We love this school. We've been attending HWES for a few years. We actually moved into the boundary to be closer to it. The teachers and administration work well together and there is incredible school spirit. The children receive dance/movement classes in addition to PE, which is unique and wonderful. My kids are learning dance moves and how to interpret music! The children learn science from some of the best teachers I've ever met, in fact there is a retired local scientist who comes in to work with the kids alongside their regular teachers. The curriculum is differentiated to meet the needs of a diverse student body. This is important to us in particular because we have one enrolled in AAP and one in regular classes. All our needs have been addressed. Everyone has been easy to work with, including/especially the office staff who seem to learn all the kids' names and are always willing to help the wayward looking parent. The new principal--she is on her third year now--is extremely accessible. She has called us in the evening to follow up on an issue we were having on the bus, sincerely wanting to help. And oh boy, did she help us. The guidance department is also top notch, and extremely tuned in to the kids. I see a lot of smiles and high fives whenever I'm there. I do wish our FCPS kids had more time for recess, but at least it is never used as a punishment or taken away. The administration and teachers know their kids. On the day we cleared the waitlist, which happened to be the last day of school, I raced over to see if anyone could meet with me one more time before we made our final decision. A teacher dropped what she was doing, took me to a conference room and talked with me for about 45 minutes. That is dedication. Finally, I love South Reston. Our school backs to woods and a creek (often incorporated into the science lessons). Our school and homes are surrounded by acres of woods and trails and lakes. It's the perfect place and perfect school. We are also one of the few schools in Reston who participate in the Scripps Spelling Bee program.
My child is in the AAP program at HWES and so far I have been happy with the decision to attend HWES. In reading some of the complaints - it seems as though they are complaining about Fairfax County issues not necessarily HWES issues (# of students per class, curriculum, etc.) - these are all established by FCPS. I cannot comment on the Gen Ed classes, but the AAP classes are great and can be as challenging as your child allows it to be. The only criticism I would mention is that the AAP population is skewed male and Asian/Indian.
HWES is two schools in one. A majority of the students in the 3rd grade and above are transferred here from nearby schools as this is the local GT (Gifted & Talented) center I have a 6th grade child there performing work at the 8th, 9th, grade levels. Although this is a magnet school unless your your child is not in the GT program it appears this is just a regular old school. I see a lot of posts from non-GT parents who seem to be under the impression their child should be getting more challenging coursework just because they are at HWES. This is simply not the case as your child needs to ested into the program. Outside the GT program it is not necessarily a very good school as it isn't in best area. So, in short, if your kid is in the GT program it is a great school if not is just another plain old school that has less than stringent academic standards.
My son went to the AAP program at HW. It was awful, extremely watered down and disappointing. He was challenged more in the general ed at his home school. Some good teachers, others are awful, lots of discipline problems. I would not recommend. Since HW is a priority school much of the curriculum is now watered down so they can pass their state tests.
This school has a wonderful curriculum of arts, science, and truly creative teachers. I have two children at the school and have had different experiences for both. One very positive, one more challenging. Like any school, there will be good teacher and not so good teachers. The downside to HWES is that they group all K/1 kids together which does not challenge the high achievers. The other downside is that the school is just too big. With AAP and Magnet kids coming, you lose a sense of community. I love this school and am grateful to be in the district. I think the education is good given the constraints of the size. We have seen some amazing teachers at HWES.
After trying for three years, through lottery, my kids were finally accepted to HWES's Magnet Program. My kids were attending Oak Hill ES which has an excellent principal, Dr. Goodloe. Well, it's been a year and my kids are disappointed with the science, arts, music and the magnet program. My daughter did more hands on art at OHES, than here. My son's science classes were all lecture with minimal hands on experience, even though we were told that he would be using the lab frequently. He did more interesting science projects at OHES. In their 4th and 6th grade classes they encountered students that did not do their homework and were disruptive in class. It seems that HWES's objective is to use their "magnet" program to attract smart students from other better academically performing schools, in hope that the high performers will somehow encourage poor performing students to improve their learning skills and lift their SOL scores. Compare to OHES. the music program is poor, with students having minimal rehearsal before a concert. Needless to say, my kids are going back to OHES. HWES has a potential to be a great school, however that may require a new leadership.
This is a very good school with more focus on arts and science along with other regular curriculam. Teachers are very nice and very responsive. My kid is currently a second grader for the last 2 years I don't see any issues.They have lot of after school programs which are same and different from other schools.With all these I see this school is unique and good. Principal though not a good talker but nice and is reachable to parents all the time. Front office is very co-operative and nice people.
My daughter has been going for the last 3 years. We have been advised to go this school magnet program. But disappointed with initial grades. Teacher in second grade was not at all fair to all students. It has the reputation from earlier years but I am sure, it will go down very soon(2-3 years) both for general and gt as well. It is (admin and office staff ) getting little high due current reputation which is the beginning of the downhill.
My expectations for this school were high based on it's reputation. A few years ago they had a major change in administration and there was a huge turnover in teachers. Our experience was that in the lower grades the bar is set really low for the students. If they were English speaking and had any preschool at all or a slightly involved parent usually the kids enter K/1 meeting the end of year objectives. They teach according to the guidelines and very rarely if ever give more advanced work to the capable (and most are). The class sizes are large--29 in my sons , especially considering the number of kids in the class that require more intensive teacher supervision/guidance. The GT classes are less chaotic and more stimulating from what I hear (my kids are in general ed)