As of Sept. 2016- The teachers at this school are excellent. The school has a lot of resources and my kids are happy there. I have not noticed overcrowding issues, personally, but some of these reviews are older. That said, some things have changed recently (I think related to the new principal) that have left me feeling very disengaged as a parent. This is the only elementary school in the district that did not have a Back to School night. There was no meeting for kindergarten parents other than registration last January. Frankly, I could not pick my kids' teachers out of a line up I have had so little contact with them. Events, like PTO meetings, don't get posted on the district calendar. I hope it changes, but I am disappointed, as I was told this was one of the best elementary schools around. Parental engagement makes or breaks a school.
One child gone from the school...the other one leaving at the end of this year. The school has been an absolute disaster for my kids' self esteem. There is way too much focus on keeping kids quiet, seated in "body basics" (whatever the heck that is) and on task and uniform in their behaviors and not nearly enough focus on individual students and their individual learning styles -- and making sure kids feel safe and are actually getting anything out of school. My kids have never been able to tell me what they have actually learned at this school. They can tell me who earned what and who has "pinned down" on the behavior charts, who passed what state testing and who has to bring home the extra work because they failed the such and such testing and are now in some remedial program and when the police have been in the building (which is frequently, by the way -- and let us not forget for a second that this is an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL). This is not learning.
This school is only good based on test results. I will be taking my child out at the end of the school year. The PBIS system is a joke. My child's self esteem has suffered since coming to Horizon. We have not had a good experience at this school. I know other parents who have open enrolled there children out of the district for various problems with this school.
This school wants to be great. There are great teachers and staff here that really get to know the kids and are trying against insurmountable odds to make it a great place. Unfortunately, with severe overcrowding, this is, indeed, an impossible task. There are many great ideas that the school is trying hard to put into practice, but they seem to be struggling with. The new PBIS is a great idea on paper and if it was implemented consistently throughout the building, it would probably be effective at improving behaviors. Unfortunately, there are so many strict rules and procedures per district policy that contradict the very language of PBIS that I don't think it is applicable in this school. I don't necessarily blame the staff here. I blame the ridiculous amount of people crammed into this one building. I imagine they feel there is no other way to keep control over that many kids. As far as academics, yes, they are competitive. Test scores reflect the high academic standards. Until they deal with the overcrowding in a meaningful way -- that does not involve the district shuffling a handful of kids or teachers here or there -- I do not know how they can really improve.
Horizon Elementary is a perfect picture of everything that is wrong in public schooling today. Greatschools.org gives it a 10 based solely on the ITBS scores of the students at the school. The reason that the ITBS scores are so high is because the tests are the sole focus of everything that goes on at Horizon. Student needs are secondary to high scores. There is no time for hands on learning, interesting projects or in depth study. If you have any kind of concern, the teachers and administration will just tell you what you want to hear so that you will stop bothering them. Classes are huge and the teaching is uninspired to say the least. The main focus at Horizon is keeping everyone quiet and "on task" at all times, not actually learning. Students are consistently bribed with worthless treats and tokens so they can sit through to tedious test-based lessons. If you are interested in raising a robot that cannot think for themselves then Horizon is the place for you. If you want your kids to do real learning, look elsewhere. After three years here we won't be coming back.
This school rocks. The teachers are awesome, they understand the needs of the students, are vigilant about recognizing kids be additionally enriched and that can be enrolled in extended learning. The ELP program is excellent throughout the school district with ample support from the Friends of Johnston ELP.
This school is seriously overcrowded. The classes have 26-30 students. There is no time for individualized learning. The inexperienced teachers are pushed to teach to the test and shun any form of out of the box creativity. Fancy buildings and all the latest bells and whistles have become a focus for the administration.
Great school! I have three children at with different educational needs and Horizon does an excellent job identifying students with unmet educational needs in order to provide programming that fills that gap.