This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Highlands Elementary School5
Posted October 15, 2014
- a parent
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+!
Since my son was in Kindergarten, I've been jealous- I wish I'd been able to attend such a wonderful school. Principal Peter Hodne is beloved (and rightfully so) by parents, teachers and students alike. The teachers are energetic and dedicated- their love of teaching just shines through every day. The level of parent involvement is phenomenal, with volunteers daily in a number of subjects. But perhaps most impressive, the kids are taught to be kind, caring and respectful. Bullying is simply not tolerated. Instead, the older kids look out for the younger ones. I feel so lucky to have been able to have been involved with Highlands for the past 5 years- and am glad that I have five more years ahead of me with my daughter.