The teachers within the Scarsdale Public School system, primarily the High School teachers, are always making sure their students are striving for excellence. Their influence puts almost every Scarsdale student on the right track to success.
I had a great experience academically, socially and athletically at SHS. In my opinion, what sets SHS apart, is the exceptional student body. While I graduated from SHS a number of years ago, I would still say to this day that I have never been in a room with a brighter, more talented and exceptional collection of people than in several of my high school classes. Of course, teachers are mostly top-echelon as well, but it was my peers that motivated and pushed me to reach my potential and prepared me very well for all challenges that I went on to experience in college and beyond. One reservation I have regarding SHS would be for those students who are not in the top half of the class or as academically inclined/gifted as most. I do feel that these students can be marginalized and self-esteem damaged in a school in which high achievement and academic accomplishment is so prized and emphasized and average students may be made to feel inadequate in comparison to so many exceptional students that surround them.
I had a good time, made friends, and learned a lot. Those who let sweeping generalizations dictate their high school experience only have themselves to fault. You can avoid stress by learning to control your emotions, and the school contains a good population of thoughtful people who don't embrace stereotypical Scarsdalian values. The resources are all there; all you have to do is seek them out. Navigating Scarsdale's social and academic scenes has taught me countless invaluable lessons about what I value. I will say, though, that there is more the administration could do to discourage stress and encourage better behavior (as many complain in this forum, advisors have a knack for blaming stress on families and not their own policies; and athletes are rarely held accountable for their actions.) Despite this fault, the quality of education I've gotten here is superb. I had some wonderful, caring teachers, took some fantastic classes, and though I may have cursed the gods when I had three essays to write over the course of one weekend, college has been so much easier after completing such a rigorous curriculum. And senior options was a blast.
Scarsdale high school is a legend in its own mind. Their education programs look good on paper, but professors who review their curriculum tend to be shocked in a negative way. They forecast children will be swamped with stess and discouraged from learning purely from the curriculum. That's exactly what happened to my son.
Scarsdale is a little too expensive and expects a little way too much from its students that it undermines the school system. For instance their alternative school is a cross section of the ENTIRE high school. Alternative schools are for students who are at risk academically for an array of reasons; it should never be for most students. If Scarsdale wants to experiment teaching approaches, do it on your own time, not on the student's time. If you want a reasonable education and still have some diversity, go to Great Neck. This school is not at all spectacular, as it does not offer any full-inclusion programs for individuals with mental retardation. It also does not have an inclusion policy for the rest of the students with disabilities.
If you care about your child's emotional well-being, avoid Scarsdale at all costs. They begin stressing the kids out in 7th grade and it gets worse from there. Don't believe the hype. There are better school districts around. The school system blames the families for pressuring the kids, and that may be true in part, but the school does a pretty good job on its own. One of Scarsdale's main faults is that as a community they have no ability to self-reflect and admit mistakes. Hubris. Arrogance.