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14840 Waverley Downs Way
San Diego, CA 92128

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(858) 674-4707
(858) 485-7642
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Map of Highland Ranch Elementary School address.

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May 07, 2014
My son has attended this school since he was in first grade! He is now finishing up 4th and unfortunately, we are moving to another state. We have had issues with bullying, but the staff (principal included) was very proactive on a solution. I could do without some of the parents; however, the school has been one of the best! My son has excelled intellectually because of the amazing teachers and if you are contemplating this school you won't be disappointed! We are really sad we have to leave!

- submitted by a parent
March 15, 2014
I joined my daughter without researching or reading reviews here. The school staff is rude and my daughters teacher is silently bullying her. My daughter was telling me that she never looks at my work, she never appreciates her work. Whether she likes it or not, its the least common sense to appreciate with one word to that small child to say "Good Job". Teachers here should understand they are mistreating small kids who don't know how to defend themselves or fight back. Shame on these teachers to have blunt hearts like this. If you don't do something about it, no one will join your school. Make it a habit to listen to parents. Keep your ears open.

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2013
I have two children at HRES and am very happy with this school. The new Principal, Cindy Venolia, is an excellent communicator and a very dynamic leader. Great school!

- submitted by a parent
October 12, 2013
Excellent school! My son loves his teacher, has made great friends, and is learning excellent character traits.

- submitted by a parent
August 08, 2013
We have been in this school for 2 years, going into our 3rd year this Fall 2013. So far the teachers have been wonderful. Mrs. McGurrell has to be one of best teachers there. She makes learning fun for the kids, but she definitely adjusts the curriculum based on the child's learning level and capacity. So if your child is advanced, she/he has the opportunity to grow. Her frequent email updates are a great way of keeping in close touch with the classroom events. Heard 'rumors' about the ex-principal but this Fall there is a new one so here is hoping to better results with her. The parent involvement is super, and the foundation is so enthusiastic!

- submitted by a parent
June 15, 2013
The parking situation is terrible. The Principal is unprofessional, very cold, and not very warm and inviting. She "labels" families, and ours has been branded for 2 years. You can just tell by the way you are treated. Some of the teachers are good but I see a need for change. We are taking our son out of this school and moving him to another Poway School even though Ms. Watson is leaving. I don't think he will ever get a fair shot at learning. The playground is horrible and the school looks rundown. The class rooms are over crowded and if it wasn't for the parent helpers most children except the smartest and brightest would get any attention. I am not usually one to comment publically about anyone or anything but I felt compelled to write about HRES.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2013
My two children are here. My husband is a teacher in another district so we have some perspective from both sides. The fact is, Ms. Watson has been amazing to my special Ed classified daughter. And she has been so supportive, yet firm with both my kids. So I find it ironic that those who complain about "bullying" at the school have been the ones to "bully" her out of this same school. I have my own hypothesis about their motivations, but I will keep my theories to myself. Don't hesitate to send your kids here. Smart people (I'm referring teachers, not the "entitled and self important parents") and nice ethnic diversity. Oh, wait, that's maybe what some of you DIDN'T like.

- submitted by a parent
September 15, 2012
I ADORE every single teacher my children have had. The foundation and PTA are trying to get thing going. The parking situation is horrendous, and they are trying something new this year, it is a bit better, but the school was not designed for this many parents to be driving in. The Principal is just very cold, and not very warm and inviting. She "labels" families, and we've been branded. You can just tell by the way you are treated. Not soo cool. If there were not great teachers, we'd be out in a hot second.

- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2012
Highland Ranch is a good school with horrible principle Ms.Anita Watson. She lacks leadership skills and is rude. My daughter is in 5th grade now and is in Highland Ranch since KG. All the teachers are wonderful and communicate really well. PTA and Foundation are doing lot of good things for the kids. But this school needs good principle.

- submitted by a parent
July 05, 2012
I can sum it up quite simple. The principal is horrible. Ms. Watson is very rude, not professional at all and a big bully! It is obvious why so many leave this school not to mention that EVERY Complaint has the principal listed in it. She has even had court issued restraining orders by parents due to her bullying!

