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Valley High School

Public | 10-12


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27 reviews of this school

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Posted January 8, 2012

This is just a response to everyone that complains about Valley being a stuck up school. Yes, it's a wealthy suburb. Yes, they're proud of their sports teams. But that doesnt make it any different than any other school. All schools are going to have cliques, and Valley is one of them. I graduated last year, and I was never part of a clique. I wasn't "popular," I wasn't in sports. I wasn't one of the most noticed or celebrated students, nor did I do drugs or get in trouble a lot. But I loved it there. I loved the atmosphere, and I loved the teachers. I can think of a ton of other schools in the area that have "drug problems," its high school. Thats how it is. But don't judge the school by some of the kids that go there, not everyone is stuck up, not everyone is super rich.
—Submitted by a student

Posted January 28, 2011

I have a response to the student that thinks Valley High School students are not judged. Either you are part of a popular clique, or have blinders on. I'm a former student that was not part of any cliques, and I was made to feel so badly by the other students, (and many members of staff) that I would often cry at the thought of going to school. I did not have a lot of money, and did not do any drugs, which is why I was treated in this manner. This school has always had one of the worst drug problems in the city, because the rich kids that go there can afford it.

Posted October 20, 2010

I am a current Valley student and absolutely love the school. WDM is a wealthy suburb yes, but no one is judged by the dollar signs by their name. I participate in sports, clubs, and AP courses. Valley stresses academic excellence much more than they do sports. Its the students themselves who put on the athletic pressure to excel since they want to uphold the tradition of dominance in the state of Iowa. In order to be an athlete though you have to meet a number of academic requirements and have a good behavior record. Valley dominants not only in sports, but academically and in the arts. The school is multi-dimensional. The administration may not be what it used too, but it still works for the students and focuses on their success. Also the majority of teachers are excellent and overly qualified.
—Submitted by a student

Posted August 20, 2010

I'm concerned about VHS after reading all of these reviews. Check out all the mistakes in grammar and spelling! I hope my daughter graduates with better language skills than are on display in this forum!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 1, 2010

Very unimpressed. Snobby and uncaring. If you don't fit into the clique, then forget it. The teachers turn a blind eye to bullying, and seem afraid of some of the 'alpha' pupils. I would not send my child to this school again. Principle is hopeless, and is a rich kid groupie. Anyone who is rich, preppy and spiteful will fit in like a dream here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 24, 2009

VHS is a great school with a wide variety of opportunities in the classroom and amazing extra-curricular choices. VHS is far superior to the private high school, Dowling Catholic, which is also located in West Des Moines. VHS offers excellent support to all students, unlike Dowling which does not accept students with special needs.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 29, 2009

Former student here, and it really was a great school. Tons of extracurricular sports, clubs, scholastics, and even just-for-fun classes to take, whether it be Computer Programming, Wood Shop, Advanced Placement Calculus, or a choice of several languages (and not just the common ones). I also really connected with a couple teachers. The only bad thing was a time-waster activity they implemented when I was there called homeroom. Hope they got rid of that.
—Submitted by a student

Posted May 25, 2009

Excellent variety of course offerings. Latin being an impressive favorite. Some unfortunate liberal agenda pushing on the behalf of some of the teachers; however, the majority are dedicated professionals.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 5, 2008

i go to valley and i think that the academic oppertunities are endless. But you must be involved if you want to get anything out of the high school. Sports and extracurriculers are a must, and you better be in a club. The parking situation is horrible there are like no spots and the hallways are really full.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 25, 2008

My kids are recent graduates of Valley. They loved their experience there - great teachers, counselors, etc. As in any school, kids get out of it what they put into it. Nothing but positives to say about VHS.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 13, 2008

I'm also a student at Valley and really enjoy the experience I have there. Although it's not perfect, over the past three years there I have had had many teachers that truely care about me. Valley has so many opprotunities to be involved, even if you are not into sports. The one negative I have is that there are too many students and the halls are unbareable to walk through!
—Submitted by a student

Posted October 14, 2007

I am a student at Valley and I would like to say that it has not been what everyone has said a high school experience should be like. The teachers at Valley do not like to help when academic assistence is needed. The administration are a bunch of people who act like they would rather not be there. Overall Valley has gotten to into the hype of their athletic program. In recent years Valley has been one of the elite programs, but many of the students are here for more then sports. Valley cares to much for beating rivals and winning state championships. They also spend to much time complaining about other schools and not fixing their own school. So my main point is Valley is a horrible school and if you really care about education and being treated nicely i'd advise sending your kids to another high school.
—Submitted by a student

