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About This School

Friends Western School is a private elementary school in Pasadena. The principal of Friends Western School is Megan Whitmarsh and can be contacted at meganwhitmarsh@att.net. 32 children attend Friends Western School and identify mostly as White, non-Hispanic; Hispanic; and Native American or Native Alaskan. The ratio of students to teachers at Friends Western School is 6:1. Madison Elementary School is one of the nearest elementary schools.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Arts

    • Ceramics sculpture
    • Chorus
    • Dance
    • Drawing painting
    • Photography
    • Theater drama
    • Video film production
  • Languages Taught

    • Spanish
  • Sports

    • Gymnastics
    • P.E. classes
    • Rock climbing
    • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School
White, non-Hispanic 86%
Hispanic 14%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0%
Asian 0%
Black, non-Hispanic 0%

Community Rating & Reviews

  • (4 months ago)

    FWS is a school where kids are respected and treated as individuals. In that kind of environment they thrive as learners and as friends. The classes are small enough that the children can be known for who they are they can learn at their own pace without judgement and they treat each other with immense kindness. My daughter loves to come to school here.

  • (5 months ago)

    My daughters are in their second year at FWS. We feel fortunate to be at this school. The teachers are incredibly dedicated. The community is wonderful. The children are confident and friendships between students are not dependent on sharing the same age or class which seems unique and echoes the Montessori tradition. I have twin daughters and they read at very different levels one being at her level or just under and the other being much more advanced. The teachers are able to meet both of my children's needs and there is no sense of competition. I definitely reccomend checking out FWS if you are looking for a progressive academically grounded environment for your child.

  • (5 months ago)

    Our daughter is in her second year at Friends Western School and loves it. The small size of the classes is great. She is taught as a unique individual based upon her own needs and learning style. There is also a great sense of community among the parents and children.

  • (5 months ago)

    It s nice to talk about educational philosophies and field trips and community but what parents really want (and need) to know is Will Friends Western School provide my child with a good education? Having just completed the rigorous process of applying to middle school I can honestly tell you that the answer is a resounding Yes. Our daughter applied to some of the most competitive schools in the area and was accepted to every school she applied to. She will be attending the Westridge School next fall and as her parents we are thrilled with her success. Friends Western s individualized curriculum helped our daughter not only excel academically but also to find her voice a quality that many schools do not seem to value. At FWS emphasis is placed on developing the whole child and we ve not only seen our daughter flourish but her classmates as well. Childhood is a really precious time and it flies by so quickly. Our daughter's experiences at Friends Western School have helped to define her and will be a part of the wonderful and accomplished woman she ll undoubtedly become.

  • (5 months ago)

    My daughter is in the 2nd grade and being a part of a Quaker Cooperative School has been a lovely energetic boisterous frustrating exhilarating challenging educational and rewarding experience. I like the extra activities like hikes field trips clubs music and art. I also am enjoying the new educational endeavors of the teachers. My child has increased her reading skills by 2 grade levels in just half a year. There are also specialty staff to assist in academic assessments as well a counsel if my daughter is having an emotional day. All the tools are in place to help her to be a well rounded adult and face educational and social challenges that impact all kids. I also really enjoy the families who work to pull it all together. When I first started I felt like we were a bunch of pirates but we've been learning about Quaker communication styles and it seems to be helping us get needs met without much swashbuckling. The school could improve with their fundraising and grant efforts so we could better support all the sweat equity that has been gifted by parents teachers and support staff. For now I just need some shades cuz it looks pretty bright.

  • (11 months ago)

    This is the place for my daughter and meets her needs to a tee. Every child learns differently and the indiviualized attention and differentiation has been very helpful with her education. I love that the class sizes are capped at 14 though the average is closer to 10. Also the numerous amount of field trips and experiential learning opportunities just abound. This school requires a lot of the parents being a co-op but the rewards have been fabulous. And almost every parent at this school would agree. The teachers are very knowledgeable about assessing and working with the student to acheive the goals. The Principle Leadership is awesome since again being a co-op the administration is the parents and therefore parent involvement is at an astronomical level. Finally communication is top notch there hasn't been any suprises since my kid started here like there's a field trip today sign my permission etc. It is not just a great school but a great community. 5 stars and 2 thumbs up.

