This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Amador Valley High School1
Posted March 06, 2015
- a student
Like despite common belief, Amador Valley isn't really a "great school". Yes, many students take AP courses and score high on exams, but the learning environment isn't really that great. Many students are study geeks and can care less about other things in lives, while some students hold somewhat of "bigoted" ideas. The administration (across the PUSD) isn't really tolerant of students at some times and they do not care how the students feel. Amador may also have one of the best marching band programs in the area, but if you were to experience it yourself, it isn't that great. Many members in leadership positions will look down upon individuals across campus because of "certain things" and in fact the way the program is set up, it encourages it.
My daughter, in 9th grade, has had an excellent experience so far. The marching band has a wonderful group of kids, providing a good peer group to start high school with. There are good extra-curricular clubs - my daughter was surprised by how much she liked activities in a business-related club called DECA. The community is very involved, with a lot of parent volunteering making activities affordable. She likes her classes. A couple of the teachers are very demanding, and grade tough - but she likes them and puts in a lot of effort - neither she nor I mind that she may have a B in these. I would like the homework load to be a bit less, but am not sure it would be any different in another school. If I could change one thing, it would be the school start-time - push it out an hour so that teens can get more morning-sleep, which is healthier for their mind and body - but that is a Bay Area problem - to achieve that, many schools in the region would have to coordinate on athletics schedules. Maybe a few of us parents can get a grounds-up movement put together in this context...
Amador High School continues to assign insane, destructive amounts of work to kids. Sounds great, right? Wrong. I know 2 different kids who were hospitalized from stress. My own child, once bright and curious, now refuses to even consider college. Amador beat the curiosity right out of her and replaced it will dull hate. Pleasanton schools have high test scores but at the expense of destroying children's emotional growth, in many cases driving them to anxiety attacks. 4 hours a night of homework, relentless pressure by teachers. Zero accountability. Teachers and administrators don't care. They want test scores at any price, and are willing to ignore teen's health to get them. There was open revolt in Pleasanton in 2010 and 2011 with parents forming a group to pressure the school system to stop abusing their power in this matter. The school system printed a new policy cuting back on homework abuse...and teachers simply ignore it. If you are a parent who wants to pressure your kid to get into Berkeley at any cost, and are willing to risk their mental health to get there, and are willing to risk your families' integrity, then by all means, come to Pleasanton.
Amador, since then and till now, had always been a school that's very rich in diversity. It's not only rich in academic programs, but also in the different ways to challenge yourself. With that in mind, the atmosphere, in contrast to schools in South Bay or maybe Fremont, is much easier to deal with, and you do find a lot of staff that's always willing to give you a hand when you are struggling with any hardship. However, that also means you need to be more diligent on your own. Amador is just too big for those who are expecting to be centered all the time. You may not be feeling it, but when you are starting to lose your reputation on hard working, you will eventually find out that you are left behind. Get ready to enjoy the great environment that school gives you - but if just being average isn't your thing, it would be better to work hard.
I have to agree with the former student, that the teachers are hit and miss. Most of the teachers are highly motivated and student centered, willing to make time outside of class to help struggling students. Only a few teachers have not been responsive to parent emails, most are willing to meet with student and parent. Administration is awesome. Principal knows all the students and walks around campus at lunch connecting with them. Assistant Principals are also very connected with the student body. While the school has 3 special education classrooms there is no specific program to integrate special education students into the extra-curricular and club activities of the school, though in general the student body is open and welcoming to these students. The administration is making a concerted effort to prevent bullying among students and staff. There's a PTA with a lot of parental involvement, especially for the senior class parents.
Amador is a great school but like any other large public school, it is really upto the student. There is no hand holding here. Teachers can be a hit or miss. Again, it is a good school if students are self motivated and seek out opportunities. But this is the case with all large public schools. Overall good but be prepared to sail on your own for most part.
As a graduate I could not complain ten years ago, this school was fun, full off cooperative staff and students alike. Compared to my little brothers school now as a Sr. in Nevada, this school was the best!!!
I moved to Pleasanton relatively recently. After going to Amador Valley High School for some time, I've noticed several things. - Plenty to do. There is a plethora of classes to take, and many, many interesting clubs. There's never enough time to take a look at everything at this school. Definitely plenty of opportunities for leadership if you try hard enough to look for them. - Very competitive atmosphere. There's daily drama between the "high-performance" students about things like grades, test scores, and extracurricular stuff. It's definitely not a healthy atmosphere. - Beware of foreign language. The foreign language department here is really, really bad. Some of the teachers are laughably bad. So for foreign language, I would probably have been better off studying on my own out of a textbook. - Teachers vary wildly. There are lots of fantastic, excellent teachers (especially in history, math, English) and some of really bad teachers who show no passion in teaching. Watch out for who you get, and ask around. You can always switch teachers during the 1st week of each semester. Overall, AVHS is a great school. I would definitely recommend this school over many others.