This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Lt Col Horrace Meek Hickam Elementary School3
Posted October 31, 2014
- a parent
I think, with the right teacher, a student can flourish. But the teachers are all over the map it seems. I will point to Mrs. Mineshima and Mrs. Weimer as two teachers we had that we loved. But others are...meh. some are task masters only concerned with test scores. Others are drill sergeants who harp on kids for being kids. Others rely entirely too much on parental involvement. Some do not ever communicate with the parents. It really just depends on who you get. Test scores are good, but really, only by Hawaiian standards. But let's look at the school population: non-Hawaiian kids, mostly senior enlisted or officer kids. NOT the typical Hawaiian population. So, you see a 10 on this and think, wow, it must be amazing! But really, the test scores are not comparing apples with apples. I hate to say it, but the local schools are largely abysmal in comparison, but that does not mean that Hickam is amazing--it only seems that way by comparison on paper, because I believe the great schools score is largely dependent on test scores. If parent reviews were factored in as well, I believe the score would be more toward average. I would give it more of a 5/10.
I love this school! My son is in special ed and my daughter is in 1st grade. After 3 years of a horrid school on island I am finally loving a school! Hawaii is a hard place to deal with schools, but Hickam is a great fit for our family. We were sending our daughter to private school and find Hickam to be equal to those standards. Love the teachers and staff....
My kids attended Hickam from 2010-2013. While some of the teachers and staff are great, I am going to address the problem with 2nd grade specifically, and the policies that are not being upheld to state standard. I had to homeschool my 2nd grader after unsuccessfully working with the teacher, and principle. The work load is overwhelming, fun activities are only permitted if all work is done, kids are all expected to perform at the same level, and recesses are used as punishment to complete work if not done. This is against state regulations. For years, I've heard, and experienced these problems, and parents are told "well everyone else can keep up". This is not true. My son rarely had a behavioral problem, but struggled in English. By the end of 1st quarter, he felt he was the worst student and cried about missing Rocking Readers, Recesses, and Parties. My volunteering in class was useless to help the situation. I would encourage any parent going through this to get involved in voicing our frustrations and make a positive change. I found many parents going through the same thing at Hickam, but nothing changed for the better.
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!!