My twins love their teachers!! Herndon Elementary has a dedicated and caring staff with small class sizes. So far from kindergarten to grade 2 the class sizes have averaged 22-24 children. Contrast this to Forestville in Great Falls where they have three grade 1 classes (2016-2017 year) composed of 30 plus children per class. At Forestville the parents are told to come in for an hour every day to help out. At HES the staff and teachers are very responsive returning emails within same day to 24 hours. Contrast this to Forestville where it could take up to 3 weeks to get a response. Obviously you can't compare this to private schools which have class sizes of 10 and where there is a lot of individual attention. If you are willing to pay private school fees for advanced learning go ahead. Every parent should take responsibility to understand what their children are learning and supplement where necessary. My twins are very task focused and get their worksheets completed in school but if they do bring a worksheet home we go over it together. Herndon schools are maligned for no reason whatsoever. Countywide the schools have the same curriculum and structure. You won't do better moving to another part of Fairfax County such as Great Falls. Loudoun County is not as good as Fairfax in my opinion.
My twins are in a variety of programs from Spanish immersion to STEM to music etc. etc. They get a wide variety of different topics and the teachers are all wonderful !! STEM, art, music and library are all once a week. Gym is 3 times a week. The twins' homeroom teachers are fabulous, very responsive and dedicated.
The school has good learning tools with Dreambox, MYON, Pebblego and all the other learning tools available on Blackboard. My twins are very task focused and complete their worksheets at school. If they ever bring a worksheet home we go over it together. Every parent is responsible to to understand what their child is learning and supplement where necessary. The Fairfax county libraries also have programs to help children with homework.
Not sure how to answer this because some teachers don't give homework. During the year homework was assigned it was generic homework that seemed designed for parents to teach our own children at home. The classes are so big that the material isn't fully covered in school. Worksheets came home partially started in class. The homework seemed to indicate teachers weren't paying attention to student skill level. When a topic isn't taught in class and you find yourself explaining it at the kitchen table ... then you start teaching your child at home and the child naturally gets ahead of the class. Once we got too far ahead, the problem got worse. In our first year at the school, even after we explained to one teacher that the homework was to basic, we were regularly scolded with hand written notes for not completing homework on topics that our child already knew by heart. For example, we told one teacher our child could calculate real change at the grocery store, and could count to 1000 so she didn't need to do busy work adding up pennies. Instead, we taught her how to program the variables on a robot instead. The teacher corrected us saying that it was "unlikely" she understood variables. Our child took the robot project to school for show and tell. The teacher was intrigued but continued to send home busy work. The following year - no homework at all! I suspect the teachers are so busy and frustrated with huge classes that they can't keep track. Maybe the ones that give homework just write notes on every unfinished sheet and send them back. If we threw the homework away, we noticed we didn't get scolding notes so that became our default if the homework was too easy. Another parent in that early class told me she was teaching her daughter some advanced skills at home and would just fill in the easy homework for her child because that was the best way to assure her child would be allowed to move forward without getting bored. One of my friends who was previously an elementary school teacher proudly told me that she gave the older child's homework to the younger son because she was teaching them both at home anyway. I joked that we were a homeschool family and the school provides free day care. Then, in later years the homework stopped coming home altogether! What's wrong with this picture? Is the school's approach to homework working? What approach?
Save yourself the pain we experienced. Don't move to this school district! There is no real diversity and the staff is so pre-occupied with feeding the struggling population that other children are ignored. Honestly, they are doing the right thing because it's basically a much needed soup kitchen. The result is that you must educate your own child. Our child's Kindergarten teacher (who was hired for her experience with struggling inner city kids) told us not to worry about our child's boredom in the 2nd month of school because he knew "enough to pass SOL's". She scolded him for raising his hand repeatedly and said he was "showing off" by writing sentences when most children were struggling to write single words or letters. He often came home crying and angry. They ignored our concerns about bullying for months until the bully (also a bright, bored child crying out for help) confessed in tears! We suggested one of our children needed to be challenged in math & science. They tested him and concluded "We aren't seeing the skills". They were teaching single digit addition in class but tested his multiplication skills and he got 1 out of 2 wrong! Really?? That's not an aptitude test. Professional testing later revealed he's "Exceptionally gifted". We switched to a private school in desperation and he progressed from 1st through 5th grade math & science in 6 months. Our other children made similar leaps in other subjects. How is it possible for this school's evaluations and curriculum to be so far off? I think H.E. is so overwhelmed with helping underperforming, hungry children that they don't have resources to handle the needs of other children. So, they advance a few children whose parents teach them at home and ignore the rest. This is bad news for children who speak another language at home. If our children were ALL ignored, those with language barriers have even less of a chance! The STEM lab is great but our children only visited once a month. The principle discourages afternoon clubs because "Most parents can't arrange transportation after school and it wouldn't be fair". When I asked why they weren't using technology or updating the website I was told "Our population doesn't have internet access". They've given up. Don't let your child be a victim! Positive reviews here might be an attempt to prevent declining property values. Check the ffx county scores!
Our issue with bullying was ignored by 2 teachers but addressed in a loving way once we escalated it a second time and talked to the counselor directly to get her involved. I'm giving a "neutral" response because it was poorly handled by teachers but very well handled by the professional.