My daughter attended five schools during her elementary years and this is the best by far, even compared to a school in the mainland that is the top 100 elementary schools. The principal has done his best to preserve extracurricular programs like the Gifted/Talented, PE, art, music, clubs and others by being creative with the teachers. The students had PE every week and twice every other week, far more than most schools that offer only every other week. I found the music teacher to be flexible--she didn't force all of the kids to learn the recorder if they were already working on a different instrument, she incorporated them. My daughter's teachers always communicated progress. The comment about students helping with lunch is a state-wide setup and the half day on Wed is statewide mandated. Fridays were used to expand cultural knowledge, school-wide physical activities, rewards for good students and extra instructions for poor performing students. Now back on the mainland in Maryland which is the top state for education, my daughter's counselor was impressed with her scores from Hawaii and the varied education she had.
9 out of 10?!? What? *Most of the teachers aren't very good & don't care., *The administration will tell you what you want to hear knowing that you will be moving within a few years. *lunches are disgusting & the calendar isn't always the same as what they are serving. *If you have a child that needs special education DO NOT SEND THEM HERE! The SpeEd department is staffed with inexperienced teachers that are not qualified & don't care. *Your kid will come home with candy, soda pop, & have a lot of class parties & fun time and YOU will be teaching them via the 3+ hours of homework each night. *They will make sure that the kids do well on their testing but they don't teach concepts to them - just what they need to know in order to boost the school test scores. *They, uh, "encourage" the kids with "bonus bucks" and "crazy cash" so they can buy fun stuff but they also will make a child pay them for various infractions (late homework even with a note and valid excuse from parent). Is the Hawaii school system broken? YES. But I do not think that Hickam Elementary deserves a rating of 9. Do HTA, get the kids into private school, or home school. Too frustrating.
I have a child graduating 6th grade this year. We have been here for four years. I have older children too. I think the parents who are writing good reviews either are new parents or naive. Having older children who graduated cum laude from a University in California, I can personally tell you that if my older children went to Hickam, they would have not been college bound. I have pointed out to the staff that the work at they are doing does not compare to mainland standards. They do nothing in this school. No essays, no reports, nothing but a little math, spelling, simple social studies, etc...I have had to supplement my child's education. However, I am really worried as we are moving back to the mainland and I am sure my child will be behind in middle school. I have been room mom to ensure the best for my child and seen the poor education upfront. The teachers would be shocked if they worked at.a real school in the mainland. I think the teachers and the vice princiapl don't like the " haloes ". There are so many homeschoolers on this base and I could understand. They start at Hickam elementary and then a few months later, they are being home schooled.
I wonder about some comments below, my children have attended Hickam for three years and I have never experienced what has been commented on, I question the validity and parenting styles. I can comment on the leadership of the Principal and his sincere concerns for his students. I have observed him adding on temp teachers when student numbers went too high because of the transient community. I have seen him call each of the some 600 students by name and great them. I have seen him at PTO meetings and engaging parents. I know of his open door policy. It is my opinion that the general mind/focus of the school starts with the principal and that is why I commented mostly about him. The school is a safe and clean environment, mindful it is located in a tropical climate. Resources include music, art (recently, teacher of the year) computer lab, PE, math and reading tutors, transitional personnel to monitor and help children with moves and deployments. Not many schools have these transitional programs. All of the teachers that I have met are passionate about teaching and their craft. Overall I would send my most beloved to be educated there and supplement with home reinforcement.
I don't like this school. Though it's better than the train wreck Aliamanu middle school our son is in. The kids have only 15 mins for lunch even though they tell you it's 30 mins. I showed up at 10:55 for her 11am lunch period. She came in at 11:06 and was dismissed at 11:20. By a microphone wielding woman hollering orders at other kids for various offenses. they selected kids as "lunch room monitors" whose sole purpose was to wipe tables, sweep & dustpan up the droppings after the other kids. I wondered if this was some kind of new age disciplinary measures. Or is there just no kitchen staff? her teacher stuck her nose up at the glue I sent in but then used it so I couldn't exchange it. Also made my 6 yr old daughter cry by telling her she couldn't attend a field trip unless I bought yet ANOTHER special school shirt. They already have uniforms, now they want special shirts for field trips. Between both kids we've spent in excess of $600-650 getting them into public school. This is nuts. Also, it's infested with ants and flies. The day we enrolled her they were crawling all over the front desk at the main office, and the lunch room was swarming with flies when I went.
