My son loves West. He's asked to go to school on the weekend a few times (never happened at his old school). Principal Vroman is dynamic and a go getter--she listens to parents and follows through. She (or another administrator) often greets the kids at the entrance in the morning and plays upbeat pop music (so everyone starts the day smiling, in a good mood). She also worked something out with the Fillmore Arts Center so all the kids have music as a fifth special. On top of the musical the phenomenal art teacher organizes. I love it but hadn't realized a lot of what the school offers until my son went there. I also had three concerns that turned out either not to be a concern or a positive: 1) Main reservation was about the building. But the renovation is happening soon. And my son seems to see the physical space as an asset rather than a negative and I see it more that way now that I compare it with some charters. The outdoor space is huge, they have 3 or 4 playgrounds ("my school has sooo many playgrounds" he says), a spray park, a vegetable/flower/pollinator garden City Blooms helped design and that's a part of the kids' learning, an outdoor classroom, a basketball court, and a huge field, there's a new gym (where he's learning basketball), the cafeteria (where they do a musical), the huge meeting room (where they do school assemblies). 2) I was concerned about not having music as a specials class--but the principal already took care of that--the Fillmore offers music class (most schools its size only have four specials, not five). 3) I was anxious about having young kids with middle schoolers. But that hasn't been an issue. For one, the middle schoolers are on a different floor in a different wing. Also, they'll start phasing out middle school next year. And besides, all my interactions with the middle schoolers have impressed me--they've been super polite or thoughtful. The 3rd graders rocked tests last year (did better than most of the fancy charters I looked at) so all signs are positive. Room for improvement? I love the special after school activities kids can sign up for (Bollywood hip hop, doctor mentorship, African dance & drumming, soccer, karate) but I'd love to see a few more so my son could get both his soccer AND piano class in during the week rather than weekend. Update data (test scores, equity section); it's wrong or years old.
This school is a neighborhood gem. Our kids are in early elementary grades, and have grown there tremendously (academically and socially). The school seems to be continuously improving. I think that principal Vroman is doing a great job and steering the school in the right direction, slowly but steadily. When problems have come up she's resolved them in a fair and reasonable manner. If you're considering the school at all, I highly encourage you to check it out in person. There's also a nice group of parents who were very welcoming in the school I think there's a disgruntled (former) teacher or staff member that just doesn't get that they didn't fit in, and that's too bad for them, but their incessant trashing of the school is juvenile . The new teachers and admin staff this year have some interesting backgrounds and seem great. I'm looking forward to another good year.
West EC is a great school. It has everything I was looking for in a school: good location, great testing scores and very diverse. The staff is excellent and teachers are so dedicated to their student's success. If you are looking for a school that makes you and your child feel welcomed then West EC is for you.
The new principal and PTA president have done a good job improving West in the short term. The staff are diligent in their work and provide a great environment for the children. Looking forward to what the school can do with the recent ESSA legislation to add a GT program. Would certainly attract more high-performing students AND parents.
Great neighborhood school that is a true gem! My daughter is in kindergarten. She has flourished in both reading and math. In fact, she is now above grade level. Her teacher is very vested as well as the school community. There is also good parent involvement. I'm excited to see what lays ahead.
This is definitely a rising school. The new principal (Vroman) is very engaged and enthusiastic. The school has created some new programs in aftercare for a fee (karate and yoga once a week). The culture of the school is very positive and the children are very respectful and kind to each other. It definitely feels like a family community and there's a lot of school spirit. The preschool classes are amazing and the teachers are so enthusiastic and well-trained. I'm very happy my child is there and it's great to be a part of the school and the neighborhood. There's still some work to do regarding renovation, and I'm not sure if the school will be academically challenging enough as we get to the higher grades, but for now it's great. I really hope to see the test scores of this school rise in a couple of years.
Teachers are professionals and should be treated as such. However, in this environment that seldom occurs. Teachers are treated worse than the children. A good leader knows how to command respect and attention from the people their subordinates. However, the principal at this school does not fit the definition of a good leader. She yells at and demeans staff on a consistent basis creating an untenable work environment.
Overall, we're happy with the school. We had a couple of concerns going in that turned out to be no big deal. First, we were concerned about how the middle school grade kids would be around the early childhood kids. It turns out that they're almost never around each other because of the way the school is laid out. And when they are, the middle school kids are really great - like in mentor programs. Second, we were concerned about the "open classroom" layout, until we saw the school in action. The classrooms are set apart from each other, just not completely closed off. But the noise levels are fine, and don't seem to be a distraction from classes. I think any other issues we've had have been pretty routine, and the school has been good about working with us. I also get a great feeling from the other parents - it's a really nice / genuine vibe.
In terms of the good, aside from a few favorite teachers that have left over the years, I have had a positive experience with early childhood at West. I get the sense that most of the posters preceding me can echo this sentiment. The teachers and aides work hard, and the specials teachers are great. In the early years, I do appreciate the smaller community feeling. In terms of the bad: I think that the previous posts match many of the conclusions that I've come to when it comes to staff turnover. For 2013, the DCPS site says that only 3/4 of the school's "effective teachers remained, well below even the DCPS average. Add teachers in the developing range of the district's (imo flawed) rating system, and it's easy to believe that nearly half of the staff chose to leave. A look at West s site confirmed to me that this year saw new faces for PK3, K, 4, 5, 6, and 4/5 middle school teachers. The principal has enthusiasm, but I also know that leadership means inspiring and developing your team. While I really want West to succeed and grow, I can't ignore the fact that this reality troubles me as I consider my family's future with the school beyond the primary years.
My family has been at West forever - through good and bad. Right now I'm excited to say that we are on a definite upswing. Parental involvement (which is one of the biggest keys to success at any school) is growing rapidly, the curriculum is evolving to exceed standards set nationwide, and the staff are wonderful. I've read through the other reviews, and do see some things that distress me, however I can honestly say that those opinions are the definite minority. I strongly encourage you to come and visit anytime.