As a parent of a student who has attended Stanford OHS for 3 years, I can say that our experience has been amazing. The quality of the teaching staff makes the education truly unique. My son has been able to take advanced classes in science and math that would not have been available to him at most other highly rated schools. Stanford OHS is truly special in its ability to meet the needs of bright and engaged students. In many classes, the instructional model is “flipped”--meaning that lectures are watched before class and that discussion takes place during the instructional period. My son loves the give and take amongst his peers in this environment. He also enjoys the flexibility of the schedule. Classes are taught on a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule leaving Fridays open for club meetings and other activities. Throughout the week, teachers make themselves easily available to students through office hours and individual appointments. As a result, students form strong and lasting relationships with their instructors. We researched many excellent academic programs before selecting Stanford OHS. In the end we found a program that is both academically rigorous and innovative.
Enrollment is now capped at the present level, so expect admissions to get even more competitive. About 2/3 of the professors have an ivy league quality Ph.D. (most teaching at the high school level), so students perform as scholars in Socratic seminars. Expect college textbooks, no spoon-feeding, being highly prepared before each class, with participation required in classes of 16 or less. The writing center is devoted to helping students complete their essays; expect them to produce college-level work. Students are encouraged to attend professors' office hours. One parent said her son entering Cal Tech was better prepared than his peers; that was six years ago, and he graduated with a choice of three Ph.D. programs including Cal Tech, choosing Stanford. We visited Cal Tech's admissions office this summer and can personally confirm their enthusiasm for Stanford OHS graduates, who have many other fine college choices as well. We also attended a six-day Stanford OHS meetup in Shanghai with eight other OHS families this last summer. What a fantastic experience, which we capped off with 10 more days touring China arranged by a travel agency chosen by our hosts, flying to three cities and sightseeing with our own drivers and guides in each city! Stanford OHS has been a dream come true for all of us, parents and child, including the educational experience and the friendships we enjoy. For self-motivated students who thrive on challenging themselves and like the stimulation of associating with others with similar talents.
When my daughter's English professor says he can do more with his Stanford OHS class than he did with his college classes at his previous school; when professors say they routinely see their AP students scoring a 5 on their spring exams; when you find stellar parents enthusiastically express satisfaction about the quality of education their children receive at Stanford OHS; when I interview the teachers and walk away amazed at the depth of the their knowledge and joy of their commitment to this school; when I see the essays my daughter writes and review her preparation for her finals, for which the school allots 3 hours for each class, I know the depth of what she is learning and how effective these teachers are.
Our daughter rarely requests an extension, but she schedules her time carefully and works diligently. Her first drafts increasingly need little revision, showing improved productivity, allowing her to take on more responsibilities. Her confidence has increased tremendously.
And resilience! Stanford University has a Resilience Project for its college students and the lessons of that program are mirrored at Stanford OHS. The mentoring program is stellar! Great counselors are ready to help. Our daughter has set her goals far above what we could have imagined upon entering Stanford OHS, and achieved great success.
Every meetup I have attended, mostly once a month in the Palo Alto and greater San Francisco Bay Area, I have found the students to play well and respect each other. The students come from very diverse backgrounds and cultures, spanning the globe, some with extraordinarily accomplished parents, but everyone with profound respect for each other. The experience is awe-inspiring.
The leadership class features CEOs from Silicon Valley and elsewhere, each of whom must demonstrate humility, compassion and empathy. This class, which can be repeated for several semesters, instills these values by example, and the entire staff, both administrative and teaching professors live these values.
Proctered exams, very close supervision in small classes of 16 or less, exceptional professors, great counselors for personal development and academic advancement, emphasis upon developing personal values, and high expectations, challenging coursework.