  • (11 months ago)

    FWS is a wonderful community has a great curriculum and the kids love being there. I feel lucky to be a part of this small but growing school.

  • (1 year ago)

    Wonderful school. The teachers here are everything we hoped for and more. The co-op structure works for us. Thank you!

  • (1 year ago)

    Our son has been at FWS for two years so far. He loves it! We tried public school for Kindergarten and he hated it so at first we started him part time. He asked to switch to full time and has wanted to go to school every day since coming to FWS. Our son is grade levels ahead in reading and math and his teacher is able to give him advanced work. Finding an affordable private school with small classes and regular field trips was a dream come true. So far this year has exceeded our expectations as parents in the community. We have always had caring and dedicated people working to make the school run but this year is special. Our new Board President is pragmatic yet she invites discussion and is respectful of people's opinions and ideas. She brings a calm and inclusive energy to the school. I feel like parents are taking on tasks and making them their own. There is a mood of mutual cooperation and problem solving that is more positive than ever before. Our Fall Barn Dance was a lovely night full of community spirit. Relatives who attended asked how we found such an amazing community of people! FWS is becoming a real gem.

  • (1 year ago)

    We came from London England to work in Los Angeles for a year and we could not have found a more welcoming friendly and positive environment for our children and ourselves. The small class sizes and imaginative curriculum provide children with confidence and stimulation and I was particularly impressed with the regular outings and trips into the city. My kids saw more of LA than I did - highlights included interviewing scientists at an insect laboratory sketching at Watts Towers or rambling in Eaton Canyon. Most of all my children were happy and they miss the school enormously now we're back in England. The parent co-op that runs the school is extremely impressive and utterly dedicated to providing the best education and environment for your children.

  • (1 year ago)

    My son has begun his fifth year at Friends Western School and we couldn't be happier. We feel that we are part of an extraordinary community made up of a diverse parent body who contribute their varied gifts and expertise to the school. Our diversity is exciting but even more exciting is our commitment to making a loving place for our children to thrive. Although the parents are a huge part of this cooperative endeavor most pertinent are our teachers and children. Our teachers are a dedicated team of professionals who are able to teach their students using developmentally appropriate project based learning approaches. And our children? Well first and foremost they LOVE school they love learning and experiencing. This year they have already been hiking sewing lego clubbing barn dancing painting calculating building singing reading cooking sharing and riding wheels together! This list only scrapes the surface. I work in the education field and know first hand how our schools have taken the joy out of learning. At Friends Western I can truly say that we have a place where children love and respect all that the world has to offer!

  • (1 year ago)

    Friends Western School has been a lovely and enriching experience for our entire family. This is our 4th year at the school and it's been wonderful to see the positive growth and the change into the cooperative structure. Last night was our second Membership Meeting of the year and it was a pleasure to witness the room full of engaged and compassionate parents and teachers working together to create a dynamic and meaningful educational experience for the kids. We've considered leaving Los Angeles for years since neither my husband nor I are natives and didn't think that we wanted to raise our children in L.A. but now with FWS we are a part of a down to earth conscious and real community and feel that we can grow roots here and stay. Most importantly our child is thriving in this school socially emotionally and intellectually. We highly recommend it.

  • (1 year ago)

    Parents seeking a school should absolutely investigate for yourselves. Trusting only marketing materials or select spokes-parents would be fooling yourself. Reach out to over 10 families who are no longer there for an array of serious reasons (hint they didn't simply "move"). Attempts to describe every one of "the disappeared" as a "bad fit" is grossly oversimplifying matters and reveals a determined effort to deflect attention from the real issues plaguing this school. Speak to former parents first hand to determine any peculiar patterns re governance and student misbehavior. Ask about the circumstances leading to their departure and whether marketing was truthful based on the reality. Examine the by-laws check for any red flags concerning conflict reslolution and governance. Know exactly what you're getting your kids and yourslef into. We found a school that appeared charming from a distance and on the surface but was actually engulfed with severe student behavior problems. Combine that with a parent body set on diverting the problems with a calamity of unethical distortions and deceptions. You've now been warned about the behavior and morality experiment that is FWS.

  • (1 year ago)

    After hearing about this small school I was favorably impressed with its nurturing environment for education. Teachers/staff were open and friendly. Students were engaged and looked comfortable and happy. I suggest that interested parents investigate for themselves - be prepared for a wonderful experience!

