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770 Westminster St
Providence, RI 02903

(401) 456-9145
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4 stars
Based on 49 ratings

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April 03, 2014
We went to the Classical open house and orientation. We were very disappointed in what was presented by the Principal and Guidance Counselors. It came across as all about them. The worst presenter was the guidance counselor who made it sound like the students received $10 million dollars in scholarships when in reality a few students received numerous scholarships to various schools. If this is the best public school in Rhode Island, the people of Providence and Rhode Island have a very low regard for their kids education. The only department that impressed me was the science department, yet the students at Classical do very poorly in science. It appears more emphasis is placed on the humanities than on subjects such as math and science.

- submitted by a parent
April 01, 2014
Excellent academic program with amazingly caring teachers foe an urban high school. A real tradition of excellence.

- submitted by a parent
September 01, 2013
It's a great school, the best public school in the state. But all of students wish that it were renovated. We don't even have air conditioners in many of the classrooms and the lockers are getting old. If we are the best, don't we deserve the best? If Central, that does poorer than us, have a beautiful school, can't we have one in return for our hard work?

- submitted by a community member
July 13, 2013
This school is great. It offers many APs, as well as honor courses. Most teachers are pretty understanding, and look for different ways to make sure each student understands what he/she is doing. This school also has nothing against gay people. It has a Gay Straight Alliance. It's a great example for all of the other public schools in Rhode Island. During the school year,(2012-2013), our sports teams got many recognition. This just shows that we, as students from CHS, aren't only smart but are also very athletic.

- submitted by a student
August 20, 2012
Great all around school. Teachers and faculty challenge students both academically and also in the community. Great extracurricular activities. The most diverse school that I have attended.

- submitted by a student
May 02, 2012
My son loves Classical. It has been a wondeful place for him. The students, staff, and teachers are great. Everyone seems happy to be there.

- submitted by a parent
November 09, 2010
This is the best school ever. The person behind me has to let their child expand and grow themselves; they cannot always be under someone's guidance. I love the freedom. Great academics too, they let me take AP calculus BC in freshman :)

- submitted by a student
October 31, 2010
I regret ever listening to the middle school Principal and teachers that said Classical is the only place my child would continue to excel. My child was a wonderful student until setting foot in there. I went to orientations, asked about parent involvement, left my name number and email and never a single call or communication. I was told " we have too many students and can't keep up with all their issues". I do agree there are many students but when you have a parent in your face expressing concern and frustration it's a sign that there is a problem. I believe parents and teachers should have the same goal in mind. That goal should be to provide the best education to prepare them to be successful. Academics have gone out the door it seems and the teachers do not seem to be truly invested in our children.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 12, 2010
excellent learning environment, diverse and culturally rich!

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2010
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- submitted by a parent
December 15, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
This public school stands for academic integrity and excellence. It prepares students for a venture to enter the realms of aspiring Universities. It is the best public high-school in Rhode Island, bar none.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 06, 2009
I graduated Classical in 1971. Our older son in 2006. My father and uncle back in the 1940's. I support the belief that Classical remains the best college preparatory public high school in Providence, perharps, Rhode Island. However, when our older son attended, I was unimpressed with the lack of academic excellence, basic skills in writing, and critical thinking. This could be attributed to his need for resource intervention. However, our younger son will be a senior this year. I like the research and portfolio concept and the re-inclusion of Latin. He doesn't take this language. However, I am still a believer that it ought to be a 2 year requirement for every student!!!! I wasn't a great student in Latin, but it continued to serve me well in English. Lastly, the cut back of funds makes me very unhappy. The inclusion of sports and more arts limits the foundation of all students.

- submitted by a parent
August 05, 2009
Classical is what it is, a college prep school. I do agreed with many of the comments regarding teaching quality. My biggest concern is Classical needs to re-establish itself a tradition of excellence whether in academic or sports. As a LaSalle alum and I know how proud I am being associated with that great institution everytime a student/team does well in an academis setting or on the fields. I can't say that about Classical. Winning breeds winners. God knows Providence does not have a lot to be proud of these days.

