Highland isn't as bad as people think it is. There are some outstanding teachers in the science department and math department. The french teacher is great. The chemistry teacher is also amazing. There aren't as many AP courses or electives as I had hoped though. The guidance counselors for the upperclassmen aren't as helpful either. However, it is not a bad school whatsoever. You can easily communicate with the teachers and ask them for help. The student body is also very excepting and friendly. The problem with the school is that it doesn't have enough money in order for the students to have many options and opportunities. If the district did have this money, then things like block schedules, more A.P. classes, more teachers, etc. The after school problem is great too. There are a fair number of clubs that are great to join and participate in. The community is also friendly. The new york state test scores for this school are also good. They beat a lot of the neighboring schools. I was able to get top scores on my regents exams which clearly indicates that the teachers are doing their job well. Sure, the school could improve but I firmly believe that it is a good school.
While I do agree there are some teachers in Highland that are weak, there are people in every job that are weak. The fact of the matter is it is the administration's job to evaluate all teachers before they are granted tenure. It seems to me that the 'blame' for such teachers should fall on the administrators that evaluated them. However, this district has no direction, messed up priorities (athletics before academics). These are all indicative of poor leadership on the board and in the various offices of the district. Congratulations Supintendent and BOE president, you've successfully ruined the district.
There exists several teachers that all types of students do not want to have because the students do want to learn.... and it has been that way for years ... and the poor teachers are still there. They need to have re-training, a mentor, team teaching or just plain fire those teachers. Everyone knows who they are ... the tests scores, and the students are not learning and complaining are proof. Guidance Office knows it, so many try to switch out of the classes and the principal should know it based on classroom reviews and visits. It is crazy that those teachers are permitted to stay. I don't want to pay their salary with my taxes.
I concur with all the parent reviews of this school. Rather than complain, I decided to become involved by spending many hours and days on committees to improve block scheduling, increase elective and ap classes, and investigate why our budget had been defeated. My experience was one of total frustration with our current administration (BOE and Supt), who have no respect for the thoughts and insight of the dedicated teachers, parents, and students of this district. Unfortunately, private school was not an option for us.
Ordinarily I don't go out of my way to criticize things in my community, especially where my sons go to school. However, after doing some research on schools around the state I have realize that this school in particular are going backwards. First of all they eliminated a 'block schedule' where students would have extended classes of about an hour and 15-20 minutes. They have returned to 40 minute periods. Many schools statewide have increased not decreased time students have in the classroom. Most notably Chappaqua, which is routinely one of the top schools in the country. Secondly, they offer zero electives for my son to take. He's a senior now and his schedule is riddled with study halls because all that is offered are required courses and a few AP/college level courses. A cutting edge district for 1950 not 2007.
Truth: The number of college level and AP courses are constantly under enrollment review. If it falls below a predetermined number the course will disappear. Truth: There are a finite number of electives for students. Therefore many students, including freshmen, have multiple study halls. Truth: The overwhelming majority of students enjoyed the block schedule. The school didn't care what the students wanted and instead changed to the period based schedule. Truth: On-line courses are no substitute for real classroom experience. Instead they are a way around having to pay a qualified professional. Truth: I have had 2 students pass through this school. My first in 1996-2000. He had a much better experience than my current student who is about to be a Junior. Truth: Highland is going backwards...Move to New Paltz.
Highland High School is run professionally, with outstanding teachers, administrators and staff. The school offers students many college, AP, and honors level courses, and has an outstanding music and athletic program. They recently renovated the outdoor track also. Students are motivated by their teachers to preform well and are held to high standards. The district is small so the students, so the school added optional on-line course through Marist College to increase the number of courses available for selection in addition to the ones they already have.