Highland View, despite it's not-so-good disciplinary system, teaches good values in kids from day 1 to the last day of fifth grade. They teach they to me honest, to have integrity, and to be fair to everyone, which is especially important in such a remarkably diverse school.
I loved going to school here. The small, tight-knit community is diverse and that's a great thing for kids K-5. The teachers are the definition of outstanding. They make time for the students and they work very hard to ensure the kids get the best grade they can possibly get. I did have a little problem with the disciplinary system, however. They didn't do too much about bullying, and I got bullied, but not really much happened to that bully. Other than that, they keep kids under control during lunch and recess and during class as well. The special teachers (music, art, etc.) were also exemplary. As an alum, I want to go back. They also have amazing extra options for students who want to learn something new on their own time, like the Geo Bowl for geography buffs. Because the school was so small, the parents and students were very involved. Everyone knew everyone. If someone won the Young Author's Contest, any teacher who saw you would congratulate you. In June, they hold a lot of parties at Highland View, serving ice cream and being able to play on the playground. The last month and a half or so of each year was an incredibly fun experience. I absolutely love this school.
We moved to Maryland when my son was in the middle of second grade. We had a fantastic elementary school where he was born in PA, and I was afraid we wouldn't be able to find a place where he felt as comfortable. He was welcomed incredibly warmly by this very tight knit community. We are very lucky to have a small school population with small class sizes, as well as an amazingly dedicated and involved principal. Mrs. Dardarian treats her job as her mission in life, and she is very good at it. My son and I both love HVES, and we will be very sad when he moves on after this year. If it makes any difference to readers, my son has ADHD, and the staff at HVES are very familiar with what that means and how to help kids deal with it. Finally, the before and after care program, Kids After Hours, is absolutely incredible. It's not run by the school, but it is so well integrated that you'll feel like it is. The director Glen is another very dedicated individual who really understands his kids. He has a masters in early childhood development. We are going to miss KAH as much as HVES for sure.
We are about to enter the IEP process (hopefully, successfully, but I am prepared for a difficult journey). So far regarding the 504 process, this school has not given the kind of support I would expect of a small, well-staffed, parent-engaged, community public school. In first grade with no 504, we had a great teacher and counselor and our daughter was well-supported. She was making progress in the are of social skill building and reading. This year, with a 504 in place, a new teacher and a new counselor, we have been sorely disappointed. Lipservice to accommodations is a shame... At the 504 planning meeting, the school psych who has never observed, assessed, or met our daughter dismissed a tool that worked well last year. After a few months, i had to ask the current guidance counselor to reinstate the tool. Yet, the teacher and counselor are not using it to its full potential. I can;t seem to get the compassion and attention, let alone interest of the current teacher or counselor. Very disappointing experience. I do not have high hopes for the ease and integrity of the IEP process.
The school's behavior standards are very high especially for the minority children. It is a great effort, but there should be a balance for everyone. There is definitely some disparity between the children who are living in the apartment vs the ones who live in the houses surrounding the school. Unfortunately, it is mostly minorities and/or lower income families who live in the apartments. As one reviewer mentioned, "there is a culture of trust...there are no snitches." That statement is true, because a teacher will get away with so much and get backed by the principal. Also, the PTA is not as inviting to all parents, yet they complain about minority involvement. Some teachers have been exemplary while others are just getting paid. My child is bright but wasn't being challenged. However, if she spoke too loudly or said too many words in one sentence, she would be placed on the "traffic system" which is the school's way of handling behavioral issues. It made my daughter afraid to go to school, because according to her, "I could do nothing right Mommy." I hope the new counselor will work with parents about issues instead of just placing their children in behavioral groups.
Great school for teachers and students! I work at a nearby school. Every time I ask a Highland View teacher about the work environment, I get the same answer --culture of respect and trust among teachers and administration. There are no snitches who report everythng and anythng to administration. The principal is very involved in every aspect of the school without being overbearing.
HIghland View is a wonderful little school with a big heart. The principal knows each child by name, and the PTA is very active. Do not judge this school on test scores alone. It does a great job of educating a truly diverse population of sutdents. There are students from literally all over the world - Asia, Africa, austalia, Latin America. The school works for educated, affluent families as well as immigrant English Language learners. It is a tall order for such a small school.
We loved Highland View. The teachers and staff work hard and have a great attitude. This is reflected in the students, who genuinely seem to enjoy going to school. Our son got special attention and encouragement in his areas of need. He felt safe and comfortable at school. The student body is very diverse. This did not hinder the progress of our son academically or socially, but there is no doubt that it provided the biggest challenge to the faculty. HVES is small and is likely to remain so, which we found to be a positive. We got to know everyone and developed a communication and support network quickly. HVES is not the best elementary school out there and, given it's challenges, could hardly be expected to be. It is not the kind of school that does the work for you, but the kind we found easy to work with.