I am a graduate of this school, not a parent, so this informs my perspective. But what I can say, is that from a single class year during my 4 years at BCHS we sent kids to Yale, Harvard, UPenn, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown, UC Berkeley, UChicago, Middlebury, Williams, and West Point to name a few - and that this was not an abnormal year. Moreover, when looking at grad school, kids from BCHS in my class year went to places like Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Stanford Graduate Business School, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business and many others. I'll admit, Bethlehem was a pretty boring town to be an adolescent in, but you can't argue with the results from a parent's perspective. It is a top-tier American public school without question. I wish the public school district I currently lived in (in California) was as good as BCHS. Send your kids here if you are able to.
Despite what many in the Greater Albany area might think, I would argue that this school is far from being special. Yes, its academic and athletic programs are excellent and adequate --- provided that you are both socially suitable and in the top 10% of your class. If you are an average student just trying to "survive" high school, you will be adequately educated here. Yes, adequately, but don't expect your teachers to be too optimistic when you get stuck on that math question half of the class got right. Socially speaking, the buttom line is that you won't ever need to wear an armored vest to school. The whole bullying issue shouldn't become a problem for you as long as you are in one of the school's many cliques. Anything otherwise and don't expect a smooth ride to the finish line.
My son and daughter attended BCHS and they went on to Duke and Cornell. Their high school academic experience was above average. This high school is also small enough that it isn't very difficult for youths to make the team in various sports. I am sure that both of my children would give this school high marks.
Academically speaking, Bethlehem is a decent enough school. Although it is a high ranking school, some teachers are very lackadaisical, incompetent, and act like it is a burden to help students who are really struggling, and tend to leave those students behind. Another thing about Bethlehem is how clickey it is and how the administration does close to nothing to put a stop to the bullying, which is a very BIG problem here. Bethlehem has a lot of work to do, it's honestly nothing special.
I attended Bethlehem High School, and went on to succeed both as an undergraduate and a graduate. I was more prepared by Bethlehem for college than the vast majority of my peers from other public schools.
Bethlehem Central was the second high school I attended, as I moved there as a sophomore. Coming from another public school with about the same number of students, I expected the schools to be very similar. Bethlehem, however, is filled with teachers who don't care about the success of their students. The faculty is so caught up in rankings that call BCHS a good school, that they don't bother to do their part to contribute. People rave about the opportunities available for BCHS students, but as an AP student there, I left feeling like I should've gotten so much more of out my high school education.
The teachers i have and have had the previous years in this school are great and are concerned about your education. The teachers in the excel programs also do an excellent job with doing what they can to pass their students. Almost everyone does a sport or is in a club and Bethlehem High is located in a convenient location that's in the suburbs but is fairly close to the city of Albany. The only negative things I have to say about this school are there is a lot of unnecessary drama and it's filled up with cliques of every kind. Usually if you're not in the clique, you're not really friends with them.
For BCHS, it is a hit and miss case. I have had oustanding teachers and some amazing experiences. I've also had lousy teachers and some horrible experiences. Some teachers hate students, some teachers love students: Some of the administration is very competant and some of it isn't. Some kids are heavy into cliques, and ... well, there are a few who like you no matter who you are.