I am a very proud alumna of The Head Royce School. I graduated in 2008 and still feel strongly connected to the school, the faculty, and to my friends. The education I received prepared me extremely well for University. While many of my college peers struggled their freshman year, college felt like transitioning into 13th grade for me. It was a step up but a reasonable step up that I felt challenging but not overwhelming. I credit Head Royce for the inspiration it gave me to pursue my passions and for helping me to develop strong communication, writing, and critical thinking skills. I made lasting friendships and was able to engage on many levels (e.g. theater, sports, student council, clubs, etc.) I never felt the need to stick to one label or click. Yes, I had my group of friends but I never felt unwelcome in other circles. I cannot recommend this school more highly. Go Jayhawks!
I attended this school from middle- through high school. The academics, aside from a few strong teachers, are not worth the high tuition. The school prepares students well to get high SAT scores, but poorly for basic college skills, like effective writing. I agree with the comment who characterized the academic side as "smoke and mirrors".
The atmosphere is definitely elitist. If your child is shy and thoughtful or reticent; creative and/or unconventional; a member of an ethnic or cultural minority; or simply moves to the beat of his/her own drummer, s/he will be miserable at this school. It's very conventional and cliquish. There are much better choices in the East Bay, especially considering the cost vs. the mediocre academics.
If only academics were the only factor when considering a school... The teachers are INCREDIBLE really - like second to none. One of the best educations for a K-12 in the entire U.S.... no exaggeration whatsoever. However this school breeds arrogance and elitism. I second the other review talking about a gossipy culture between teachers and parents. During my time at Hrs there were many instances where parents and teachers would send awful emails about students or other parents. GREAT EDUCATION, SICKENING ENVIRONMENT.
I am a high schooler at HRS and have been attending since I was in Kindergarten. The lower school is great, with wonderful, kind teachers and a wide variety of different academic, athletic, and artistic classes that your child can experience. The middle school is, admittedly, very cliquish and can be socially straining with such a small grade. But the teachers, including in high school are absolutely fantastic, qualifies, and ready to help you in any way possible. The high school has a great selection of classes and activities, so whatever your passion, you can find something for you. However, the school does put too much emphasis on sports, and runs the budget low when it comes to theatre. While the academics are rigorous, the social world of high school is much better and more open. Teachers are accessible, and truly passionate about what they are teaching. The scholastic side of school is very stressful at times, but I know I will be well served and prepared for college.
I've been looking everywhere for a great private school, and after going to Bentley, Athenian(oh, that one was like a public school),and a few others, I felt awful. But then my parents enrolled me in HRS, and I was skeptical. But when I entered, it was like a whole new world. The teachers were amazingly knowledgeable, funny, accessible, and caring. The student body are all great friends, spirited, and smart.(generally, there are 2 or 3 that don't fit in to that category) The academics were rigorous and entertainingly taught. I'm graduating with a full scholarship to MIT with a scholarship next year, and I thank HRS for everything. I couldn't have done it without them.
The academics are what you would expect for the price tag on the education. However, there is so much more than the academics. The school s elitist and arrogant reputation is well deserved and permeates the environment. As noted by another reviewer, the school s enrollment has increased significantly and is well beyond its conditional use permit, resulting in formal action by the City. (The school has handled the problem by demonizing the neighbors who are understandably upset by the traffic, safety and lowered property values.) Despite the marketing photos, there is very little diversity. The community can be very gossipy (I read an email sent by a HR teacher (and parent) to other parents making disparaging comments about a HR student!), and there is a large landing pad for helicopter parents. If your child fits the mold , the school is a good fit. Otherwise, you may want to look to elsewhere.