Lockdowns, gun searches and drug dogs are what your child learns here. 6th grade was enough for us and we go into another magnet program. That "highland" attitude has been passed on to the kids of this school where there is no learning to be had. It's pure survival. I know that all of the incidents are not even reported. Children who misbehave are not reprimanded when their parents threaten the school. There have been kids with knives with no punishment. One mom who is a social worker gets her child out of trouble and keeps his low performing academics in the AP program by threatening the school and they back down. I didn't want this child in class with mine that was there to learn! This was once a good program and now just out of control. We are out and not returning. Your child can not be prepared for high school. The AP program is extremely low level. The AP here would be remedial at most middle schools.
2 weeks into 6th grade my child is disappointed and i am not very impressed about Highland MIddle and the way they do things. My child was given a bully packet and i wasn't even notified but my child was hurt by it and told me what happened otherwise i wouldn't have known. Kids are not allowed to carry their backpacks throughout the day so they leave them in a classroom, last week someone stole her backpack which had her inhaler. She told teacher and teacher said it is not her responsibility, how is that? If nobody is in classroom why isn't it locked and if classroom is used for others why are kids forced to leave their belongings. I called school same day to discuss the bully situation and stolen backpack/inhaler and was told i would get a call from someone first thing Monday, guess what no call. School is old and air conditioning is not the best, it is very damp and stuffy in there and my daughter has been sneezing and coughing every day. My husband was told that they are aware of kids having breathing problems, staff as well and that there is mold but they do their best and would call 911 if needed since there is no nurse on staff.
My daughter has completed her first year at Highland Middle school on the Pacesetters team. This year was a much easier transition (from elementary school) than I anticipated. As in any school, the experience is what you make of it. I love the looping system. I believe it gives the teachers and students, plenty of times to "know" each other; the expectations of the students and the needs of the students. The school is large and has many students. I don't mind that aspect, because that can be benefitical for adapting to college life. My daughter lucked out with a wonderful team leader and dedicated teachers. Trips were great ( not too many). The reward (created by her teachers) system for good grades, was a great motivator for her. Her band concerts were enjoyable. She made a couple of "quality" friends. We hope that next year will be just as good and maybe better!
My daughter is having an awasome experience. The Challenger team is top of the chart. She has a 4.0 GPA and is loveing school. Mr Schfer is her insperation. Thanks team Challenger. Tracey B LaFever 10/29/12
Highland is like most public schools: too many kids, sincere and sometimes still passionate but overwhelmed teachers and a well meaning administrative staff that is doing the best they can with what they have. Turnover is high and my child has subs too often. As a result, the environment is often chaotic and not academically challenging. If you don't stay on top of everything 24-7, your child will surely get lost in the shuffle. There's hardly ever homework or projects that promote critical thinking. Heavy emphasis on getting through the curriculum and testing at the sake of ensuring kids learn (but these days, I'm not sure if you can escape that no matter what public school). Heckman is a pretty good principal, there's an active PTA and hopefully with the IB program academics will get stronger. Looping system has been an asset.
Highland is truly a great school! My daughter is a 7th grader there. We really like the looping system where students are put into teams & stay with the same set of teachers for all three years. The teachers really get to know the students. The academics are rigorous and challenging. The 3-D art classes are wonderful! The PTA is very active. There are a lot of after school activties. The school has a nicely structured environment which supports each youth expressing themselves and appreciating diversity. If you're looking for a great school, check Highland out!!
HMS had a distinct and drastic change in it's student body when the district remapped it's reside area.... and the change wasn't for the better. I love the fact that there are no uniforms and that school really tries to offer after school opportunities to the kids (lots of clubs, sports, and even intramural volleyball in the fall and spring). However, the looping does have disadvantages. One of my daughter's teachers simply doesn't click with her, but she can't change that one teacher without changing all the others (but she loves them). Only one team (1/3 of each grade) get's to make the big class trip a the end of year, and it's not divided evenly. My daughter was not given the opportunity to ever attend one of the 'big' trips (Space camp and Washington DC). They got to walk up to local park all 3 years.