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K-12
Private
Pasadena, CA
Students enrolled: 868

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1030 East California Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91106

(626) 396-6300
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Map of Polytechnic School address.

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October 13, 2014
A single word describes Polytechnic School: complacent. It seems to define itself by what it is not: not developmental, not progressive, not traditional. We find it difficult to figure out what the goals school actually have, although one thing it seems to focus on is teaching children how to follow directions and strive for good grades. The administration provides little guidance or oversight to teachers, which results in inconsistent quality. The administration feels dysfunctional, resulting in poor organizational transparency, poor communication, and inconsistent rule enforcement. Parents have stepped in to provide many administrative activities, including school communication, office work, and all events with little support by the school. We have been impressed with some good teachers but have had an unpleasant experience with what feels like a chaotic, poorly run school with little vision and clarity of mission. It seems to be resting on its laurels and congratulating itself on its high number of applicants.

- submitted by a parent
August 26, 2014
Poly is fine in the lower grades, but not a school for everyone in the Upper School. The teachers are inconsistent in terms of quality. While some are good, most are just acceptable. The students are pressured by their parents (and the school) to workworkwork. And work some more. If that's what you want, perhaps you should ask your child what she wants. Also, if you want your child to attend a highly selective school (and later college), perhaps you should (again) ask your child. It's her life after all. We regret choosing Poly. Based on many talks with friends who also have kids at Poly, it is clear there are many unhappy folks here.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2014
Poly is a good school & has an excellent reputation in the University community; it does well preparing its upper-tier students for the next level of academia. It's lower school is good, & its middle school is just okay. The lower school Dir. is excellent & she has done an outstanding job improving the curriculum & weeding out the teachers that were not up to snuff. The middle school Dir. is average at best. Many of the Poly "lifers" are the average students in high school: while Poly won't likely be forthright in its admission of this fact, the major of the higher level students that graduate are not those that started in K. Regarding the athletic program: the AD is poor at best, & Poly is successful despite itself b/c the majority of kids have the means for coaching/teams outside the school. Don't expect athletic development here. If your child is interested in being a higher level 'student-athlete' look elsewhere. The consensus amongst teachers & parents is that the departure of the current headmaster, will be most-welcomed. Poly has had many kids leave the last few years b/c the school is rigid, & does not do a good job accommodating different learning styles or personalities.

- submitted by a teacher
August 03, 2013
Poly is an academically strong school, but really only works for kids who learn by traditional methods. Any students with learning disabilities are "counseled out" pretty quickly. We watched them vanish over the years. Teachers vary as in most schools, but we were always surprised that so many weak teachers remained at a school that charges a tremendously high tuition. Kids are expected to fit into a mold, catillion style - many of them actually attend catillion. The economically "diverse" population is really upper class to the richest of the rich with a few token financial aid families and some teachers' children. Cultural diversity is really, really limited. Compare to any public school and you will see that your children will miss out on meeting lots of different types of friends. While there our children were happy, but often stressed by the workload. Left after middle school and a whole new world opened up to them. Glad for the academic foundation from Poly and very glad to have moved onto another view of the world.

- submitted by a parent
May 10, 2013
Polytechnic. Both my kids were Pre K -12. Great experience on all counts. 1000 applicants for 100 openings speaks volumes.

- submitted by a community member
August 03, 2012
Poly is not for everyone, but those that can handle it will end up with a world class education. All of my siblings went to Poly and went on to ivy schools where they found the work challenging but not impossible due to Poly's challenging work load that requires students to be disciplined and self motivated. In general the students that are staying up until 2 am to study are those that do not mange their time and their work well. Poly teacher LOVE to see students succeed and everyone there is capable of doing so as long as they are responsible. Being a student at Poly has opened a lot of doors for me not only in the college application process but because the name precedes itself. Any successful Poly student is bright and motivated to be the best. But like I said, it's not a school for everyone. My parents have shelled out the money for three PK-12 Poly educations, and they would not have done so if it wasn't worth it in the long run.

- submitted by a community member
January 14, 2012
Polytechnic is not for every kid. I have two children, one at Poly and one at another local school. My son who attends Poly has been there since pre K and is currently in high school. He has excelled in every grade level and is a straight A student. However, he is a fast learner, competitive and self-motivated. He never spends more than 1-2 hours a night on homework. It just comes easy to him. His Poly experience has been wonderful. For my other son, the school is not a good fit. He is not as competitive and needs more time to complete his work. He requires a more nurturing environment. He is also doing well academically because he is at a school that is a good fit for him. Simply put, there are different schools for different kids. Poly is a wonderful school if your kid is up to the challenge. Some kids really struggle with the academics and many parents end up paying thousands of dollars for tutors to help their children get through. The bottom line is that you need to find the school that is the right fit for your child. There are so many wonderful schools in this area. With the right fit, your child will excel!

- submitted by a parent
December 27, 2011
Pasadena Polytechnic School is a poor fit for most children. The school emphasizes busywork homework to the extreme. The focus on rote learning is disappointing. Bright, creative students don't belong here. It is probably best for the B to B+ level student whose parents are rich workaholics. Be prepared to donate a fortune if you want your child to stay in the good graces of the school administration and faculty.

