Since there have been so few reviews on here for the last three years,I'd like to reiterate the last one. It should be highlighted that class sizes have just been changed as noted, and this is an unfortunate situation for our school. However, I would like to encourage any Kensington resident who is reading this and considering sending their kids to KHS to do so. The benefits to your child of attending their local school with their neighborhood friends, the benefits to you and your family for this same asset, are invaluable. Get involved with the PTA to whatever extent you can, join forces with groups who support your educational philosophy, and help our school district climb out of the hole it's dug for itself.
We've had two good years at Hilltop, but people should be aware that the class size for K-2 just went from 20 to 28 due to a school board decision. So it remains to be seen how things will go this year.
Kensington has a long-standing reputation as an outstanding school and it deserves a five star and an A+ rating! Our older son went there from K-6th grade and now, our younger son has started kindergarten at Kensington. Our entire family, grandparents included have thoroughly enjoyed the community, excellent teachers, comprehensive education and the hospitality that this school offers. The API is constantly evolving in a positive direction mostly due to the supportive leadership of our wonderful principal, Judy Sanders. We are 2 full-time working parents but we make time to volunteer because it is so important to the kids and the overall well-being of our school.
Kensington is an excellent elementary school. Our teachers go above and beyond and there is phenomenal support from our community.
There are some teachers with good reputations, some with bad and some new ones. Parents politic heavily to get their kids into the 'good' teachers rooms. As a result, these senior teachers can be very unpleasant to deal with. There is a lot of playing favorites, which is no so subtly encouraged, through the soliciting of volunteers and fundraising. It can be unpleasant for working parents, particularly if you are unwilling or unable to pony up a lot of cash. The campus is very beautiful though, and the enrichment classes are good and convenient.
A warm, caring environment, with kids of various backgrounds & ethnicities, good teachers and good parent-support makes Kens. Elem. a great school.
Kensington is a wonderful school. The principal, a former teacher, is a gem! I have three kids attending and they have had great experiences. Library, art, and science are all funded by the parents. I have found the money drills a bit tiresome but am comfortable just saying no when we can't help. Some parents (moms especially) get into a uber-volunteer mode that seems more about their guilt and too much free time, than anything the school does. We have had great teachers but there are a couple who are pretty dreadful and cause a lot of parents to consider private school (fortunately, they teach different grades). The lunch hour is strange with a real lack of activities. I can't figure who is in charge of this, but the after school programs are cheap and terrific! The annual Halloween parade and carnival are delightful!
The community involvement is what sets this school apart...this is the only school in Kensington, and is the center of a lot of community events.
We had the pleasure moving from Norway and get or kids in to this great school. We had heard a lot of bad things about public schools in the US before our move. But after one year at Kensington Hilltop our impression is that this school is a lot better than most norwegian elementary schools. Great teachers and a great community who supports their school!
Kensington, a rough environment? That is a good one! Who are you, the Queen of England? My children love the art, music, and science programs there. Not very many things are progressive in present day America, but Kensington is as close as it gets for a public school in WCCUSD.
Can be a rough environment. Very poor remedies for misbehaved kids and bullies. Archaic ways of handling kid's being bullied. School bullies go unchecked and remain to bully others all through school. Constant turnover in administration. Kids rarely smile at this school. Little supervision in yard. Kids sent out in noontime sun with no shaded areas. They are told to stay away from the cooler, shaded hallway in front of classrooms. Education is hit and miss. not for the bright or gifted child. Very mediocre. Totally lacking in art, math, music, and science departments. No sports. Not at all all progressive. Staff not a very happy lot. School secretary almost sullen. Does not greet kids or know by name. Overall, it was a poor experience for my three. We moved to another much better school!
The Principal does the best he can managing overzealous volunteers. And the teachers work hard to comply with the 'no child left behind' mandates. Kensington is a school stuck (in it's ways) at the top (in district scores) with no vision as to where to go next. Sixth grade has very good teachers (when many students flee to private schools). Let's hope the incoming parents can raise it higher in terms of all students gaining a grade level education.
Kensington is an excellent school thanks to parents participation. Unfortunately, the principal is not the best, he came to Kensington Hill Top Elementary two 2 years ago from a San Jose School District and supposedly with great experience and background. There are a lot parents who are not happy with his leadership skills
Because this community is affluent, and close to the university, many of the families take education seriously and the API reflects that. The lower grade teachers are very professional. The upper grade teachers however, are not as good and the middle school is awful. As a result, parents begin plotting to get their kids out of the district by third grade. This fact, coupled with the hill's geography leads to a lack of any real sense of community. Kids have to use neighboring towns for sports because the parks are too small for games. Additionally, the volunteering is strangely competitive (not all parents are made to feel welcome) and tends to revolve around fundraising.
Not a good school for slower learners from 4th grade up. High scores don't tell the whole story here. Up to 4th grade a very good school.
While it's the highest performing school in bad district,it fails the kids that need it the most. A' no vision' Foundation funds various extra classes that can only be viewed as fluff with lousy teachers for those programs. Needy kids are overlooked as troublemakers or laggards. Very good up through third grade.
Kensington is a great school for parents who are concerned about the safety of their children and who are interested in their child learning the basics well. Both of my daughters have experience both well organized teachers and the disorganized and they both seem no worse for the wear. The point is that they are learning the materials and the classrooms are not chaotic. There is lots of parental involvement, science projects, computers, music, p.e. and if that isn't enough, the KASEP program have other activities which the kids can participate in after school. Overall I am pleased that my children are enrolled at Kensington. Parent do a lot of fundraising such as a Garden Party, a Phone-a-thon and a spring carnival to assist with the funding of the music, library, computer, etc. programs which are available to all of the children that attend. A great school!
Kensington Elementary has a great academic program with science, music, art, it's own library, special reading programs all provided by money raised by dedicated parents. Many parents from all walks of life are involved with the school, ranging from fundraising, the Dad's Club to PTA, yard duty etc. This school is amazing - my children transferred into this school and are getting an amazing education which will prepare them for the future. The majority of teachers are excellent and even those who are not are mentored and worked with to improve. The school has recently implemented a conflict resolution plan which seems to be working successfully. The school is relatively small and yet there are sufficient children to allow kids to mix and expand their social skills.
Great parent involvement make this a good school. Academicly sound but could work more to challenge gifted students IMHO. Homework assignments tend towards the lowest common denominator due to standardized harcourt learners which I loath.
Some very good, some not so good teachers. Curriculum is generally weak and the school is dragged down by the district. Great school community, however, and a very caring and committed group of parents who make this school a cut above the others in the area.
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