It is true that there is a large difference between the optional program and the traditional program. If your child is not prepared for the competitive environment of the optional program, it would definitely be better to send him or her to a different school. However, WSHS offers gifted children the chance to excel through its optional program. Basically, having only "smart" kids in a class makes the children work that much harder. I highly, highly recommend this school for advanced learners, but cannot recommend the school for those with average IQs.
White Station High School has been touted as the jewel of the school system. That is a joke. With the exception of a few teachers, the rest of the staff are apathetic and incompetent, especially the administrators and guidance counselors. I have never encountered the pass the buck attitude in any other school I have dealt with, as I have with White Station. The student records are incomplete and blame is placed on the student or parent. There is no accountability. They simply don t care. The optional program doesn t offer any additional benefits, and most of the students in the program would be successful regardless of what high school they went to. The only benefits of going to White Station are the lessons learned about dealing with incompetent people and the importance of doing something yourself if you want it done right.
This school has been inexplicably allowed to skate by on the reputation of its optional program for better than two decades. The reality is that the school has problems with violence, overcrowding, teacher apathy, and administrative incompetence. Good luck ever talking to a teacher or faculty about your child -- unless of course they commit some sort of uniform violation, then you can expect to be contacted. Your child have a 504? Get ready to fight for every accommodation they need. I graduated from WS as did both of my children which gives me a mountain of experience - none of it great. I would sell my soul to pay for private school before I would send another child to White Station High.
White Station High school definitely lives up to its name as a college preparatory school. The teachers work hard to strive us to excellence. I admit the excessive amount of homework can be very much annoying, it turns out to be all worth it in the end. Despite the environment that White Station is surrounded by, the teachers make up for that.
If your child is going to the optional program, White Station is the best public school in Memphis. the optional program is rigorous and stimulating. It is unlike any other school in Memphis, and it will certainly prepare you for college. All students, especially the juniors, receive a lot of work from all their teachers. Sometimes as a student here, you may feel like you'll never survive this night of homework. But you do, and the rewards of the education is immense. The AP program is stellar, and this year White Station had more National Merit Finalists than any other school in the state. Being a student here does involve some moral strength because there is a small drug problem and there are fights occasionally. The majority of the students dont participate in these activities, but it is something to watch out for. the campus gets dirty during lunch time and is not going to win Yard of the Month. Despite the fact that sometimes the air conditioner doesn't work or that when it rains, there are huge puddles it's not that bad. The school doesn't receive much funding, but the education makes up for all of it. Here you will meet highly competitive students that go to great colleges.
I am currently a junior at White Station, and I must say that it's a pretty decent school. The hallways are a bit overcrowded, but what can we do when there are 2400 students walking in a not-so-big school? Class difficulty? Freshmen year was pretty easy. Sophomore year is decently difficult. Junior year is tough! Once the APs kick in to your schedule, you'll finally realize what the real world is like. Despite the little funding that White Station recieves, the school uses it somewhat wisely. I believe that the money should be used for better teachers, mostly in the nonAP/honors classes. The school does continue to shine in the optional program where the students are able to bypass the lack of good facilities yet get a good education. Am i ready for college? I definitely will be after senior year with all the AP experience! If you want to consider this school, i would highly consider it, that is if you're willing to ignore the poor and "dirty" environment. Foul language and possible drugs are present in the school (just a warning). I don't really seem to mind it, but if you want your child in a safe environment, consider private school education like MUS or St. Mary's.
I graduated from White Station 2 years ago and I feel I was very well prepared for college. I don't think there was anywhere else I could have developed as much as I did there. I loved all 4 years of it.