We moved to Andover last year - yes, for the schools, lovely town, and "better" house for the money (as compared to Newton, etc.).We have two children at HPES and feel we have made an excellent choice. The teachers and staff are wonderful. They expect a lot from our kids and give back as much and more. I'm not sure where the negative reviews are coming from - perhaps we are lucky with our teachers? I don't think so from what I've seen and heard so far from other parents, but I'm thankful for the experience we are getting. They do have challenging coursework (even so at the K-level) and a family feel to the place. I like that and the fact that my kids are excelling academically, physically, and socially - good stuff!
Sadly, after moving to Andover with high hopes for an excellent education for our children, we have been disappointed. It seems that in certain areas this school does well, but don't expect an excellent or balanced education across the board. While there are many warm, well-educated, creative and dedicated teachers at this school, there are just as many who are cold, disengaged and just doing what is needed to get through the day. Leadership could turn this around, but unfortunately those in charge are not leading by example. It's not all bad - if you are lucky enough to be one of the students to snag a great teacher for the year you will be given the opportunity to excel.
This Andover public school (and most likely all of them) draws from the same labor pool as the rest of Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Dracut, Haverhill,etc.) and/or southern NH. Therefore, many of the teachers and some administrators were educated at schools that are lower ranking and thus they receive only a very average education themselves. Our oldest just had a teacher last year who can't spell ... unbelievable. Look at sources like the Boston Magazine and you will find that the ratings of Andover have been sinking. Some of the parents that are over the moon about this area grew up here so they are not objective. While many of the parents and kids here are above average in many ways, the school is not and a wiser investment in housing and public education for a savvy family would be for them to buy in some of the higher ranking towns nearer to Boston -- even if it means the house purchased won't be as high end. Don't be fooled by the out-of-date reputation that the realtors are still pushing. Lastly, be aware the presence of Phillips Academy has no bearing on the quality of the local schools.
I have three children that attend High Plain Elementary. This school has the BEST community of families I've ever witnessed. We were new to the area when my eldest started at HPE and we were welcomed and felt like we belonged within days. The teachers were handpicked from Andover's best for this school and you can see their commitment to education and the children when you enter the building.
Both my children attend High Plain, and I cannot rave about it more. The teachers are excellent, the staff is dedicated, and Brenda O'Brien, the Principal, is the most passionate and dedicated educator I've ever met. As I parent, I have had ample opportunity to get involved, both during and after the school day, and I feel both my children AND myself are having a wonderful elementary school experience.
Leadership is critical in any organization. Brenda O'brien, the principal is an absolute phenomenon...she is fantastic with the students and parents--and she is respected by her staff. The children seem to excel as a result of a strong curriculum that encourages and rewards achievement. Mrs Stein, the music educator with 30 plus years puts on class plays and musicals--the children love music which helps them in their academics...Mrs Schiff who runs physical education is able to identify children with motor skills issues early on..another pro....computer, art, are all well represented. The PTO and parents are very involved as one can tell by trying to gey a parking space on the night of an open house... Definitely the best school in Andover.... a lot of love....Brenda O'Brien's passion make her in my book one of the best principals in the state
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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