West Side School is a K-6 elementary school, serving 179 students with 24 full and part-time staff. It is the only school within the West Side Union School District, which unified about fifty years ago when five one-room schoolhouses merged. Presently, the school maintains nine classrooms, offering one classroom per grade, and a Resource Specialist (RSP) classroom.
West Side School is a small, rural school in northern Sonoma County, about two miles outside the city of Healdsburg. Nestled in an agricultural valley 70 miles north of San Francisco, California, the District’s name derived from being located on the “west side” of the Russian River. The elementary school campus is bounded by two creeks, an organic farm, and a country road. The District also maintains the original one-room schoolhouse. Felta Schoolhouse was built in 1906 and served District students before the current campus was built in 1956-57. In the Spring, 2007, ground was broken to build a new wing for grades four, five, and six, enabling the District to retire old portable classrooms and add additional, upgraded bathrooms for students and staff.
The school is described as providing “family-style” education, and has a high degree of parental and community involvement. The real strength of the school is often attributed to its small size, shared vision, and shared responsibilities. Small school size has many advantages. Students at West Side are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. Activities are individualized, experiential, and relevant to the world outside of school.
In addition to a strong core-academic program, West Side School is recognized for:
- Support of the arts
- Place-based instruction and environmentalism
- Support of the whole child, addressing academic, physical, and emotional development
- Project-based, integrated, thematic instruction; and
- Hands-on learning approaches