I am currently finishing my first year at High School South and in general, my experience so far has been pretty good. By what I've heard, I think HSS is a pretty average high school with a few additional experiences. The school offers many extracurriculars both for volunteering as well as student made clubs. There is also a wide variety of academic as well as extra electives to choose from in each grade level. I am currently enrolled in the foundation arts elective. Many of the classes have great teachers who are willing to help outside of the classroom. Some teachers I have to admit are strict and not very understanding of the student life, but only few teachers fit the description perfectly. Many of the teachers as well engage the students and try to creat a relationship in where the student sees the teacher more as a friend rather than a someone who just wants to get paid. Some teachers are graduates of the school as well and try to include what they think was missing. The overall school atmosphere is slightly weird, for me I think this is because it's my first year, but gives acceptance to anyone. There is large diversity and huge variety of personalities in HSS.
Generally good and some great teachers, but a high pressure environment. The school is heavily Asian and the district draws families interested primarily in the high average SAT scores and college admission data (both impressive). However it simply is not possible for 50% of the school to be in the top 5% of the class, which creates intense competition and a great deal of unhappiness. With such a narrow focus on academics these is often little time to enjoy the high school experience or to develop character. It came as little surprise that the Rutgers students who engaged in the cyber-bullying that resulted in a suicide were both graduates of this district.
I'm currently in this school, going into my sophomore year and I moved here during my freshman year and I absolutely LOVE it at this school. Not only is the staff and the environment welcoming, but the school itself and the student body as well. South makes you want to come back everyday and it gives you an urge to come back. It's a very good school and I almost got all A's, but it takes hard work. I LOVE SOUTH!
Success here is definitely more about the drive and ambition of students and parents than the quality of education they are offered. Many students take the challenging courses in summer programs then retake them in the regular semester. I fully understand the backlash against the Tiger Mom after sending my children to school there. We were all for working hard to achieve goals but it is way over the top there now. School concerts are great though and benefits from the countless hours the kids put in to rote practice.
As a previous student from South, I would just state that their hostile environment is no place for anyone. The most of the teachers are selective, and can not teach if their life depended on it. The children act as if they were raised with no morals what so ever. Even a majority of the gym teachers cant remember names of students. Yet they all parade around as if there is no bulling and no "cliques" and how everyone is unified. I move around a lot so I would like to think I am pretty educated at rating schools and South just happens to be at the bottom of the barrel. If you don't mind suffering through the ignorance of teachers and student body, then attend but if not, perhaps any other school around the area would suffice.
As a current student at High School South, I would urge any prospective attendees to pick another school instead. South was and always has been an amazing place with tradition, spirit, and a magnificent student body and faculty. The problem is the administration. In the last couple of years, the School Board and principal have begun destroying everything good and magnifying everything bad. The poor leadership in place means kids are being suffocated in a prison-like institution. I know high school would have been fantastic without the current administration, and it's a shame that cold, detached officials are ruining something beautiful.
Graduated in '08. When I hear from my friends at college what their high school experience was like ("miserable, but isn't high school supposed to be?"), I am completely blown away, as my high school experience at South easily made my years there some of the best in my life. Yes, the academics are superb, and everyone excels (I myself go to a top 5 university). Yes, there is an extracurricular activity for anyone, with significantly more options than I've seen in any other high school. But the most incredible thing about South is the wonderful student body. In my years there, I have never seen bullying or violence. The students were always friendly and got along well with one another with a minimum of cliques. Although there is a high pressure to excel, it's mostly internal--you see your peers succeeding and you want to, too. And the level of diversity in this school! I find that I'm more open to and more knowledgeable about other cultures and nationalities than even friends from diverse, metropolitan cities. You never realize how valuable this experience is until you see the racism from other parts of the country. I loved and I love South. Hope I can send my kids here one day.
This school is a bit of a pressure cooker, full of highly motivated and competitive kids. But 30 or 40 kids each year get into the country's top colleges. The top 20 or so go to Ivy's and another 20 or 30 go to the next level of colleges, the Georgetowns, John Hopkins, Northwesterns, Tufts, etc. It's probably the kids, rather than the school or teachers, but having your kids surrounded by bright and motivated peers can be a good thing. The AP courses have some great teachers.
In response to the previous reviewer, I'd just like to point out that minority students are some of the top performers and shouldn't be seen as a supposed liability; instead, we have wonderful diversity and people from all walks of life. I love High School South. Most teachers are excellent, classes are well-paced, there's plenty to do after school, and the student body is overall good. It's making high school a great experience for me.
Our school is doing a great job. Think of how many minority students there are at this school, yet our school is still doing a fine job. With over 10% of the student body not speaking English at home, it is remarkable as to how well we can compare to other schools such as Montgomery High School and Princeton High School. Furthermore, let us not forget that each and every year, more and more students transfer to this school from poorly performing school districts such as the Trenton Public School District. These transfer students lack solid foundations in core curriculum classes. As a result, their HSPA test scores may be lower than that of their peers. This does not adequately reflect the performance of the School nor the district.