Athletics are too competitive to participate in. Clubs fall apart on a whim. Students are entitled, snobby, exclusive, mean and cliquey - the school atmosphere drives many in to drinking, drugs and sex or else they cannot belong to a group. My daugher experienced 2 of her best friends from growing up in Marin moving schools because of the party scenes they fell into. It is the parental money that gets everyone into college, that gets private tutoring and college prep, that pays thousands of dollars each season for competitive traveling sports from the time they are 5 years old and that helicopter their kids so that they archive whatever the parent wants them to be.
It is a full time job for a parent to participate as many are during school hours, so parents do not feel part of a community at all. I found the communication horrible, an occasional letter form the principal touting only the best achievers in athletics, etc. The website takes a lot of searching to find what you need and never proactively send things to parents or students about available volunteer or internship positions. It takes a lot to keep up with the helicoptered kids at this school and we have had enough and are leaving to somewhere where being in the Honor Society actually means something besides an email and provides opportunity to participate in athletics. Sure, the numbers are there for this school, but it seems to be more the super competitive parents that are being judged rather than the school.
We moved to Marin with my daughter not knowing anyone at the school. She also went to a private K-8 school beforehand, and this was our first foray into the public school system. What a pleasant surprise. Although my daughter considered going private for high school, after we toured Redwood she decided this was the place for her. And, it's been a fantastic experience. The teachers and administration have always been helpful and available to answer questions. The student body has socio-economic diversity (could be a bit better but it's from the neighborhoods that feed into the school), plenty of activities, sports, and clubs to get involved with, and it's a fun and safe environment. There is academic rigor and teachers who are truly interested and passionate about what they are teaching. The school is fantastic in communicating with parents also!
I sit here on my computer trying to think of something to positive to say about this school, but I can't. Some teachers at the school love the job because they love power. I would spend an hour or so on an assignment and then they would never say anything positive about it. This school was all about pointing out the negatives to their students. I tried to be friendly and interact with teachers and kids and nothing ever seemed to click between us. One serious issue that I had was that I had a teacher who was constantly on top of me. When I mean 'on top of me' she would literally criticize every move I made. For example if I went on a trip with my family for a weekend and missed a day of school she would use it against me for months. For example, I would ask a question 2 months later and she would say 'this is why you need to be in school.' Another issue I had was the teachers who would act different in front of my parents. This teacher would write emails to my dad saying that 'I havent been going to English class' but my dad would send an email to my English teacher and he would say that I have been showing up to class. This made me feel like that teacher was out to get me.
My child is exhausted. They've turned a self-motivated kid with a very high IQ into a zombie. Crushing homework loads, indifferent counselors and rigid attendance policies softened by some really excellent teachers and an atmosphere of tolerance, but all of it rendered miserable by the obsession with homework. When I drop my kid off in the morning I feel like I'm committing an act of betrayal. I'm made complicit in abuse by a system that somehow thinks it's rational and morally acceptable to work children to the point of utter exhaustion day after day, week after week. A kid who consistently tests in the 99th percentile and I'm left gently suggesting dropping out. That's Redwood to this parent.
We moved to Marin County and selected our location so our son could attend Redwood High School. We looked for schools first, a home second. He transferred as a junior -- and he ended up having a great experience. He had wonderful, knowledgeable teachers who were interested in his success. The math, science, English and music departments were standouts. He participated in clubs, and found that while there were typical cliques and groups -- there really is a place for everyone at Redwood. We were grateful for his success and positive experiences at Redwood.
The education at this school is unbelievably great. My older sister had a hard time finding her niche, as she is very shy and usually doesn't put herself out there. But once she discovered the drama program, she immediately fell in love with it and made unforgettable friends and has a newfound love for acting. My two older brothers didn't have a hard time because they had already had friends there. Redwood helps you find what you love to do. Some people see the large amount of students as a problem, but I see it as an advantage because every day you can meet new people that you've never met before. In a community as large as this school, you would never get bored.
I love this school so much. The teachers really care about your grades and you can tell they are passionate about what they teach, which makes learning more fun. They always set aside time to help you. The general atmosphere of this school is welcoming and everyday you see new opportunities. There are many clubs and programs that can help you find friends.
I transferred into RHS junior year... To be honest, I didn't find the school to be that helpful for someone like me. I had a counselor who told me I wasn't "smart" enough to take certain courses and made my time there very difficult. The teachers are great, very helpful and want their students to succeed. They were the outstanding part of going to Redwood. Friends on the other hand-- mind you I was a transfer student-- was much harder. A lot of students form cliques and can be quite cruel. I've had friends get food thrown at them and often was teased for being a "geek". The school is less on top of keeping an eye out. These things would happen with teachers present in the cafeteria. And being a student of color and a minority I didn't find the environment to be welcoming. But this could be all said of many school. In truth, I hated my time there enough that I requested early graduation. But for parents with students starting freshman year, I'd say this school will be great. I think they struggle with integrating transfers. Students will get an amazing education and have some inspiring teachers. I believe those were the shining qualities of this school.