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2011
Poly is by far the best school in the area. I graduated in 2010 and have found the academics of college to be a lot easier for me than for my friends who went to other high schools. Poly prepares us to be successful in later. Some people are giving Poly low ratings because of "more than 4 hours of homework". This rule is a guideline, however in my experience usually followed by the teaching. The only nights I had more than 4 hours were more often than not my fault for either procrastinating or not managing my time right. Poly offers excellent discussion and engagement in almost every class. After coming in 9th grade from a k-8 private school in the area, I find myself better off than my middle school peers and I credit Poly for that. Poly is not for everyone of course, but for students who want a community that supports you and an environment that allows students to grow, Poly is the place without a doubt.

- submitted by a community member
May 30, 2011
Unsatisfactory. This is school is miserable. I hate it. All they care about is money .. more money... and money again. They assign too much homework as well. Teachers are supposed to limit their homework to 50 minutes an evening per class, about 4 hours a night. This school clearly doesn't follow this rule. Children need their sleep and the students stay up past 1 A.M. almost every night. Is that what you want?

- submitted by a community member
October 09, 2010
Poly is, without a doubt, one of the best of not the best independent school in California. The student-teacher ratio (7.5-1 in Kindergarten) is not to be beaten anywhere. The student body is socially and economically diverse. The curriculum is well-rounded and focuses on teaching the 'whole child' rather than just the '3 Rs.' We couldn't be happier.

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2010
This school is miserable. The leadership is awful - the school only cares about money, money, money - it is a trade school for the wealthy with no values, no character - no spirit - just dollars. In 100 years of existence, there is no real success story - this school can point to as alumni - they weed out poor performers to get their test scores high. What an illustrious mess!

- submitted by a parent
November 30, 2009
The school prepares students for the top colleges and universities in the nation, while maintaining a nurturing and supportive environment for a fairly diverse student body.

- submitted by a parent
May 11, 2009
This school is wonderful, it has a strong academic core and has many diverse extra curricular activities. They have won numerous academic achievements as well as many CIF championships. This school has one of the highest API scores that beat out nationally credited schools like Flintridge Prep and La Canada High school and will also help when applying to college, above all they make classroom environments and schoolwork fun, making me want to come to school every day to learn challenging new lessons. This school, in my opinion is the greatest out of all.

- submitted by a community member
February 03, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2009
While one might think average is ok, for the price ofthis place it should be 5 stars. A laclustre lower school curriculum that fashions itself as developmental just because they don't give letter grades. The teachers leave a lot to be desired as well, high over rated, this place could best be descibed as a trade school for the Valley Hunt Club.

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


- submitted by a student
no rating September 09, 2008
The school has good academic program as some one mentioned but the quality of teachers is not consistent. For some of the teachers, I really wonder if they should be in Education if at all! My son wanted to take on Oakleaves school magazine club but guess what they did not publish one single issue last year. The other club that he wanted to form was denied. He ended up taking some club activities in which he did not have his heart. He did manage to get in to a decent college. The matriculation this year seems to be not all that good as compared to 14 % of the class seleceted to Stanford in Year 2007; they could get only a handful to the top Ivy's.

- submitted by a parent
July 20, 2007
For students wanting to learn the entire range of skills for life, career, and more immediately, college, Poly is the best.

- submitted by a student
December 14, 2006
I transferred from an academically rigorous public high school to Poly in my junior year. Despite my short time there, many of my close friends and favorite teachers are from those 2 precious years. Having gone on to Ivy schools, as did my 3 sibs all of whom transferred to Poly, we can unequivocally say that Poly was and remains central to our lives. Even as we shepherd our kids now, we look forward to the day that Poly will be central in their futures as well,... hopefully (high entry bar and no guarantees even for alumni/ae).

- submitted by a former student
October 19, 2006
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- submitted by a former student
September 09, 2006
Pasadena Polytechnic school has amazing teachers and directors who know very much about the subjects they teach. They have a music program Kindergarten-12th which includes instrumental, vocal, music history, and much more. The arts program is one of the best in the country with visual arts of wood, drawing, painting, enameling, ceramics, photography, and more. Performing arts of an outstanding musical by the high school each spring, dance classes and drama programs starting as early as kindergarten. The middle school alone has countless extracurriculars to offer such as Math Counts, debate, choir, orchestra, band, and more. Parents can be involved in many ways if they choose or if they choose to don't have to be involved at all. I highly recommend that residents of Pasadena and the surrounding area take a look at this school.

- submitted by a student
September 07, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 31, 2006
The academics are certainly better than PUSD. The school offers ample athletic programs. However, I found the general population of both faculty, staff, and parents, to be not particularly enlightened. Although the school is good with charity, it lacks with incorporating civic responsibility into the overall educational system for the children. I often encountered co-parents that were none too apologetic to let everybody know that they were 'better' than everybody else because they had a bigger house/car/jewelry/etc. Unfortunately, they also passed this attitude onto their children. Parents are not particularly active in the school, other than donating money.

