This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted June 08, 2014
- a parent
Great School, teachers, lots of support, and super hardworking and smart students. SAT I CR: 90-95%tile nationally, 90-95%tile CA state, but only place you around 50-60%tile at this school. SAT I Math: 96%tile nationally, 96%tile CA state, but only place you around 60-70%tile at this school
My child attended Menlo's Upper School and overall it is above average, but not exceptional. There are some strong teachers here and a few my child would identify as truly engaging. At the same time, some teachers seemed to be assigned class sections outside their normal subjects, and that lack of experience carried into the classroom. Talking with other parents there were significant disparities between some teachers and others, especially within the physical and social sciences. To be fair, our expectations of Menlo were probably set too high. Taking less than 20% of those who apply, people raved about the school. Our child came from a highly ranked public elementary school system that school also had a mixed bag of teachers. As we were now writing a large tuition check, we expected higher quality and more consistency. Menlo is good, but by no means an educational utopia. Other observations -- Menlo could greatly improve how they integrate new students with existing ones as there is a definite hierarchy, but after awhile you see the school spirit is strong. In addition some of the $$ spent in staff (there are a lot of them) might be better invested in the classroom.
I am a proud alumna who maintains a great connection with the Menlo School community. I truly feel that Menlo was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I was awarded the financial aid I needed to fit in with my peers. I was able to pay for my photography supplies, books, and Menlo gear at the bookstore, amongst many other necessities. I was even provided a tutor so that I could be on an equal playing field with other students, who had incredible study skills and were well-prepared from their respective middle schools. Despite their privilege, all of my peers were very humble. I made many great friends with students, faculty and staff. The teachers were always available, and I went to office hours on a weekly basis for extra help. Many of my friends and their parents became extended family. As a confident and proud minority, I have always felt welcomed and supported at Menlo. I often tell people that I left Menlo more knowledgeable and happier than when I graduated from University. The curriculum was so rigorous that I could have easily started a successful career.
My children are having a wonderful experience at Menlo School. The academic offerings are extensive and challenging but the caring teachers are available to help when needed. Teachers seek students out when necessary and parents are kept informed. Teachers have been supportive of my children s individual needs and this seems to be the norm. Both my children are enthusiastic about going to school. Menlo fosters engagement in not only the classroom but in all aspects of the School community. Students are inclusive and when my children, new to the school as freshman, have felt welcome and valued. Menlo encourages families to become involved. Events are sponsored that help new families transition to the school easy. Large numbers of parents volunteer at the school and all are encouraged to participate. We chose Menlo after visiting several other schools but we didn t consider any of the other independent schools because there were none that, we felt, compared to Menlo. From our first visit to Menlo we met many thoughtful parents, faculty, and staff and could immediately see why Menlo was different from the other schools.
This school is pathetic. It teaches the kids to have a sense of entitlement and a lack of community. It's all about being rich. Even on their application they only have 3 questions for parents and one is "What can you give to Menlo?" ....they also ask the name of the student's grandparents (in case they are rich & important and the school doesn't connect the names). I am ashamed of this school.
If all you complain about is how Menlo is arrogant and elitist, how rich the families are, etc., but not how amazing the quality of teaching is, you should not go there. Many kids from families that did not/could not donate mega amount, also enjoyed the school and was praised for what they do, not what their family have. The school tried so hard to recruit (and provide financial aid if needed to) different background of students in order to make diversified student body. When things don t work out (did not get accepted, failed in classes etc., bad behavior), some bad feelings going around. I did not remember "Who are your grandparents in the application, could you show? "What can you give to Menlo?" You can give time and wisdom.
Too many people have drunk the Kool Aid at Menlo. It is a beautiful campus with top notch facilities and very good faculty. However, it is a school for the unbelievably privileged and elitist families. The level of parental involvement is stifling to the point where I cannot imagine any student actually becoming independent! Menlo's sports programs are excellent but the school values athletics more than academics in middle school. The sixth grade class has not cracked open a book all year. The upper school college process is daunting and the administration clearly favors those families who have contributed mega-bucks to the school. If you are not "in" the upper strata, don't bother coming here and feeling like a nobody. Your kid will hate it.
I graduated from menlo over 10 years ago. I was very lucky to receive a scholarship from this prestigious school. While I am very grateful for the excellent education I received, I wish there was more support for students that don't fit the Menlo mold (students of low-socioeconomic background and students of color). I felt very isolated while I was there. I am sure I would have gotten more out my education at Menlo had I felt more supported. I realized what I was missing when I went to a very diverse and supportive college.
I think that this school is very accepting, and makes you really feel good. I entered afraid and unsure, as a minority, but as I progressed, I have realized that I had nothing to fear. This school has given me so much, and welcomed me fully. I wish to go there for the rest of my education.