I'm a sophomore at Carnegie and honestly I've never been more bittersweet. Yes, this was one of my top three high schools to choose from, but no, it was not my first. While I adore the school and love the environment (most of it at least) there are quite a few things that could be changed. For starters, it's a very socially noninclusive student body. If you don't fit a standard, don't expect to gain friends. It's that simple. The amount of homework is unbelievable, and much of it can be considered busy work as the teachers don't really look through it; they just assign a 100 if they see your name in the pile. There is a rampant cheating problem. Seriously, it's terrible. Terrible to the point of where the teachers know but are almost always unable to do things about it because it is just. That. Bad. Some of the newer teachers are (in my opinion) not very good at teaching and often lead you to have to teach yourself. Which sucks, on a student standpoint at least. Well, that's enough about the cons. Let's speak some pros shall we? The student body is almost always supportive, you'll always find someone as sleep deprived or anxiety ridden as you are. Literally always, because everyone is sleep deprived and anxiety ridden (see the busy work section of this review). Some teachers are supportive and the counselors are actually helpful with things. Much of the administration cares about the student's health and well-being and if they see someone struggling they won't hesitate to do as much as they possibly can to fix the issue. All of this being said, Carnegie is a great school if you can survive with a maximum of 3-4 hours of sleep a day and are fully capable of teaching yourself just about everything when it comes to certain classes, if not, I suggest you continue looking. Ratings this high don't come from nothing, after all.
I recently graduated in the top quartile of my class, distinguished achievement, and I will be attending my first choice university in the fall. In the course of four years, I have had three phenomenal teachers during my time at Carnegie, teachers that embodied the spirit of hard work and integrity, and I grew a lot under their instruction. I learned how to manage my time and how to calculate my strengths and weaknesses as well as the limit of my endurance on minimal hours of sleep. These are skills that I am grateful to have developed at Carnegie. That being said, I did not enjoy my time there. Arguably, high school is unenjoyable for the majority of teenagers, but there are a variety of problems I observed and experienced while I was there. First, there has been a lot of turnover in the teaching staff. In most of my classes, I had to teach myself though internet sources and YouTube videos. Second, there is a rampant cheating problem. One person had been suspended for cheating and yet there was no consequence to their GPA so they nevertheless graduated in the top 15%. Third, Carnegie is not a neutral field. It is expected of public schools that they avoid topics of religion and ideology. Carnegie is an extremely Progressive school. There is nothing wrong with this when balanced with other views and when not directly broadcast in classrooms, but Carnegie felt very much like an incubator for extreme Left wing Liberals. It was not an environment that supported differing views, and teachers did not make an effort to maintain a neutral position in class. Finally, students are almost always in a state of stress. There is little support or relief provided by administration to help cope with the stress and expectations placed on students. Many of my classmates suffered bouts of depression or anxiety attacks. Into senior year, people left the school; out of 225 entering freshman, only 148 students graduated.
No because there's no punishment for cheating. There were several known cheaters that were able to graduate even after being caught or reported. One person was suspended for cheating in junior year and yet they graduated in the top 15% of the class.
Some teachers are phenomenal, but the majority of the good ones retired. A lot of them aren't that great and you learn how to self teach fairly quickly. There's a difference in studying and learning the material from scratch by yourself or with a tutor.
There's too much useless work. Plenty of the work is worthwhile and you definitely need it to practice and learn. However, when it isn't checked for accuracy and is just another meaningless grade in the book, it isn't worth much. A lot of busy work is given out in class and for homework, rather than assignments that genuinely are useful for students.
The focus on the learning and critical thinking process and very small class size teaches students to own their work and really get to know their teachers. No one in this school will skate through unnoticed. Because of that, for a student to be successful, they must find their own distinct voice. That voice will become unmistakably theirs which absolutely encourages honesty and integrity.
As for fairness, the way they encourage tolerance can only lead to fairness among students. The environment makes it "uncool" to be intolerant of differences. When it comes to teachers, I have seen nothing that would indicate any unfairness or favoritism. Every student in this school is identified as gifted & talented so the spectrum of intellectual ability is smaller that most other public schools. They know each of these students is here because they are smart and ready to learn.
The commitment level of the teachers at CVHS is amazing! They make themselves available before and after school as well as during lunch to help anyone. Our daughter hasn't had a teacher yet who she didn't feel genuinely cared about how well she understands the work, not just being able to memorize and recite.
I have trouble answering this question. My daughter has 3-6 hours of homework per night. But we expected that. It is an academic college prep focused high school. And she is a perfectionist, so she's not quick. She's really good, but definitely not fast when it comes to homework. If you are prepared for that much homework, you won't be bothered by it. But if you aren't, you would definitely say there is too much. We were prepared.
My daughter attends CVHS and we are incredibly happy with it! It a phenomenal school! If your child doesn't thrive in a rigorous, intellectual, philosophical environment, this isn't the school for them. In many classes, they are challenged to look for the grey areas, not just the black and white. They are taught to research and form their own opinions rather than just memorize answers. There is plenty of memorization too, but definitely more emphasis on critical thinking that I expected from a high school. It is much more of a college atmosphere than I expected. There are dozens of clubs and organizations to join. If your student wants a heavy sports emphasis, again this isn't the school for them. There are sports, they have a good baseball team, decent volleyball team, etc. But they aren't going to be in contention for a state championship in sports...debate or robotics maybe, not sports. One more thing, they foster tolerance (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) and have created an environment where it's cool to be smart and contrarian. If your student is LGBT, a student of color, from another country, etc. I think you will find that the only thing that rules the school is respect and tolerance for difference. There is no majority at CVHS.
The education that our daughter is receiving is as good as ANY private high school education she could hope for and it's free...and she attended private school in another city so we actually have some point of reference. It is very difficult to get in, but completely worth it! We couldn't be happier with her choice! If you want your child to attend CVHS, make sure they focus on middle school grades, AP classes and standardized test performance. It is 100% gifted & talented identified students, so getting them started in middle school is important.
There are so many positive things to say about CVHS. However, after 3 years at CVHS ive noticed an issue that has to be pointed out. Just like a great receptionist with a business, hotel or any institution that deals with the public, can make or break an image, the same holds true for CVHS. I have personally experienced and observed the significant gap in the reputation of the school and the attitudes and conduct of the front office staff. some intensive customer service training is desperately needed. Rarely do I get a smile when i walk into the front office. Its all very operational with rules and policies and such. The school administration as a whole fails to realize the impact the front office staff has on the schools image. I cannot begin to count the times I have walked away from the front office scratching my head wondering how this continues to persist. In my opinion, the front staff needs a big shift in perspective in viewing the students, parents and community as their customer.