This review is not recent. In fact, this may be more than 10 years overdue. However, as a student at Wallenberg, due to its small nature, there were in fact many social pressures. As an adult I am learning that this is true in the workforce as well. I don't believe this ever changes.
I would say that Wallenberg had some wonderful teachers during my time and coaches on sports teams that cared very much about the student's well being. In fact, Patrick Mulligan is still there and an asset to Wallenberg.
I was a graduate of Wallenberg in 2005. My views are no longer applicable. During my time I had some wonderful teachers- English, Spanish, PE, to name a few of the subjects. Teachers come and go but at every school there will be good and bad ones.
This was not my child's first choice of high schools because it is a small high school (averaging 160 students per grade). However she has blossomed and made new friends and tried different sports and clubs. So we're huge fans, right? Not quite.....
Our daughter WAS a huge advocate and fan -- however in the past two years the administration has turned over and the new APs are not at all liked. At the same time the principal (who was never popular) has become even more controlling and panders to families with special needs or IEP to try and curry favor. She is at times downright rude to some parents and I hear has teachers terrified for their jobs. This has impacted my daughter as she loves her teachers.
All the administration cares about is their school rating and ensuring the achievement rate of african americans, english language learners and special education students improve (going so far as to give 50% even when there is no homework turned in and not suspending students as having a low suspension rate boosts ratings).
That said the majority of the students are left to their own devices. Ask to see the AP exam pass rates or college readiness scores and compare that to the GPAs. They don't align.
Yes this is a public high school with a varied student body. The same social pressures, challenges and issues exist here as with all public schools in an urban setting. The difference I feel is that with the size, there is no hiding it. Hence discipline issues need to be addressed. Stop the teacher turnover (hence stop bullying the teachers and improve the climate). They are terrified of the principal.
This school has the potential to be a true gem. However we need new blood at the administrative level. Assume ALL students can achieve instead of lowering standards just to graduate everyone. Make sure to nuture and invest in the new teachers and ensure the high turnover stops. Deal with the bad teachers but keep the good ones from turning over.
So stay on top of your child and the school. Find the good teachers as there are many of them and avoid the bad ones. Befriend those wonderful parents who spend hours volunteering. Again, our daughter has had some wonderful teachers that she loves. And she had a wonderful time with sports as the PE department is also outstanding.
Administration panders to ratings and therefore forces high grades, refuses to suspend students and overall tries to increase graduation rates by any means possible. This in itself is not fair nor does it instill a sense of integrity among the community of students and teachers.
Wallenberg is a horrible school in terms of safety, academics, and leadership.
There are fights every day, primarily involving African-American and Arab-American students, although all students are at risk. One cannot walk down the hallway to between classes without witnessing students pushing or punching each other. Often times the staff just stand there and watch the fight, or they just keep walking. When there are consequences for fighting, it is in the form of a "restorative circle" which does nothing to prevent future conflicts. Recently, a large group of students instigated a fight at a nearby store and the faculty had them discuss their differences over a pizza. One must then conclude that starting a fight is a good way to get a pizza party.
Very few teachers show any competence in teaching their classes. The majority of the good teachers left and the only good teacher still here is the AP Statistics teacher. The majority of teachers are unable to control their students and have to take a significant amount of class time each day telling students to behave, which greatly detracts from instructional time. Additionally, many teachers use their position as a soapbox to endorse their own political views. Of particular note is the "AP" "Literature" class, which deserves no part of its official title. The "teacher" shows blatant favoritism towards the students who agree with her views. We have spent class time watching music videos and discussing whether or not they are sufficiently in accordance with the teacher's political views. For the record, videos set in foreign countries starring white people are unacceptable, but Beyonce's "Formation" is a powerful piece of literature. If you do anything to incur her displeasure, she will email all of your other teachers in an attempt to damage your reputation.
As mentioned earlier, the school has an extremely high turnover rate and it is often the good teachers who leave. Both the students and the teachers are fearful of the administration, especially the principal, and this is likely the main reason for the high turnover rate. The dean recently resigned, claiming that Wallenberg is an "unsafe working environment" which uses "fear and intimidation as motivators".
Wallenberg is an awful school that is getting worse by the day. I would not recommend it to anyone.