Santiago Hills Elementary School is a very friendly, low key school, with an age appropriate expectation placed on the kids. If you are looking for a cutthroat, competitive, academically demanding and overachieving elementary school - this isn't it (however, you may want to check out Turtle Rock Elementary or Bonita Canyon). I read a review that complained about the classes being taught at "the dumbest level to accommodate the special ed students" and claims the principal only gives "lip service" to parents. Perhaps that parent would do better at another school where only perfect looking and academically intelligent children attend and where the principal only accommodates the elitists at the school. I have found this principal does not bow down to over demanding parents and encourages the kids by a positive approach. He is pleasant and the kids like him.
This school has changed principal 3 times already. The last one was great. Current principal is a people-pleaser who pays parents lip service but very meek and unable to hold teachers accountable. He has brought several new teachers who are young and uncertain of what to do. All the smart GATE kids go to these teachers who cannot "deal" or "handle" behavior problems. Meanwhile, the curriculum is much slower compared to before because the principal wants to "mix up" the students. That means education is taught at the dumbest level (2 yrs below grade level), to accommodate the special ed students. This school only has high test scores from the APAAS students and smart student who are taught extra outside of school because the curriculum is lame and boring. Primary teachers are great. 3rd grade and up teachers (except APAAS) are mostly time-clockers who have tenures and don't teach much. School asks for lots of donations/pledges but not much school events or activities.
My kid attended Brywood Elementary and Santiago Hills Elementary. Both are fine schools, and the academic rigor level and homework amount depend on which teacher you have, but in general my kid (who attends regular class and is in GATE group getting mostly As) told me that: 1. Santiago Hills is more difficult academically than Brywood. 2. Santiago gives more work in form of many projects. 3. Kids in his Santiago class appear to be "smarter" than kids in his class in Brywood. That's my kid's impression, but often, kids' impression is more accurate. Many people say Canyon View Elementary school is the best elementary school in Irvine, while Santiago Hills is 2nd; and I have no reason to disagree with this assessment. Anyway, my kid likes Santiago Hills better, but he also liked Brywood. One good thing about Irvine school seems to be that there are no bully kids. My impression is that all Irvine schools seem to be pretty good, so the most important thing to me is that we live close enough to elementary, Middle School and High School, so our kid can walk or ride bike to school. Other than that, I really care less which school in Irvine or Tustin he goes to.
We just moved our kid to Santiago Hill and love this school. Every one in the school including the Principal is so welcoming. My kid's teacher is excellent and the Principal is nice and very caring for his students.
I love the school my teachers are the best, parents and the community support is great!!
I am fairly new to the neighborhood and have one child in this school. My early impression is that the teachers and the administration overly-depend on very active parent involvement. The principle seems to be really engaged and active, but he needs to focus on improving teacher performance, changing the culture to one of greater teacher accountability and on winning a blue ribbon award or a distinguished school designation to re-instill pride and to support continued parent involvement. The PTA is very active, but focused almost exclusively on helping teachers do their jobs and raising money. What is really needed is to support and challenge the teachers and administrators to achieve academic excellence. The site council and the PTA is no substitute for strong administrative leadership and teacher excellence and accountability. Overall, it is safe and inviting place, and with an API of 927 is an good performing school, but I worry that the school culture is ok with their existing performance and that academic excellence is not central to its strategy and activities.
We are very impressed by Santiago Hills. Our children have done very well at the school. While some of the teachers are older and a bit old fashioned - the school is safe and inviting. The atmosphere at the school has greatly changed with the arival of a new principal. The teachers seem warmer and the front office is very inviting.
We have had an outstanding experience at Santiago Hills with the exception of Kindergarten. I frequently tell incoming parents that once their kids get past Kindergarten it is great from there. We were blessed with terrific teachers for both of our daughters. Some parents have complained about lack of discipline, but that appears to be pretty common in schools today with their philosophies. It's a different world today and it's up to parents to address the issues at home.
This school is the worst school in Irvine. My kids went there for a 2 years and I finally pulled them out. The teachers are mostly old and unwilling to change old ways of teaching. I often times worked there as a helper and have heard teachers scream at kids! This school has already gone through 3 principals in I think 5 years! Principals let the kids walk all over them, there is absolutly no discipline at this school. Horrible school.
This school is over rated. It does well due to overwhelming parental involvement. Some teachers are very lazy and totally unwilling to go the extra mile for your child. They rely entirely too much on parent volunteers. There is a huge lack of dicipline in this school....for the kids and the teachers. Curriculum is only geared to the middle of the road, and could really use some vision to teach kids to think outside of the box. If the parents didn't dedicate so much time and care, this school would be fall apart. Too bad the teachers and administration can't put this much effort and responsibility into Santiago Hills, what a great place this could be.
I have had 3 kids go through Santiago hills and the Principal there now is clearly the worst in the 16 years we have lived in the neighborhood. The school is good but it is hit or miss with the teachers.They vary from good to bad so cross your fingers at the start of the school year.Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to switch your child out of a bad teachers class. The teachers union runs the show and ther is little accountability.There are a ridiculious number of short weeks, early dismissals, late starts, and teacher absenteeism.Really the school is over rated and only rated as high as it is because of tremendous parental involvement.The after school day care however is excellent and has a caring qualified staff.
Our experience with this school was overall positive. The kindergarten teachers were great, the principal is involved and responsible. The pta works very hard, they did wonderful projects and activities for the students throughout the school. My concern, however, is that students who are above average don't seem to have opportunities to advance more. The curriculum is strictly applied, and the students who have the skills to go beyond the curriculum are not motivated in this environment. Also, I think that the level of math in kindergarten was too low. Most kids at that age are ready to go beyond just counting.
This school is wonderful. The teachers are friendly and nice, as well as the student. The curriculum is amazing. Any child is lucky to attend Santiago Hills.
Excellent school! The principal is very fair. Our two boys attended this school last year before moving out of state. Excellent teachers and curriculum.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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