My daughter is a student at Highlands right now and having a wonderful experience. The teachers are fantastic. They are all highly qualified and they truly care about every single child. It's a very diverse population, when my daughter has a party is like a mini UN meeting. Kids are exposed to many different ways of thinking too. Our daughter was at one of the two very expensive private schools in our part of town for a year and I feel that Highlands better. Highlands has younger, more energetic teachers who emphasize kindness and empathy. We didn't see that at the private school.
I have had 2 boys go through Highlands in the discovery program and have loved the school. Class sizes can be big, often over 30 but the teachers are wonderful. They loop for 1st/2nd grade and 3rd/4th grade which really works well for the kids and the year gets off to a quick effortless start in sept when you have the same group of kids and the same teacher. One child did gifted math 3rd- 5th grade and it was impressive and as he has gone on in school he has excelled and loves math. We have done extracurriculars such as chess club, math olympiads, spanish, running club, speed stacking club and they are great. We did the before and after school programs and my kids were sad to leave because they loved it so much! The school has a nice homey welcoming feel and the teachers and staff seem truly invested in my children and their education.
I am the fortunate parent of a kindergartner who is going to this incredible school. My rambunctious daughter is my one-n-only so I don't have anything to compare my experience to -- except the stories and gossip of other parents. In that context I feel so fortunate. The collaborative teaching and collaborative learning environment is so much more than rhetoric. The focus on a "community-based" approach is tangible each and every day. Even though we are in the class of a first year student -- it is clear that the adoption of the base values of the school's culture lives with every professional in the school. Oh yes, I may have a gripe here or there. What language is offered and how much, the diversity, economic sensitivity -- but in the big picture these are minor. This is a great school that works -- and is always striving to be better. I feel blessed that my daughter has the opportunity to cultivate her love of learning here.
Highlands is the equivalent to a private school without the tuition. Great leadership and community-oriented culture in the building. Teachers are excellent, families are welcoming, and kids are thriving. The CP and Discovery programs are both high-achieving. Kids are taught to respect others and work collaboratively, and they perform to high expectations. Wonderful, wonderful school - I'm so fortunate that my kids get to grow in this environment.
"Defining Excellence" is exactly how to define Highlands. This is a school that sets the bar for all other public schools. It is an example of what is really possible in the public sector if you have the right principal and staff with a vision beyond what is mandated. Hands down, better than a lot of private schools, which explains the small houses with the hefty price tag. This community "gets it" and in turn, so do their children. Edina is prized because only people that reside in Edina attend these schools- making it truly "neighborhood" schools in a small community. Yet they are technically light years ahead of other districts and value creativity. An edible garden with ample exploration and hands on learning outdoors combined with a beuatiful, sun filled building/classrooms, AMAZING principal and staff with tours given directly from students earn this school an A+!