If your kid is focused, a self-starter and responsible without your nagging and reminding, then H-B is a great school (that is, if your kid gets in - the lottery is highly competitive). The emphasis is on self-motivation and self-responsibility: H-B gives kids the level of freedom other schools do not AND it expects a lot in return. Given that test scores are the highest in Arlington County, apparently this model works. The annual Washington Post high schools rankings (despite of what you may think of any rankings in general) places H-B at the top or one of the top two public schools in this area year after year (not including TJ in Alexandria). The small class side -- around 75 students in middle school, 85 in high school - certainly gives H-B the sense of a small, private school. I cannot think of a school that by its design better prepares kids for college - it really is set up as a mini-college. Given its high scores, small class size, overall student satisfaction, the intimate feel of a close-knit school, the ability to audition classes in higher grades, and incredible teacher involvement, I would say consider yourself lucky if your kid makes the lottery.
It's a wonderful school - excellent academically but has a sense of fun. The students really like it-- it is more flexible and places more responsibility on the students themselves.
H-B Woodlawn is a great school that permits students to not only get a good education, but also learn the values of responsibility in a way that no school I know of does.
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