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Haverford Senior High School5
Posted May 27, 2014
- a parent
I have 4 children in Haverford's School District, each with varying degrees of academic ability. All schools, ranging from elementary to high school have challenging academic programs and are appropriate to our child's needs. This is an excellent district, administered by educators who have a vested interest in our community.
Speaking as the parent of a former student, while there are some excellent teachers and challenging courses, there is a huge blind spot in the commitment to counseling. They have far fewer than the surrounding schools with which they compare themselves. Thus, for instance, higher performing students are not advised of the need to take AP courses in 10th and 11th Grade in order to be considered by selective schools (note: 12th Grade courses do not matter when transcripts are required by January 1st). Counselors only have time for problems and paperwork. Net result - embarrassing few students get to the Ivies or equivalents. If you have a bright student in 9th grade, get some outside help.
I am a parent of three HHS students. Overall, the school has a great academic program and is preparing my kids well for college. All three know what's required of them and take ownership of their work. I have recommended the HHS to friends and colleagues and they're happy I made the recommendation.
As a parent of two children who went through the entire school system in Haverford, I think there is a drop-off at the high school level. There are any number of excellent teachers, but the guidance program is weak, and students are not adequately challenged and counseled to apply to better colleges. In general, I haven't seen much striving for excellence or creativity, just pretty much a "business as usual" attitude from the administration.
At first glance, I was suprised to see the rating listed as a "7". Honestly, this school is challenging for students and provides a solid, well-rounded education. What I like most about haverford is the mix of socio-economic groups since it most accurately represents the "real-world". My wife and I are very active in our childen's education and there have been times where we've assigned more work and asked our kids to spend more time on homework. Was it necessary? No. Havertown keeps pace with the "10 minutes" of homework per grade level. Also, there seems to be a disconnect with the elementary/middle school and high school rating. The elementary/middle school have an average rating of 9, but the high school is a 7. Frankly, we don't see a drop-off at the high school level. No issues from my family. I have and will continue to receommend Havertown School District to all of my friends and family.
My daughter is currently a sophomore at HHS and my opinon is that the school is ok - not exceptional and not terrible. The administration/guidance departments are AWFUL. The teaching overall is good (some really terrific teachers and some just average or below). Overally, I'd say it's an average suburban high school. The college statistics have been trending downward (60% for 2010) and most of the kids who do go to school end up at DCC. As I said, okay but not great.
On the whole, I have been shocked at how challenging Haverford High School is for those taking honors and AP classes. Based on the experience of my several children, I would say that, on the whole, the instruction is well above average although, like any school, there are outstanding areas of instruction (English, History, Sciene and Foreign Language programs are strengths) and a few clunkers (particularly in mathematics, where instruction is, to be charitable, uneven - so many of the math teachers fall short - and my kids are good at math). There are fewer school frills than the typical Philly Main Line school (no pool, less fancy, etc. . . .), but I would say that, for honors-level students, the education is just as good and, for those who like the arts and other extracurricular activities, the opportunities are excellent. The best thing I can say about the honors-level program at Haverford is that student are completely ready for a rigorous college education and will not be overwhelmed by the work because they are used to a lot of homework and demanding teachers. If you are trying to prepare your children for a future pursuing higher education, HHS is a superb choice.
My daughter is in all Honors courses and is challenged. Haverford HS offers and array of AP courses and activities for student involvement. Rated as one of the Top 500 High Schools in the US by Newsweek Magazine I am glad we are in this district.
As a recent graduate of this school, I have to say that although I was academically prepared for college, I felt like life at HHS was bleak. The administration did little to foster students' individualism and dreams. Advisers did nothing to progress my academic achievement. There was no encouragement to work harder or to pursue schools beyond Penn State, or to even look at life as a possibility for helping others instead of a life of suburban fulfillment. For a decently well off middle class suburb, shockingly few Haverford grads attend the University of Pennsylvania, which is only 4 miles down the road. I think that this is indicative of the teachers and administration that lack passion for continual learning.
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