. I feel the communication between the teachers and parents is great. I really love how the parents have the opportunity to become very involved with the school. We love this school and are happy to be a part of it!
Woodlands East has given my son the opportunity to learn about various cultures, participate in a variety of learning experiences that he is able to comprehend without constant instructions. My son has awesome teachers who work with him to better understand what is expected of him daily. The school is a wonderful community that reaches out to all no matter race, ethnic background, religion, economic status, etc... I love the "Woodlands Way" it's the best way to go!
My feelings about Woodlands are mixed. While I do feel there are many positive aspects of the school, the consistency in which the teachers seem to deal with students needing extra attention varies from year to year (unit to unit). When it comes to discipline, I feel that there is an overall lack thereof. I have to seek out information from teachers regarding my child's behavior, in-class progress, etc., despite my repeated requests to stay informed when problems arise. (I can't work on problems at home if I don't know they exist). Perhaps it's a general 'fear' of the use of discipline that has overcome the school system in this day and age, probably due to repercussions and parent/public backlash, but if my child misbehaves, doesn't complete their work, talks excessively during class, etc., I expect there to be some consequences from his teachers. On the positive side, Woodlands is far better than any 'regular' MPS school my child would be able to attend. Their approach to curriculum is unique, and unique is, in my opinion, far better than the bare minimum that other comparable schools scrape by with
Love love this school!! I wish I would have found out about it sooner. The principles that are being taught in addition to the great education are priceless. I know my daughter is better equipped to handle her future because of woodlands!!
Woodlands offers a well rounded education for our son. In addition to french twice a week he has music, gym and art. The Woodlands teachers are engaged and work together well to nurture each individual students approach to learning. The school combines grade levels so students can work to their individual levels. It is one of the most naturally diverse schools in the city of Milwaukee. There is a great parental connection that we as a family cherish. I know that the friends my son has made and the friends we have made at Woodlands are life long friends. We all care about each other and isn't that what it's all about? I know we made the right decision to send our son to Woodlands. It is a wonderful school.
I have to qualify my review by saying that this is our first year here. That said, I am so impressed with the school thus far, and so relieved that our children are being educated here. We looked at many schools. What makes Woodlands different (and better): multi-age classrooms and impressive differentiation across all subjects means that each child is working on material at his/her level. The caliber of instruction in both gen ed and "specials" has blown us away. In the gen ed classroom, teaching methods are progressive and integrated (ie, a reading and science lesson that also involves an art project). There is a lot of time devoted to music, art, gym, French, and library, and the specialists are extraordinary. The character curriculum is wonderful and reinforces our home values. Families seem welcoming, invested, and diverse. This school offers our kids the best of what a public education can be, which, in this day and age, is nearly impossible to find.
My daughter has been at Woodlands School since she was in K4 and now she is in 6th grade. I really love the student diversity, curriculum, staff and students. We are all like a family. I really like that there are no behavior issues with students. The staff overall is very efficient and effective in resolving issues in general. I really like that the school has an active PTA where parents are the driving force in supporting the school. I like that they are inclusive of all students. I highly recommend it to family and friends. I am always promoting the school when people are looking for a school for their young child.