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2006
Excellent academics. Curriculum needs work, but generally a progressive structure. Good teachers. Good teacher availability. Definitely take advantage of math and art programs. Extracurriculars available to all levels. Parental involvement is medium. Great community. Rich students and middle class for the most part.

- submitted by a former student
March 09, 2006
The school's phenomenal reputation is well-earned!

- submitted by a parent
November 27, 2005
Very selective. The admission is focused on academic preparedness and leadership skills. Any one considering sending their child to this school should plan on joining in the school system early on. In seventh grade this academic year, seven students were selected out of 77 applicants. Good contacts with parents who are already sending their children to this school can be a plus. Parents can also recommend their child and can make a case as to why their child deserves to be in the school. If the focus is on academic excellence and oveall personality development, this schools should be your first choice.

- submitted by a parent
November 14, 2005
I graduated from school there and don't remember a thing that I might have learnt of use. I found the kids there to be arrogant and from families which felt priviledged and self important. Because of its small size students were in cliques- often by superficial things such as family and economic backgrounds. Best thing is that there were no gangs, violence, and drug use was only in small private cliques. Academics were so-so. Only some teachers were really able to get the points across. Some teachers were terrible and completely incompetent. It depended on the individual to a self learner. Because of its small size it didn't offer as many diverse activities as you would get at a larger school.

- submitted by a former student
November 04, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2005
Excellent academics and one on one with teachers. Kids are highly motivated and are advocates of the school. Parents are very involved. Great art, science, sports, and more. Many of the kids get accepted to excellent colleges such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and others.

- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2005
This school is entirely too full of itself. Many families will clearly do anything to get their children in here. The academics in the lower school can sometimes be only so-so. The school is poor in stimulating the child who is truly talented in a subject (math, for instance). There are many amazing families at this school, and this leads to some nice opportunites, but the school is overrated. Additionally, the fact that your child gets into the poly lower school is no guarantee that they will be upper school material, so your school worries are not over!

- submitted by a parent
April 10, 2005
Outstanding academic school, excellent community outreach, a model school. Sports programs are competitive.

- submitted by a former student
April 01, 2005
Poly is unsurpassed in terms of academic and extracurricular programs, parental involvement is very high and faculty is superb. Poly's best quality is that it helps each child develop his or her individual strengths to become the best person each can be.

- submitted by a former student
March 29, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
March 28, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
no rating January 19, 2005
I attended Poly from 1st grade through 12th and had a great experience. I learned more in high school than I did in college (attended UCSD). Rather than many other private schools, Poly is intersted in developing well-rounded humans, not just stressed-out high achievers. I highly recommend Poly, if you can get in.

- submitted by a former student
December 16, 2004
Good reputation with a good track record in Ivy League School placement.

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2003
Our daughter attended Poly from Pre-K to Senior Year, graduating this year in the Class of 2003. We do not have enough words of accolade to describe her and our 14 year experience at this nurturing, enriching, academically-superior school. Poly has a reputation of being academically stringent, but we found that in the early years, this is really not true. They made learning just plain fun, game-like, and we never saw undue pressure placed upon any students. (Quite honestly, the pressure we saw over the years was usually created by ambitious parents or by the student him/herself.) Of course, as the students matured, the academics did get tougher, but appropriately so. Our daughter missed an average of 30 days a year of school mostly due to a congenital medical condition. We are well-qualified to help her in her learning, and since she is an only child, very willing to, but found that we never had to! Poly teachers unasked gave extra assistance, care and concern; the administration had homework assignments collected and ready for pick-up anytime; the learning was team-oriented so that student helped each other... Poly does not just academically prepare students, the school is rigorous in its concern for the whole person, for opening up the possibilities of the whole world, of helping people place themselves within their community, country, humanity, and existence. All Poly's graduates go on to college, are welcomed by universities of all levels, because they are well prepared academically and as contributing members. The dedication of the teachers, administration, the wonderful guidance counsellors, and yes, even all the parents (the over zealous included) are part of this, because the school sets the overall tone, the moral standards, the environment, the checks and balances... When people ask me, I always say, check out this school and don't be afraid to apply every year until your child gets in. Poly is also fortunate to have a strong financial base, and uses it generously to help its families when needed (i.e., financial aid is available). We are hardworking parents, living modestly in Pasadena, and will always be grateful to this school for enriching our daughter and our lives. We do not work in academia, but we believe that more schools should be modeled after this school. No place is perfect, but Poly sure strives to be the best it can, and we wish every child out there could grow up in this kind of safe, inspiring, caring environment from where you will go forth with your own ethical values in place, with skills in thinking and communicating, with an open mind to new ideas, and with memories & friendships that will last a lifetime.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2003
Excellent education, caring staff and faculty. Parents can be rude and unwelcoming though.

- submitted by a parent
August 25, 2003
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- submitted by a parent
August 11, 2003
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- submitted by a former student
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Polytechnic School
1030 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA  91106
(626) 396-6300
Last modified Polytechnic School is a Private school that serves grades K-12
Polytechnic School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 43 reviews. Top