This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Heards Ferry Elementary School5
Posted March 24, 2014
- a parent
In regards to the 11/5 post saying teacher should park at the high school, that's just not an option. Parking is serverly limited at the high school as is. They have more teachers, as well as more students who rely on their cars as their only way to get to school.
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.