This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Acalanes High School5
Posted August 18, 2014
- a community member
Acalanes, class of 1951. Great faculty, administration, and support staff. I lettered in tennis and B basketball. after Acalanes I enrolled at Cal Berkeley. I could have been better prepared for university academics, but overall the experience was a good one. I took public speaking as part of the English requirement, which was a very practical way to study English, but the highbrow English at UC left me cold, and I had trouble coping. I have a 5-year-old granddaughter living in the Acalanes District who I hope to see enter Acalanes in 2021 or hereabouts - if I live that long. I may be partial, since my father was the district superintendent.
I bought home in Lafayette for the school system. I am glad I did that. Both my kids attended Acalanes. My son got into a 6 year medicine program and my daughter is in UC Berkeley. I am thankful to the school for preparing them well.
I've read multiple reviews that claim Acalanes students are spoiled rich brats. While there may be a few, I strongly disagree. This is an assumption made because the community is generally wealthy according to outsiders. Well, Lafayette, and Acalanes High are both much more liberal than outsiders expect. Students at Acalanes come from both broke families in tiny apartments and $3 mil homes. What is fascinating about Acalanes students and the culture of the school is the expectation of social service and justice. I know few schools who require volunteer work to graduate. In my personal experience, I was NOT a privileged girl. My family was always struggling and all of my clothes were from second hand stores. I was never teased for this. By junior year, and throughout senior year, my graduating class was one big clique-less group of friends. My brother and sister, who attended 6 and 8 years after me, found the same experience. Acceptance, respect and friendship across "groups" that divide other schools. To the person who claimed a high acceptance rate to college is due to rich parents: Silly. Acalanes kids MOSTLY go to public schools, and those are not schools who take bribes.
It's really nothing special. It's pretty much like any other school. Same credits, same quality of education, great teachers and terrible ones, save the 70,000 dollar cars owned by overtly spoiled children in the lot. The high College acceptance rating may or may not have something do do with the fact that the parents can actually afford it. Just a theory. The majority student body, a group of rather captious individuals, have absolutely no tolerance for others who's parents don't make the 2% of America who are considered "wealthy". They are an unnecessary burden to be easily avoided. Another thing to consider is the ridiculous drug usage. I have never seen so many drugs used in my entire life. To relate a personal experience; I make my life as a musician and have played with very influential people, and have assisted in movie scores, and do rather well. Yet, the last thing my music teacher told me, after I had quit the high school band due to a tiring amount of ridicule from both the teacher and the students, was that I would most likely never do music again.
I have had three children attend Acalanes. While a good school in many areas, it does have its weaknesses. The language department is spotty at best. Most classes are geared towards high achievers and there is a bounty of AP classes but students with special needs are shuffled aside. The school is big and parents may have to be the squeaky wheel to have their kids' needs met. Conformity is highly regarded. Parent involvement is high and expected. Acalanes was a good match (not excellent) for two of my kids but failed miserably at serving my third.
Acalanes encourages students to think, consider and be creative. They have a high standard while providing significant support for academic challenges of all kinds. Teachers are compassionate and teach well, coaches truly mentor the athletes to be the best they can be.
Acalanes has a great curriculum, a great learning environment, mostly warm and directed teachers, an abundance of non-academic extra-curricular programs, and a very helpful and enthusiastic administration led by a terrific pro-kid principal. Parents are involved and supportive. Wonderful experience.