This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Yarmouth High School5
Posted October 24, 2014
- a student
This school is absolutely excellent. I have attended private schools, public schools, and I have been homeschooled as well. Yarmouth has been the absolute best; it is such a community. Students are engaged in learning, and teachers respect the students. I love going to class because they are discussion based, and it's truly about learning and not just memorizing formulas and writing essays. My biggest class last year was 15 students. Every class is challenging, but students help each other stay motivated. The school offers many AP classes, and we have the highest SAT average in Maine (everyone in ME takes the SAT Jr year). Everyone in Yarmouth is involved with the school, and it is such a great place to be. The sports, play, music, and art are all strong (look at our website for the latest accomplishments). With only 500 students, Yarmouth is still able to compete with (and beat) schools that are much bigger in size (such as Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth). Yarmouth is unique, however, because it is down-to-earth and friendly with each other. Every student is involved somehow. The learning environment is excellent, and I couldn't ask for a better place to go to high school!
I'm not sure what curriculum the commenters went through or had their children go through, but our child is gifted and the school was very flexible in accelerating the course work and accommodating our child's abilities. Their is also a huge amount of help for those who need extra support. The general quality of the teaching and administration is excellent, none better in Maine. Weak spots are the integrated math curriculum which should be returned to algebra-geometry-trig, and the lack of willingness to let kids fail when they are failing. College and the workworld don't always provide the safety net provided here. The overall experience as a way to grow up beats the pressure cooker at large suburban schools near large cities by a large margin.
I am excelling at a top-tier college right now, and I owe it all to Yarmouth High School. Yarmouth has an undoubtedly challenging curriculum, but the work is worth it. The teachers were warm and brilliant, classmates friendly and accepting, and classes demanding yet fun. Students share a more liberal perspective, and there's more socio-economic diversity than there is in Cape Elizabeth or Falmouth, which adds to an appreciative and accepting student body (even while there is so little racial diversity). Students, despite the "Yarmouth bubble" of middle-class wealth, are engaged in community service not only at the local level but at the national and global level as well. There is definitely a progressive/unique vibe at Yarmouth, represented by the open-minded and creative students.
I am a parent who moved to Yarmouth from another school system. My child has been in a public urban school, and then was in private school. Yarmouth High School has been a vast improvement over both, and my daughter loves it. My daughter is an above average student, she is appropriately challenged, has some extraordinarily good teachers. I would say much of the work she brings home encourages the development of her own view. I do agree that what makes this school "great" is the affluent, highly educated parents of students in Yarmouth, and this limits diversity and gives the school a lift that other communities don't have. And not every teacher is extraordinary, there are a couple of "average" teachers whose style don't match my daughter's. But overall, I find the staff to be responsive, committed, and experienced.
I don't think you need to be student to assess whether a school promotes creativity over conformity. In fact, I think parents are in a better position to assess this. Original thinking is neither promoted nor recognized, there is stifling uniformity of political belief, and a lack intellectual excitement at the school. Perhaps it suffers in my eyes because I'm comparing it to the parochial school I attended. But, after carefully guiding my children through 12 years each in the Yarmouth School System, its intellectually conservative and rewards for conformity are apparent. But, I urge you to investigate for yourself.
'Second, the school does not promote creative thinking, placing an emphasis on conformity and memorization' Personally, I believe you have to be a student to be qualified to make that kind of statement. As a senior at this school, I completely and utterly disagree. Throughout my four years at YHS, there has been an emphasis on freedom of expression and the medium in which we use to get our thinking across. Just recently, I completed a project in which the teacher gave us nine different, creative ways to complete it. Creativity is what this school excels at. Disregarding the social aspect, non-conformity is celebrated and encouraged in the classroom. Yes, of course there is memorization, just as you might memorize multiplication tables as a kid! Every school you go to would have some element of memorization for some assignments in some different classes. But in no means is there an 'emphasis'.
The principal reason for the success of Yarmouth students, is not the school itself but the parents. Parental involvement is very crucial and its location in an affluent area speaks to that, which explains why Cape, Yarmouth, Falmouth and Cheverus students are the most highly achieving in Maine. The December 18th poster pretty much nailed it when they said the school favors flashy technology over above academics, and the Integrated Math program is a major problem for anyone considering sending their children to YHS.
I am a past graduate of Yarmouth High School and have to say it was one the best experiences. I had great teachers that foster growth (both personally and academically). It is a very accepting school and that cherishes diversity even if there is not much to be seen. They promote clubs, sports and health. In addition they put much of their resources in to helping students succeed. I could recommend this school to any parent.