My son just finished his first grade year here. We came from a private school for Pre-K and K, and had high expectations. HFE exceeding these expectations! Smaller class size, attentive teachers and wonderful art, and music program. Parents are very involved and it feels very much like an independent school. We are looking forward to another great year.
Excellent teaching staff and therapists. I have a speical needs child and the services (educational and speech) have been top notch. My child loves school and is excelling despite his delays. Thank you HF.
My son switched to Heards Ferry in third grade last year and the experience has been great. The families are involved and his friends are good students and enjoy learning. He looks forward to reading every right and is exceeding standards in all areas.The culture supports him being a good student and me an involved parent. Only complaint is the $125.00 PTA fee. That is excessive and I didn't even get a car sticker to show my school support!
Heards Ferry classes are not over crowded, in fact, they are well below the county class maximum sizes, and if one does get on the larger side, a student teacher is immediately brought in. The building is old, and the voters of fulton county voted last summer to build a new school, which we will have in the next two-three years. I cannot say that every single teacher at HFE is perfect, though I have been incredibly pleased each year we have been here. I also know a lot about the area's private schools and have numerous friends with nightmarish teacher experiences (my own experience with one of my children at our past private school drove us to try HFE, and I am so, so happy we did! This is a small, neighborhood school where each child matters, each one counts. But the peer group that each of my children has found has been the best possible aspect of picking this school. Their friends are good, the families are great, lots of involved parents, tons of fun extracurriculars--I love how this environment is positively shaping my children -- wouldn't write it if it wasn't true!!!
The physical condition worries me a little. Rusted metal stalls in the bathrooms, stained ceiling tiles, leaking fixtures...and a smell I associate with bathrooms at truck stops. I have noticed tiles on the floor throughout the school (which I'm willing to bet are asbestos) are cracked. The biggest challenge is with the teachers. I have lost count of the number of times I've heard teachers say things along the lines of "that aint good" or "how you is today", etc, etc, etc. I wish I could say that the lack of proper english was limited to a few teachers, but I've heard it frequently (I volunteer @heards at least 3 hours/week), and it bothers me, because my child will learn by example. I also cringe when I get a letter from the #1 boss at the school that has gramatical errors. In fairness, Heards does have a hand full of teachers who are very well educated, and excellent instructors. But there is no guarantee you're going to get one. I also agree with the poster who wrote that it isn't fair to judge Heards on the carpool line. The carpool line and over crowded classrooms aren't the staffs fault, but they certainly are problems holding the school back.
I'm skeptical about the 9/28 post re: a child struggling at a new school b/c of HFE. The post says the new school admin said they had seen several students switch & struggle. I have been a HFE parent for many years - I know of no school in another county or private that has seen a consistent influx of HFE children - especially such that those school admin could generalize about HFE kids' abilities. About 95% of 5th graders go on to Ridgeview (middle). So how could administrators @ one particular school have an expert view of HFE kids? That part of the post makes no sense - & seems fictionalized (or at least highly exaggerated). Not to mention, if that were true and the situation so dire, wouldn't there be countless other similar posts? HFE kids go on to be highly successful students at Riverwood - which is consistently ranked top 5 best public high schools in the state & top 150 in the country. Perhaps the writer did have some kind of bad experience, and that is too bad. But, most HFE parents are well-educated, affluent & incredibly demanding. Not one of them would let their kids attend HFE if what that writer said were true. That school would be empty - but instead it's growing!
We are in our second year at the school with two children. First year was 50/50 with one outstanding teacher and one very average teacher. To the school's credit they noticed the poor teacher's problems and pushed for improvement throughout the year. This year is much better with two seemingly outstanding and committed teachers. The school offers a significant number of post school activities like chorus, orchestra, boy scouts, and a chess club. Private school like fund raising supplants the ridiculous sally hanson or tooth brush sales of other public schools. The school operates more like a part private-part public school than others we are aware of.
We moved this summer, and switched counties. Our 5th grade son was a straight A student at Heards Ferry. I am utterly at a loss for words as to what happened. We have been told both his reading and math skills are very low. So much so, the new school believes he must be held back. He once loved school, now he is embarrassed, and doesn't want to go. In the countless meetings we had with the new schools teachers and staff, we have been told they have seen several students who switch, and they are all usually behind. My biggest complaint was once the carpool - now I'm saddened and worried what the long term effects will be for our sons education after having gone to a school so ill equipped to give him the most basic skills to survive academically in a new school. I'm utterly embarrassed, ashamed and angry at the teachers and staff at Heards Ferry.
