We are new to the school, but so far I've been impressed with the teachers, office staff, and classrooms. My daughter is happy and I am thrilled. Parent involvement seems higher than in other schools my kids have attended.
Great school. Love the language classes. New uniforms coming - hurray! Cafeteria could improve. Web site could be more updated. More green space is needed for children to have recess or outdoor lunch with parents. But otherwise awesome school, great parent involvement, and excellent teachers and principal.
There was a change in administration beginning the 2012-2013 school year and foreign language curriculum was adopted for the Spanish and French academies. The principal is professional, accessible and passionate about student success and parent input and involvement and has raised the standard for both faculty and staff and the foreign language magnet program. There is a high expectation for Common Core standards to be taught with rigor but a dire need for upgraded technology in the school to prepare for OCPS and state target of full digital curriculum by 2016. A proactive PTA and SAC works cooperatively with administration and the future is bright for Hillcrest.
In my opinion, much inproved with the new principal. With multiple children, we've been here long enough to experience 3 principals and see a large difference. Regretably, many good teachers have left, but many good remain and have had a positive influence on our children. Hopefully, positive changes continue and the school can return to previous academic levels for our remaining years. New parents get involved to positively influence the academic experience for your childen.
Hillcrest is a wonderful school. This year we have a new Principal who is amazing! She is doing an outstanding job. Her number one priority is the safety of our children and she has implemented some excellent changes. She has created a wonderful nurturing environment for our Teachers and children and we are extremely fortunate to have her here. She is indeed a breath of fresh air!
We are just a few months into the year with the new Principal. The former principal was OUTSTANDING. This new one makes robo-calls to the parents every weekend. She instantly changed procedures that were working just fine. She cites "safety" for every change she makes - although safety is clearly not an issue. She comes from a school that was quite unlike Hillcrest, and she didn't take the time to learn about Hillcrest's atmosphere before implementing changes that are probably necessary at schools with little parental involvement and that have behavioral issues. Hillcrest is a small school with strong community and parental involvement. It is an exceptional place for a child to go to school with caring teachers. This new principal needs to realize that and stop running it like the institutions she's used to and return to the comfortable and fun learning environment that Hillcrest teachers, parents, students and the former principal worked so hard to achieve. I've heard many complaints about this new principal. She needs to wake up or move on.
I think Hillcrest is a Wonderful school. I just graduated from 5th grade. I was in Ms. Brewer's class she is the best 5th grade teacher. I was a Saftey Patrol and I saw everyone in the morning. Every is well-behaved and all the teachers are great. You can ask any teacher for help. It is a wonderful school and i would recommend it to anyone i knew! A one word rating would be: Awesome!!!!!!!
My son finished Kinder in Hillcrest. One word: WOW Ms Amy Istler his teacher and Ms Zandy his french teacher made my son's first experience in school an "amazing" one! They truly care. I went to private schools and THIS particular school is WAY better. The Frenh, spanish and Vietnamese programs are excellent. I wish we didnt have to move. I know it will be hard to find another Hillcrest. The staff is wonderful and very helpful. I was conerned about the comments I had read, so I was very happy to realize that they were wrong. They could have more green areas for kids to play and run,but overall is GREAT
The school seems to accomadate the younger children such as preK thru 1 or 2 grade. The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes are not so good anymore. The fifth grade has only one class, meaning the 4th grade students in the neighborhood did not return because of ongoing administrative issues. Meaning the Principal is not doing her job, and she does not have a good reputation with the parents. She is known to be very rude and arrogant and does not seem to care about the kids at all. What a shame for such a fabulous school in the past, before current Principal. The school recently put in a portable building for the Vietnamese children, when the main building has empty upstairs classrooms. The school wastes money on crazy things like a unfinished garden, that has been underconstruction for about 3 years and the children have never gotten to use it. The area could have been used for PE or the money for a music program. But instead they have an unused garden area. And a past school PTA president raised money for a greenhouse and it was never built. (where did that $ go?).
This school has a great foundation and the administration and teachers are expanding on its legacy. How sad that a gem such as this is not always fully appreciated.
