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Lake Harriet Upper School5
Posted May 24, 2014
- a parent
This 4-8th grade school has just won the MN School of Excellence Award, along with Lake Harriet Lower Campus. It has a new administrative team that is bringing new energy and ideas to the school. It is one of only 2 schools in MPS with a STEM teacher, let alone one that provides hands on STEM curriculum for all grade levels. Lake Harriet Upper has students every year going to state in spelling, math, robotics and history day competitions. It has a strong community support that provides some of the extra curricular opportunities for students. Great staff and a very close community where people really know and care about students.
I take issue with an earlier post stating GT kids get most of the attention at LH. Since big staff turnover commencing about 04, where prior, GT kids did seem to be on a limited track for being pulled out for enrichment (mostly arts in Kindergarten & first few early grades), enrichment outside the classroom in MPS and SPPS in general, all but halted in favor of enrichment WITHIN the classroom (not effective) and mass move toward No Child Left Behind teaching to the the test (cognitive, static, rote ). Kids have graduated not getting GT services since lower campus except for self-directed accelerated math. GT is not just advantaged children, it is a way of processing material (enhanced tactile, creative or kinetic experiences) and some emotional components as well. Without differentiation, everyone across the learning spectrum suffers including teachers and their ability to deal. Having had more than one at LH for many years, the school has spiraled downward. Much of its praise is residual from an earlier time. LH lost its authentic child centered focus hitting rock bottom in about 09. My oldest in middle school experienced little to none! Submitted by a parent
Lake Harriet has excellent teachers, impressive parent- administration cooperation and solid administrators. My children are getting a very good education in an environment with a strong sense of community with thoughtful priorities placed on learning.
This school is over-rated! The administration is disorganized, distant and seems burned out. There is no sense of joy inside the halls of this school, and no real sense of community either. An earlier reviewer nailed it by calling the atmosphere of LHCS dysfunctional and cold. While there are a handful of good teachers, most seem to be going through the motions, and some seem to actually dislike children! Bullying and discrimination seem to be embedded in the culture of this school. It takes a lot more than high test scores to make a good school!
It has a negative feel to it, and it is a dis-functional environment. Especially for 6th, 7th, 8th grades. Especially hard on boys. Boys are often treated like criminals. Some of the teachers are ok- but stresssed. And, some teachers are just awful. I really felt like there were a few teachers that absolutely hated the students and other staff. The principal's approach to everything is stuck in 1950. She has created an angry, screwed up environment. The school has gotten worse in the last 8 years. I agree with the other comments concerning favoritism to certain kids, depending on who their parents are. There is a small group of parents that have way too much power.
LHCS has a group of very involved parents but I am not sure this is good for the students or the district at large. The principal needs to be reminded that this is a public school. I have personally witnessed teachers letting certain children get away with things based on who their parents are. Bullying and bragging is a real problem at LHCS.
We left this school with bad memories. I felt many of the staff acted like the school was only meant for certain kinds of families. Even the principal said the school was not a good match for us - despite our tax dollars! Heaven forbid if a average child takes away from a 'gifted' child's education. My son scored above 95% in math and reading but was never seen as intelligent because we didn't fit into the elitist culture. Much of the 'parent involvement' is really fraternizing with teachers. Despite a lot of token gestures there is very little cultural competency at this school. I feel my son's current school has a better curriculum and better teachers.