No. It would be disruptive to our current students to offer this opportunity to every family applying to The Willows. We believe that the best way for you to get a “feel” for The Willows is if you attend a tour. At that time, you will get to visit many classes that are in session.
The Willows does not issue “traditional” report cards with grades of A, B, C, D, and F. In the Lower School, parents receive written narratives twice each year that describe in detail their child’s progress over the recent months. In addition, there are three parent/teacher conferences each year. In the Middle School, parents receive evaluations at the end of each trimester. These evaluations include written narratives about each class along with a percentage in the academic classes. There are also two parent/teacher conferences each year. In both divisions, teachers also communicate frequently with parents throughout the year by telephone or email.
At The Willows, the purpose of homework is to reinforce skills introduced in the classroom and to help children develop the organizational skills that come with completing an assignment independently and turning it in on time. We appreciate that children need time to pursue interests outside of school, and, more importantly, to enjoy relaxed, unstructured time at the end of their busy days. With all of this in mind, teachers aim to assign a reasonable and age-appropriate amount of homework each night. In Lower School, we do not assign homework on the weekends. While we recognize that every child works at a different pace, some estimates per night are as follows:
Developmental Kindergarten/Kindergarten - none; occasionally 5 to 10 minutes
All children participate in the physical education program at The Willows. Our physical education program emphasizes gross and local motor skill development, conflict resolution, team building, sportsmanship, and enjoyment. In the lower school, 4th and 5th grade students have the opportunity to participate in our after-school competitive sports program. The Willows currently offers co-ed flag football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ soccer. Teams practice after school twice a week and compete against other local private schools as part of the Coastal Canyon League.
Middle school students also have the opportunity to participate in our after-school competitive sports program. In the past few years, over 80% of our middle school students have taken advantage of this opportunity. Teams practice after school four times a week and compete against other local private schools as part of the Pacific Basin League. We currently offer the following sports:
We recognize that many families value having their children attend the same school. While siblings are given special attention during the admission process, no applicant is guaranteed admission. In reviewing sibling applications, the Admissions Committee considers the commitment the family has made to The Willows, in terms of time and resources, relative to each family’s ability to participate.
Beginning in the third grade, all Willows students complete four days of standardized testing each spring. We administer the CTP-IV, a test designed by the ERB (Educational Records Bureau). This is the standard test administered by most independent schools. We use the test results to assess student progress and to help us to assess and refine our curriculum. Additionally, the CTP-IV is the most similar in format to the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) and the SAT; we believe that these annual tests help students to become familiar with test formats and more comfortable in formal testing situations.