Hillcrest has the best school in Catonsville. The administration is welcoming and able to deal very well with the overcrowding situation that has developed recently due to the word getting out that this is the school district to move into in Baltimore County. The teachers are caring, atune to studnet needs and go above and beyond to make learning fun and challenging at the same time. The afterschool clubs are a big plus at Hillcrest, as is the PTA, which is very active and plans unbelievable functions such as Math and Science, Literature and International Nights. All my children have either attended or are attending Hillcrest and those that have moved on to middle and high school were very prepared. I have nothing negative to say about this great school!
The teachers Are great at Hillcrest and I agree with the previous post that there are a lot of changes going on. However that should not be an excuse for the legitimate concerns brought up but other parents about their child being left behind.... Although my child is having a wonderful experience, I have heard these concerns form a few parents. Change happens everywhere but seems to be more so in education. If a teacher can't handle change whether new or old, it's time to get a new profession!
It is a shame for all concerned that a couple of parents have had challenging experiences with teachers. Hopefully they have addressed the situation either with the teacher or the administration - that is the most effective route, and the one that the school itself would recommend. Overall, Hillcrest is both a quality education and a bargain. The 2nd and 3rd grade teams specifically have some of the most well-respected teachers in the school.
Hillcrest is an amazing elementary school. The administrative staff and teachers work extremely hard to be sure that all students are meeting their full potential. The parent community and PTA is very active and supportive. Volunteers are ALWAYS present in the school. I disagree with previous negative comments about teaching staff. I think we all need to keep in mind that this year is a huge transition year with the new Core, BCPS curriculum (which is still being written), evaluation process for teachers. I am thankful that our teachers at Hillcrest have the experience, administrative support, and resources to handle all of these changes. Let's appreciate that and imagine how teachers with no experience must be feeling at this point. Our kids are in good hands at Hillcrest.
Hillcrest is the best kept secret in Baltimore County. It continues to amaze even though it is clearly challenged with overcrowding. The teachers go above and beyond to enrich the educational environment and we have been very happy with our child's progress. The healthy PTA continues to amaze. The extra PTA funded events that are held during the year are incredible and the kids love them. Literature night, Math and science night and International night are always well attended. The technology department is also well funded and offers progressive education unlike many of the other schools in BCPS system
This great community school manages to provide a quality education despite significant overcrowding. The teachers are great, the administration is supportive, and the PTA is amazing. The facilities are starting to show some wear and tear b/c of age.
It is so interesting that there are a few parents who seem to have had poor experiences at HES while the rest of us are thrilled with the education our children receive. I can only chalk this up to a mismatch b/w the child and teacher or isolated incidences. In regards to the parents being snobby- really? This is a measure of school quality? As the parent of a student new to the school, I couldn't disagree more- I have felt welcomed and engaged from day 1. Great experience thus far. I know there are lots of concerns about the curriculum that is being rolled out this year in response to the Common Core Standards- these are viable concerns but do not reflect limitations of the teachers. Great school!
2 of my girls started their schooling here, one is in 4th grade and the other in 2nd. We have been pleased with every teacher every year. The school offers a lot of after school activities through the well supported PTA. Its a great school with great kids, great teachers, and great administration.
Hillcrest continues to meet whatever challenges comes its way - changing demographics, overcrowding, or an aging school. The principal is works hard and is supportive of the teachers, parents, and most of all the kids. The parents are active and engaged. Not every teacher is perfect, but the majority have enthusiasm and a true love of teaching and we have been lucky to get some of the best. I recommend if any parent has an issue with a specific teacher, that they address it with the teacher and principal. Posting here doesn't really help solve the problem.
I agree with an earlier post about the parents being snobby. While this is definitely true, my main concern is the 2nd and 3rd grade teams. The teachers in those grades seem sub-par and I am very concerned about my child being "left behind" due to this situation. I know everyone is concerned about overcrowding but I think we have more serious, deeper issues at Hillcrest.
My child is a 3rd grader at Hillcrest this year. 2nd grade was wonderful as the teacher really worked with my child and was receptive to my inquiries. 3rd grade is a different story. Teacher seems to no clear understanding of how to use Common Core and there is little to no evidence of differentiated instruction in the classroom. Concerned that my child is regressing instead of moving forward. Teacher seems unreceptive to parent concerns as no changes have been made to meet my child's needs. Homework is never checked yet we spend 30 minutes to an hour every night on it. Seems to be more busy work then anything else. Hope things change sooner then later for my child's sake.
