This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Highland Park Elementary School5
Posted January 02, 2014
- a parent
Both of my kids have attended Highland Park since kindergarten and we have been EXCEEDINGLY pleased with the quality of education, amazing, caring teachers and the social atmosphere. We love, love, love this school. Our children have made great, solid friends, had a lot of fun and are very happy. Our middle school admissions officer told us that children from Highland Park are among the best prepared for middle school. I rarely write a review online, but am disappointed to see so many negative reviews and felt the need to provide my own candid input. No school is perfect, but HP is probably about at close as you could ask for, public or private. Because of the parent involvement, the school offers many benefits of a private school without the cost of tuition. I think this school should be STRONGLY considered by all.
Awesome school with great teachers. Separation of kids based on ability level works very well and my kids love it. As far as PTA - yes, PTA raises money and spends that money to improve this school - more money they raise, more activities/fieldtrips/supplemental material/teachers/etc. can be provided to the kids. Improvement suggestion - Wish the school would offered a more comprehensive language program introducing kids to Far East languages as well as Latin.
If you read many of these reviews about Highland Park, you really pick up on the bitterness around the PTA and Fundraising. The PTA does raise a lot of money. Money which pays for positions that AISD won't fund. We currently pay for Technology teacher, Spanish teacher and a part time Reading specialist. We've help fund the Writing Without Tears program, the Math Attuned program and Fluency Centers. Plus we give money to grades to support them and enrichment fees for children who can't afford them. All which every kid in the school has access to. I don't agree that the PTA is cliquish. We BEG for help on a regular basis. Do we try to do too much? Maybe! As far as the academics go, I do agree with some of the other reviews. I have had a child in the high group, the medium and now a 504 kid. If you have a child with any kind of learning disability, this is the place to go! The high kids get great support too. In my experience, the middle kids can get missed. There are some some fantastic teachers and some that should leave. I have found that to be true at most schools. Even private. Overall, it really is a great public school! Just finished my 14th year at HP and still appreciate it
We've been extremely happy with the education our student is receiving at HP. Academics are very strong at HP--students average top 98% in standardized tests. Teachers assign projects beginning in K and students must learn to budget their time from an early age. Students also receive homework beginning in 1st but quantity does not seem over the top. The principal's blog provides details about each grade during the year. There may be a bit too much emphasis on raising money, at times all the events feel like a shake down, but we are thankful our school has the resources to support its teachers. We might consider pairing with another school, perhaps one that is minority-majority, on a community project to expose our kids to populations rich in other ways.
While I agree with some of the reviews about the cliquish feeling within the PTA (I felt that way, too), I have found as I have gotten to know people over the past 7 years at the school that the people in the PTA now are more inclusive than they seem. My advice would be to for volunteers to approach the PTA president if there is a committee or an event. It seems they are always trying to fill positions. The PTA does do a bunch of fundraising, but it also buys educational materials for the kids, supports the library and specials classes, supports the teachers, etc. I feel like that PTA support is what makes our kids breathe a little easier when standardized tests come around. The teachers don't have to teach to the test because they have other materials to use to teach the foundation kids need. As for academics, I have mixed feelings. It seems that the kids who are placed in the middle classes are not challenged enough. My child in the highest classes was challenged more. For the most part, I feel the kids get a good education. They do some great, really fun projects.
I love all the teachers that I have worked with as a parent. I don't like the entitlement of those who pay moeny for private parking spots and then are rude to other parents - in front of the children. Doesn't teach the children good values - and the PTA doesn't seem to mind as long as it brings in money. They sell parking spots, they sell passes so children can cut in line to games during Hoot. I don't understand how this reinforces any good values whatsoever. My parents attended Hoot and were mortified. Reviews are based on the lack of leadership of the principal and the PTA to practice what they preach.
This school is over-rated. It may have been great once, but that was some time ago. The principal has no idea what is happening in the classroom and seems out of touch. The "grouping by ability" is a joke as my son has experienced it first hand. He's never been challenged in 3 years and is bored in class most of the time. Teaching quality in my experience has been poor - I've seen lots of preference issues which other reviewers have already mentioned. They are correct. There is way too much emphasis on parent funding of special events. The school should be focused on the learning aspect. I am now looking at private schools.
Teaches entitlement while saying they promote "scottie" values. Raising money is key even if it means allow "rock star" kids whose parents have paid a lot of money to cut in line at the annual HOOT carnival. Kinder kids waited patiently in line while our future Wall Street jerks cut in line and played games over and over. Parents pay $20,000 a year for parking places. They don't practice what they preach. The teachers are great but values are important too and they are being lost by the actions of the PTA.
Lots of school spirit, plenty of money for extra programs. Education seems pretty good. Lots of emphasis on testing. Lots of emphasis on money and privilege. Too much fundraising -3 major events that the PTA strives to raise $50,000-$70,000 EACH event ask parents for $50-1500 sponsorship donations. They do help out students who can t afford things like $50 for trip to Sea World on a chartered bus for 1st graders (that's just one of the field trips).. Promotes entimtlement and they don t see it.. Worst example is raffle to be a Rock Start at the Halloween Carnival winner and 5 friends arrive in a limo and get to cut in line all night at the events and booths. Good character building for future real world execs and politicians I guess.