At PCS there is just a higher expectation for the students-and they rise to the challenge. My daughter was at risk of falling between the cracks at her public school in Scotts Valley and luckily made it into the lottery at PCS entering 7th grade. The teachers at PCS pulled her up and when she started slipping, she had to attend mandatory study sessions with older students who tutored as a means to earn community service hours. She also was invited to lunch study sessions with some of the teachers when she needed extra help. It is NOT true that you have to be a really great student to attend PCS. She is an excellent example of that. They take ANY student and make them great students-that is the magic of PCS! She ended up graduating as an AP Scholar with Honors and is now attending her first-choice college. She participated in so many clubs during her time at PCS; her favorite by far was the Key Club, where she helped tutor kids in the Barrios Unidos program. She fell in love with those kids and still stays in touch with some of them. Her younger siblings are now attending PCS and are doing wonderfully. They are in an atmosphere where their peers are supportive and high achieving, and so it is just the norm to do likewise. They are active in several different sports on campus and we have found wonderful sportsmanship from their teammates and parents alike-who, by the way, are all super involved and on top of their students' lives. It's so refreshing to be in a school where I know my kids are getting the best education available, where their peers are kind, supportive and supported, the parents are involved, friendly and have formed a really special community, and the teachers truly care about the students and are available to them. I couldn't recommend PCS highly enough.
I think this school is superb! The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is that some of the History taught reflects the personal political and social views of the teachers. There needs to be much less bias and more balance in the History curriculum.
We absolutely love this school. My daughter came from Scotts Valley Middle, hesitated about switching, and fell in love with the school, does not want to go back at all. I agree that this school is not necessarily for everyone. It is somewhat different from the "typical" American high school experience (and I think it's no coincidence that it has a somewhat more international group of families than many of the local schools). If your child prefers a large campus, or an emphasis on sports, or the more typical American high school experience that one reviewer described (football, basketball, etc.), then this school might not be for your child. However, if your student would like a small campus, close community, much stronger emphasis on fine arts, languages, sciences and academics, then this could be a great school. We have also liked it socially. My daughter has found a great group of friends; although they do work hard, they have a lot of fun together too and are really nice kids. Also, there is less pressure here to fit into some of the high school stereotypes (jock, nerd, cheerleader). Not for everyone, but they serve their stated mission extremely well.
Our daughter left PCS at two months into 7th grade due to stress and the fact that we wanted her to have the typical "high school" experience that we didn't see happening at the highly academic-oriented format of PCS. I'm happy to say that , after leaving PCS, she enjoyed the typical high school football and basketball games, formals and fun of high school as well as the acadmic rigor requred to get her into a great college. This week, coming from Soquel High, she was accepted into University of Chicago, Georgetown, Northwestern, Tufts and American. So, parents, my advice to you would be to think carefully about the unrelentingly priority that PCS has on rigor with a healthy, social and academic focus that could equally happen in your local high school.
PCS is a great school overall. However it is very demanding , my kids are doing fine, but sometimes they struggle for such challenging academic programs. Sometimes I wonder if I should transfer them to a regular school.. On the other hand I can see the great results and positive impact on my 3 kids. It is adifficult choice as a parent, don't take it lightly... If you don't have the time to sit down and help your kid succed on a daily basis through organizational skills or academic direction don't apply. PCS volunteers are great, the teachers are very good and the leadership strong as well.. My kudos to all of them.
Amazing education that far surpasses all other schools in all of Monterey Bay. I have found that other students in their freshmen year at other schools are learning the material we learned in 7th grade. PCS will prepare me for very prestigious schools, far better than other public schools.
Our son left (along with about 11 other students) in his Jr. Year. The emphasis was primarily on AP test taking and so much homework that seemed to gauge how much work students could do vs. how much they learned. For him, the curriculum's rigidity and lack of choice made learning seem like a chore instead of a life-long pursuit. It is a school that works for some kids and not others. Parents should think about what their child is like and what they want out of their education and see if it is a good fit before having them choose this school.
My daughter left PCS after attending 7-10 grades. Though very bright she found the pressure to get good grades and homework load were too great. She started out with great self esteem and a love to learn and left with feelings of failure, inadequacy and burn out. The homework load left her little time to pursue any other interests outside of academics. She is now attending another small charter school and is much happier and feels she is actually learning more then at PCS because she is now taught how to think and at PCS she was mostly taught how to pass the AP tests.
PCS has an amazing faculty devoted to public education and college preparation for all students. The curriculum is extremely rigorous and is not for everyone, but only for STUDENTS (not just parents) who want it. It is not a place a student can be forced to attend. It has a narrow mission--college prep for everyone, and admission is lottery based--and that is what is done well. There is also a strong emphasis on community service and a global perspective. As with most educational endeavors, it is experimental and does not cover every aspect of student and child development. Many non-academic aspects of growing up are left for families to cover in their own way. The school culture is very positive and academic. Students have fun, care about each other and work very hard.