We love our neighborhood school Hickory Hills! This is our first year there, but we have friends who've been there for years and they're right--it's the best. I was really concerned about how my Kindergartner would adjust to full time school--he's a very active boy. But this is the PERFECT place for him. Hickory Hills is a magnet school for Arts--so every day the students spend an hour in Dance, Music, Art, Drama, or Science Lab. They also have either PE or recess daily, which I think is super important for young kids to be able to focus while in the classroom. The principal also puts a lot of emphasis on the teachers having the students up out of their desks and learning in different stations throughout the room--which really helps them not get bored. He's learning in leaps and bounds--we've been shocked at how quickly he's learned to read. They try to group the Kindergarten students by how much Pre-K education they've had--so that each class is on the same level and teachers don't have to worry about losing people in the cracks. Not sure if they continue that through the other grades--but I think it makes sense. We were a little nervous going in bc of the rankings--but there is a huge transient population in this district--and when the students aren't present for the entire school year it affects the test scores really negatively. All of our worries have been erased, and I feel like this is the perfect place for our kids. The PTA is very active and passionate as well, so there's a real community feel to the school. Love. Love. Love.
Teachers at this school are very effective because they are able to specialize and individualize lesson plans to unique groups of learners. This school uses the "Tier" system to place students into classes. This model has worked very well for my daughter and has helped her to achieve higher standards than she would in a traditional structured classroom.
Hickory Hills Elementary provides a warm and caring environment for all students. Most of the staff know my child by her first name and treat her with respect and kindness. Teachers go out of the way to reach all levels of learners as well as provide individualized support. I would encourage parents who are "school shopping" to make an appointment with Hickory Hills for a personal tour. I did this when considering schools in the area. The principal met with me and answered all of my questions as well as showed me around the school. I was very skeptical of Hickory Hills at first based on some of the reviews, however, it has surpassed all of my expectations.
I work as a preschool teacher for a private school where I had my son attending. I took him out because he didn't seem to get the attention or education he needed, he was also picking up bad behaviors from other students. My husband and I moved him here and we were immediately happy. His teacher was always in communication with us and worked very hard to help us get our son back on the right track. He is doing very well there again this year and again I am pleased with the open communication between his teacher and us. The staff are friendly and welcoming, they put in a lot of time, effort and hard work. We couldn't be happier!
I live in the neighborhood and recently visited the school to see for myself what level of education is provided. I was pleased to see such a wonderful and creative school in my neighborhood! Our neighbors whose children attend Hickory Hills are very pleased. I was in the school most of the day and did not observe any negative behaviors from faculty, staff or students. Overall, the school appears to be exactly what parents want in an elementary school: rigorous course work, a fun learning environment, and caring, involved faculty.
Racial problems are visible in the 4th and 5th grade. Many parents pull children out because of the way those teachers talk to the students. Often calling them names. Parents have gone to administration before but it still continues. MCAA is the only saving grace if your child is smart enough to get in. Otherwise, you are stuck. Sadly, the new administration is coming from a school in cobb that just isn't up to par. The test scores from Hickory Hills are the lowest in the district. If you can, apply to another school, because this is just a sinking ship. It seems if you are not white, your voice doesn't matter here, sadly, a common theme it seems for this school. White parents get to group all their kids into one class... it's very obvious
We started our daughter here in K, and she went through 1 and 2, but now that we made it to 3rd grade, we decided to move her over to MCAA. Luckily she was grouped with "similar" children as she was in the minority here, and they had the teachers we as parents requested. It was fine when they were younger, but as they get older, we knew we had to make a change. We are not fond of any 3-5 teachers at this school, and sadly have heard horror stories about the ways the 5th grade teachers talk to kids. Several parents have made this aware to admin and although they are changing people around, it still doesn't help. MCAA just can offer more for 3-5 than sadly this school can. The demographics are not what they need to be. Too much change yearly, and with the new admin, they are young and trying too many changes that it feels like most staff are resisting. We are excited about the work our daughter will do at MCAA, and that a good amount of her friends are moving over too. Sad to see what this school has become in retrospect to what it used to be.