Don't forget to visit The Waldorf Review for more up-to-date school reviews and news stories.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Highland Hall Waldorf School - Reviews by Pete

See also: Parent Reviews of Highland Hall
Parent Reviews of Highland Hall - Update

I've gone to considerable effort to warn parents about Highland Hall Waldorf School.  Here are some of the reviews I've posted:

Google Reviews

Please, listen to the reviews of students (poor) and not the reviews of teachers and faculty (like Liz, below). If you read a "parent" review, shouldn't it be from a "parent" who isn't also WORKING THERE? I had Highland Hall forced on my kids (through a difficult divorce). I was there almost 20 years... I know Highland Hall. My kids unanimously agree the place was NOT a good learning institution... just like Anush and Paolo below. A small percentage of kids who graduate (which is a VERY SMALL percentage of kids who attend since most parents pull their children OUT of Highland Hall after a year or two) go on to college - the remainder struggle in "artsy" careers - performing arts, food service, stuff like that. There are NO academics being taught there - and there's a reason. Anthroposophy is Waldorf's silent partner. Anthroposophy (the special religious teacher training Liz talks about below) frowns on intellect. So, the "additional" training Waldorf teachers have is religious indoctrination... not something regarding education. In fact, if you have questions about what Waldorf teachers are taught, have a look at the Waldorf teacher training reading list here: - it's ALL Anthroposophy - all the time. The two student reviews below indicate how silly these people's approach to education is. I'm here to tell you that the education is dangerous as well. First - there is a racist component to the education. Rudolf Steiner, the father of Waldorf education, was himself a racist. The racist things he taught are being taught to students at Highland Hall - WITH the knowledge of the teachers, staff, board, etc. and Second, they cover up abuse when it occurs. Breaking the mandated reporting laws is common for them. This happened frequently to many kids, my own included. Please, read my blog about Highland Hall's abusive behavior toward children and parents. If you still feel like sending your child there, I'll pray for you.

"There is a cowardly and deceitful person that used my daughter's name to write a negative review for this school. " Are you sure it wasn't your son LISA? Meanwhile, speaking of cowardly, you KNEW my daughter was being exposed to a known pedophile on your campus and did NOTHING. You are a MANDATED reporter. Shame on you Lisa - and shame on the conspirators who helped you destroy a child. A huge lawsuit against Highland Hall is forthcoming. Thanks for destroying this school. Parents are best advised to avoid Highland Hall at all costs. There is nothing these people won't don in the name of protecting their school and Anthroposophy! NOTHING!

by a parent
Monday, June 20, 2011

Open QuoteOften considered the most problematic of all Waldorf schools, Highland Hall has had serious problems going back decades. The underpinning philosophy, Anthroposophy, binds all the teachers. This becomes a cult-like environment in a crisis situation - and there is a crisis situation every year or two due to poor governance and no accountability. In such situations, teachers and board members are ruthless in their treatment of offending children or parents. The philosophy, Anthroposophy, is steeped in spiritual and RACIAL hierarchies. Indeed, Anthroposophy IS the curriculum. Highland Hall taught my child that the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Asians and Africans. When questioned about this, they didn't reprimand the teacher, they DEFENDED the lesson. Obviously, I am a former parent... not so obviously, I've been involved with Highland Hall for over 15 years.

Please read my blog: Quote


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Highland Hall Waldorf School - Reviews by Parents and Students

