This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Helen Keller Middle School5
Posted May 29, 2014
- a community member
I am an eighth grader this year at HKMS, and I think it's a great school. I agree with the other student - it's a great school! An absence of recess is not major; and we do not have a line in lunch. In our small community, every student is very involved and assisted if necessary. Projects are hands-on; lessons are thorough and cover every necessary topic; the teachers are very helpful and supportive; classmates do NOT bully others; and we ARE a Blue Ribbon School! I'm not trying to sugarcoat the benefits, but HKMS's academic program, as well as their "FPAs", or Fine and Practical Arts, all greatly help any student who attends greatly. I sure enjoyed my three years here and recommend it. STOP being so pessimistic, parents! It really isn't as bad as your children say it is!
I have two children at this school, both very different, and the school has served both well. I disagree about serving bright and above average kids. While SSES was not good at this, HKMS has done a great job for my extremely bright child and he has thrived there. The school expects a lot from the kids, but helps them with the organizational and other tools that they need. I have two complaints. The first is writing. They are too focused on how the kids score in the writing assessments, and in my opinion those assessments are not good measures of writing ability, nor does teaching kids to score highly on writing assessments teach them how to write. My second complaint is parent interaction. Parents are given access to PowerSchool so that they can track how kids are doing on assignments, but it is like pulling teeth to get thoughtful feedback from teachers to parents on their kids. There are no parent/teacher conferences and no process for alerting parents about academic or other issues that have come up, unless the parents take the initiative.
This is a fantastic school. My children have attended and did very well both academically as well as in terms of personal growth. The teachers and staff are excellent. Unfortunately, as typically is the case, it's mostly those who are unhappy that write these reviews, and they won't be happy elsewhere either...This school prepares children very well for high school.
I am an 8th grade student at HKMS this year, and everything you say about HKMS, with my experience there, is completely wrong. We have gained excellent teachers and programs throughout the years that have helped us excel from the very beginning (6th grade). Recess is not a problem, we have gym, for which we go outside all the time. We now have bus cameras that enable the staff to see anything going on that may or may not be bullying. In my experience at HKMS, I have not seen any bullying, the students work together in a peaceful environment that may sometimes give us a chance to goof around, and thats okay. As you can see from our national ranking of a Blue Ribbon School, it all pays off in the end.
If I could give this school zero stars, I would. How can anybody do well with no recess, and no study hall? There is absolutely no down time for a student to relax for even 10 minutes. How many adults can go through a day without stepping outside for even 5 minutes to clear their head? They are kept inside all day in what appears to be a Habitrail. Although there are a few great teachers, the teachers are overall not inspiring, It is lead by a new Principal who is cutting her teeth on the poor students who feel nothing but picked on by the staff. The academics are not challenging and although it is a 'blue ribbon' school, I attribute the good test scores solely to the excellent Primary School (Samuel Staples). The school's policies are officious, and nonsensical. It seem that they have a fear of having the student gather and relax and prefer to patrol and prevent rather than to allow students to make decisions for themselves. What you are left with is a group of children that don't know how to control themselves. The school looks like a prison, and is run like a prison.
Very disappointed in the school. The students are treated like prisoners. No recess, they must wait for 15 minutes at lunch to go on the food line, and gobble their food up while the teachers patrolling the cafeteria intermittently yell at them for their transgressions. The school sets itself up for behavior problems and doesn't allow kids to be independent thinkers. Expect to have your child sent to the vice principal at least a few times a year. It is a great place to go if you like your child to constantly walk on eggshells and feel like he/she is 'bad'. It also does not cater to gifted or high-aptitude children. If you are a mediocre or bad student, you've got it made. If your child has a high aptitude in subjects, he/she will be bored (and act out even more). If you have a little robot- this is an ideal school to send him/her to. We are applying to private school. I wish I had known more about this school before I sent my child here. My interactions with the teachers, the Principal, and Vice Principal have left me feeling like my kid definitely does not belong in this cold, constrained, uncreative atmosphere.