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Polytechnic School

Private | K-12 | 868 students


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Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $406,300. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,580.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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31 reviews of this school

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Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted August 3, 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

Posted May 10, 2013

Polytechnic. Both my kids were Pre K -12. Great experience on all counts. 1000 applicants for 100 openings speaks volumes.

Posted August 3, 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.

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted 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.

Posted 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?

Posted October 9, 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

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted 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.

Posted 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

Posted September 9, 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

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted September 9, 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

Posted 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

Posted 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

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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.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 55% 26%
Two or more races 15% 3%
Hispanic 8% 52%
Black 4% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

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  • Technology
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  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mrs. Deborah Reed
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • NAIS


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

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  • STEM
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  • Technology


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
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1030 East California Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91106
Phone: (626) 396-6300


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