« Back to compare
/ / School Profile

Contact this school

50 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301

(650) 329-3701
(650) 329-3753
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Palo Alto High School address.
August 12, 2014
Academically competitive, accepting community but sometimes cliquey, nice course variety and mostly caring teachers. There is a lot of peer pressure to get into a "good" college, and teachers are most accessible when students personally email them and set up an appointment. It can sometimes be difficult to reach teachers during tutorial sessions because there are so many other students trying to do the same. The school could improve on having a school board/administration that's much more connected with the student body. Although clubs aren't extremely popular at Paly, there is a strong effort to get kids involved. Choir program and athletics at Paly are renowned. Lots of ongoing construction, but it will be worth it because the newer facilities are really really nice (ie. math building, media arts building, lacrosse field, pool). Limited parking space. Sucky school dances. Library is too loud and I wish the Silent Study Room was bigger and made with cubicles and actually silent. Overall, friendly people, very diverse (you can find any kind of person you want) and excellent academics (particularly in the math and social studies department. sciences and English are OK)

- submitted by a student
September 19, 2013
Blatantly put, Palo Alto High School is academically challenging. All the students in the top lanes are extremely driven, and a "B+" is not considered an acceptable grade by many. Stanford University is right across the street, and it is a constant reminder of the importance of academic success. Moreover, if you do not find your classes academically stimulating, PALY offers opportunities to skip lanes. Also, if you finish all your math classes before you graduate, you get the opportunity to take theoretical calculus at Stanford University, which is right across the street.

- submitted by a student
March 10, 2013
As a 1961 Paly grad reading the comments below, not much has changed through the years. The postings of July 12, 2012 by a student, July 14, 2011, Oct. 27, 2010 could have been taken out of the anals of 1961. When we attended our 50th Class Reunion in Sept. 2011 one thing seemed to be uniform: we looked back on Paly as having been an exceptional school (a premiere public school competitive with private College Prep schools of the day) and the fact that we'd received an excellent education. We learned at Paly what others are learning at college level. Current students may not see it now, but you'll look back in years to come and appreciate the quality of education provided at Paly as exceptional. We were told, "you can go to college wherever you choose, but we're preparing you to qualify to get into Stanford or Cal." Very high standards! An amusing fact is that several classmates were told by their counselor to not waste their time going to college inferring they weren't going to amount to much. A number of them not only have multiple college / postgrad degrees but also became multimillionaires. Don't let anyone count you out just because they lack vision for you!!!

- submitted by a community member
July 12, 2012
Some teachers are great, some not so much. The student community here is grouped up into exclusive groups (cool here nerds there etc.) Some are nice some are not. Because of this, its hard to make new friends if u are new. School campus is great and the school has lots of money so the resources are plentiful. Sports are also good we won several state championships.

- submitted by a student
July 14, 2011
When you see the school, meet the teachers, and interact with the highly motivated students you would never guess this is a public school. The teachers are Palo Alto High school (Paly) work hard to ensure a wonderful education for the students as well as a friendly atmosphere. Over Paly offers a well rounded educations that both parents and students love!

- submitted by a student
November 08, 2010
Some teachers are ok but most are terrible and don't teach. My daughter has been told repeatedly she is not smart enough by one.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 17, 2010
Great school, great teachers, great leadership, and bright kids. A winning combination.

- submitted by a community member
January 11, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
December 25, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
October 04, 2009
We have a number one football team! All of my siblings and my children have gone to PALY and graduated. They have a great monthly flea market to support the music program. Please vote for PALY so they can build a new theatre and keep the sports programs going

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2009
Palo Alto High School recruits and retains excellent teachers who light the fires of the intellect rather than just trying to stuff information into the students' heads. The kids at Paly learn material and explore ideas I never heard of until I was at University. Also, cliquishness is minimal and individual character and expression are encouraged. Extensive free peer tutoring is available, teachers welcome students during office hours, and the counselors and Academic Resource Center are tops. Additionally, fine extracurricular on-campus groups such as the Robotics Club provide both an outlet for talent and enthusiasm, and opportunities for real public service: the Robotics Club recently won an award for the various useful equipment they have invented to help a local quadriplegic man live more independently. Paly is wonderful!

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2009
In alot of ways Paly is more like college. The course offers are diverse and the teaching staff are enthusiastic and highly qualified. There are extensive foreign language offerings and exchange student programs are done every year. If you put out the effort you can avoid all the sports/school competativeness/clique bull. The Gay Straight Alliance there has been going strong for over 10 years and the campus is one of the most lgbtq friendly around. The arts programs have their own building, with enough space for 4 choirs, a band, and visual arts space including a full sculpture area with kiln. To top it all off Lavar Burton does every commencement speech because his sister is on the faculty.

- submitted by a student
no rating September 16, 2009
College is easy after Paly.

