The director of special education, Carolyn Patton, created a lot of conflict and did not know how to implement special education services in Mount Diablo School District. She had to leave Vacaville, to go to Mount Diablo, and she only lasted there 2 years.
Having to relocate and need to find a good school for my 7th and 9th grader. Please give me your input on how good or bad the schools are in Benicia in 2011. Since I have to rate the school and have no idea, I'm going to give it a fair chance by selecting 3 stars. Hope someone out there can help me out! The last four reviews didn't sound so good.
Part 1: BHS offers great AP/Honors classes. Most of the teachers are good and there are a few that are absolutely spectacular, however there are also a fair amount of teachers who do not teach and who are there simply to get paid. The school board is making many negative changes, such as combining English classes and cutting down on early-bird classes. They waste money by sending hired officials around the school to make sure there is an objective written on the board for example. The majority of the problems come from the school board, not the teachers nor the students. Most of the students are genuinely good people, however there is a substantial drug problem. The school is a relatively safe environment, I have never felt threatened nor afraid of being harmed. The lunch food is not good, it is all precooked, prepackaged, unhealthy garbage; nothing is actually cooked and prepared at the school like it used to be.
BHS has seen its glory days. Make no mistake: This District's emphasis is STRICTLY on API results and teaching to "THE TEST" is directed there, period. Teachers are sadly under-resourced. There are some gems, and there are a few too many (you know who you are) that should have stepped away from the blackboard some time ago. Thanks to tenures they still teach away, in spite of failing to inspire. The administration seems blithe to the hostile element which exists on the campus, and there are issues there. Probably with more funding and stricter winnowing out of problem students, BHS could match a social environment closer in excellence to it's apparent API score. For now however, the disparity is glaring.
Our school needs to get its priorities straight. This week we had Every 15 Minutes. Its a program that is supposed to convince us not to drink and drive. My problem is that the school probably spent half their budget on a useless re-enactment of a car crash, which was horribly acted. I can Garuntee 90% of the school lost interest and screwed around. Those funds could have been used to keep all of our fun classes from being cut. The students hate this school.
If Benicia High School is such a great school that everyone likes, then why do they put up chain link fences to keep us in? Were not animals. Everything that used to be great about the high school is gone. The only thing left is the open campus, which threy plan on closing next year while im a senior. The campus is filthy, the bathrooms are constantly locked, and the lockers can be opened by punching them. Finding and buying drugs is as easy as buying lunch. They have cameras looking at the lockers yet they claim no responsibility for stolen objects. Lets not forget about all the class they plan on cutting next year because of budget problems. Instead, they spend what they have on fencing us in. This is coming straight from a BHS student
It was a great school coming from a person who moved away from Benicia and wen to the East Coast. The myth that east coast schools are far better has been proven wrong because unlike here, teachers of BHS are very caring and know what they are teaching.They also have a grerat fine arts program and good academics program.
This school will get you what you need for a basic life not for an outstanding life. The people there are pretty good but you will find yourself drawn into a 'click' very fast. This is my last semester at BHS then I will be attending the Marine Military Academy for a better eduacation.
I've recently graduated from Benicia High school, so I believe I know better than anybody what the experience there is like. Yes, there are budgetary issues. It is not a private school and they do not have unlimited amounts of money but despite this, my experience there was amazing. 99% of the teachers are top-notch, inspirational, fascinating people. And the fact that some of the seniors do go on to junior colleges(even though the rate of graduates going to 4 year schools there is much higher than the majority of public schools) is not by any means a bad reflection upon the staff of the high school. I know many graduates who continued to junior college, and all of these graduates are doing so for financial reasons. BHS offers amazing proms, grad nights, drama, band and sports - there's something for every kind of student and I highly recommend it.
The school does offer AP Calculus BC, if at least 15 students sign up. This year they're offering it. The band is the best in the state. AP/Honors classes are available for almost all Junior/Senior classes, and some Freshman/Sophomore. Teachers are great, yes, they may not all use the same textbook, but it works well. The teachers each choose their favorite book out of what the school owns, and many (science, foreign language, English) choose not to use or only sparingly use a textbook. Where the school fails is in administration, but many would consider that failure a success, as the administration for the most stays out of the way of the teachers and students. The school is Vvery safe. Not so much because of rules, but because the students are genuinely nice. They also have very little respect for rules, but it works well.
Benicia High School was a good school academically, however the staff is overwhelmed and can not devote any time into the students progress in learning. Sports activities are limited due to funds. The administration lacks communication skills and the parent/teacher relationship is failing.
Benicia Schools have gone downhill since moving here 6 years ago. The funds have run out they have cut everything possible all the way down to security and the student/teacher ratio is crazy. The teachers are over burdened and burned out, not that they aren't great teachers mind you. Not to mention the sports programs are funded by the parents and are very expensive. I have a daughter who is graduating from 12th grade and one who is going into middle school. I am looking for a private school now because I can't stand the thought of my younger one going to the public middle school here.
BHS is top in county. Graduation rates and college placement are stunning. Superior English Department. Fine Arts abound. Issues right now are board and budgetary.
My 15 year-old just completed 9th grade at Benicia High. I was able to communicate with her teachers on-line re: any academic or other concerns, Teachers were very prompt in replying to my queries. I would like to see more emphasis on guidance and career planning at an early stage in order to otivate the students- and my daughter towards performing at her potential. I would like to be involved more in the process of class selection. Overall I understand the school to be quite good in terms of academic work. The student body is very mixed in terms of aspirations for the future. Benicia is a town which is home to people of many ethnic backgrounds. There are many artists working creatively in the town, which offer the BHS students opportunities to observe that there are many ways to approach adulthood and the working life after school is finished.
Great school in a beautiful setting. Teachers who care as it shows in the curriculum.
The high school is facing trying times and is in danger of losing its status as one of the most respected schools in the region. Financial troubles have beset the entire Benicia District; coupled with the state's problems, the district is considering curriculum cuts that would hamper the development of our kids. There's a leadership vacuum at the high school; teachers are not well-paid compared to neighboring districts and they are frequently at loggerheads with the administration. At a recent parent night we were appalled at the attitude several of our children's teachers displayed toward the school. That said, there are still some wonderful teachers at the school, the community is committed and the students come from very good elementary schools and a much better-than-average middle school. There's hope, but time grows short.
The high school has no principal, 1 1/2 counselors, no maintenace staff, and the district is considering cutting the AP and honors classes. The district also does not have a curriculum director hence one department may use 5 different books. The high school also does not offer 2nd year calculus. A high percentage of seniors who intend to go to college are attending junior college rather than 4-year universities. Students who are failing are not signed-up for summer school in advance and hence flunk classes. The district has a budget shortfall of $3-4 million. Teachers are lowest paid and local funding per student is the lowest in the bay area.
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