First, let me say that I've been told that this school is one of Fairfax County's failing schools in math and science. While I've heard numerous "excuses" (mostly blaming the large number of non-native English speaking students at the school) in my opinion the school is making these kids scapegoats. Our child's regular teacher during the 2013/2014 year was outstanding, but the "new" French teacher was abysmal. The principal and school district hired a 22-year old with NO TEACHING DEGREE OR TEACHING EXPERIENCE AND A DEGREE IN DRAMA to teach math and science in French to children. Apparently, the ONLY skills that qualified this teacher to teach was that she herself had gone through the French program at Herndon Elementary and she had taken a few French classes in college. Let me repeat, the principal and school district hired a 22-year old with no math degree, no science degree, no French degree, no teaching degree, and no experience with children whatsoever, as a full-time teacher to teach math and science in French to the kids. I've rapidly lost respect for this school and am seriously thinking about pulling my child from it.
Herndon Elementary School is a great. Teachers work with students to ensure they are learning and involve parents to ensure kids are not falling behind in their studies.
Herndon Elementary has been an exciting and well rounded school for our children! In our experience the school staff has been caring, supportive, and responsive to our children's needs. The school offers a fantastic language program as well as an accelerated math opportunity for students. The extra curricular academic and arts programs are second to none! Above all, we have always felt secure that our children were happy and safe and receiving a great education!
Herndon can't teach children without problems. Heaven help you if your child has ANY special needs. It's gotten even worse this year than last, if that's possible. Several parents have been forced by the administration to sign off on IEPs that the school admits they aren't able to fulfill. The principal and two vice principals are only focused on the students who don't speak English. All the schools resources go to those students. Lots of parent volunteers try to make up for the deficiency but its a poor substitute. If you can send your children to one of the other public schools in the area you are much better off.
We loved our child's First Grade teacher, but that was three years ago, and the past two years were a nightmare for us at this school. We finally moved our son, and he's doing much better. If you don't know what an "Open Classroom" is, LEARN before you enroll your child. The breaking point, for me, was the day I came to deliver cupcakes for my son's birthday. Coats were piled on the floor (though there were hooks), kids were milling about the room, and a student was sitting at the teacher's desk, on her computer, and she was admonishing him to please leave it alone, but ultimately, he sat there and kept at it. I was so angry, I jerked both my kids from this school. People who have "nothing but praise" for Herndon, have apparently never shown up to the school during working hours.
Our daughter is in 1st grade at HES and loves waking up and going to school every morning. Her kindergarten and 1st grade teachers have been nothing short of amazing! Obviously the teachers make all the difference in the experience, and we have been lucky thus far! For those that think that the school could be improved, I urge you to get involved and be a voice and advocate for your child!
Love Herndon Elementary!! As you can see from the posts below, some parents were upset last year because the school system (not the principal) switched HES from French Immersion to Two-Way Spanish Immersion. I for one think that the current principal is highly qualified and handled a difficult transition with class and grace and has made tremendous improvements to the school. The school itself parallels the Town of Herndon - a hometown feel in a big city. Herndon is the kind of place where everyone knows your name and looks out for one another. The neighborhood bond is strong, as is the school community. When you walk through the halls of HES you are smiled at and greeted. Even though HES is a large school, due to a dedicated and caring staff, it feels small and cozy.
The school has great diversity and some great teachers but we are experiencing a downhill slide to the overall performance. Students are not challenged, teachers are dissatisfied, and communication between school administration/teachers and parents is atrocious. This has been attributed by many to the current principal, who simply lacks the capacity, ingenuity, and communication skills to make things work better. It's her first job as principal and she may not have what it takes. The general feeling is that she is trying to serve to the lowest common denominator - an SOL focused approach. This school needs change NOW!! A majority of parents I speak with are very concerned about the school's performance.Hopefully the PTA can perform its function of facilitating that change before the problems become too big for quick fixes.
The school's problems can't be blamed on demographics. As others have said, few efforts are made to challenge kids at any grade level, and that was the case long before the rapid shift in demographics a few years ago. The unspoken message seems to be that kids sitting at their desks being quiet and doing rote tasks is what's valued. In six years at the school, I believe our child was assigned one project which required any level of creativity or independent initiative. The ongoing transition of the language immersion program from French to Spanish -- which is absolutely the right thing to do given the shifting demographics -- has been poorly handled by the administration, as was a serious personnel issue. There are a number of excellent teachers at the school, but the level of expectations and overall climate leave a lot of room for improvement.