- submitted by a parent
September 16, 2009
We're right next to Stanford, so good influence comes from it. We have open campus and a lot of freedom, which gives us responsibility and fun :) Our departments are top notch, and they also offer extensive tutoring. The campus is beautiful as well. I love PALY. Go Vikes!

- submitted by a student
March 18, 2009
I came from another school district prior to my freshmen year. People here aren't always accepting, but there are definetly a few oustanding good friends. As the third quarter is wrapping up, I'm completely transitioned and adapted to Paly. Because of the wealthy district, we as students have more opportunities and choices for classes and can spend more money on giving the best to our school

- submitted by a student
February 20, 2009
The teachers are awesome and the kids are great. The pressure is intense but that is to be expected considering the location and the community. There are all kinds of kids at Paly, not just rich kids. That is what makes it a great school.

- submitted by a parent
January 17, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
January 15, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
October 09, 2008
Paly has been and always will be an amazing school. It is rated highly since it is one of the best public schools in the nation. Those who find it otherwise often do not utilize all of this amazing school's resources. I think it stands on it's own; Paly is fantastic in all aspects.

- submitted by a student
September 24, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
September 06, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2008
I really have no idea why this school has such a high rating. I personally find most of the classes aren't very informative and say that they have among the hardest class courses, which they don't. The choir, however, is very excellent. Perhaps it's only redeeming quality.

- submitted by a student
July 28, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 09, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
June 12, 2006
great attentive teachers, safe environment

- submitted by a parent
March 30, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 21, 2006
The classes at paly high are geared for college. Also, strong parental involvement (discipline) coupled with the quality of teachers and curriculum which are very important factors for a successful academic standing are found here! Go paly!

- submitted by a parent
January 22, 2006
This is an amazing school. The academic departments could not be better! My child adores it. There is a great sellection of sports and other activities. Paly has many interesting clubs too.

- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2006
Great academic choice and high test scores. Large number of arts, music, technology and AP offerings. Arts program contains one of the few high school glass blowing workshops in the country. Open Campus: Any student can enter or leave the campus at will.

- submitted by a parent
December 25, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2005
The math program at Paly is the strongest, and the school also boasts a very impressive foreign language department. The orchestra program is very small, but it is taught decently. The work itself is not extremely difficult, but it is the volume of homework that bogs down students.

- submitted by a former student
August 16, 2005
My kids have worked hard at Paly, but in the case of my college-age daughter, it has paid off. She learned the discipline necessary to succeed in an honors program in college by taking challenging classes and participating in extra-curricular activities (mostly athletic) at Paly. It's no picnic though, and I've heard others complain of 'pressure' and such. The student body is diverse, thanks to the magnet that is the Bay Area, and the teachers all seem to care a great deal about student progress. My younger daughter is closer to average than her big sister, and has learned to take advantage of the after-school assistance. She refuses to go to dances though, since she believes there are too many drunk kids in attendance at those events.

- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2005
This is a great school with great students and teachers.

- submitted by a student
July 17, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 14, 2005
Overall, this is an excellent school with a wide variety of course offerings, motivated student body, and good range of extracurricular activities. The atmosphere can be competitive, however, and much of the student body comes from the very wealthy area of North Palo Alto.

- submitted by a staff
May 04, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 06, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 05, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 06, 2004
Paly was and is a great school. Teachers, classes, curriculum and sports and other extracurriculars make it one of the very top schools in the nation! Keep up the good work!

- submitted by a parent
December 04, 2003
This school needs to start focusing on teaching morals, values and tolerance. It has only been interested in achieving top grades. A complete education includes empathy and honesty. Palo Alto High School is over developing the mind and forgetting the heart. The dog-eat-dog ethic at this school has to stop. If the parents don't know better then it must be up to school officals to listen and guide. This is a wake up call for change.

- submitted by a parent
August 10, 2003
I am in agreement with the other two parents. I have two children who graduated from Palo Alto High School and I was impressed with the caliber of the teachers who inspired my children with their enthusiasm for their subject matter, whether it was Physics, Journalism, Spanish, English, or Calculus. Teachers sought opportunities for the students to excel and go beyond just the classroom-Spanish camp, field trips, science fairs. My children entered college very well-prepared and actually found freshman year easier than senior year at Paly!

- submitted by a parent
Need help choosing a school? We can help »

Media Gallery

Media missing

Uh oh! No photos. This frame will look much better when you upload photos »


Facebook


Nearby homes for sale

     

Last modified: October 28, 2014

Sign up for email updates

Connect with us

Translate this web page

About GreatSchools

Our mission is to help millions of parents get a great education for their kids. GreatSchools.org is an independent nonprofit and the leading national source of school information for families.


GreatSchools.org 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1100, Oakland, CA 94612

©1998-2014 GreatSchools.org All Rights Reserved. GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization | Ad Choices

Palo Alto High School
50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA  94301
(650) 329-3701
Last modified Palo Alto High School is a Public school that serves grades 9-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Palo Alto High School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 44 reviews. Top