- submitted by a parent
April 24, 2012
Dangerous levels of bullying at this school. Principal is totally inadequate in dealing with this. The school office staff is unfriendly and rude. I would not recommend anyone sending their child to this school.

- submitted by a parent
January 12, 2012
Our daughter has been at this school for 4 years. It's a great school with a professional staff, including Ms Watson! It is unfortunate that parents with children with behavioral problems chose to blame staff members, however those of us who have children who are there to learn and not be a problem know what's really going on with these accusations. I, for one, couldn't be happier when these parents transfer their child to another school so our children can focus on getting an education. Also, kudos to Ms Harris, Ms Levchenko, & Mr Flanders all are excellent teachers!

- submitted by a parent
October 19, 2011
The PTA and many of the teachers are fantastic. The Principal has a court ordered restraining order against her. Why is she still there? Anita Watson has a reputation of treating parents unprofessionally, is rude and inconsistent in her treatment of children and families. If a parent speaks up in anyway them and their child are targeted and harrassed.

- submitted by a parent
September 11, 2011
Office staff has been very helpful. They were patient and I noticed they spoke with respect to the kids. I like how the principle and school fosters independence and accountability. I am a parent to my kids and not their best friend so the style appeals to me. The kindergarten teacher is awesome times two. She has a fantasic reputation in reading. My daughter has given her thumbs up on the teacher and class.

- submitted by a parent
June 21, 2011
Both our kids are in HRES and the school is reasonably fine with some mediocre and some exceptional teachers. The Principal leaves a lot to be desired in terms of leadership through innovation and inspiration. Seems like that opinion is shared among parents (including below), but not sure what can be done, so our taxpayer dollars are better spent.

- submitted by a parent
June 20, 2011
We have been very involved in HRES. Excellent band and choir programs. PTA puts children first by providing family building activities. Teachers are caring and very kind. Unfortunately the principal lacks professionalism. If you do voice a concern you and your children are targeted and "labeled" as a troublemaker and treated poorly. Office staff is cold. PUSD is an awesome district but we are enduring our elementary school years.

- submitted by a parent
June 18, 2011
I have had children at this school for a few years. The teachers are wonderful. The PTA does a lot for the school, students, and teachers. The principal is a horrible leader. What once was a great school has become a poor school due in large part to the principal. It is time for some change at Highland Ranch.

- submitted by a parent
April 13, 2011
I love the school but very disappointed in the ESS program. My son was hurt by older boys at ESS the first week he was there and no one knew about it. I feel that they didn't handle the situation appropriately and someone need to do a random visit/inspection. I know people who are considering moving kids of of this school b/c of it.

- submitted by a parent
December 16, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 24, 2009
The best thing about Highland Ranch is 2nd grade Teacher Linda Harris. She is an exceptional teacher who is truly dedicated to the education of her students. She turned my son from a below average student to a student who exceeds or meets all standards. My son loves her like a best friend. I have never seen a more organized and structured classroom. I wish more teachers had her commitment and concern for the education of our kids.

- submitted by a parent
June 18, 2009
I wish I had better things to say about Highland Ranch. I recently transferred my child to a different Elementary School for one reason, the Principal. She doesn't take the safety of the kids seriously, nor does she take one of the biggest problems in public schools seriously, bullying. She says 'boys will be boys' and laughs at any indication that bullying actually takes place in 'her school'. She is irresponsible and will but a band-aid on issues rather than fixing the problems. I was embarrassed for my child to go there.

- submitted by a parent
January 20, 2009
Great school, Great principal, Excellent teachers so far (My daughter is in the 3rd grade)

- submitted by a parent
July 16, 2007
H.R. is outstanding and has an amazing Principle. She is dedicated to the scool and the children. The PTA is well run. The school has lots of parental involvement and school spirit. We are moving but I hope to still stay at our school because we love it.

