(5 stars on a state basis) As with any large school, a student that wants to can fall between the cracks. So if you want to be a slug, you can. It is a public school, therefore the students range from low to high ability and motivation. My kids attended national blue ribbon schools in Missouri before moving to Arkansas; one of my kids attended the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; and my wife is an educator; so I think I have some perspective. This school offers remarkable opportunities in a wide variety of ways, from extracurricular activities to classes. Yes, some of the students are spoiled brats, but name me a school of affluence that doesn't possess them. You will be prepared to achieve in any collegiate setting if you have the ability and utilize the opportunities available here.
Bentonville High School is a very large school, but the teachers and counselors are responsive to parental input. It is well run and orderly. The older teachers are excellent, but some of the younger ones can't teach worth beans. Lots of AP courses, but they are tough! Sports are way too competitive, it is way too tough for a kid who is in all AP or pre AP courses to be on the team, because the sport is like another AP course. On the other hand, if you are a serious athlete, the teams win! My kids both liked/like it.
I used to go to the High School before I was accepted to a the Mathematics/Science school in Hot Springs. When I arrived and started classes, I realized that BHS had not properly prepared me for college or anything of the sort. I had no idea how to write academic papers (it was not something that you did or learned how to do in my English classes at BHS) and I found that I was missing the many of the basics for mathematics, things that students from other schools seemed to have already learned. You can imagine my surprise. I came from a large 7A school only to find that I had to play catch-up with students from other, less famed, schools.
I am a single parent of a Bentonville high school student. I have had nothing but issues with the staff and administration at this school. They have accused and bullied my student from day one. This year he was expelled on the first day of school before he even reached his first class because he was accused of being on drugs. After they had him arrested at school he was able to pass two drug screens and after a full semester they decided to drop the charges. Again this week, a teacher accused him of being on drugs again and after detaining him he passed 3 drug screens. I am a middle class working mother who is not able to donate to the athletic boosters or the PTO. Therefore, my child is look down upon and bullied by the administration. If your student is not wealthy, acedemically superior, or and outstanding athlete they will not do well in this school. They only want students that will make them look outstanding and families that are able to donate to their school.
BHS can be a good experience - but be prepared! As a parent, you must stay on top of what is going on - and help your child find their "niche". The student population is too large for the counselors to be of any real academic help - there is no student advisory happening at BHS. And don't look to the Principal, either -- she is of no help. My senior is in the top 5% of his class academically, and scored in the top 10% of ACT nationally, has been involved in student government, choir and other extra-curricular. He has never been advised on his academic scheduling, much less on options for college or post-HS options. Too many students for the counselors to deal with. They like to stick to their "formula" - regardless if it benefits the individual student. I have had to fight for my student's scheduling for 4 years. I fear for the kids who have parents that are too busy, ill-equipped or disengaged to advocate for their student. If your student is not superior in at least one component (athletic or academic) - there is little chance for them to thrive at highly competitive BHS.
This is our first year at BHS; once you get over the student population size, the school (teachers and staff) are very friendly. Teachers communicate frequently through emails. There is no hand-holding from teachers, if your student misses school, they are responsible for getting their work assignments - welcome to adult hood! :) Have not had any dealings with the Principal or VP, which is a good thing; office staff is friendly enough; the counselors are extremely helpful and respond to phone calls or emails in a timely manner. BHS offers a variety of extra-curricular activities and a wide range of academic classes to choose from.
I attend here and it is a great school. I personally think that the school cares about its students and expects the best from them. The ones that slack off and don't work like to say that the school is not for the students when it's really the student not caring about their education.
I am a student attending here, and I absolutly love it. I have lived all over the world and been to private schools my whole life, but this school rises above them all. There are a lot of different people and amazing activites you can do here. I recomend this to anyone.
BHS is a great school. Its not for the meek. It's a progressive real world school. Don't expect anyone to hold your hand. Excuses are just that. If you decide to excel this is the school for you. If you want to just muddle through your high school years go somewhere else.