This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
High Plain Elementary School1
Posted December 17, 2014
- a parent
The leadership and staff at High Plain are very arrogant to the parents and children they are supposed to serve. If you decide to move to the High Plain area in Andover you should understand going in that your input as parents will be set aside. They know what is best for your child and will retaliate in an insidious manner to any push back... Union style tactics... This is the case for general Ed students. Also have been told from parents who have children in special education that retaliation is the normal and the education mob mentality kicks in big time on the defense. Is so sad to see a wealthy community waste good money on poorly trained staff with a lack of leadership and vision. In the end the students end up losing out on growth and experience. Most parents end up spending several hundred dollars on tutors to fill the gaps. The perception of good is created by pure optics and spin by the leadership. The school board is out of touch with the community they serve and are not aware or holding the leadership accountable.
I am very dissapointed by the school. I came with hopes about the school. They are expecting kindergardener to be well versed. Nurse gives a hard time for each and everything. Kids and parents are given a very hard time by the nurse. You do not feel happy sending your kid to such unfriendly school. Teacher expects the kids to be above grade level and to know everything. Not a firnedly school overall.
Ironically, I completely disagree with the poster who says not enough attention is given to students with certain challenges at HPES. I think they bend over backwards for those in these programs at HPES. Actually, I think they cater to special needs far more than the gifted and "regular" kids, which irks me. (However, overall, I think the school is fantastic!) My kids are very bright (yes, I am biased) and because there is so much money being spent on kids who have learning disabilities, etc, the exceptional children do not get the attention they should be getting. How's that for a different opinion? I'm tired of lettting my kids suffer because of the pressure from special ed groups to integrate all and "politically correct" behavior. Enough! I pay taxes, work hard, and expect fairness for my children, as well. I know I may sound cruel. but let's spend our money on programs that benefit all. The future of our country lies in realistic expectations of our students. Spend responsibly. OK, off my soapbox... but PLEASE stop complaining about school districts like Andover who spend so much of my taxes on your children and not my own.
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