The good and the bad are at Happy Valley. It does have high test scores and clubs for little scholars such as Math and Chess but lacks passion for helping the student who is struggling with a particular subject. My son is an advanced student and had a great experience, being appropriately pushed to excel My daughter, an average student began struggling in math and although they have a special math for students who can go beyond, my daughter who needed the help was just left to feel bad about her aptitude.Her teacher, Mrs. P, told her that she needed to work independently every time she asked for help and when she cried about it, told her she had an attitude. This left her with insecurities, a distrust for teachers and no passion for school. There is indeed tons of parent involvement but if you are a working or single parent, you are shut out by the parents who have all the time in the world to be there. There is also an extreme need for some sort of a health attendant and policies to match. My daughter got lice from school and the school did NOTHING and wouldn't check heads or even send home a letter. Needless to say, three weeks later, she had it again.
This school has declined in recent years. Some of the great staff retired, and the school no longer has a visionary leader at the helm.
Both of sons attended Happy Valley Elem from Kind.-5th grades. Believe me, the other reviews I've read on this site are mind-boggling. H.V. has a deserved reputation for parent involvement, student success, terrific teachers and curriculum, and a family feel - even for a large school. Our experience there was great. It's probably the best elem school in Bellingham, and the bar is very high. And no, I don't have any relatives that work for the district!
Kindergarten is a time to experience school and have a positive, warm, nurturing experience. This school,although it does score high on the WASL has overcrowded classrooms, mediocre teachers and poor communication between parent and teacher. The focus is on academics and performing for the WASL. Look further than this school if you would like your child to experience art, social skills and any individual attention. My child explains that she has to 'chase her teacher down' to get her attention. When you spend time in your child's classroom do you want to see them doing worksheets all day? or a combination of art, math and reading,all the while learning appropriate social skills and following limits set in the classroom? Underimpressed.
This school performs well due to the relative affluence of it's patrons. The WASL scores make them look like stellar educators. However, they didn't do as well on the ITBS as schools with much lower WASL scores, which makes me wonder how much teachers are being pressured to teach to the WASL. Many great teachers have left in recent years, replaced by new grads. But it's a safe school with great parental involvement. Children with special needs are not treated as individuals. Several parents have expressed frustration with the 'cool' and non-responsive principal.
I have heard so much good about this school and checked out myself and this is the only public elementary school in Bellingham I would send my child to. I know there are a few other good ones but I have had so many and heard of so many parents that have moved into Happy valley School district because they want to go to Happy Valley. They seem well happy. The school seems well together.
My son's 1st Grade Teacher walked out half way through our conference. The principal didn't even respond to me, he forwarded my complaint to his boss. She wrote me saying she didn't have to explain anything! What kind of people are they?
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