Both of my boys have gone here and I've been very happy with Hillcrest. I have found the teachers to be engaging and interested in helping my boys do the best that they can. To the parent who's concerned about teachers struggling with Common Core: you do realize that BCPS has not finished writing the curriculum for Common Core. Teachers are scrambling to make meaningful lesson plans because they literally do not know what they will be teaching in two weeks. Blame BCPS, not the teachers or Hillcrest Administration.
Hillcrest Elementary School is one of the premier elementary schools in Baltimore County. High test scores are indicative of the excellent learning environment of the school. The principal is the unsung hero of the school. This is demonstrated by the excellent teaching staff and virtually no teacher turnover. The parent participation is envied by other schools. The PTA is very active and has a true partnership with the school. The PTA sponsors many events such as, Literature Night, Math & Science Night, International Night, all cultural assemblies, Fish release field trips, after school clubs and much much more. The school is currently overcrowded and projected to grow even larger in the future. The PTA has played an active role in bringing the overcrowding to the attention of BCPS and continues to work with the county on solutions.
In the past 12 years, both of my children have attended and graduated from Hillcrest. Both were very well prepared in the GT program to succeed in middle school and beyond. The parental involvement at this school is STELLAR and provides much support for teachers and for student enrichment opportunities. Only one teacher we didn't love in all 12 years, and all the rest were excellent. The overenrollment at present is an unfortunate side effect of success. I'm not a native to the area and have made tons of friends here as have my kids.
My daughter has been attending HES since kindergarden (now in second grade) and absolutely loves it. The school has active parents, a PTA second to none and the students are treated with the utmost respect. This school has great programs with the neighboring presbyterian church for before and after care which runs seamlessly.
While I agree with the snobby parents, I have be enable to get over that. My child has definitely had an overall great experience after his first year. The school has kept me well informed about my child for the most part. my child has made plenty of friends and loved his teacher(s). He comes home everyday and has a lot to tell me about what he has learned. His home assignments were straight forward and I like that there were projects that kept myself involved by helping with the projects and being invited to watch classroom presentations. A lot of after school functions are held throughout the year and the kids really seem to enjoy these. The school always seems to be well maintained and clean. I see a big difference in my child's outlook on school since he started here. They have made learning fun for him and he has built the confidence he needs to succeed and has done so. We look forward to another year.
The school has great MSA scores, but a lousy environment and too much focus on the MSAs rather than an education. The MSA focus is bordering on obsession. We have been at this school for several years now. We are utterly frustrated by the out of touch administration that views the parents hostilely, the horrible overcrowding, the over-emphasis on the MSAs and uneven teaching. The overcrowding has become a big issue even with a new addition to the school. With over 700 kids-which is more than the middle school has--it became clear to us at conferences that our child's teacher has absolutely no idea what the child is like beyond a set of scores in the gradebook because of the class size. There are around 34 kids in our childs reading class. The language arts homework for 3 years has had NO connection or relevance to what is being done in class. My child has in fact had the exact same homework in language arts every day for the entire year. So it's pretty tough to help them if they are stuck on something learned in class. If you want good MSA scores it's great, but not if you want broader skills and learning"
Unfortunately, leadership is lacking at this school and the teaching my child received was very uneven. Personal experience with some teaching staff was extremely unprofessional. This school's rigid policies don't allow any choice or options when teachers aren't meeting your child's need. The principal is doing very little to recruit the best new teachers.
Great School! We have 2 children at Hillcrest. They both attend GT classes. They love to read and love to go to school. The teachers are wonderful. Ms McVey, the principal, does a great job. The parents are very involved and have created an after school program teaching French, Spanish, Art, Drama, Chess and Song writing.
Our child attends third grade at Hillcrest Elementary School in Catonsville, MD. We are quite pleased with her progress at this school. The teachers and the Prinicipal ensure good discipline and a healthy study environment in the campus. They seem to take an active interest in her overall performance and provide timely feedback regarding her strengths and weaknesses. The school appears to have a good measure of extra curricular activities besides the regular academic curriculum although I don't how it compares to other schools in this regard. Our daughter is excited to attend school and shows a keen interest in school related activities. On the occassions when we (the parents) felt that she was slacking, we communicated with her classroom teacher(s) and they were prompt in explaining to her her responsibilities and expectations. Overall, we would rate tihs school very highly.
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