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I want to take a minute to express my appreciation of the teachers and staff at Willard Middle School. I have a 7th grader who's new to the school this year, and he has been having a great experience in his classes. It is wonderful to see.
This last week I was treated to an enthusiastic 15-minute description of how to create an accurate pie chart, using data from a survey, and a protractor. He talked me through the whole process of figuring percents, turning it into degrees, marking it out. He was as engaged in describing it to me as he is when talking about a favorite video game. (Thanks to Jesse Ragent for being such an inspiring math teacher!)
He loves his English class. While he's been a strong reader, writing's been a struggle. This past week, they were working on an essay. He was very anxious in developing his first draft, and he found it hard to get just a few sentences down. He came home with comments on the draft encouraging him to add more, showing him what to leave out, and plowed right into the next draft. He didn't feel criticized by any of it--just supported. (And this is a kid who's often very sensitive to criticism.) (Thanks to Ms Castello, who's new at Willard this year, and I hope will stay for a long time.)
He's enjoying his other classes as well, although those are the two I hear the most about. Anyway--just wanted to put my thoughts of appreciation out there, and for any families looking ahead to next year and wondering about middle schools--we're very happy with Willard.
My two boys are in the 6th and 8th grades at Willard Jr. High. The principal is in general very interested in parent involvement. I know of three cases recently where parents were very unhappy with a particular teacher and the principal has handled it to everyone's satisfaction. Most of my dealings have been with the vice principal, though, and I have found her to be accessible and responsive. For example, I asked for a different math teacher for my 8th grade son and was able to get him changed to a different class without much effort. Nearly all of the teachers at Willard are just incredibly talented & dedicated. Sixth graders in particular have phenomenal teachers. They work in teams of two, sharing the main subjects for each class. The 6th grade classes go on lots of field trips - the Exploratorium, Pacific Film Archive, concerts at Zellerbach, etc. Kids in the 7th and 8th grades change classes and have different teachers for each subject. Willard is a big school, and can be overwhelming at first. But both my kids really like it.
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