I just graduated. I had really hoped to get into RV as an eighth-grader because my community high school is one of the worst in Colorado.
What was good socially: Despite assumptions, RV is a very inclusive school. While there are few minority students, you are treated as if you matter; whether you dress like a dork, dress like the opposite gender, don't have enough money to dress like anything intentionally, are very fat, an atheist or Mormon, a racial minority, or from a different country. I felt that fewer people were excluded here than in my old district (a more racially diverse one) where how swaggy your clothes and hair are were of utmost importance. The school also places emphasis on community support. There were always large-scale volunteer and charity efforts. I especially appreciate being treated as an adult by teachers, administrators, and school policy/culture. There aren't stifling and inane rules on how to dress, speak, how to organize your own supplies, where to go when,etc.
What was good academically: You're surrounded by well-rounded and intelligent peers who make class discussions and group work worthwhile. Most teachers are passionate, organized, good-humored, and on the reasonable spectrum of strict and lenient. I learned so much in every subject. I always felt like I was surrounded by astounding young men and women, so I had big fish in a bigger pond syndrome-while exceptional in my old district, I was average at RV. But even though I suspect I could have received more scholarships had I went elsewhere, I would not have been as prepared for college.
What was bad/tips to succeed: Many elective classes are a complete waste of time. don't fill your schedule with more electives than necessary, because you'll learn very little about the subject matter and the time is better spent studying for core-subject classes. Don't be lazy. Improve, don't decline each semester. Use every Access period and free period to do homework, study, and get help. Try to take as many honors and AP classes as possible, because some less accountable teachers teach regular courses; and on the English/Humanities side those classes are a joke. GET INVOLVED. Join a sport, musical, whatever. Any outcastiness I felt was my own fault for not being involved. Also, if your kid likes sports, send him here, his head will explode.
Ralston Valley is a well know great high school. I just want to repeat and maybe add some reasons as to why. We have a special needs son and he has struggled all throughout his schooling career. He still has struggles, but his confidence and happiness level is AMAZING. EVERY teacher that we have met has been exemplary. My son has a case manager, Mrs. Klein. She is the best teacher he has ever had. She gets him, guides him, holds him accountable and is very respectful. I am so glad we chose to move from another state and buy a house in the boundaries just so our son could attend school here. Another school philosophy I LOVE is the policy they have on turning in work. Its not about turning in work on a designated time, its about the learning process. My son is finally learning skills before he moves onto new skills. I can not say enough about how happy we are.
The teachers amazing at this school. I love going here and believe that I am properly being prepared for collage. The "cliques" and "preppy" kids are at every school, not just Ralston Valley! The music department is incredible and all the sports and clubs are amazing.
After attending Ralston Valley for my Freshman and Sophomore years I have to say that I am utterly unimpressed with it. I don't think that it deserves it's 10 rating. The administration certainly had nothing to do with that. They are lazy when it comes to improvement. The academics are alright, especially if you take honors or AP courses, but they are nothing exceptional. There is defiantly a huge emphasis on sports. The main problem with Ralston Valley is the pressure to conform to the upper-middle class white kid stereotype. When it comes to the outside world students are ignorant and xenophobic, preferring to stay safely inside the Ralston Valley bubble. If this doesn't bother you then you'll probably have a great time at Ralston Valley, but if you have a problem with this, then you will will most likely feel isolated and trapped by the homogeneity here.
Ralston Valley was a great high school for myself. I came from a small middle school up in the mountains and although it was daunting at first it was a great experience. I suppose I was in the unpopular group in school but I enjoyed it nonetheless and gained great friends in the process. While there are "cliques" at this school they are not as bad as you would think. It's not segregation, just people wanting to hang out with other people. I was never bullied at this school and while it is mostly Caucasian, it is a very accepting school. I would recommend it to anyone and I disagree with some of the lower ratings on here.
I attended Ralston Valley for two years before leaving and home schooling my last two years. I couldn't handle the disrespect of the students towards the teachers and the laziness of the teachers anymore. Discipline simply does not exist here. Kids wear whatever they want despite the dress code and teachers couldn't care less about their kids (absolutely everything is about test scores- one of my science teachers even told us that he didn't care if we learned, that his job was simply to run through the curriculum). As mentioned before, there is no diversity. Most kids are snooty rich/upper-middle class students that come to school hung over from partying all weekend. In middle school I had a 4.0 GPA and was asked to join the Junior Honor Society; here I struggled to hold good grades, not because I wasn't motivated or didn't have parents that cared, but because my teachers never helped me when I asked for help. All they did was write notes on the board, we copied, and were tested the next day. No teaching. One of my teachers even disappeared in the middle of the school year and no one heard from him again or knows what happened. I can name 5 good teachers; the rest were lazy.
Our child has been attending here for 3 years. He lettered academically in his Freshman year and was elected to National Honor Society the following fall. He carries a 3.85 GPA and takes honors classes. It is a rigorous schedule and it is good for him, however, he will be attending a different high school for 12th grade due to the fact that the faculty does not return phone calls or emails that they don't deem important enough. In speaking with the principal, we were told that even though our family was going out of the country for 2 weeks, he would be unable to take his finals early (by 1 day), which jeapordizes his GPA, National Honor Society, and possibility for an academic scholarship. People are right about this school. It is very beautiful to look at, but that doesn't help the situation that all the staff wants to do is make sure their test scores are high so they can get more students and be "the best" in scholarships, etc....It is a joke!! The principal didn't care that the counselor failed to contact me back after weeks of emails and phone calls, and just shrugged it off! My son deserves better...and he will be a better person for attending a different High School!
If you think it important your children gain an understanding of the value of other points of view, diversity and tolerance, in addition to academics, go elsewhere. RV has close to no diversity in student backgrounds, ethnic or otherwise and does not appear to seek it out. Half our son's teachers did not bother to respond to parent inquiries, email or otherwise. The focus is solely on test scores and college admissions. If you're looking for a myopic focus on academics and sports, an appalling lack of diversity, and just want to keep your kids in an upper middle class suburban bubble, this is the place for you. But most of us think there's a lot more to education than that. You can do much better for your kids than RV. Test scores and sports trophies aren't the only yardsticks. Our son has a solid B average at RV in his first year. Academics are fine, the social environment leaves a lot to be desired. You can get the academics with a much more rounded and educational experience elsewhere. We'll not be back next year. Thanks to School Choice there are alternatives!
Ralston Valley High School is exceptional! The principal is amazing and has a great relationship with all the students. Challenging curriculum and students are very prepared to go on to college. Would recommend Ralston Valley to anyone looking for an excellent school for their children.
I have two children that graduated from RV and they are as different as night to day. My oldest received a full tuition academic scholarship from a prestigious private university. My second a full ride sports scholarship from D-1 University. I attribute both of their successes to the leadership from the admisitration and some of the best teachers in the state. They encouraged growth and pushed both my kids to their full potential. I have read a few negative reviews from other parents, and as an involved parent myself, I can say that most students who don't succeed there, usually have troubles due to lack of motivation and parental support, not a lack of teacher initiative.