I am a student of the six African American pupils attending North Salem High School and out of the many schools I have attended, this school, by far, has had the worst problem with racism and has a major lack of diversity. I have had many encounters with the negativity and dispute with acceptance towards the black minority with the students and even an occasional teacher. Although, overall most of the teachers are great, and their lessons based on academics have been amazing, there is a serious insufficiency of life lessons and how to interact with people unlike themselves being taught to the children and staff. The remainder of the teachers and most of the students are inconsiderate, selfish, ignorant, and blatantly disrespectful to both everyone around them. Because of the irresponsible authority of the school, many of the student's and teacher's ignorance has yet to have been recognized, addressed, or reprimanded.
We have a child who graduated from North Salem and a child currently attending NS High School. This is a truly exceptional school. It is small, but offers almost everything a large school offers academically. The principal and vice principal are top-notch. They are involved in the school and extracurricular activities and they maintain discipline. The teachers always work with students to help them succeed and prepare them for life after high school. The guidance counselors are also looking out for the students and support the college admissions process. Our property taxes are very high, but they pay for an excellent school system.
Issues with Race! Recently moved to the area. My children's first year in a NY public school. That was a difficult adjustment in itself. However, it was nothing compared to the racial slurs they had to endure on a daily basis for months. Brought it to the Principle and VP attention. Even contact the school district. A "sensitivity" forum was done, only they had a speaker who had turrets? Needless to say, my children will not be returning for another year. I will say this, the teachers are above average. They do care about the students, they go the extra mile. The culture of the area itself I think is more the issue.
The high school and middle school are run by a very competent group of administrators. Our principal truly cares about the kids and is always on hand for school functions. The teachers give the kids ample opportunity to excel. 80% of the student body participates in sports. It is a very small district and everyone knows each other.
Neither the middle nor the high school work well. The administration puts on a good show, but are tired after too many years in place. Curriculum and student activities are static, dull, and aimed at making benchmarks on the various tests. We moved to Connecticut for a breath of fresh air and higher quality schools.
The middle school did not work for us. The lockers are too small, they don't have a football team or turf fields. I was not able to visit any of my kids teachers during parent/teacher conf. due to first come first serve scheduling. In other words, not enough time for all the parents. So why are my school taxes so high? All this state testing is a joke. As for the gifted program, it's political and again a waist of tax payers money. Why not add more AP courses?