I came close to wiring my child with a hidden camera-it's that bad!! Administration is very unhelpful, but friendly. I complained a whole bunch in my 3 years here and got good lip service, but it was apparent that you have to go the District for help. I gathered that the Administration is afraid of the teachers. There are some really horrid teachers here that have a cushy job and don't want you to rock the boat. Keeping an email trail with the teachers is very helpful in proving what was happening. I don t know if my children will have the same chances that their older siblings had since they had such a substandard education at this school for the past 3 years. Academics are very poor and you will notice that if you are not a first time parent. However, the school is really concern about the children passing the standardized tests, as my children came home with flash cards on what would be on that test. They have fun Fridays, short Wednesdays, all day parties. I met a military spouse teaching middle school, who told me this was the easiest job as the standards are so low compare to the mainland which confirm to me what I was seeing. But the school is clean and looks nice.
I must say it is amazing to see 2 negative comments post on the same day. There is never going to be a perfect world, nor a perfect school but this one is pretty darn good. Teachers are underpaid but they do not let that stop them from doing the best they can. The principal is fairly new to the school and is working to get rid of problems, Rome was not built in a day.... My daughter attended 5th grade here, my grandson Kg. and 1st. They loved the school. I have substituted at the school and see the dedication of staff. As a full-time teacher for 20 years I have worked in public and private schools (2 of the most famous on the island) and I can say emphatically if you work with the school, they will work with you and your child. Maybe I will try to get a job at Hickam!!
On an island where private and public schools are hit and miss, Hickam Elementary is an exceptional example of high quality elmentary education Hawaiian-style. There is an island emphasis on community (ohana) and doing what is right (pono) that unfortunately is out of fashion on the mainland. Students are expected to do their best academically, and almost all of the teachers are ready and willing to enable their efforts. The administration is top notch and I would be thrilled to have this exact staff and principles at every school my children attend.
My 4th grader had a difficult time this past year. She felt like class time was disorganized and hectic. Then, she would have 2-3 hours of homework every night to make up for the time wasted in class. As a parent, I felt like the school as a whole offered too many parties, movies, and playtime. I want my kids to have fun in school, but not at the expense of real learning. I felt like I was homeschooling when they got home from school with all their homework. So, next year we will be doing HTA.
I have had all four of my kids attend Hickam, grades K-6th, and have overall been really happy with the staff. The PTO is extremely active which helps fund a lot of school activities. As with any school, I think the teacher your child gets will affect how you would rate this. I've been both happy and unhappy at times. My older child has less homework than my 1st grader, so this has been my feedback to those teachers. Principle Erickson and Vice Principal S. are both really active and involved, so high marks for their availability to speak to. Even though Hawaii does have a bad reputation for schools, this one is an exception. I'm glad our kids feel safe and supported in the military family atmosphere. As for middle school, I am homeschooling my older two now with Hawaii Technical Academy through k12 and am really happy with it. Definitely do your homework, I've heard Ewa areas have great schools. Aliamanu Middle is one to steer clear from.
Students are being taken out all around me and home schooled. The odvious thing is, they are behind academics. They are all about having the children memorize what is on the standarized state test from day one. It feels as if the staff are watching the clock with you. The first couple years, they were helpful with my complaints and such, but this last year it appears they don't care anymore. I think they know your clock is running out and who cares you are leaving soon ( school on military base). They have pretty much Friday Fun day. Wednesday short day. They don't tell the parents about award assemblys unless you child is getting one. But your child has to carry his chair to the front of school and miss academics for an hour and endure the humiliation. Parents are giving gifts to the kids who are getting an award around them. Only a handful of kids per class get an award. I have asked the Principal to stop this practice. Other schools do it afterschool and you only go if you are getting the award. I have heard of fellow officers taking retirement when they are told to go to Hawaii. The school are that bad. It is what you hear about.
Moved on-base from the Ewa Beach area last year. Overall, the administrators, school activities and communication were top-notch. I thought the academics were average--not bad but nothing special compared to my child's teacher at her previous school at Ewa Beach. Not a lot of assignment that required much effort or intellictual stimulation--all textbook. My child even complained of assignments being "too" easy. Hickam Elementary needs to implement the AVID Program something the other school had and was beneficial to all students at the upper elementary level.