- submitted by a parent
May 22, 2009
Yes, this school is a great college prep school and the counselors are amazing. The faculty is great but I have to agree with the whole seniority thing. I had a chance to go to LaSalle Academy, almost my whole family went there, but I thought Classical would be more challenging, and I was right. I stand by my decision in going to this school and in doing that, I met great people and I am doing much better in my studies. I have bad subjects and good subjects, but getting a B- in this school is like getting an A+ in some other school. Thank you Classical.

- submitted by a student
January 15, 2009
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- submitted by a student
December 20, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
December 17, 2008
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- submitted by a student
November 24, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 25, 2008
Those 10-20% make the biggest difference in getting more hardworking kids to come to classical, but the other 80% is less motivated than would seem normal in a 'college prep' school. In addition, the 80% of teachers that are operating 'on cruise control' do little for the school and often print out test from online, forcing many students to teach the material to themselves. However, if your child is sufficiently hard working and a little bit brilliant, classical may in fact be the right place for them, because although the teachers may not be the best, when an Ivy League school sees amazing SAT and AP scores, they will know the student from classical did it without as much help as students from many other private schools. In addition, students will excel, utilizing their independence gotten from going to classical high school.(Go Classical 2010!)

- submitted by a student
no rating May 28, 2008
There are far too many teachers at Classical who are only there because of their seniority. When there are issues or concerns, administration does not address them. Union rules for the teachers are by far the ruling factor. Administration needs to step up and to have the integrity to do the right thing as far as teachers are concerned. However, all too often the student is left in classes where the teachers deliberately 'lose' assignments, ridicule and make fun of students and do not perform up to the same standards that the students themselves are held to. Taking my child out of a private school and going to Classical was the biggest mistake I ever made.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 09, 2008
I'm a recent Classical graduate attending an Ivy League university. While Classicalites tend to think that they're getting an intense academic college preparation, I can tell you that Classical could have done a lot more to prepare me for college. There are certain teachers that work hard to earn the school's reputation but they're limited. Although Classical boasts of its AP Program, its strengths truly lie in the liberal arts and humanities. However, if you plan on pursuing engineering or a science intensive major in college, look elsewhere. The counselors are pretty great though and work hard to secure the best college seats for students. During my four years, I felt that the students aren't motivated enough and the poor funding from the school department really doesn't help improve things. In my opinion, what the school needs is a new system of review to assess the quality and effectiveness of teachers.

- submitted by a student
February 16, 2008
the school is not as great as i thought it would be, the teachers dont care for there students.

- submitted by a student
November 04, 2007
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- submitted by a student
September 27, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
July 19, 2007
I went to Classical. I learned so much from the diverse community. I actually learned life lesssons and how to survive when the chips are down. Gotta love Mr. K. I just want everyone to know that the High School you send your child to is secondary to the School they come home to after the bell. Expose your kids to outside experiences early and provide them with REAL facts of life. Teach them to be leaders where the can make change within there communities.

- submitted by a student
July 27, 2006
I graduated from Classical in June 2006 and I am genuinely grateful for the time I spent there. There is plenty of room for improvement, however. I had a handful of wonderful, engaging and intelligent teachers there, but I also had many teachers who were only at Classical because they had enough seniority to get out of the rougher public high schools in Providence. What I most enjoyed about Classical was the diversity. There were so many different kids in my classes and I feel that this experience was more important than having a beautiful building. Classical's greatest asset is its students because they are open to all kinds of new things and they are driven towards success. They can't maintain Classical's high standard of education by themselves, though. Much improvement is needed from the administration and superintendent if Classical is going to keep attracting these great kids.