Parent and Student Reviews of Highland Hall from around the web:
Anush - Wednesday, October 14, 2009
nice campus everthing else lacking ‎
After spending 4+ years there ,I will say this ,first the teachers for the most part lack any formal education ,and yes that means little or no college ,second I saw more drugs and alcohol there than any public school kids sniffing ''dust off'', coming to school high on LSD, stoned students AND often teachers ,drinking off campus at lunch ,etc etc ,subject matter substandard [computers are banned by Waldorf] also don't let them fool you with their college acceptance claims ,yes the students will get accepted but in most cases the drop out after 1 to 2 years ,out of the hundred plus people who graduated over my time there most (I say this with total certainty ) did nothing and often have a list of drug and alcohol related mishaps on their record, DUIs etc ,it is my opinion that it would be best to send you children elsewhere,the damage that can be inflicted can take years to fix ,its a very unhealthy place, outside it seems great, but just ask them about kids who ...
Cam E - 09/06/2009
Hello all! I am currently a senior at HH. I have attended HH my entire life and all I can say is that I feel blessed and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to learn in the environment this school provides. I have developed a love and inspiration for the world around me and its endless mysteries that, all "corruption" set aside, is as real and true to me as anything can be. You can't fake a curriculum like ours, or the relationship we have with our teachers. I have seen my share of drama in the community and one thing I have observed every time is that it is almost always instigated by a parent who takes it upon themselves to make everybody feel the repercussions of their less-than-desirable experiences at the school. If anybody reading this forum is considering a Waldorf education for their children, know that I am and accomplished student, artist, and musician, as well as a "lifer" at HH, and I couldn't name anything in my life that I have ever appreciated my parents for more than finding this school and sending me here. Please just come for a tour or our school and talk to some of the "lifers." You will realize that people who have gone to HH are talented, upright, high quality individuals.

PETE NOTES: Cam, unfortunately, didn't graduate Highland Hall - despite being a "lifer".  Only weeks before graduating, Highland Hall, in their typical, unthoughtful manner, expelled Cam.  I'm told Cam is doing well in college.
Tucker H
Our 3 children attended over 12 years and despite the beauty of the campus - the school has no transparent system for problem solving serious issues. Teachers seem defensive and intolerant of parents asking questions. The teachers police each other and there is no advocate for the parents or students who might have a legitimate concern about a teacher's conduct. Students can be expelled, without any warning, if the teacher does not like their parent, even if the student has never done anything wrong. This is not written down anywhere, but it has happened several times in the last few years. Each time a perfectly cooperative child is expelled or not allowed to re-enroll because the teacher didn't like the child's parents, it sends a frightening message to the entire community to not question the teacher's authority or your child will be punished.
A. Scemema
Parents are not allowed to question the teacher's decisions in the elementary grades. Discipline is inconsistent - often the teachers seem excessively punitive. This education appeals to students/families who prefer an anti-intellectual curriculum, with a spiritual agenda inspired by Rudolph Steiner. There is no geniune open forum to express concern about classroom issues, bullying, etc., or to question the unusual methods used to teach.

Margaret Sachs
Our two children attended for a total of about 13 years between them. I was one of those enthusiastic mothers who for many years couldn't say enough good things about the school. Gradually, however, my husband and I began to form the opinion that while the curriculum appeared on paper to be impressive, in practice it neither matched the hype we were hearing nor met the expectations we had for our children's education. Nonetheless, because I still thought the social environment of the school was healthy, I continued to vigorously defend it against criticism by families that left dissatisfied or in anger. That stopped when scandals occurred that, for us, crossed a line. I then began researching Waldorf and Anthroposophy and was stunned to find myself going through a deprogramming process. It finally dawned on me that I had become brainwashed by what I consider to be a slick PR program. I strongly recommend that anyone considering a Waldorf school research the many American and international English language Web sites critical of Waldorf. The documentation at some of those sites is truly enlightening. I recommend you don't accept at face value arguments that Steiner quotations are being taken out of context. Instead, ask how the context affects the meaning of the quotations. I also suggest that if someone tells you that Steiner quotes provided by critics have been mistranslated you have an independent, non-Waldorf German speaker translate some of them for you and compare your translations to those by both Waldorf supporters and critics.

Anush ‎ - Jan 25, 2011
This place is a joke 4 years like bob says unless you start in 1st grade forget it,you will always be an outsider,a bunch of spoiled rich kids who also infuse the place with drugs ,you may be better of at another school ,save your money .

