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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Great school with the opportunity for motivated students to learn advanced science, mathematics, languages, social studies etc., plus, every day living skills. I feel Palo Alto High School is doinga great job preparing my son for future opportunities in life.
Palo Alto High School is excellent for the student who is serious about school. Your child will leave there with an excellent foundation for college. I do not find it so easy to handle for the child who has more artistic inclinations. It is a difficult school with a great deal of homework...be prepared for about 4-5 hrs a night if your student is in Honors or AP classes. If your child plays a sport, be prepared to pick your battles on bedtimes... The upside of that is, there is plenty of help available if needed. There are excellent resources to be had, and good staff involvement. I have put 5 kids into this school system, one at Gunn, the other 3 at Paly, and overall, I think it really IS one of the best High Schools in the State. I have a lot of friends with teenagers in different high schools around the SF Bay area, and some in So. Cal, and I must say that so far, Palo Alto High School is providing the very best of the bunch for it's students!
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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