- submitted by a former student
April 07, 2006
I am the parent of a freshman at Classical and I can honestly say that I expected a more challenging curriculum for my child and more support on behalf of the guidance dept. As far as family friendliness is concerned all I can say is that I tried calling one of my child's teachers a few weeks ago(via the couselor no one on one)-and I was told that the teacher, as a response to my petition that he call me, said that he does not call parents....I think that says it all....

- submitted by a parent
April 06, 2006
My three kids are recent Classical grads - all got into top schools. CHS is not a good place for student who wants to get by. This is a school for motivated students who know where they are going. APs - one of my kids had a whole year of college credit. The students not only take AP, but actually score high on AP exams (not true of some schools!) The building is rapidly deteriorating from starvation budgets. There are a few faculty who would definitely not be there except for union rules about seniority, but in general the teachers are committed and capable. Compared to other schools -- April 2006 CHS won their 10th State Science Competition in 11 years - in 2004 they won 16 golds there, the rest of the state combined, 6 golds. Those team members went on to Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown, and other top schools.

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2006
I would like to start this review by saying that I am not a 'slackoff' and I definitely did do my work during my time at Classical. I am currently attending an Ivy League University. I do not, however, believe that the quality of academic programs at Classical is good. There are a handful of devoted teachers, and that is about it. Teachers don't encourage students to think outside the box and do not present meangingful challenges. The administrators, for the most part, do not encourage students in any way. There is a good selection of extracurricular activities.

- submitted by a former student
December 18, 2005
I am currently a sophmore at classical (class of 2008!). Classical is an inner city public school so it is not the most gorgeous school on the inside or out. I know a lot of people that transfer from private school to classical because it is a better education. Its in the city so that everyone from different backgrounds can have the opportunity to go. It is a very good school and teachers vary. Our athletics program is unbelieveable, this fall season alone girls tennis won division 4, girls volleyball won the state championship, boys and girls soccer won states too, etc. Classical has given me the opportunity to challenge myself offering 14 ap courses and many extra curricular activities. Socially it has no popularity issues, everyone is friends with everyone so I love it. It's main goal and focus is college and preparing their students.

- submitted by a student
November 18, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
November 09, 2005
I'm a freshman at Classical High School, and I think the school is generally great. Almost all of the teachers I know give the right amouint of work to students- not too little to not learn anything, and not too much to stress you out. I've learned that everyone in the school is respectful, and willing to give a helping hand. Althought some students ARE slackers, the educational benefits of CHS are there for the students who want them. I, for example, am one of the many freshman who is getting straight A's. Some of the students just don't want to work, and you shouldn't blame the rest of the school for their lazyness.Also, the extacurricular activities are great. There's a wide variety to choose from, and everyone will find something they like.

- submitted by a student
October 02, 2005
I'm a senior at Classical and preparing for college has been a big hassle. Classical has prepared me very well. The guidance counselors have helped me with college searches as well as having colleges that I have interest in, visit the school. I'd say that the quality of the academic program is very good. Because of Classcial, I've been able to scratch some classes of my list for college. My school has a huge number of extracurricular activities. I myself participate in two of these activities. It gives me something to do after school that is not just for my benefit but others aswell. The activity that I'm in helps to raise money for several causes including Hurrican Katrina. There is always something at Classical that anybody can participate in such as yearbook, sports, Brotherhood and others that are to many to name. Classical's the best school in my opinion.

- submitted by a student
September 27, 2005
This school is acctually very great. I didn't expect it to be this way. Everyone is so polite too one another not like in my middle school. I've enjoyed my few weeks there so far. The teachers I have are great. And the work they give isn't really hard but just challenging. All they want is the students to reach their capacity. But it is easy to get along wit people. There are also alot of activities to join. Also must of the students who got excepted are exceedingly smart so if you do manage to get in you have to work very hard. But if this school helps us on the right track to college then all the work is worth it. This is one of the best schools to come. They teach us discipline . If you are considering this school then that's good. I reccomend Classical High.

