Sadly, I must agree with the last reviewer who said that San Marino HS is not what is advertised to be, but for different reasons. So before you spend that 2 million dollars buying a house in the district, know that: the academic offerings of the school are simply substandard for a HS in a district of such affluence. Kids are registering for classes for the next academic year now, and we have discovered among other things that: - there are NO classes offered in computer science/programming - there is NO AP Physics class of any kind offered - no student is allowed to take a second science class, even as an elective - scheduling constraints (partly because all 1000 students from freshman to seniors have lunch during the same period) make it extremely difficult to take a full suite of AP classes during the four years of HS, which has been the standard at top academic high schools across the country for at least 20 years. The academic rigor of the curriculum needs to be improved, and there seems to be an unwillingness among the school administration to be responsive to these issues. The school puts students at a disadvantage for college admissions.
As a current student at San Marino High School, I only have two words for the families looking to register here: STAY AWAY. The teachers used to be great, but as each year goes on, the quality declines. All of our greatest teachers are either gone, or are about to retire. The only reason why we have such a high API is because we are fueled by tutors. My peers are extremely close-minded and I have seen my friends being bullied because he/she was gay/lesbian/transgender (my friend moved out because of this). Most of the student body is loaded with money, so don't be surprised if you see a student dragging his $900 leather backpack across the dirty grounds of the hallways. The environment is not supportive- everyone is whispering behind each other's backs, trying to beat someone else in the college application process. There is also a lot of cheating in the school. A lot of people have moved here recently, citing that our academics are top-notch, but they have been lied to. So please. If you want your child to have the best education possible, stay away from San Marino High School.
My school is epic, amazing, exciting, and fulfilling. It is truly a wonderful high school. The guys around here transcend stereotypes. You have the "jocks" taking calculus, the "nerds" in varsity sports, and the "average" guys who have more than a lot to show. The teachers here are phenomenal as well. They know what they are teaching; it is all reflected in the curriculum, environment, and collective eagerness of the students. Also, haters, please simmer down. We do pretty well on tests, but come and sit down in our speech&debate, media arts, and language classes. We are learning the fundamentals and much, much more. *peace*
As a former student, I can attest to the wonderful academics SMHS has to offer. The environment is definitely one for over-achievers in academia, but nonetheless does not provide the support and critical-thinking needed for students to succeed in college and beyond. Much of the process is memorization, however, I rate this school 4/5 because of the people I've met, the support of the entire city for SMUSD, and the location. This is a great place for children and teenagers who are well developed into academics and are self-starters when it comes to studying and working hard. But for those who struggle with academics, it may be a bit of a challenge to find the necessary help to compete with your classmates. Advice? If you plan on sending your child to SM, you should also consider getting a tutor to help them with their homework AND additional advancement to stay ahead.
As a former student associated with SMHS, I can definitely attest to the fact that their educational model excels at producing wonderful test scores. If you wish your child to become wonderful at memorizing answers to pass tests, then SMHS is for you. If you wish to become a true post-educational success, able to use critical thinking to solve real-world issues and problems, then stay away. The staggering amount of endless repetitive, memorizing style of homework, even well after the student has a full grasp and knowledge of the subject matter truly retards a students full true potential. Yes, SMHS produces wonderful "cubicle-dweller" type of employees rather than entrepreneurs and risk takers. It is a microcosmic representation of the causes behind Americas decline as a producer of industry and innovation. The graduates who succeed only do so because of parents involvement or financial backing, Not as a result of the education they received there. If you don't have your own resources independent of the school system, and are solely relying on the school to provide the best well rounded education and teaching, you will excel at becoming a great employee for someone else.
Most of the teachers here know what they are doing. There are also some teachers that are really fun and nice. The dance and drama productions are amazing. The community really supports the school, that's how SM has been able to maintain it's status. There are also many different clubs available for kids to participate in. There are also leadership opportunities and they are evident when the students and ASB put on and organize their own pep rallies, assemblies, fundraisers, and events.
This schools has it's strong points and it's weaker points, just like any other school. Some families love it, and some families decide to send their children to private schools. Do your research and make your own decision.
I graduated from San Marino High School a few years ago and I have found that it has not helped me (or other people I know who graduated from this school) to really be mature, self-confident, self-directed adults. This school was more like a factory of test-taking, essay writing, spoiled overachievers. I did not gain much life experience, socialization, or critical thinking skills from this school. I remember most students just doing what their parents expected of them. The sports teams were for the most part coached by teachers without much coaching experience. The visual arts program had little to no supplies and little to no support. Most of the teachers at this high school simply met the parents' demands. There is major grade inflation at this school. Whatever happened to life skills, life experience, global education as well as social or civic awareness?
As a student I must say the academics at SMHS are outstanding not only because of the test scores that are produced, but because of the staff. The teachers at San Marino are constantly challenging the students to look at the curriculum beyond the standards and use the material from the class room and apply it to world situations. Furthermore, the facilities/extra circular at San Marino are unbelievable. Moreover, the amount the school is able to provide in comparison to the average spent on pupil is amazing. And the great part about SMHS, the school doesn t remain complacent and always looks for ways to improve.
Having heard the level of excellence at SMHS mostlybrought upon the parent initiated tutors for their kids, I was apprehensive about moving to SM. However, having my 3 kids (ages elem to h.s. ages) at Carver and SMHS, for the last 3 years, I realized I was listening to the rants of a few outspoken parents who thought their kids were brighter than they were. As a 'minority' in the SM district (non-Asian), my kids have blossomed intellectually. The test scores are not as high bc of the high Asian population (though it helps), but, of my honest opinion, bc of the great support the schools and community provide for all of the kids. I thought I would have to get after-school tutors for my kids, but my oldest is in all AP classes and my hubby and I are happy to say that we haven't spent 1 cent on tutors.