This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Highlands Elementary School1
Posted March 23, 2015
- a parent
Terrible for children on the autism spectrum. We have had a very difficult time getting properly trained staff for our middle of the spectrum kid. Would not recommend this school for any kid needing special services.
Our children did not attend this school. Our child participates in 203's highly gifted PI + program, which had one of its classrooms at this school until this year, when the entire program (and the kids test scores) were moved to Meadow Glens. We have heard nice things about Highlands and its leadership. A lot of families moving here feel they have to pay top dollar for a house and be in one of the "best" scoring 203 schools based on a real estate agent's opinion. Our experience with families in PI + is that the some of the kids who were among the brightest and most talented came from Title 1 District 203 schools. These children benefitted from significant parental and educational support outside of school and their families placed a priority on education in the early years -- not sports. Educational enrichment at home can make a big difference, not necessarily the classroom where a child spends only 6 hours a day for 160 days a year you will get a decent education at any of the 203 schools.
When our children went to Highlands their experience was very good, but not perfect. There were many excellent, life-changing teachers and a few clunkers. As with most districts, 203 gives more resources to special ed children than gifted. I would have liked more opportunities for my children in that area. However, I think one key measure of a school is how well students do in life later. My three children look back on this school has having given them a wonderful start on life. I highly recommend it and feel very fortunate that we landed there.
I went to Highlands Elementary from 2003 to 2009. I can honestly say I had an OUTSTANDING childhood here at Highlands. The teachers are top notch, and there are several extracurricular opportunities offered. If I could do elementary school all over again, I would because this school is truly amazing. My parents originally planned to send me to a private school, but they were so impressed with Highlands and Kennedy Junior High they decided to let me go to public schools. If you want your kid to have an excellent education, stay in CUSD 203. It's great here, I promise.
We moved to Naperville from Ohio last year. My son, who entered 2nd grade last fall, has an IEP. I received a phone call from the principal before we even moved here. She asked a lot of questions and was genuinely interested in how we could make this a smooth and pleasant transition. Once he started school I was contacted about the IEP meeting and met with about 8 school personnel. All of them were very excited to help my son succeed. The kids at this school are smart and have been very nice. My son's teachers are phenomenal and he really doesn't mind going to school. There are so many opportunities here and I just can't say enough wonderful things about Highlands or about the CUSD 203 administration. I would highly recommend this school to anyone.
The classroom teachers are wonderful. The test scores are high. Our sons really enjoyed the sports program. Our problem, however, was that one of our sons qualified for an IEP (Individualized Education Program). It was not followed on a consistent basis despite our repeated pleas and meetings. We transferred our sons out of the Naperville School District and into a private school.
A job transfer moved us back to Chicago last year, and Naperville sees many former-Chicagoans like us who have chosen Highlands ES in Dist 203 for its excellent school ranking. Highlands is welcoming of new families and volunteers. The school is locked and secure. The daily curriculum is progressive, differentiating for all levels of learners. Extra-curriculars abound even for the primary grades, including Spanish/Chinese; PE games; book club, math games and science fair nights. The music and art teachers have inspired my daughter to want to take lessons outside of school. We are thrilled with our decision to be at Highlands and are proud to live in Naperville, a community that makes education a priority.
This school is excellent in many ways. If test scores are critical, its students' scores are great. But, test scores are not everything. Unfortunately, the school is not at all accepting of individual differences in learning styles. Some children will do well in this environment. Others will be discouraged and become less curious and interested in learning. There were some outstanding teachers at the school, although some young, inexperienced teachers in the early grades left a negative impression. Naperville is a great town in many ways, but it is also a bit like 'Stepford' and this school fit in perfectly. The school's music program was very good, yet there was limited exposure to music and art (apart from parent lectures on artists) and, given its proximity to Chicago, there could have been a much stronger cultural program. After school enrichment options were limited. Overall, though, positives far outweigh negatives.