- submitted by a student
September 03, 2005
I am a sphomore at Classical High School and it has been my greates learning experience. Classical High School is the most achieving school in the state of Rhode Island. It is a school with great discipline, great attendace, good teachers and Great academic achievemnts. Most of the people are there to work and want to have a good future. Mostof the teachers are good and what to help students but a few of them just make you read and give you work, they do not encourage you. This is a great school. All the students that have talked badly about this school are just slackoffs who come late to class and don't want to do their job and when they get a bad grade they blame it on the teachers. I also can't believe their parents back them up on that.

- submitted by a student
June 08, 2005
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- submitted by a former student
June 06, 2005
Classical is definitely NOT what it is meant to be. Teachers don't care anymore (except for a selected handful of indeed wonderful ones), the academics are slaking off and the expectations dropped way down. It was so much better when one had to maintain B average to stay in that school, then students really paid attention and studied hard. Now it's just like any other public school in Providence. And have anyone ever looked inside the school? it's disgusting! The ceiling tiles are broken and fall down easily, there s always rust and some mold on the walls, no AC, the tunnel wall is beyond words, and half of the school is not even being used! IT'S A SHAME!

- submitted by a former student
June 01, 2005
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- submitted by a student
May 04, 2005
Another recent graduate, 2004! Mr. Wemple is the hardest teacher I had ever had, but he was the best. I am one of the only few who has left New England and I am truely glad that I participated in two AP courses as well as all the others that prepared me for this journey.

- submitted by a former student
April 06, 2005
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- submitted by a former student
March 22, 2005
I am a recent graduate of classical high school class of 2004. classical prepared me well for college. other students at my college do not have the same prepatory backround I have. the students for the most part know what their goal are at classical. to go to college. classical is not for the student who does not want to do anything in their future. i had many good teachers . a few were lacking though. classical has the best biology teacher Mr.Wemple and the best histroy teeahers who well- prepared me for college. the only sad part about classical is the want to always down size. the music program which got students invloved and gained many of classical's students scholarshps was recent dropped, which very wrong because the music program at classical helped get me get into college.

- submitted by a former student
March 20, 2005
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- submitted by a student
no rating February 25, 2005
I am a freshman, and I also found Classical to be very different from what I expected. Classical is not as challenging/hard as it sounds, if you procrastinate or don't do your work, then it gets hard. There are good teachers who care and give you a good uderstanding and then there are teachers who ignore you, don't/can't teach, and don't even think about encouragement. The people in the office and guidance do everything but their job and don't care except for a few people. The students themselves are involved in the great atheltic, artistic, and extracurricular activites Classical has to offer. These activities held during and after school make Classical fun. The school has few to no problems discipline wise. Classical is great not because of the education or teachers, but students.

- submitted by a student
January 26, 2005
The quality of the class varies completely from teacher to teacher.

- submitted by a student
October 26, 2004
A remarkable school which excels in providing the best academic experience for each student. Each year graduating students attend top universities throughout the United States. Classical is also superb in its selection extra-curricula activities and maintaining competitive sports teams.

- submitted by a student
September 27, 2004
The only reason this school is not what it once was is due to the poor management of principal Thomas Mezzanotte. The school was the same as it always had been until he took over. He had his own personal agenda when he came to Classical and he is frustrated by his own inability to realize his dreams. He has been taking it out on the school, the faculty, and the students for many years.

- submitted by a former student
August 25, 2004
The teachers at Classical on a whole are average, with a few caring, well prepared professionals thrown in to give the school a somewhat middle/marginal grade. Most are lazy, poor role models, and really only care about the pay-check and the guidance dept. is a laugh, try and get a problem solved in fresh./soph. yr. no way around the lack of help there. An experience with them is almost a comical. If I could chose again a school for my children I would go with PAIS or one of the other public schools because why waste time trying to be special when you don't have the foundation any longer at Classical like years ago.

