I'm sorry to say this but a lot of time the parents that write the reviews have no idea what their talking about. I am currently a sophomore at Palo Alto high school and am moving to a different school next year out of choice. Yes, Paly is an academically excellent school which offers so many course options, the teachers are acceptable, it has a high success rate. But this all comes with a price. If you don't come from a family with extremely high achieving parents and if you don't get a B+ or higher, you will easily feel like a very stupid person. The teachers generally favor the students who don't ask many questions or waste their time going over things you don't understand. The campus is very spread out, leaving you to feel alone and late to class a lot. Open campus= too much freedom or ability to ditch class without needing to tell anyone. Being across from Stanford= pressure to go there. You're never doing enough when you go here, its more more more until you go to an Ivy and become a doctor or lawyer. Last but most definitely not least the students. Some of the most over privileged rich perfect snobs go here. I have been in PAUSD since fourth grade and have made 3 friends. The kids are not nice. Some are lazy and don't even do their homework, and others are taking all the spots in the good colleges. If you are considering this school for anyone, reconsider please. The stats are like this for a reason, no one should go to a school with this much stress or a suicide rate at all.
I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for Ms. Evans, Ms. Nangia, and Mr. Wilson, all outstanding teachers at Palo Alto High School. Although these three teachers teach different subjects, they have one thing in common: they know how to motivate, connect with, and inspire their students. My child knows these teachers want her to succeed, and they spend time outside of class supporting her learning and answering questions. These three also have curriculums that are innovative, engaging, and student centered. Whether my daughter is writing a restaurant review for Journalism, an in-depth research paper on the brutal treatment of women in the Congo, or justifying how a geometry proof works, she is excited about her work and pushes herself to do her best. All of this is thanks to the time, effort, and hard work of her teachers for whom I am tremendously grateful. Thank you for all you do!!!
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)
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.
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!!!
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.
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!