Northgate is a great school. There are some awesome teachers, but I think that the difference is that there are so many options for kids that choose to take them. Our son is in Jazz Band and the opportunities he has had with the music program are way beyond what we could imagine. The music program works because of strong parent and student involvement and Greg Brown is such a dedicated teacher. Students can't get these opportunities anywhere else in the district or in any of the private schools. There are a lot of great electives at this school, our son just wishes that there were more periods available so that he could take more of these classes. As with any school, your experience is what you make it. The opportunities are there. We had really bad experiences at another elementary school in the district and moved to the Northgate area so that our son could attend the school. We don't regret that move for a moment.
This is a great school if you are looking for your child to spend a lot of time with Substitiute Teachers and watching videos to fill the time. The school is lax with accountability and keeps communications to parents about issues to a minimum.
I am a former student who attended Northgate High School and graduated in 2010 and am currently a junior in college. Everyone has their own experiences in high school, based on their identity e.g. who their friends are, what groups they associate themselves with, etc. I was not a big fan of Northgate at the time; I was an average student earning not-so-impressive grades, I was not involved in as many groups, clubs as I would have liked (I was only involved with Be the Change Club and Softball)... Looking back, I now have an appreciation for the staff and school in general that I lacked three years ago. The parents are amazing and so supportive, the staff is okay, however, because of budget cuts the school's academic flare is beginning to flicker and dim. Although since I have left, they have added Mandarin to their Language Department. This is a good school. (Also, if you have any seniors preparing for college, DO NOT listen to the college counselor. She made me cry on my first day of my senior year, telling me I should not aim too high as to get my hopes up--because of my poor GPA. I was admitted to a 4-year University later that year and now have a better GPA than I did in HS.)
I am currently finishing my Junior year at NHS. This school isn't bad overall but its definitely not all its hyped up to be. The main things I can complain about as a cynical teenager are the lack of windows in 95% of the classrooms, the repetitive schedule, the lame students and the horrible cafeteria food. I have had some awesome teachers but about as many who were just alright or that weren't too good. It seems the sports teams are good as well as the sports medicine, AP/Honors and band programs. Though I am not involved in a lot of activities, you can definitely find something to keep you busy if you want. Not such a big fan of the administration. If you live in the area, Northgate will more then serve its purpose as a place for your kids to get a education that will prepare them for college, however don't go out of your way to send your kids to this prison-like high school fortress of mediocrity.
Northgate has a very strong parent support base and wide variety of of AP and Honors classes. I am very glad we are here and NOT at Las Lomas or Acalanes due to the neighborhood and the strong parental support. It does make a difference. GET INVOLVED and stop complaining. Even if you work fulltime, find a way to help.
Northgate was once a great school but it's now on a downward academic slide. There is no way it is a 10, maybe 8. The parents in this community are amazing but do not be fooled into thinking your kids will have the opportunity to pursue cutting edge academic goals. Get yourself over to LL or Acalanes. Northgate 'talks' academic excellence but the reality is they stop at 'good enough' and won't support a higher vision, even if the student asks for help. Wish they would wake up and turn this around.
Northgate is a terrific school. The teachers and staff are hardworking and caring. They motivate the kids to do the best they can, and prepare them for life after high school. Our students are a great group of kids with a sense of community and school spirit. I can't say enough about our principal, we love him. Our only drawback is our school district, we if could get them in shape it would be even better.