- submitted by a former student
August 21, 2004
The vast majority of students at Classical are there to learn. However, many students think they can do nothing in class and deserve an A! And their parents actually back them up! Thode students who complained on this page are most likely those that simply sit like lumps or arrive late every day and never make up missed work and do little if any studying. There are times I honestly wonder how some of those kids ever made it into this fine school. If they cant write a paragraph, how on earth did they score well on the Entrance Exam?!

- submitted by a teacher
August 11, 2004
I'm a senior at Classical, and as someone on the inside, I can honestly say that it's not the school that I thought it would be when I got accepted. Many of the teachers don't care about the students, as a matter of fact, several of my teachers have even said to their students that 'We don't have to learn, they get paid either way.' Granted, students also aren't as merited as they once were, but we also lack the encouragement that teachers should give their students.

- submitted by a student
July 21, 2004
Classical shines on, meagerly. Once held as the best the city has to offer, its reputation has diminished and justly. Its interesting how a school that boasts the brightest still treats them like grade school children and how the community loves to talk about Classical with pride in public, but feels no urge to save the school before it becomes like every other high school in the city or the country that matter. I took the best I can out of it, that much is possible for now. How can students be expected to become scholars in a very difficult challenging world when they are denied the opportunity to see how far they can excel? The fact they will cancel the Latin program is proof that Classical is not the shining beacon of higher learning it once was.

- submitted by a former student
July 20, 2004
I would rate it good overall. Classical is excellant for college preparation. Both myself and my child attended Classical. Most graduates go on to college. Students do receive a lot of homework, and as with any other school there are some bad teachers (mainly in the math department), but there are also many good ones in other subjects. Though I would not encourage students with learning disabilities to attend. There is not much support if you have a different learning style, or if you stay from the intellectual 'norm'. Students receive hours and hours of homework, but when they graduate they are very well prepared for college. Classical also has an above average guidance department. The school also has many students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

- submitted by a parent
July 14, 2004
For providing me an education, Classical is extremely lacking. It's consistantly suffering due to local school policy which has given jobs to some of the most incompetant teachers I have ever had to tolerate. For now, classical still has a few good teachers, and an excellent arts program, as well as an extremely active and diverse afterschool community. It is when you discount the administration that Classical is at it's best, a chance for some of the best and brightest students in Rhode Island to collaborate and learn from eachother. But there's certainly very little to take away from a class at Classical. I have seen good students' grades decline due to boredom and extremely poor teachers, and have known recently a few who have chosen to switch to private schools as a result. If Classical is the best school in Providence, that's an insult to the entire school system.

- submitted by a student
April 20, 2004
Coasting on its laurels and the kids who get into ivy league schools - which depends little on what happens to them at Classical. Coasting on the self-motivation of the students and what they bring to the classroom when they walk in. Some fabulous teachers, lots ho hum and too many really poor ones. Many of the kids are much brighter than their teachers and we've found teachers who really don't enjoy teaching these kids. Very little student focused teaching, very little co-construction of knowledge, lots of chalk and talk. Only parent teacher interaction is that initiated by the parents. These kids, who score the highest city wide on an admissions exam, should be winning nobel prizes. While they have won a few statewide awards, they usually don't stack up well against their national peers (with a few exceptions - recent Japanese awards, but the Japanese teacher is fabulous).

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2003
I attended Classical High School and it was one of the best educational experiences of my life. The teachers are remarkable. Their committment to preparing a student for college is impressive. At times, they will bend over backwards for students in order to make a subject understandable. The entire faculty are incredibly friendly, supportive, trustworthy...the list goes on. I'm very proud that Classical teaches students on a college level, so by the time I entered college, I had already known so much. I believe every parent should have a child in a fine school such as this.

- submitted by a community member
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Classical High School
770 Westminster St, Providence, RI  02903
(401) 456-9145
Last modified Classical High School is a Public school that serves grades 9-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Classical High School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 55 reviews. Top