I too, would like to add a review for 2011. My daughter has attended Hickam Elementary from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. She is starting 3rd grade next year. 3 years of great experiences with the school. Like the previous person said, we all have our "favorite" teachers though. My daughter was a geographical exception as well. I highly recommend this school. If my children were not attending this school, I would be paying $17K (for two) to attend private school. That is how strongly I feel the difference is between Hickam Elementary and surrounding public schools. My youngest daughter will start Kindergarten at Hickam next school year & I couldn't be happier.
I noticed that many of the lower ratings that HES received were from 2009 so here s a current one. My child has been attending HES for 3 years and it s been a blessing. We did a geographical exception to come to HES after a very bad 3rd grade year elsewhere. After 3 years of discussing the school with staff and other parents, I can say without hesitation that every teacher here is good to excellent. I do not know of one teacher that I would say to a parent, "Don't get that teacher." Of course we have our favorites, but that's true everywhere. The Leadership staff has changed over the past 3 years and I am extremely pleased with the direction the new staff is taking. Security is a little lax compared to mainland standards, but compared to Hawaii standards it is great. You are in the middle of two military bases and a big fence runs all along the back side. They also have staff and parents watching the grounds. The discipline at HES is excellent. Bullying and discrimination are not allowed. HES also offers many extracurricular activities and the staff that lead them are excellent. Overall I would give HES 5 stars for Hawaii or 4 stars for the whole country.
I think Hickam lacks in several areas one of them is saftey. The school has an open campus and unfortunately that means anyone can walk on. They do try to avoid this from happening but it still remains a reality. So on to my point. On the second week of school I came to the school to pick up my kindergarten daughter who was not yet five for a doctor's appt. I waited in the office for her just to discover they had allowed her to walk unescorted to the front office which was over half a campus from her classroon. I was very upset and I found that the school did not have the same reaction. Infact the teacher's solution to the problem was to send another kindergarten as an escort. They call it the buddy system. Whatever! There is still a Kindergarten walking alone back to the classroom.
True the school is one of the better public schools on Oahu but if you expect your child to be prepared for school on a regular curriculum like it is done on the mainland you will be in for a huge disappointment. There are just too few teachers with the true motivation it takes to teach especially with overly crowded, hot classrooms. The school is what it is because of the parent involvement.
The air conditioning units were NOT loud. The PTO never really had a focus the whole 3 years my daughter was a student there. I also worked at the school and volunteered and pretty much everyone was thrilled with the ac units!
Comparatively speaking, Hickam Elementary is very safe. Even if you go to Holy Family, you will not get this security. You have to realize that there are parents crawling all over Hickam all day. These parents are watching and keeping tabs on what is going on in and around the school. We have had 3 kids at Hickam the last 2 years. Overall, it is a great school. I am very tired of people putting down the schools here. Get involved, stay involved and make sure your child is learning what he/she needs to learn (it is more than the teacher's job, you know). Paying for private DOES NOT mean you will get a better education (or be guaranteed that they will be on target when you move back to the mainland). Support those teachers and I promise you will get so much more in return!
I think Hickam lacks in several areas one of them is saftey. The school has an open campus and unfortunately that means anyone can walk on. They do try to avoid this from happening but it still remains a reality. So on to my point. On the second week of school I came to the school to pick up my kindergarten daughter who was not yet five for a doctor's appt. I waited in the office for her just to discover they had allowed her to walk unescorted to the front office which was over half a campus from her classroon. I was very upset and I found that the school did not have the same reaction. Infact the teacher's solution to the problem was to send ANOTHER kindergarten as an escort. They call it the buddy system. Whatever! There is still a Kindergarten walking alone back to the classroom.
My children have attended Hickam from grades K-3. Overall, I find this school lacking in many areas, first and foremost the principal. He does not interact with students, does not enter the classrooms to do observations, etc. Thankfully, he is retiring. One of my children has an IEP and it has been very hard getting help at Hickam. They focus mainly on the IEP meetings but making sure the teachers follow through on plans and goals is pretty much non-existent. I have only met the Special Services Coordinator once as he is too busy to attend meetings. Most grades lesson plan together- kind of a cookie cutter approach to learning- and I have not seen any teacher who puts forth any effort to be an individual or go beyond just learning the curriculum. My children's grades, and interest in school have dropped dramatically.
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