Paolo ‎ - Oct 23, 2010
Bob Went here for 3 years of my life. Unless you're in the Waldorf system from 1st grade up you will not integrate well into their education system. A bogus education belief based on creating your own books, if you're child isn't an artist, or is coming in from public school. Forget it, spend your 14000 somewhere else
Posted September 16, 2010
Waldorf education can be an amazing thing, but Highland Hall is a very poor example of a Waldorf school. There are very real reasons this school is under-enrolled, has no waiting lists, and often turns over 20% of its children a year. There is no functioning leadership. Teacher quality is uneven. Most crucially, Highland Hall lacks integrity, their mission statement a hollow promise gutted by fear and money. Look elsewhere. —Submitted by a parent

My 3 children did not feel they learned any basic curriculum. Knitting, art and woodworking are great, but math, science, english, history are weak. Many of their high school students don't get into college. We left because our children were bored. —Submitted by a parent

My daughter attended HH for a year and enjoyed what they had to offer at the preschool age. However, she would come home and need to run and jump all over the place. Some kids just need to run. I like the Waldorf philosophy but I also feel times are changing and in order to keep a realistic perspective on our world, the media is a huge part of it. And being a psych major, I have learned that children feel safe when they can understand parts of their environment. Not keeping them in a bubble right smack in the middle of a thriving city. Plus parents have an imperialistic attitude at HH. The love and respect for nature and life should be given to all, not just those who can afford it. —Submitted by a parent

My son was there for a year and didn't learn a thing. We changed schools the following year to an more challenging academic setting. He had a lot of remedial work that he had to do the following year just to catch up to his peers. The teachers at Highland Hall are very nurturing and loving, however, the kids need more mental stimulation. I don't agree with their philosophy (actually Rudolf Steiner's) of delaying academics till the late elementary/jr. high years. My feeling is that either you're a Waldorf person or you're not, there's no middle ground. It turned out that my son had dyslexia, which had gone undetected as his class was not performing at grade level in reading or writing. He did benefit however, from having such a caring, wonderful teacher. The campus has an expansive park-like feel to it and is beautiful. —Submitted by a parent

My child loved her kindergarten teachers but by 2nd grade became frustrated with the repetition of form drawing and the weirdness of the eurythmy class. She is now in a charter school that is equally relaxed (no grades, no tests, no homework) but is more academically stimulating and inspiring. At Waldorf, every child works at the same pace, which is usually dictated by the children who struggle the most. —Submitted by a parent

If your child has any learning difficulties, this school is ideal for allowing them to work without enormous pressure. If your child is academically gifted, this school will not be a good fit. There is a strong anti-intellectualism from First thru 12th grade. —Submitted by Anna J., a parent

Adjusting to a traditional school revealed that my child was performing in every area below grade level. It took her a year to catch up, and we regret having not pulled her out before First grade. Although the campus appears serene and attractive, the lack of transparency in the curriculum is a serious problem.
—Submitted by Dorothy, a parent

Excellent kindergarten with our particular teacher; however, we had the very opposite experience in middle school; and we were so unimpressed by the time our child reached 8th grade that our child begged us to allow her to switch to a more traditional high school. —Submitted by Judy, a parent

Three children attended; the oldest had a great experience from k-8; our second child had a series of terrible teachers. The youngest child had a great kindergarten experience. The school has no ability to constructively address parents concerns —Submitted by a parent

In spite of the beautifuyl appearance, it feels like a cult. There are no academics standards. —Submitted by a former student

As the name states, this is a Waldorf school, which is a very definite thing. For some, it is perfect, for some not such a good fit. That is the first thing a prospective parent needs to research. One distinctive aspect of Waldorf schools is there is not a 'principal'. In the event of a problem, this can be an issue. We often felt we had no one to turn to for action on our concerns. Academically, we found Highland Hall on a very different page than other private schools in the area. Our children left with way above average vocabularies, and below level skills in concrete areas such as spelling and basic math facts. —Submitted by a parent