The expansive curriculum and free reign given to students to govern their own course selections is what makes Newton North so unique. Honors and AP courses are appropriately rigorous, and teachers set their expectations high. That said, I echo a previous review in that students are allowed to slip between the cracks--I was one of them. The school caters to high achieving, affluent students; those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who lack parental support may do worse here than at a smaller school. I went through four years of Newton North with an undiagnosed learning disability and severe anxiety disorder, and was made to feel like a problem child by my sports coach, career counselor and several teachers. The school simply isn't of the mindset to properly identify and serve students who require outside intervention, which leaves students fending for themselves.
I graduated from NNHS and it certainly has its ups and downs. The school has a lot of good shop classes for students that are interested in hands-on, vocational skills. There are many teachers there with a passion for their profession and want to see their students succeed. However, as other reviews have stated, the student body is enormous and the faculty simply cannot keep track of everyone. Those that slip through are allowed to do so, and saying that it is a "party" school would be an understatement. It was reminiscent of college. The theater club is very strong, but - when I was there - very guilty of cronyism. My biggest complaint is how political the school is. There is nothing wrong with wanting students to be politically active, but they definitely want them to be politically active in very particular ways. The science classes are excellent, but their math and English courses did not prepare me for college. Furthermore, their history curriculum is a joke. Regardless, as far as public schools go, this is excellent for the area. I suggest strong parental involvement. If your child has special needs, they have some talented people, but you should look into Newton South.
Newton North is a vibrant, diverse and challenging school. Students are expected to be independent and self-motivated, but there is also help for those who are not. There are so many interesting options, classes and activities - but the student has to step up and be responsible. My two sons, who are now in college, had great experiences at North. They were very well-prepared for college, especially in writing, studying, and adapting to being away from home.
I am currently starting sophomore year at North. My freshman year at North wasn't the best. The student body was very large, and by the middle of the year I had gone from straight A's in middle school to C's and D's. Though, I feel like it was partially my fault, since I'm far from a typical student and most core classes don't interest me. Though, I am really looking forward to my second year. Many parents complain about north's bare-minimum graduation requirements. I like these because as a student who is planning to be an art teacher when I get older, once I fill the minimum requirements for my core classes, I can drop them and replace them with some of the AMAZING art courses that north has to offer. This school is perfect for students that would rather put a brush to a canvas than a pencil to paper. (Well, unless you're a sketch artist. You get what I meant.)
My third/last child graduates this year. We've had excellent experiences our entire ten years at North. Teachers are totally dedicated. The size/diversity of the school mean that a variety of courses can be offered & even students who are not "typical" are able to find compatible friends. Kids are able to take advantage a wide range of subjects - often taught at different levels, "hands-on" classes such as culinary & greengineering, language instruction such as Chinese up to the AP level & many other AP level classes. My kids were able to participate in band, athletic teams, science team, chess club & robotics team. There are international exchange programs, varied clubs & an excellent drama program. For my son with special needs (ASD), North was clearly the right place for him - Guidance & Special Ed were team members with us from the spring before 9th grade until the day he graduated & beyond. He was given accommodations & a facilitator who helped him organize & stay on schedule for assignments & was also an intermediary between him & his teachers. A room was available anytime for him to get help w/ work or decompress. North was absolutely a positive for my 3 very different kids.
My son was an honors student at Day Jr High and fell to a C-D average at NN. He fell throught the cracks in this huge schoool and was allowed to graduate with the barest requirements. The school offers an amazing curriculum but there was no student oversight. There was an open campus with too much free, unstructured time.There is an amazing theater department but It was basically a huge party school. I am terribly disappointed and would never recommend this school to anyone.
I'm in 10th grade at Newton North and I must say I've so far had a good two years here. Most of the students are friendly and easy to get along with. The teachers are nice and helpful for the most part (with definite exceptions, particularly for certain 10th grade history teachers). There are a lot of extra classes to take, which is good, but unfortunately I have an extremely incompetent guidance counselor who will not let me switch out of a stupid class that I wish I hadn't signed up for, which is losing the whole school a star for me. One things that worries me is that most of my classes have gotten bigger since last year, which ticks me off a little because I know how much they're spending on new computers and equipment, and not to mention the new school. I'd rather see more teachers being hired.