As a former FHS student, I can personally say it's a good school in a safe area. At FHS, I had teachers who cared and a counselor who helped me prep for college applications. Overall, I am happy I attended Foothill.
The new Principal (Krolikowski) has high integrity and does a better job than most administrators of holding both students and staff accountable, because he really seems to care about the school as a whole. He is in touch with the students and already knows many by their first name. He holds monthly Friday Forums for parents, and values collaboration and addresses problems fairly. His vision is one that will benefit students, "good" staff, and the community for many years to come. As with most Pleasanton schools, I would like to see a teacher workforce and "leadership" that better represents the diversity of the students/community. PTO is very inclusive and trustworthy - not sure if I can say that about the Athletic Boosters as they are not as transparent financially and should probably be audited once in a while. Almost too many AP classes - e.g. there should be a "general" Psychology class, not just an AP Psychology class. Don't just cater to the high achievers - that defeats the whole purpose of public education which is a right of ALL students.
I graduated from Foothill but still live in the community and have family friends and neighbors who attend the school. As with any school, you have well educated, informative teachers who care about their students and you have teachers who are only there for the paycheck. Overall, the academics greatly prepared me for college and the real world. I omitted one star based on the attitudes of the kids and how they affect the quality of teachers at the school. Two former Foothill teachers are friends and both had the same experience in recent years, causing early retirement. The kids were disrespectful and malicious. Not all students are this way, but it is not a coincidence that two high-quality teachers had the same experience. Even in my time at the school, the kids were incredibly under-disciplined; they would get away with everything. The school itself has little impact on this (although disciplinary measures could be stricter); it is more a reflection of the community. I agree 100% with the description of the cliquish nature of this school. If you're not "keeping up with the Joneses," you tend to be outcast from those "popular groups" of kids in the school.
As a current student at FHS, I can say that the academics are good, the teachers are good, the range of classes are good, but the atmosphere is just like a classic teen movie. There are clicks and the people tend to be very unfriendly. It is not a school that is welcoming to new students. If I could choose what high school in Pleasanton I wanted to go to all over again, I would have chosen Amador Valley. At least they have character.
My daughter is a Junior at Foothill High School and will graduate next year, 2010. I wanted to add comment about Mr. Lipman who teaches AP History to Juniors and he is an awesome teacher who has taken his personal time to help the kids prepare with their AP exam. He has review sessions before School on Wednesdays and some days after School. We are happy with the education at this school, my son will go to this School when he starts High school.
foothill is a very very clicky school, it is not a school you can just move into, it is the kind of school where you have to go to the middle school with the kids attending, also it took almost 4 weeks to get registered, education is good in some aspects but still not the finest school there is
Foothill occupies two extremes on a student spectrum. At this school, you have kids just about to drop out and are taking opportunity classes, and completely opposite to that, you have kids taking International Baccularate. Because of the mass amount of children who are in these opportunity classes, people often don't see the brighter side, therefore, Foothill gets a bad wrap when it shouldn't. The G.A.T.E. and I.B. teachers are the best. They really connect with the kids and parents. The school also works with kids and their families if they are going through a rough time. =D