Ever since the new principal of Hillcrest the school has gone down hill. My childs experience in the past 3 years has been a nightmare. Awful parent/teacher communication. The principal has bad social skills and does nothing about the incompitent teachers in the school. I am sorry to say I am glad my one child has graduated from Hillcrest and going on to another school. Now I have to worry about my other child that has 2 more years to go. If the same teachers are going to be teaching my other child I will definetely pull my child from the school. This is so sad, because the early years were good with the other principal, but this principal has no right working at a school.
My daughter started KG this year at Hillcrest and I have fallen in love with this school. I am very pleased when my child comes home and has so much to tell me about what she has learned everyday. The principal has done an excellent job to the best of her capacity and cares about the school. The teachers are dedicated and there is tremendous parent involvement. As such, these are the qualities that make up an exceptional learning environment for children to learn. I look forward to the expansion of this wonderful school.
We love Hillcrest and feel our children are getting a great education. I attended private schools and was very nervous about sending my kids into the public school system until I heard about Hillcrest. I don't understand the comments about the principal. She has had a lot of obstacles from the school system and some parents, but overall my husband and I believe she is doing an outstanding job. I wish people would cooperate more instead of blaming an individual for the educational mess in the State School System. Do not just complain, bring a solution.
Wow - some tough reviews based on not liking a principal. I will agree that communications is sometimes an issue, but people, you don't know what a nightmare principal is! At least she cares about the school. Scrolling through the history of posts, I noticed similar posts about the last principal. The school offers far more then most elementary schools in OCPS unless it's doing worksheets all day. The teachers are very creative and want to be at the school. I'm very pleased with the school.
Rating Hillcrest is tricky. I'd give the school 4 or 4.5 out of 5 stars for the foreign language, but only 2 or 2.5 stars for the general curriculum and current admin, so I'll average them and give 3 stars. I agree with the previous poster that said the new principal is a nightmare. Why? Poor people skills, very controlling of teachers and staff - almost like she trusts no one, discourages parent involvement unless she chooses to 'showcase' something. (Her word, not mine.) As a former public school employee, I feel I am qualified to judge. She has never been a principal before Hillcrest though, so perhaps she'll improve over time. Because Hillcrest is the ONLY true foreign language option, my daughter will stay. Parents need to be aware that there are sacrifices made to get the foreign language, but the foreign language teachers are wonderful.
The last post says Hillcrest should not be changed to 'just another FCAT school'. Has anyone noticed that Hillcrest is currently, and has always been, below the state average in all FCAT subjects? These are minimum benchmarks being tested. I am happy to have my child learing a second language - but I would like them to master English as well. Since there is no testing for the second languages, we don't really know how well Hillcrest teaches those subjects either. Having a focus on foreign language should not mean that every other basic subject is lost.
I have 2 children at Hillcrest. We loved loved loved the school until this year. There have been too many changes with the federal, state, and county laws that impact what the school is supposed to be about. The new principal is a nightmare and has completely changed the climate at the school. I hope they ditch her and realize that Hillcrest is not supposed to be just another FCAT school.
Both of my two daughters has attended Hillcrest. The oldest will be going to 5th grade and the little one will be going to 2nd grade. We are a Spanish speeking family and I wanted for my daughters to keep talking and to be able to read in Spanish. So this is why we chose Hillcrest. Teachers are great and they do work really hard with the students. I am so content that Hillcrest will not be closing. Hopefully it will never be closed. I will recommend this school to any parent that wants their child to be able to speak a second language.
My grandaughter is in third grade at Hillcrest, and it is a great school, the idea of closing it and putting the lower grades with the middle school does not seem like the best plan for the students. Schools should be the most important thing, but they are always the ones to suffer.
My daughter has attended Hillcrest for several years. She fluently speaks and reads chapter books in the second language. There is an emphasis on celebrating different cultures represented at the school (Spanish, French, Vietnamese). There is a substantial waiting list for admission to the magnet program. The latest OCPS plan is not to 'close' the school but to move the program to a larger campus nearby because it has become so popular. As one poster said, the program is not a good fit for English-speaking children who are struggling with academics because 1.5 to two hours per day is in the second language. We have had very good teachers overall and like the new principal (in 2008), Dr. Gonzalez.
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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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