My child went to school here for 4 years. I thought it was a good school until my child went some place else and I discovered all the holes in the things he was taught. There were many things that the other students at his new school knew that he was never taught. I wouldn't recommend this school.
I'm not quite sure if "parent" from March, 2011 has a child who has gone there or is going there. I have never seen a "new age" philosophy or any sort of philosophy in the curriculum. It's a leftover from the Free School Movement--maybe s/he should have actually researched it first and learned something. I also have a friend who lived on the property of Drexel Elementary, although he was a janitor for Sunnyside School District, so an administrator or employee living on premises isn't all that weird! "Different" doesn't mean bad! There's also animals there, so it makes sense that someone is there as caretaker. His personality is quite interesting, but I've been impressed with my son's education there. As long as he keeps learning and the environment stays positive, I'll keep sending him there.
First of all this school espouses some new age philosophy, now I don't know what it's all about but what it seem's to amount to is that they coddle the kid's who are disruptive and disrespectful. Also people should know that highland has a reputation of having kid's at the school who have undiagnosed issue's. In general it doesn't seem like a lot of thought and attention goes in to the way the school is run, the director who "live's" at the school "full time" ( which seem's really weird to me) is a guy who has anger issue's big time. I could go on, I wouldn't recommend this school at all, however I do like the teacher's there but they are constrained by the way the director want's to do everything, and so nothing changes. I hope this was helpful...
My child attended this school from 2-5 grade and it was a wonderful experience. The school has been in operation for thirty years, and so it knows what it does best. Based on the One Room Schoolhouse philosophy, the school has a garden, animals (dogs and chickens) and celebrates holidays in a quaint, old fashioned way: Community Thanksgiving, Christmas play, talent show. Teachers tailor curriculum to meet individual child needs. Basic assignments do repeat (biography unit, studying geography, etc) but each year a child's needs are moved up a level. Strong sense of safety, community, and family. Great transition for a child whose needs might be better met in a non-traditional fashion. Big personalities on behalf of the staff --- just like family, it makes learning distinct, individual and fun.
Highland Free School has a philosophy that respects each child as a unique learner, and honors the idea that every student needs to be given the time to bring his/her ideas and thoughts to fruition. What I am even more impressed with is the emphasis on basic skills while the school develops curriculum that also appeals to the 'higher nature' of students.
The school is ok, however, the director has control issues. Everything must be his way or no way. He can be very hard to deal with. They've recently expanded by doubling their size and this has changed a lot about the school. It used to be a small community but now the director is more concerned with how he's going to handle double the work than what is really best for the kids. The ciriculum is the same every year. My child has been there 3 years and even though he changed teachers once, he still does the same work and assignments every year. This school is not for everyone and be careful with the director, he has his best interests in mind, not the kids. No art, sports or other activities either. Only 3 teachers total.