I have 3 kids in this district, and one at the high school. I've personally known, and have knowledge of, multiple kids who are on the high honor roll at State High--and either didn't meet the benchmark for college readiness when taking PSATs/SATs, or went onto Penn State and practically (or did) flunk out. This school focuses on the elite and everyone else is left in the dust. The "average" or "college prep" courses are easy enough to ensure kids make As--but the education at that level is worthless. My kid was making 100s in regular math, but they wouldn't move her up because the advanced classes were full of kids who still scored higher than her on the standardized tests. So she has spent years unchallenged and bored. ALSO, BE AWARE OF MAJOR GRADE INFLATION and ridiculous methods for calculating a final grade. Students can get Cs and Ds on all test and still pull out As if they do their homework. What good is an A if the kid doesn't actually learn anything. It's almost fraudulent. Parents may not complain because, to them, their kid is doing great and in on the high honor roll. Approximately 30% of the school graduates with a 4.0 or higher. If your kid is gifted, this is a great school. If your kid is average, they will get lost, given an A or B, and forgotten. There are also not enough counselors to handle the large volume of students in the school. Unfortunately, the school boasts about it's BS reputation, but fails to have the best interest of ALL students at heart.
I love this school! State College is really the perfect mix of outdoors, city, and University. The other close schools- Grier, St. Joes, Grace Prep- pale in comparison and if you're considering applying, DON'T. They might look "safer" but their academics and athletics are bare; SCAHS offers classes in business, ag, auto, comp. sci, engineering, journalism, art (photo., film, ceramics, 3D, etc) other CTC, and countless honors classes for exceptional students. The teachers truly care about your academics. If they push hard it's always for education, but ever school has that old, cranky teacher. Also, being next to Penn State (#32 in the nation) is fantastic fall back for those who struggle in school. I've always dreamed of going to an Ivy league but sold myself short; with my classes I am now on track to attend UPenn (in Philly). My only concerns: the school is in poor condition but is planned for renovation, and the difficulty to start clubs. Overall, the Thespian program competes nationally, all major sports are varsity PIAA Division AAA or above (the best), students can take PSU classes, small-city setting is ideal, and students graduate more than prepared for higher learning. A+!
This school has a lot to offer its students. The CTC offerings allow for kids to explore careers in a high school setting and the business classes are outstanding. The issue I have had with this school is that the close proximity to the university makes drugs highly accessible to students. University housing surrounds the high school two building campus allowing for too much open opportunity for activity that should not be permitted. Sadly, the community is building/renovating a new school and chose to keep a two building plan - obviously those who voted (random surveys were sent to homes) have no idea what happens around the perimeter of this school.
Very competitive school athletically. Wonderful honors classes. Tremendous variety of classes to choose from for juniors and seniors. Principal is fantastic--genuinely cares about students. Current school board seems out of touch with teachers and most of community.
My daughters both attended the Delta program within the State College Area High School. It was a marvelous experience for all of us. This program believed in 'city as school,' 'students involved in learning' and 'open education.' Each daughter did things that suited her, and her interests, and abilities. We were involved in all the decisions they made about courses, or travel, or other experiences, as members of an advising 'team' Both went on to successful careers in college and life.
There are various issues between the administration and teachers to the point where faculty meetings teem with anxiety and other underlying emotions. There is little commonality or collaboration between many of the teachers, resulting in vast differences between one 10th grade subject class and another class that should be similar in course material. An elitism is also apparent, leaving any student who is not a 'star' in the dust. The students, however, are well-behaved and generally all great kids.
Not so much discipline, but it gives the student the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Great teachers and loads of different courses that a student can chose from. However, if you go to this school it is engraved in your brain that you will be going to Penn State as soon as you are out.
And the high school teachers, by and large, are very very good. The proliferation of programs results in kids at the upper and lower ends being well accomodated. But there are many kids in the middle who remain virtually anonymous.