I have two graduates and two currently enrolled (and two future Hawks). There has been a lot of drama in the Gilbert School District, but Highland faculty and staff have been able to insulate the students and maintain their focus on the students and continuing the excellence on campus. Highland not only excels in academics but also in extra curricular activities such as sports, arts and a club and booster network that allows every student the opportunity to participate. The rating of five stars was not taken lightly and the new Principal is taking Highland to a new level of performance.
This is a great school! The academics are fantastic and there are so many opportunities. Because the school is fairly large you can pick from a big and diverse elective pool. As to the "Mormon bias" I don't see it as often as the comments say. Most of the time kids use the Mormon bias as an excuse to there parents when they mess up. Even if you're not Mormon (like me), there are many benefits from being in a religiously influenced school, it reduces the rate of crime, drug use and fights! Highland is a great school! Because of HHS I will be attending Harvard in the Fall of 2014!
This is a very good school academically and the music program is wonderful, however, there is a lot of Mormon favoritism in regard to sports and other activities. My child has had to experience first hand this religious bias. Even when it comes to dating or going out with a large group of kids my clean cut, church going, high achieving son has been discriminated against. I suppose if a student IS Mormon they would not notice the LDS preference but if you're not it is sadly obvious. He has asked to go elsewhere next year.
Our daughter is a sophomore at Highland and we are extremely pleased with how happy she is there. The fact that we have no particular religious affiliation has never been an issue. My daughter participates in some of the many sports and clubs Highland has to offer. We highly recommend this school! Also to note, our son attends Highland Junior...another school in our district with which we are just as pleased.
I am currently a student here at highland high school and my freshman year here was incredible! I loved all the amazing clubs and teams I was able to join a totally different experience than junior high! BUT when I started my sophmore year this past August, everything changed. I find highland very religious. If you are not LDS (Mormon) you are an outcast in most cases. I have had my teachers even ask who is mormon in the class! Although, there are many people of different faiths who will eventually "clique" with, I found myself confused on why I was feeling so left out. The curriculum also changed quite a bit! And more than half of the math teachers have strong accents and speak very poor english which makes it very difficult to understand. We no longer have half days but instead get released at 1:30 every Wednesday which is difficult for those of us involved in sports because we have to get transportation back to the school at 3 for practice. Overall, I find highland very "cliquey" and judgmental.
We are new in the area. Our children attend both the Highland Junior high, and the high school. My junior high son is involved in sports and band, and has established a number of friends! My daughter is doing very well at the high school. No we are not Mormons but I sure don't mind them! They are great neighbors! The AP history teacher has some strange teaching methods. We do have some amazing teachers, and a few who should be observed without advanced noticed. Overall, we are very happy to be here! We came from out of state from an extremely competitive school and the Highland schools are right up there! We do recommend our school here in Gilbert!
I have not had the best interactions with the counseling department or a few of the teachers. There is a mormon bias at this school. Those who say there isn't are mormons. My daughter and I were at orientation right b4 school started,my daughter received a lunch hour that none of her friends had. She was upset I toldher that it was ok. The counselor had just told us that he could not change it because it was too late. I understood. As we were walking out another new student walked up to the same counselor & said I need to change my lunch because my friends from our ward are in a different lunch then me and I want to be with my friends. They started chatting about mutual friends in the ward that they attended together. He said to her hold on, I will be back. He changed this girls lunch. I heard the whole thing, it was to be with her friends. They went to the same ward. After the girl left, I asked the counselor how that just happened and did my daughter need to be mormon to change her lunch? I called him out. Handed him my daughters schedule and said my daughter wanted the other lunch. Without a word he changed my daughters schedule. He knew he was just biased to the mormon kid.
HHS isn't a welcoming place nor is it academically challanging. My student has learning disabilites and rather than make accommodations and have him take regular classes, as he had done in 8th grade they placed him in all Special education classes. EVEN THOUGH that is a direct violation of IDEA (ie federal law). He has learned nothing this school year, rarely has any homework (usually busywork like crossword puzzles). He never has to study and yet he has all A's and B's. When he tried to get placed in harder classes, the couselor refused. She has also refused to let him take a foreign language when planning for next year, even though it is required for college admission. They have decided that even though my son is smart, because he has LD's he won't be able to go to college. The couselor told him he "would be going straight into the military" even though he has said he does not want to do that. He even has a teacher who will end class early if the students are being disruptive. As far as being "Excelling", one has to remember that in education, Arizona ranks about 45th in the country (depending on the year & what exactly is rated). So HHS is only better than 10% of USA's schools.
I am currently a freshman at highland high school and I would not recommend this school to anyone who is looking for a challenging education. The teachers at this school will only teach your child the bare minimum and only what will be on the AIMS test. The teachers only care about what's best for your child because the teacher who gets the highest test scores will get extra money. Also, when a student isn't comprehending the topic being taught, the teacher will drop all their plans and stretch the topic until that one student gets it. This can be good or bad depending on if your child is a slow learner, in which case, this is the school for you. Another problem this school has is that students have ADHD and the teachers make no effort to help them. Also, the school takes way too many boundary exceptions. Class sizes have risen from 24 people to a class to more than thirty. If your child has a hard time focusing in class, do not send them here. Lastly, school food quality has decreased dramatically. The school orders the food from different places, freeze them, then reheat when the food is needed. Sometimes the food is not fully defrosted and is cold on the inside.