Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pasadena Waldorf School Reviews by Parents

Pasadena is another problematic private Waldorf school which is the recipient of
problematic teachers from Highland Hall.\

Posted April 2, 2014

I was highly disappointed with this school. I was seduced by the beautiful grounds healthy vegan snacks and gorgeous gift shop. But beyond the exterior I experienced an extraordinary rigidity. My daughter was told not to do yoga (unhealthy - do Steiner exercises instead) not to do family bed (encourages too much dependence - she was a toddler ) and to play with silk scarves instead of write letters or read (frowned upon before the age of 7). I also felt the practice of having only one class teacher for all the grades was fundamentally limiting. Most importantly I felt our teacher didn't have the skills to cope with either conflict resolution or bullying (which happened). I ended up taking my daughter out of the school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 30, 2013
While Waldorf education is something I believe in the Pasadena school is a place I cannot recommend in good conscience. My child went to the school from pre through 2nd grade. Everything was great until we got a specific teacher in 1st who was terrible. When our child was singled out for mistreatment by the teacher we asked the administration for help. Big mistake! They were both clueless and had "it's the parent's fault" attitude. Our opinion didn't matter, the teacher is always right and if we didn't blindly trust the school then there must be something wrong with us. Thus began the shunning and systematic undermining of our child's trust and confidence in class. Yes, it's that bad. There are only two types in the eyes of the school. You are either one of the chosen few in the inner circle or you have not embraced the dogma as presented by the dysfunctional administration, teachers and college of teachers. Unless something drastically changes at this campus my advice is to look elsewhere for your child.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted March 30, 2013

We were unaware that the Steiner model placed the needs of one needy child above the safety and education of the rest of the students. My child learned to fear school based on the behavior of a child who hit, pushed, and interfered with my child's work and play at school daily in the PRE-preK class. PWS claims a "safe schools policy" but uses no specific strategy or culture to encourage or implement it. The teacher appeared ill-equipped to manage the misbehaving child, and neither of the 2 strategies she tried with him worked. It did not seem that she was even seeking other solutions to resolve the situation via mentors, books, other resources. We left PWS mid-year. The Sweet Pea program is developmentally inadequate for 3yo's, despite enthusiastic Waldorf rhetoric claiming to "meet the needs of the whole child." The materials are not engaging to 3yo's interests [even for non-TV/media kids like ours], and student behavior reflects it. 3yo's should be offered a preschool environment, with Sweet Pea concluding at age 2.5 in its current structure. This school seems more interested in "appearing Waldorf" than in meeting student needs. Ask for specifics on their bullying policies.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 11, 2013 - It was our experience that the Steiner model, while it might be adequate for Gr.K-1, showed its lack of relevance by Gr.2, and was clearly deleterious to our child's educational and emotional growth by Gr.4. PWS compounded those failings with stultifying teachers and a cliquey administration which refused to address classroom issues (inc. bullying, and the increasing presence of technology in the classroom), apparently because the offending students were the children of the wealthier parents; in a word: useless, the lot of them. The quality of education PWS was very shiny and showy, but surprisingly poor, with an appalling lack of focus on basics. We have a child who tests near the top of every graph, but whose years at PWS left gaping holes in his apprehension of the basics. The year we withdrew our child from PWS, a quarter of his class left at the same time...and the conversations had with those parents in the ensuing months were amazingly similar in tone with many of the same complaints. I think it's time for the Steiner adherents to get their heads out of the sand and reevaluate both the model and PWS execution of it; meanwhile, our child is flourishing in another school.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 6, 2013
I was happy here K - 3; but in 4th grade, cliques began forming, and teachers showed a certain favoritism, spending extra time on the students whose parents were financially useful. Some students were neglected by the teachers, some were also teased and bullied. The teachers, staff, volunteers and chaperones did nothing to address the bullying. In grades 5 and 6, the cliques got stronger and the bullying worsened. My parents grew weary of answering their concerns with "We're aware of the problem" but taking no action. PWS hypocricy was particularly demoralizing for those families who honored their commitment to Waldorf's educational guidelines. After seeing my classmates with iPhones and FB accounts, my parents got me a laptop and a mobile phone. As the bullying continued, my teacher s solution was to bring in another teacher and play "pass the pinecone", oblivious to the fact that anyone who spoke up was in for further torment. Finally, my parents removed me from PWS. My grades are excellent (Mom says so!) and I'm a happier person not having to drag into that environment every day. (PS: Approx. 1/4 of my class didn t return the next year.)
Posted November 29, 2012
My child spent 5 years at the school with 2 wonderful teachers. Unfortunately 1 very bad teacher changed everything for us. The problems we faced, we faced alone. There was no support for parents, no leadership at the school that was willing to do anything about this horrific teacher. The administration was of no help at all. Sadly this teacher is still employed even though the class has lost a half dozen students.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted September 20, 2012 - Wow, I am amazed at how one teacher can dominate the school and cause massive trouble for our family! The school is run by the College of Teachers, with no administrative check or balance. Literally, one teacher has caused us so much trouble, and no other teacher or administrator has had the courage to say its not right. We are *very* disappointed, and feel this school does not "walk the talk" of Rudolf Steiner's values or vision. —Submitted by a parent
Posted September 11, 2012 - Ultimately, as a parent, it is our responsibility to protect our children from all forms of misconduct, whether by their peers or by those in authority (i.e. teachers). It is unfortunate that it only takes 1 or 2 people to spoil the whole idea of a safe and nurturing environment for our children. After 5 years we are happily away from Pasadena Waldorf, and the insidious and ridiculous system called the College of Teachers. —Submitted by a parent
Posted July 27, 2012

