Several paths to prepare for college: on-level, Magnet, AP and IB. A great Principal with a vision to keep making us better. Focus on making the teachers the best they can be. With the new building to be completed in the next few years we will be the best education around.
Coming from a small private school, a move to a big public school was a transition. Something I like very much is the the "real world" experience of Riverwood - kids have to learn to deal - with people who may not be just like them, with situations that aren't always ideal, and with challenges that come with being in a big school in an old building - it's part of the overall experience that teaches grit and determination and is a big plus in my book. If we wanted to shelter our kid in a bubble of protection, there are small private schools to choose from. If you want your kid to take a step towards facing and succeeding the challenges and opportunities of the real world, then Riverwood is a good place to take those steps.
Halfway through my son's 9th grade year at Riverwood and we are very pleased. We moved into the district for the school and can now say it was a good decision. I am very impressed with Principal Dr. Shaw who appears to be on top of everything and promotes excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts equally. We just attended the school musical and I was blown away - it was outstanding and I forgot I was watching high school kids (and the music was played by the live orchestra from the pit) - very impressed!! My son is happy, has made friends, is challenged academically, and is finding his crowd through sports and activities. Construction has started on the new school building and we're excited to see the new school come up out of the ground. Great Job and Thank you Riverwood!
Our family has had four children at Riverwood. They have all been blessed to be instructed by caring teachers and a principal who demands good behavior. The school and its curriculum asks a lot of students...its challenging. But as my children have gone on to colleges at Vanderbilt and elsewhere they have remarked that they felt their freshman years in college were often just reviewing their course of study at Riverwood. They were well prepared for the next step.
We're about to graduate our 3rd and youngest child from Riverwood Int'l Charter School. After 10 years at RIverwood (19 years in public schools total), we can sincerely say that it's been a great experience overall. Our children are very solid students but not academic superstars. They made the most of their experiences at Riverwood because that's how we "encouraged" them --- even when they didn't want to! They had some stellar and some not-so-stellar teachers...not dissimilar from life when you have great bosses and bad bosses. The student diversity of Riverwood allowed for not only great cultural texture but also reality -- just like what the real world holds. We've watched friends spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on private school education to only end up paying out-of-state/private college tuition. Riverwood (Ridgeview Middle and Heards Ferry Elem.) can be a launching pad to a good university for any student who works hard and gets involved (parent involvement is critical too!). NOTE: Our first was in the Honors College at U. of Ga., our second at Georgia Tech, and our third to U. of Ga.
Again...there are some excellent teachers and some very POOR teachers. Science stinks at Riverwood. The math, english and social studies departments are first class. Culinary, engineering and business...again excellent. Video Broadcast stinks. Culinary excellent. Remember, public school and Fulton County politics.
Riverwood pushes lots of IB and AP classes. He had 9 IB/AP classes by the time he graduated, while most of his friends were getting an IB Diploma and had closer to 15. It's hard academically to manage eight classes at a time (Riverwood is on a block schedule), but studying and doing a sport left him little time to get into trouble. At the time he was at Riverwood, I thought it was too much. But, now that he's in college and doing so well in his Honors classes, it might have been a good way to prepare him for the volume of college work.