- submitted by a parent
June 15, 2007
This is our sons first year at Highland Ranch and we love it. His teacher, Ms. Erika Ferguland is the best. Ms. Erika is a special education teacher specialized in 'Autistic' children. Her compassion and dedication has far superceded our expectations. We are forever grateful to her and the school for their commitment to our children.

- submitted by a parent
June 10, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2007
The teachers here at the Ranch are the best in Poway! My son loves to go and learn everyday. He teacher is the best 5th grade teacher in the district. Thanks for getting he motivatied 5th grade team!

- submitted by a parent
September 01, 2006
Unlike others i am not impressed. My daughter previously attended a really good school in another state and this school is just average, if not below in my opinion. They are overboard with unnecessary rules. Lunch is mostly burger or red baron sponsored pizza, the availability of a salad bar doesn't make that any better. The playground is falling apart and looks disastrous. The schools website is hard to navigate and information hard to find, you also can't e-mail the school. Office staff is friendly. My daughter's teacher is not available to the students, he's the last in and the first out, no time for talking or asking simple questions. There is no handbook or abstract anywhere available for parents regarding the curriculum. They don't have art,music or physical education classes. No, a great school is something else.

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2006
Great school! We love our son's teacher...

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2005
The quality of the academic programs seems good. There is an enrichment program after school (you have to pay for) where you can take art, music, sports, etc.

- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2005
For the past two years I have volunteered in my grandson's classroom one morning a week. His first grade teacher, Mrs. Levchenko, was outstanding. An excellent teacher, well-organized, creative, and particularly good at keeping the children focused on their work. When my grandson had difficulty with his reading earlier in the year, he was immediately assigned to a reading specialist. He ended the year with excellent reading skills. No doubt his problem might have been overlooked at other schools, but not at HRE. We are so pleased with this school. Sue Lasbury

- submitted by a parent
August 16, 2005
Academically HRES is excellent. The previous ever-smiling principal was replaced by a strict, stern woman in 2004. Not impressive. All but two teachers are great. Campus is somewhat seedy and not well kept up. The PUSD music program is excellent, run by Mr. Jack Erb on a shoestring.

- submitted by a parent
August 11, 2005
I was not impressed with this school. My children came into HRE in their first and kindergarten years. I did like my daughter's kindergarten teacher, but was less than pleased with my son's 1st grade teacher. She was often out and my son was more often then not taught by a new sub every week. He accellerated in his reading skills only because the books he was strted out on were the same ones he read in his old kindergarten. Overall, I was disappointed that my daughter could barely read by the time she exited K and my son seemed to have been remedially taught in his class. Disappointed is all I can say about this school that is supposedly in one of the best districts in the area.

- submitted by a parent
July 14, 2005
My child attended kindergarten at Highland Ranch. We had an excellent experience! I can't imagine getting a better teacher. They were really organized, covered some broad themes, had some great field trips. I really liked the art projects. My child is reading! and with expression! She completed her first oral report on dolphins). Parent volunteers were there everyday. (I went every Wednesday or when there were big activities planned.) My only complaint was that when her teacher went on maternity leave the last month, the sustitute seemed more complacent and didn't build relationships with the kids as much.It seemed more laid-back, like preschool. Of course, that can happen anywhere. Since it was only kindergarten, I'm not sure about extracurricular activities provided by the school, but flyers were constantly coming home about what the community had to offer for childrens' sports, lessons, and clubs! My daughter loved Daisy Scouts the best.

- submitted by a student
April 03, 2005
Principal is deeply involved with students and encouraging to parents as well. Lots of parent involvement. top notch school district.

- submitted by a parent
October 29, 2004
We have been very happy with HRES. With one single exception the teachers have been outstanding and go well beyond the call of duty. We have not been impressed with the two principals we've encountered, however the office staff is always accessible and friendly. We moved to be near this school and have not been disappointed.

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2004
An excellent public school but could teach more in class.

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a former student
January 25, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: October 28, 2014

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Highland Ranch Elementary School
14840 Waverley Downs Way, San Diego, CA  92128
(858) 674-4707
Last modified Highland Ranch Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Highland Ranch Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 40 reviews. Top