Currently the grading policy is so bad that it inflates grades so as to inflate the average GPA of the school. Testing scores are certainly reflective of smarter students but it is a matter of the demographics rather than "higher quality education". Students are encouraged by the grading policy to fail the test the first time and retake it later.
I have attended Western Sierra for 6 years now (Middle school through high-school) and I have experienced WSCA at its best and worst. Unfortunately, it is at its worst right now. We lost our principal this year and along with him the administrative oversight over certain other administrators and teachers. Because of this and the ensuing tsunami of bad policies and unwarranted intervention by said administrators, 8 of our staff this year have been let go and or have left on their own accord. As the ASB ambassador, I have attended several board meetings and have seen that there is potential for improvement these next few years. However, currently the school is not in good shape and I would not recommend this school to anyone seeking a "better high-school experience"
As a former three-year student of Western Sierra, I have seen the school's ups and downs over the years. The school is a safe learning environment that really pushes each student beyond normal HS curriculum. The teachers (even some that have been layed-off) are excellent at what they do, and the counselor is AMAZING! I personally would not have survived this school without her. Now for the downside. Though I have seen the great teachers and have learned a lot at WSCA (including a few life lessons), I have also seen many administration "flops" and cover-ups by the staff (usually about teachers who have mysteriously disappeared). There are also those amongst the staff that almost seem to go out of their way to try to ruin your day (usually with a sour attitude no matter how nicely you try and talk to them). I have also witnessed (first-hand) unfair treatment of the students, such as the school expecting perfect attendance when classes are doing absolutely NOTHING (during the last week of school). Honestly, do you really expect that kids will show-up if you have nothing for them to do? This school (minus the counselor and teachers) has lost it's respect from me.
I have been going to Western Sierra for several years, and it has been absolutely AMAZING. The environment is really more like a big family than a school. The academics are challenging, but the teachers are so supportive and friendly and they're always happy to help. We also have so many awesome sports programs (basketball, cross country, track and field, both boys' and girls' volleyball, soccer, running club, and even more soon!), and they're getting better and better every year. I'm really excited about the new electives we'll have this year, including graphic arts, which will be really cool. I know some people have commented in the past saying bad things about this school, but it has really changed and grown a lot. We've doubled in size since last year and we have lots of awesome sports programs, clubs, academic teams, and class choices. The academics are challenging, but totally doable if you work hard and get help from your teachers when you need it. I am so excited about this coming year and to see what amazing things we'll accomplish, and I would never want to go to high school anywhere else.
My son completed 7th and 8th at WSCA and will be attending for high school as well. He actually said he was going to miss school over the summer! Great teachers, students, good size -- big enough that there's a group for everyone, but not overwhelmingly large. Strong academics ... many AP courses, all students expected to succeed with scaffolding to back it up, including the opportunity to re-take tests, advisory and enrichment periods for extra help and homework. A good variety of activities for the school of the size, great parent involvement. We love it.
As a student at WSCA I don't think it's as bad as a lot of the other students make it seem. I've been here since it first started and I've never been too interested in sports but we have teams. I'm in yearbook and we have covered pictures for HS girls soccer, HS/MS girls and boys volleyball, HS/MS girls and boys basketball, track and field plus cheer. In academics, I know the MS has been doing moot court since I also took pictures of that in yearbook. My AP English and Literature/AP U.S. History teacher is absolutely amazing. I don't doubt that I will pass the AP exams coming up. I've never been too good in math but my Pre-Cal teacher makes everything seem so much more easier. Science isn't as interesting to me but my class still continues to do well and I really enjoy my art class. The school is continuing to expand the choices of what classes students will be able to take in the upcoming years and I feel glad that my younger siblings will be able to have more choices. Students complain about WSCA being too hard at times but if a student does poorly it isn't completely the school/teachers fault. Even if the staff approaches the student, that student also has to do their part.
This school is great for a studious, non-athletic student. However, my daughter insisted on attending because of her best friend. Well, she has never been a studious kid. So, I'm letting her finish up eighth grade, then off to another Rocklin High School. Hopefully, she will be motivated and encouraged to study harder. I have tried at home, to no avail. I requested a SST from the school, and I am still waiting for it. My daughter may not best student, but she isn't stupid. She does not test well. They do have academic advisory where she gets help from a great gal, but I would like for them to assess her. She is very smart and has been a U.S.F.S. Figure Skater as well as an accomplished equestrian. I am hoping she gets more attention at a NON-CHARTER Rocklin unified school.