PHS is an extraordinary school. We've had two kids here for the past 3 years years, and we couldn't be happier with the quality of the education, the warmth and brightness of the children, and the connectedness and intelligence of the parent community. We looked at -- and were lucky to be accepted at -- many schools in San Francisco, and PHS was the clear winner. Scott Duyan, the head of school, is a true leader and his vision is setting the tone for the future. As someone who attended a broad range of private schools as well as great public schools growing up on the East Coast, I felt a certain amount of trepidation as we embarked on the journey of finding the right school for our kids. But PHS quickly put those fears to rest. And so far our children have blossomed here.
Curriculum is uneven. PHS has poor leadership so some teachers do a wonderful job (with little support) and others collapse and allow disorder. The students have told me that their hippy teachers tell them to be free and then lose their tempers when the kids go too far. The kids get rough and there is a lot of bullying..
I am a doctor, and I was looking for a very strong academic program that embraced progressive education, as well as provided a warm, nurturing environment for my two sons. Both of my children have attended this school since they were in the pre-K program. My oldest son graduated in 2005 and is now graduating from college. My younger son will graduate PHS in 2015. I am continually impressed by the caliber of teachers that instruct the students. I have watched the school grow over the years and PHS has managed to maintain its mission statement and provide an exemplary learning experience for its students. Over many years, I have seen the results of a PHS education: the graduates are upstanding, confident, poised, articulate, empathetic individuals with a world view toward other people and a love of learning, and they are fully prepared academically to excel in their high school and then college educations, and from there their choice of career. It is not easy for me financially to send my children to PHS, but I have been so impressed with the students who have attended and graduated from this wonderful school that it is a sacrifice I have been willing to make.
My son started fifth grade this year, and overall he is quite happy. His teacher is excellent. The families are wonderful, and the other kids are all very interesting and diverse. The class seems to get along really well with one another. Homework - which used to be an issue - is now much better. Only nits: The physical size of the school is quite small in relation to the number of kids. It would be great to have PE more than twice a week, and it has to be a nearby playground. Hopefully a planned expansion will help alleviate the space problems.
A school with inadequate supervision, inconsistent discipline and weak defensive leadership. Attracted by the promise of an experiential program and its great reputation, we are very disappointed. The message is strong but our middle school experience is characterized by chaos in the classroom, bullying, vandalism and demoralized teachers. In this liberal, progressive school parents are patronized and marginalized rather than included in the process of education. However, the parent community is wonderful and some of the teaching is superb. There are some dedicated and caring teachers, while other teachers are weak. Areas of excellence are humanities, science and the art program. Bottom line my child was not prepared adequately for High School, especially in Math. My child reported after a summer camp that the kids @ PHS are known to be 'Spoilt & Mean'. A shame that poor leadership allows a few out of control kids to destroy the reputation of a great school.
Last year my child entered Presidio Hill with high hopes borne of a year in SFUSD middle school. For the first month or two he was pleased and relieved to find classes half the size of those in the public middle school, but soon he began telling his mother and me he felt school at PHS was like "being in a madhouse." While discipline in classrooms and the library can be so lax as to allow a chaos that interfers with curriculum, the kids are lectured about community, freedom and responsibility. His experience, and mine, is that the kids are then infantilized when they try to act responsibly independent and want to be treated as if they are in a community instead of in a typical hierarchical structure.
PHS Rocks! I can't say enough about this school--and I am very picky. My children are in K and 2nd and I would like to have had every teacher in the lower school for a teacher when I was a kid (Don't know Upper School well). The school draws the perfect line between being nurturing and loving, on the one hand, and intellectually challenging on the other. What is my favorite part about the school? I have so many I have to list three: (1) It is a very inclusive, nurturing and generous environment for all members of the community (students, teachers and parents alike); (2) they handle the problems that invariably arise with openness, intelligence and wisdom; (3) everyday it gives me a deep sense of joy to know that my children are going to a school that is just right for them. PHS is a dream come true.
Our mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at
school, at home and in their community. We are a national non-profit with offices and programs
in Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.