Our son just completed kindergarten, and loved his first year at Kensington. There were 21 in his class, and lots of parent volunteers in the class daily working with a very dedicated teacher. The enrichment programs were solid, lots of school activities promoting community, serious fundraising and extremely active PTA. Looking forward to our son delving into 1st grade with much anticipation and high expectations.
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.
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.
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!
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!