Its true that your Waldorf experience depends deeply on the teacher your child has for 8 years. We liked our teacher, but ultimately, the College of Teachers Leadership Group is the body that runs the school, and we found them horribly self-serving, political, secretive, and unprofessional. They care more about their authoritarian grip on power than about the students. Problem teachers are protected, and its the kids who are forced out. Sad and frustrating.  —Submitted by a parent

Posted April 30, 2009
Pasadena Waldorf School has a fairy tale approach to life and does not prepare
children for the real world. The school's administration has no oversight and
teachers are free to instruct and discipline children any way they see fit. My
children had to be tutored after leaving Waldorf just to catch up with
mainstream society. The campus is beautiful and the ideals are romantic. The
story telling and performances are fun but do not begin to educate children in
today's complex world. There are some valuable lessons being taught, but negated
by the fact that a child cannot write correctly or spell. There is no test
taking and no monitoring of the educational process. Waldorf creates it's own
rules and changes them on a whim. I would not recommend this school to anyone
who takes their child's education seriously.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 16, 2007
The intentions are good, but it falls far short of it's goals.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 25, 2007
I am not sure the Waldorf model works in today's multicultural environment.
Having the same teacher from K-8 sounds romantic but it is rare to find an
individual with a skill set that can meet a child's needs over 9 years of
education. Parental involvement is very high and the atmosphere is nurturing. I
would not recommend a Waldorf Education unless you are prepared to supplement
your child's education w/ tutors and other outlets for both academic and
sporting activities. —Submitted by a parent

Posted February 1, 2007
After having my daughter at this school for 5 years, I pulled her out. They have
lost most of their good teachers and there is no oversight on poor performing
teachers. We most definitely would not recommend it for a quality educaton.
—Submitted by a parent

Teacher Spotlight - Justin Baltz
07/07/12 Please contact me directly if you have information related to Justin Baltz. This is very important and we need your help. 310-855-xxxx
04/02/12 He is way to touchy with the kids. My child [t]old [sic] me justin wants to give him hugs during games. I am filling a complaint.
11/22/11 I still have my child in the same school and heard from another parent that Justin is working again as a teacher? What is wrong with people? This guy should not be working with kids. He is irresponsi
06/11/11 He wasn't just out off it for most of the time, he was a terrible teacher and inappropriate with the kids. Glad he is gone.

Teacher Spotlight - Dorothea Hamilton
03/02/10 I think she's mean and and awful teacher.She's a nice person and all but there's one problem,THE TEACHING PART!
05/12/08 Bully and likes to gossip!
09/30/06 Never a smile - always a frown for both kids and parents.
07/02/06 The town gossip
06/21/06 mean and angry - always takes it out on the kids - plus she likes to gossip
06/09/06 She should smile at the parents when they drive in the morning. She stands in the parking lot and tries to stare them down.
06/03/07 shows no mercy.BEWARE.
02/08/07 always trying to push her rules and agenda onto the kids. very nosey

Teacher Spotlight - Ellen Levy
02/04/12  When Mrs. Levy does not yell, she is somber, humorless and strangely inarticulate when communicating with parents. Quick to interpret most innocent behavior as a sign of psychological and physical damage. Lies about child's behavior and conducts witch-hunt like investigations by secretly interrogating child's classmates. Tries to force the parents to commit a child to psychological treatment before giving him a chance to explain his behavior. Clearly needs much healing herself.
10/17/10 Awful temper
05/23/10  Stay on top of your child if she is going to be their teacher. Shame on PWS for putting children in front of her.

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You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.