I've gone to Yorktown for about 2 and a half years, and if there is one thing I can say, it's that the teachers are great. Maybe it was just luck, but all of my teachers were super great and helpful. The extracurricular programs were great as well, a lot of things to choose from. As for my classes, I enjoyed all of them (the theatre program is GREAT, I highly recommend it!!!). However, I find it very sad that the gap between AP or Intensified classes and the regular ones is so great. If you don't want to be in a class where you do absolutely nothing and where people don't care about studying, you're forced to take an AP or Intensified, where you have to work your butt off to get a decent grade. Another flaw is discrimination and racism. Yorktown has a reputation of being a "white school" and this is true because let's face it, it's not very diverse. People judge you by your race and your color, and you can clearly see the segregation of races in the cafeteria: there is a white space, and then there's everyone else. The worst thing is that people just pretend that this issue doesn't exist (or even worse, they truly believe it doesn't). I'm not even going to address the drug issue, because for as long as I was there, I was unaware of it. Nevertheless, four stars, because it was a very good experience of an American high school.
I went to YHS for most of my high school experience (9th-11th) before moving. I have to say, I had a lot of fun and good experiences here. I was able to have a lot of fun being creative in my elective classes (guitar, art, photography). There are a lot of teachers here who really want to help you succeed and are willing to stay after school or at lunch for extra help. The kids there are alright. There is a bit of a bullying issue, which leads me to the few qualms I have about it. It seems that if you're a star sports player or SGA member, no harm comes your way. It took me multiple attempts and a whole lot of persistence to get the assistant principal to do something about the basketball player who wouldn't stop harassing me. The one other thing I had an issue with was the constant construction. Since I left the school in 2010, I believe it's been completely redone and hopefully no longer under construction. Aside from that, I made some great friends, met some awesome teachers, and really finally was able to develop myself at YHS.
This isn't a bad school. Some teachers are great, some mediocre, and some are awful. There is a huge drug culture that the administration likes to pretend doesn't exist, but there are plenty of people who don't do drugs, and they're not hard to find. The new library is dark and kind of pathetic, and I expected better from a school system as wealthy as APS. The gym is really nice, and there are extensive gym facilities, like a state of the art weight room and a nice auxiliary gym. There is a team for practically every sport, too, and a ton of clubs for nonathletic people, so the extracurriculars are great.
"You'll find druggies at every school you send your child to." Yes but of all the schools my kids attended while I was in the military- schools in California, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia- the only time I ever witnessed a 40 year old PARENT light up it was when my kid went to Yorktown. If you throw your kids to the wolves there, don't count on the other parents acting like parents.
Yorktown is an okay high school with some great points and some horrible ones. I've had some teachers who changed my life for the better here and others who almost ruined my learning career. Though drinking and drugs are a problem here, I would not suggest sending your kids to private school as an alternative. Yorktown is very diverse in terms of what kids do in their free time. It's possible to avoid illegal activities and still have many friends. YHS has a LOT of school spirit and great theater/music programs. There is a club for everyone. This school is not perfect, but if you look hard enough you can find some wonderful students with ambitions and values to match your own- and that will make up for everything else.
The irony is that parents send their kids to this school because they feel it will keep them away from drugs when the fact of the matter is the school is composed of mostly rich kids who can afford it. Sending them to private school doesn't help because it's the same situation. And honestly the APS program far surpasses the local private school education and is way more diverse. You'll find druggies at every school you send your child to.
I decided to give it several months before I posted a review of this school. Now that my child has been attending another school in a different state for almost all of 2012, I can safely state that Yorktown is NOT a good place for your child to attend school. As other parents have noted, teh staff is unapproachable and condescending. They do not listen to your concerns. Some teachers are outright incompetent. For instance, in Chemistry my child had a D when he transferred out of there and by the end of the spring semester in the same subject he had an A at his new school. And drugs are a HUGE problem at Yorktown. The kids just have too much time and money on their hands. At all costs, if you have to live in that area, try a private school or home school your kids.