My child has really enjoyed Souhegan and I love the positive experience of the community. I am very concerned with how often the teachers are absent and how they leave no plans for the substitutes. Ask your students about this each day and you too will be surprised at the absenteeism rate of teachers and the waste of time for the students. One teacher leaves rated R movies for his students when he is absent (without the consent of the parents or even apprising them). Isn't this illegal? The math teacher tells the students to review past exams when she has a sub leading the class. By the way, the math homework is completely irrelevant to any of the lessons studied in school. It is either a review of something from the past of an assignment from the future to get the student thinking. The English teacher uses the time to read and write himself. He says he is modelling for the students. He has the seniors read and edit the students' papers. Isn't this his job? Average salary here is $79K. I would feel better about paying that if the teachers weren't so burnt out. They are riding on the coattails of a reputation of a decade ago. The teachers this year 2016-2017 are very complacent. The school needs to get with the present-day technology and teach more classes about programming and computer systems. The lexile level of reading assignments is 3rd or 4th grade. What happened to Shakespeare and the classics? The vibe here is friendly, but the academics are abysmal. Many families compensate with Johns Hopkins summer programs, tutoring and other academic explorations. If you can afford an alternative, definitely do so.
The community is great, and the sports programs were great. Band has been a nightmare. The band director is mean and condescending to many kids. Unfortunately he has taken over the choir, too. The counselors have been ok. Some teachers are good, others not so good. The school may think it's some special school with a progressive approach but it doesn't seem to really matter.
This school has been a wonderfully warm and supportive place for my highly motivated and high achieving child. We moved to this district for Souhegan and I will not move away until both my kids have graduated, despite a long commute to work and other exciting job opportunities. I'd rather have my kids at Souhegan than the pressure cooker public schools we were looking at in Massachusetts. We had tolerate a few not so great years at the elementary and middle schools in the district before getting to Souhegan but now that we are here I am very pleased.
I have been an educator for 25 years. When my daughter was born, we moved to Amherst specifically for the high school. Souhegan is a member of the coalition of essential schools and we wanted our children to learn in an environment built on teaching students to "use their minds well" and "demonstrate mastery".
For accurate information on the school philosophy you might visit http://essentialschools.org/common-principles/.
I would also say that if you are considering Amherst as a community, please know that the vast majority of our residents are thoughtful partners with the schools in the education of our children. The teachers and administrators in all of our buildings work tirelessly to support our children. I have worked in MANY schools throughout my career and know from experience that the learning environment created by the staff and administration at Souhegan High School is exactly what our children need to thrive and succeed.