It seems a bit myopic to rate a school based only on its carpool situation. Heards Ferry's staff is amazing! They all know my children and me and this is only our second year at the school. The teachers and staff are warm, friendly and are genuinely interested in the kids. My kids love the school, they are engaged, learning and growing! As for the carpool issue, if you can put your children on the bus the problem is solved. If the bus is not an option maybe you could try leaving home 5 minutes earlier! I know I m guilty of trying to squeeze out every extra second in the morning, but maybe leaving a little earlier will help with carpool.
Carpool is a challenge. They encourage using the buses-which many do, including my family. Riverwood isn't an option for HF teachers b/c it has its own parking problems & can't add more cars. Snaking the line through the HF lot is discussed every year. The concern is the kids safety. Buses can only come in & turn in 2 places. Some parents don't like to wait in line so they let their kids out well before the marked carpool stops - if it were snaked, they would run across the lot, thru the cars. Others speed away once their child is out, not watching for other kids. No matter how much the administration comes down on these parents, it happens. At least now, all kids get out on the school side of the lot, & are not in danger of crossing thru cars. So, while snaking is an option, it isn t an obvious solution. The school system, the police & 2 school administrations have examined this. Many creative ideas have been discussed but the concern over the kids' safety remains an issue. Even removing the islands was discussed & would be met with resistance from many parents. I hope a good solution is found, but it isn't as easy as it seems.
Today, my son was late for school, not because we were late getting him to school, but because the line to drop off was so long, we weren't able to get him in on time. The current system they have now is comically under thought. They only use a small area for drop off, leaving a great many cars blocking the main road (unsafely). Instead, they need to create dual lines, and extend the drop off zone alllllllll the way around the island. A second, smarter option, would be to have the teachers park at the high school, and use the walkway to get to school. And, of course, they haven't thought about eliminating the islands, creating more spaces. There is a creative solution to thedrop off problem. It troubles me greatly that the school leaders have not been able to figure it out. Clearly, the current system does not work.
There are a lot of things to love about the school, but towards the end of this year once testing was done my fifth grade student who was supposedly enrolled in sixth grade math watched movies and played games! Also the same teacher doesn't provide grades or send home tests. My child got an A but I did hear complaints from others who received low marks with little or no explanation. Other than this experience my kids have gotten a very good education. parent involvement is very high which is a good thing.
Please see my first entry directly below. The other aspect of public vs private is how much higher your child can soar in this environment than in a typical private school. The teachers are constantly monitoring your child's progress -- there are more tiers of reading and math groupings here than in a private school setting--they teach to the level your child should strive for, rather than teaching to "the middle." We find the academics rigorous, and the teachers amazing! Most classrooms in 2010 will be "Inspired" -- google "inspired classroom" ---and most if not all have whiteboards. There are varied and well-run after school offerings as well. The PTA and HFE Foundation have generous coffers, and the school, while it might not be the most attractive building in Atlanta, it is replete with what really matters, fantastic, dedicated teachers and admin!
Heards Ferry has a glowing reputation and is considered to be one of the best schools in the state. The faculty and administration is top notch and very knowledgable in the field of education. I have two sons who have attended Heards Ferry and feel this school can compete with any private school in Metropolitan Atlanta.
My daughter just entered Kindergarten here and she is loving it. I am so pleased to see such a high level of involvement from other parents. They also seemed to have many systems in place that make things run smoothly.
Heards Ferry is an excellent school. Im very happy with the test scores and teachers. I would recommend this school to anybody.
We moved from Sarah Smith Elem. and find Heards Ferry much better. H.F. starts children changing classes and teachers in 3rd grade. My children have been better challenged to meet their individual learning levels. This also makes the move to Middle School easier when they are used to changing classes. Also, the principal dealt with a concern I had head on and immediately. This was very unusual for me coming from Sarah Smith where the opposite was true of the principal. I have been happy with the teachers and staff and have met many wonderful families who are very involved.
I have two children in this school from prek to 2nd grade and the teachers are outstanding. A small neighborhood school with small teacher to student ratios and the teachers know all of the kids not just the ones in their class.
A fantastic principal guides this school. Significant level of diversity in a school that maintains excellent academics. Feeder school for International Baccalaureate Ridgeview Middle and Riverwood High School.
This is a fantastic school. My son is in special ed pre-k. And his teacher is absolutely wonderful. The staff is open to ideas, love parent involvement, and do have lots of activities. The staff and teachers are very warm and approachable. Overall great school.
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