Herndon has become really bad in the last few years. It used to be a good school but something changed when the new principal got here. Many factors, like demographics and poverty, changed the student body and changed the school. Many children can't read or write but are promoted. There is a really big problem with students not being able to speak English. The county is trying to help with dual immersion Spanish but it could be years before that does anything. This is not a good school to pick if your child is bright. No challenges or programs for them. Several teachers here have switched their own kids to another school because of the challenges.
Communication from School to the parents is very poor. Leadership at this school is very poor. A few teachers are great but most of the teachers my children had were mediocre. The school administration is only focussed on bringing up test scores. They tend to not teach a subject unless there is a Virginia Standard of Learning Test on the topic. Overall, the School only teachesthe minimum for the students to pass tests. The administration does not advocate challenging students and driving for higher standards. There is a good core group of parents that volunteers at everything, but the majority of parents are uninvolved with the school.
4/26/13: Herndon ES is now a Title 1 school for 2012-13 school year. This is due to the number and percentage (over 50%) of Low Income students who attend this school. FCPS has decided to now phase out the French imm. program at Herndon and replace with Spanish imm. program. That decision is to cater to the LI students, most who speak fluent Spanish in their homes; and also to try to pull up those LI student SOL test scores. The French program students are the kids who pull up the SOL scores for this school. Many non-LI families are not happy with the decision to phase out the French program, and those French program families are now looking to place their student's in other FCPS schools. FCPS tried to keep this info. under the radar and out of the news, but the info. is public, and now spreading in the local community. Too bad, this used to be a really nice - and diverse - school. Our kids all went there (last in 2009), but it looks like Herndon ES may be on the way down.
My Son attended here only one year. We have to move and are trying to find a home in the school area, but no luck so far. My son loves his teachers and peers. I have nothing but praise for Herndon Elementary. I was a little wary at first because I had not heard anything (good or bad). I decided to give him one year there and see what happened. Oh so glad I did! I wish there were more parents involved in the school, but thats not the schools fault!
From a parent prospective this is a very good school with very good teachers. It does draw from a very diverse community, but the teachers have effectively provided GT learning and the French and accelerated math program have been great.
I like that the school has a French program. I love the fact that the teacher is French and promotes that the kids only speak French while they are in the classroom. The teachers have empathy for kids that need a little extra time. They are teaching the kids the school material and what they will need to leave in sociaty, to get along with others. Problem solving, peer relations. The social workers care and follow up with the kids. Teachers invite the parents to volunteer help out and be part of the school experiance the kids go through. I volunteered last year and a parent sent me a note that the day I was there her daughter came home very excited, because I spent time with them and we read and did little projects. I invite the parents to volunteer. I plan on doing it this year aswell. Also, go and join your kids for lunch once in a while. I was privilage to have the time to go every Friday and since right now I have a 2nd grader he loved it and is asking me when I will join him again this year. Enjoy the time you are able to spend with them, and they can see that school is fun and you are able to join them in that part of their day as well.
The administration is officious and bureaucratic. They are more likely to provide political responses to questions and problems than helpful support.. the French immersion program is excellent and this type of language program should be a staple of US education. Quality of teachers varies widely from OK to outstanding as I am sure it does in every school. Computer labs are good but computer education is not geared toward learning how to research and research tools. It is geared toward the least common denominator with all but the most basic needs studies left board and uninspired. In comparison to other schools in other states and rural areas the academics are very good and resources and opportunities are excellent.
Academically the school is good. Regarding the school environment, strict rules must be enforced seriously against bullying.
Though his parents feel that his class is too large, our child loves the French program. The teacher is too overhwelmed to pay attention to individual students and he gets a lot of worksheet time. Despite that though, he has learned a ton of French. He wishes, as we do, that he had more time in G/T pullouts than he does.
Despite our excitement about the French immersion program, my child has not had a good experience at this school. The quality of the teaching varies greatly. The administrators are much more SOL-focused than child-focused.
This elementary school is keenly focused on meeting the needs of all students, from G/T to ESL to LD. The immersion program is top notch and the teachers really go the extra mile.
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