I like Niwot High School. It's not perfect. IMO I think it's good that it's an old school. I am so tired of paying out more more more taxes for luxury buildings when using what we have will do. A lot of the kids that go to the school, unfortunately, are spoiled and wealthy. THey are not bad people, but just spoiled. Some of the processes at the school could be improved, like switching classes and doing the schedules. The principal seems to be a good man who is trying to do the best for the school.
Ah where to start. First of all, the school looks like an abandoned mental institution/ DMV. It is old, small and crammed. The teachers complain about grading papers all of the time. The counselors don't take the time to help and do their jobs. Instead, they hide in "meetings" that last for over 4 hours. Many students have wasted hours at school waiting for a counselor to put them in an actual class because of a schedule mishap, done by the counselors in the first place. Niwot does not excel in academics or even sports. The staff are unhappy robots and I have never met so many unhappy students before. My time at Niwot has felt like a waste of time and I am glad to be leaving.
I have had one kid graduate from Niwot, one from Longmont and one from Holy Family (Broomfield private). Like anything, it is what YOU make of it. What is important is that there is opportunity here to learn a lot, great coaches for sports, teachers are overall good -- although in general I think public teachers have too much job security. IB is a great opportunity and it DOES matter to colleges. If the college doesn't know about IB, then it's not a discriminating college. You need to sign up for the 5% King Soopers grocery rebate to take the program for FREE. Niwot, like all high schools has a lot of drama. My daughter was in private school before high school and found the kids to be incredibly mean. I don't think it was Niwot, it's unfortunately just life. This school is one of the best choices for Boulder County, although not perfect. A lot of diversity in the IB program and throughout the school. The parents need to be involved in the school and their children's education to take advantage of all the opportunities that exist. Kids DO listen to their parents even though you might think that they ignore you. Tell them to do good, be good and do great things for the world!
I completely disagree with the previous comment about the IB program. It made a huge difference with our student, who felt very well prepared - she now attends one of the top schools in the country. She took both IB and AP classes and feels IB better prepared her for college. Also, both Princeton and Cornell admissions officers told me they prefer IB students because they're so well prepared. IB is not for every student - they have to be motivated and organized, but it is a great program and many of Niwot's IB scores exceed the international average.
Above average means that most teachers are dedicated and the staff is responsive to concerns: However, just because there is an IB program, and just because your student is doing well within it does not mean ALL teachers are working. Watching my sophomore's grades, I've noticed some teachers have decided grading papers is too much trouble. Two months passed in his spring 2012 Algebra class before a test was graded. Fall 2012 no writing assignment will be graded until mid-October after half the semester is over! I hope these teachers are willing to help pay for his first year at university after he flunks out wondering why he did so well at NHS.
Niwot HS is outstanding in every way, including diversity. Two low income neighborhoods, including a mobile home park on Francis St. are bussed to Niwot HS. Sports coaching is outstanding, music programs top notch, and teachers come from diverse backgrounds with high levels of education (physics teacher has a two degrees from MIT, English teachers have JD and bachelors from Vanderbilt,). The IB program is a special focus and the students come from all the surrounding towns, making the school even more diverse. Booster Club and Niwot Foundation fund the school well and parents are involved. Drug problems are minimal as are drinking problems.
Niwot high...Great school if you want your child to be 'book smart'...and not much more. Niwot will teach you how to be a great Doctor...or Dentist...or another high-paying job that won't require you to actually interact with people on a deeper level. Students at niwot don't get as much diversity as other schools in the distict do. You don't get the full range of people there, and you don't see how people interact on a more grand scale. I went to Niowt my freshman year...then moved and went to Skyline. A much better choice.
My son is a Junior and gave the IB progam a shot but wasn't quite disciplined enough to do well. He's in AP classes now and doing terrific. It's great that such a range of academic challenge is available. The number of sports and extra-curricular activities offered is incredible. The school spirit of the staff and students (especially at football games!) is wonderful. NHS really is a community.
Our daughter is a freshman at Niwot so we don't have much yet to make judgements on . She is also in the pre-IB program which is a school with in a school for the most part and may well be slanted toward the best of the best. That having been said we have been pleased so far. We had some concerns coming from a small private school setting to a very large public setting but our daughter seems to be doing well. She is thrilled to get to play in the Symphony which has won top honors in the state several years running and will be competing with an elite 15 schools in New York City next spring for the National Cup, a very big thrill for a freshman. Though the culture is quite different from where she was she seems to be adjusting well.