  • (1 year ago)

    As a mom who was lucky to have a baby years after my first crew of kids were grown I had forgotten all about the issue of having to choose a school. I was totally freaked out at the prospect. I tried every form of schooling with my older children. We did public private charter and home schooling. I loved home schooling the best but my kids really missed being around other kids thier age. FWS has the limitless potential of homeschooling but doesn't miss out on the ability to have friends to see everyday. As well I no longer have to worry about the academic part. With excellent instructors on campus I can be part of doing fun creative things with no stress. There is the issue of having to work in a cooperative way which isn't for everyone as you can see by some oddly negative comments but with the students teachers and parents being so genuinely sweet and proactive I feel safe and confident having my young child here. I never worry because she is surrounded by kids and adults who make her feel loved and important. If my child can't be with me then I want to know she's with others who care for her.

  • (1 year ago)

    Given the intimate size of this gem of a school I was astonished to see the number of negative reviews written until I was made aware of a disgruntled family who was asked to leave the membership because the school could not with integrity meet their child's needs. Apparently this family is very angry and can't appreciate that no school provides a "one size fits all" approach and has left numerous negative reviews using different logins. I understand their frustration as our previous school couldn't meet our needs and we made the decision to leave but I wonder why they're obsessing about a school that they obviously didn't feel was a good fit and not looking forward to finding that good match for their child. For our family FWS appears to be the ideal fit. Our daughter's teacher has taken great care to assess her academic needs and also to make her feel welcome and comfortable. Is it perfect? No. No school is. But I trust that with our hard work cooperation and a positive attitude we'll see our daughter happy studious and thriving. I wish the same for this other family.

  • (1 year ago)

    I'm a dad here at FWS and my kid loves it. I see some of the bad reviews and wonder what planet some people are on right now cuz it ain't on this one. Some people love it some don't. All I know is that I express my grumpy opinion all the time and I'm still around so the only suggestion I can give to anyone who uses this site is to take the way out emotional criticism with a big fat grain of salt. And consider that some people are difficult or maybe even impossible and even though they aren't around they still want to cause trouble to those who are actually building something of value. When I look around at the campus I gotta wear shades cuz it's actually pretty bright here at FWS. I guess that's all I gotta say about that. Thanks for even reading my review.

  • (1 year ago)

    Friends Western is a sweet little gem of a school. I can say that from both an honest and well informed viewpoint because I've been a part of its extended community for almost 5 years and have had the honor of observing its growth from being an inspired Quaker administration to a Quaker inspired Cooperative. It's obvious to me that after reading the negative comments that there's a disgruntled family sharing their views repeatedly. That's their right and choice to do so but I can only hope that they will one day choose to take that energy elsewhere and channel it in a positive manner. FWS has over 5 talented instructors who depend on this school for a living and over 30 happy families and students who are thriving in a wonderful program. It's true that it's not a fit for everyone so may they please understand that and walk in peace and love to find a different program that works for them. Friends Western is well worth investigating for those inspired. Namaste.

  • (1 year ago)

    I am a new parent at FWS. Also a lifelong Quaker. It is true that this school iis not for everyone. As a co-operative school it requires hard work and a flexible attitude. The teachers are wonderful the kids are wonderful and the atmosphere is very welcoming. Navigating all the issues that a school must face is a challenging process but one which can lead to evolution and growth. The families that make up this cooperative are open to growth seeking engagement and input from their new members. I feel fortunate to be a part of this wonderful school.

  • (1 year ago)

    Amazing is an understatement in describing this school.Friends Western is the reason we live in Southern California.This school has innovative teachers & dedicated parents.The leadership is composed of selfless parent-members who are constantly working on or at the school.As a new co-op there is much to learn and much work to do but that does not mean that every person will be part of every decision made.It's an idea shared in much of the Quaker guidance literature on school governance.Because of this there IS a structure and a hierarchy so our leadership can make the most effective decisions regarding the future of our students.The core idea behind Friends Western is that you CAN be part of the decisions made and you can remain informed by participating on a committee attending strategic planning attending board meetings and running for the board.Standing on the sidelines and complaining is not tolerated by the underlying philosophy of the school the member community or the leadership. We stand strongly behind each-other the teachers the board and most importantly our children.Our daughter loves this school.We love this school.We can't imagine our world without it.

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