Posted May 29, 2007

Good academic programs, good varied curriculum weak extracurricular availability, not nearly enough opportunity, too small of a campus setting for too many students
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 22, 2006

Although Valley has many great teachers and programs, the administration (mainly speaking about one certain person in specific) and the counselors (at least my own counselor) truly make for a terrible high school experience. These people do not care about any of their students who do not excel in athletics. As a current Valley student, I find myself frusterated beyond belief and far from 'guided' whenever I come into contact with these individuals. So unless your child is an amazing athlete or a glutton for punishment, I would not recommend sending them to Valley. This school has been the worst experience of my life.
—Submitted by a student

Posted January 15, 2006

I graduated from valley in 1981 and thought it was a great school. But i failed to listen to people when it came time for my children to go there. Dumb mistake!! the students are great but the faculty cares only about the students who are in sports and whose parents have money. Teachers don't think twice before they humiliate a student in front of the entire class if their test scores are lower than others. Valley stresses parents be involved with thier childs education. I left a message with one of my childs teacher about grades and attendance and he thought it would be cool to play my message to the entire class! not cool! this is just another way the teacher's at valley like to humiliate students. If you're not in sports or a club you can't even park at the school. Valley gets a big 'f' from me.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 6, 2005

I am currently attending Valley. I've been in the West Des Moines school district my entire life and up until sophomore year it was great. Valley is now trying to hard to change, for no purpose. The money goes to stadiums and coffee shops yet we're taking funding out of school clubs, art department and the newspaper was almost shut down. The administration does not listen to their students. If there is a rule it can never be broken even under special circumstances, the admin. continues to ignore, and continues to have no concern. I think Valley has great acedemic courses but, that can only go so far. As a student growing one needs consistancy, one needs to feel safe in their environment, emotionally secure and at Valley i feel that's becoming a growing epidemic.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 22, 2005

I graduated from Valley in 1999. I can honestly say that it was one if the worst experiences of my life. I was a gifted student and took many of the excellerated courses the school had to offer, which I think helped develope higher thinking in my case. I will say, though, that students get lost in the shuffle which can make you lose interest. Also, the curriculum was boring and not as focused on as the athletic dept. I felt there was no drive for talented kids like myself. I also found that if you don't come from the perfect family, situation, or even question the instition they are driving, the staff almost forces you out of the system as a 'problem'. The staff members that I found most inspiring aren't even on the staff anymore, and from what I understand never were supposed to be.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted February 19, 2005

This school shows great leadership and is still one of the best schools in the state, and soon to be country.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 26, 2005

our experience with valley spans 18 years.....the overall quality, integrity, and ensuing student/community support have deteriorated over the course of the past few years. A weak adminsitration and a less than exemplary athletic staff which unfortunately run the school have combined for a confused double-standard environment at valley The priority at valley is football...nothing less....nothing more. check out the 9 million dollar stadium which the 'former' superintendent referred to as 'our largest classrroom'.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted October 7, 2004

I graduated from Valley in 2003, and it's an awesome schoool to go to! It definetlly challenges students and it most definetly prepared me for college (U of Iowa Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Medicine). Also, Valley has one of the best ACT scores in the nation. There is definite competition between students, but this competition will prepare students for getting into college, doing well in college, and the real world. Valley is an wesome school, everone should check it out!
—Submitted by a former student

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.

Grade level


The state average for Math was 81% in 2013.

589 students were tested at this school in 2013.





The state average for Reading was 82% in 2013.

589 students were tested at this school in 2013.




Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests

In 2012-2013 Iowa used the Iowa Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in reading and math. The scores reflect the performance of students enrolled for the full academic year. The Iowa Assessments are standards-based tests, which measure specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Iowa. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Source: Iowa Department of Education


All Students90%
African American78%
Economically disadvantaged70%
Students with disabilities47%
English language learners38%


All Students87%
African American78%
Economically disadvantaged68%
Students with disabilities39%
English language learners8%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests

In 2012-2013 Iowa used the Iowa Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in reading and math. The scores reflect the performance of students enrolled for the full academic year. The Iowa Assessments are standards-based tests, which measure specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Iowa. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the Iowa Department of Education. If there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group.

Source: Iowa Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 78% 81%
Hispanic 9% 9%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 5% 2%
Black 5% 5%
Two or more races 2% 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 15%N/A39%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

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3650 Woodland Ave
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Phone: (515) 633-4000


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