Graduated in 1980 from Menlo Atherton. The campus was divided by race and economic status. The poor and middle class from EPA, EMP, aND RWC where often ignored and ostracized by students from the wealthy communities of Atherton, MP, and Portola Valley. If you excelled in sports the rich kids would accept you. I experienced the longest 4 years of my life going there.
Terrific school for college bound students. Offers an extensive curriculum within a diverse campus. The size adds a level of complexity that will be invaluable to young adults entering both college campuses and the work force. Teacher are highly engaged and classrooms are reasonable sized. The leadership of the principal and his staff are future leaning, hands-on, and very involved. I have not regretted sending my 3 children to M-A and feel they are very prepared for what lies next.
I am currently a student at MA in my sophomore year. I grew up in Oakland and Berkley so I'm used to a lot of diversity. Coming to MA was a huge shock. The huge class difference between the rich white kids from Menlo Park and Atherton, and the middle-class minority groups from EPA is really bad. I am a white girl living in Menlo Park. My family has never been rich, my dad doesn't have a job and my mom's doesn't pay her nearly enough. Because of these things, I can't fit into either group. I'm not rich or athletic (MA is very sports oriented), so I don't fit in with the other white kids, but since I'm white, I'm excluded from the minority group. Also, I have had multiple teachers in the past two years who were extremely rude and disrespectful to their students. This school does have it's strong points. Some of the teachers are really good and encouraging. They also have the Computer academy and the AVID program. They are really competitive and so they have pretty great academics and sports but if you need and special help or a less traditional teaching style, I would recommend looking into a different school.
This school is unfortunately not at all like the rosy, jolly reviews from parents who don't know what really goes on at this school. The segregation at this school is AWFUL, and the M-A motto "Strength in Diversity" is known as a joke by everyone, students and teachers alike. The only equalizer between the kids from EPA and Menlo Park and Atherton is drugs. Even some of the best students, with the parents who volunteer the most, smoke often and sometimes even right in front of teachers, on the green, using those pen - smoke machines hidden in their sleeves!! Yes, there are many security guards who ride around in golf carts but it has not seemed to help. Teachers are completely out of touch, they are in their own world and often are too into "the doughnuts in the staff room!" and their problems at home to genuinely help students and maintain a positive attitude. One highlight is the choir and music teacher, who seems to actually be in touch with the problems with M-A, but is positive and brings up student morale.
Menlo-Atherton has an amazing staff that will provide you will all the help your teenager needs to go through high school. All you have to do is ask for the help you need. The counselors will help guide your teen to the right direction on their way to college. Besides the fact that M-A has such a great academic course, they also provide a large variety of electives & clubs to choose from. M-A, I believe takes great care of their students. Although, the school may seem a little segregated between the minorities and the non-minorities, but that can be worked out with the school. What else does M-A have to offer? PRIDE. M-A has a system called PRIDE which will help your student overcome their fear of bullying because M-A tries their overall best to be an anti-bullying school. What does PRIDE mean? P-patience, R-respect, I-integrity, D-determination, E- empathy. These four words helped me get through my first year at M-A and I hope it will be the same for your teen as well. M-A! U KNOW! GOOOOO BEARS!
This is a good school for students that do not need any extra help. My son has ADHD and unless you completly micro manage the support your child will not get the extra help they need. The teachers and staff seem too overwhelmed with work to give the needed assistance. We ended up having to change schools.
I am a freshman student in this school. Must admit, this school have both amazing academic and athletic progress. The only bad thing? If you are from EPA or EMP, you'll get secretly discriminated by some of the students who came from rich district. Almost no student from East Palo Alto dare to say they are from "the bad neighborhood", even they are on the AS/AP track of this school. Why? They are afraid no one want to be their friends. Because some of the rich students from better community are so arrogant and values themself better than the ones who are from EPA and EMP. But still, I know some classmate from rich communities want to be friend with you and doesn't care about the place you came from, and the number of people who are friendly are more than the people who think they are better 'cause they're rich.
All three of my kids went through M-A. They considered all the the schools, private and public, but felt they'd have a better "dose of reality" at M-A than kids they knew at the privates were getting for the years after high school and they are glad they did as am I. One went to CAL, turning down Stanford, another Davis and another Cal Poly. The academics are great. Having volunteered for a number of years, I got to know the staff, coaches and watch the improvement of the physical plant. The camups is awesome, from the Performing Arts Center to the football stadium and even the tennis courts as well as the rest of the buildings on campus. The trend with some of the parents of our Millenials has been rather than take responsibility, blame everyone but themselves or their children. It's called parenting, people! Every year M-A sends a large number of kids to the Ivy League, Stanford, the UC's, etc. Check the stats! As for the student body, it is and always has been a racially diverse environment, like the real world. It's a good thing! Best of all, it's FREE!! It's tough to justify spending $30K+ per year in high school so my kid can go to Chico. Boulder or Loyola.
I am currently a student at Menlo-Atherton and despite all rumors it is an AMAZING place. M-A takes pride in their diversity and though it is scary to many parents and students to be in an environment that has kids from unprivileged areas it really gives you a taste of the real world while still being VERY safe and welcoming. Despite rumors below there is no area called the "pot alley". There are many private schools in this area that have a MUCH larger problem with drugs than M-A. The staff does a very good job of keeping all incidents quiet thus not effecting students at all. I would encourage anyone to send their child to M-A because its free and provides and equally good education, since many of my friends who just graduated went to schools as good or better than those students who went to private school. Virtually all you are trading is nice bathrooms and good lunch, but in return you get an experience that prepares you much better to be on your own in college and beyond. It's a wonderful place and community and there is something for EVERYONE!