First, the education here is just excellent IF you make it so. I was an IB Diploma recipient here & I cannot stress how easy college feels now because of the workload & types of assignments I received here. Sports teams are demanding and successful. Teachers are EXCELLENT. Great community here ..somehow..despite deep socioeconomic divides among student groups. The administration is so committed, & it shows. IB diploma program is exceptional, but the grade deflation here may hurt students who choose to pursue anything outside of academics, or aren't EXTREMELY organized. Problems: There's a fair share of kids who disrupt classes, make problems bigger, act stupid , etc. as if self-control is a foreign concept. The administration can't do anything much but assign them detentions & leave them to chill with the security guards per usual. College counseling is a JOKE & often does injustice to Mason's caliber of student. I'd suggest getting a private college counselor & pursuing as much IB coursework as you can without getting the full Diploma...the extra stuff only builds unnecessary pressure. In the end, grades matter more & are the stepping stones to "interesting" pursuits.
I'm a current student here, and although I don't like it very much, there's more good than bad. Classes are interesting and challenging; I have harder and more challenging work than any of my friends from other schools, and the classes really make you think. Most teachers are generally helpful and caring, though if you need extra help, you need to ask for it. Going here can be very, very, stressful and not getting enough sleep if a problem. There are definitely a few bad teachers, but studying hard and using the schools many tutoring options can offset that. There is a huge focus on the IB program, and a lot of pressure to do the full diploma. The school has a pretty competitive atmosphere, and a decent amount of cheating, which is really irritating for those of us that are honest. People are welcoming to new kids, and it's easy to find a group you fit in. Some people are definitely snobs and if you don't come from a family with a lot of money, you can feel out of place. There are a lot of chances to get involved, and good variety; join a few things your first year and see what fits you. The principal great and supportive of all the teams, and the counseling department is helpful.
George Mason is an excellent school. Having been in education for over 20 years, I recognize an amazing educational environment. Teachers care about students; the administration works with teachers, parents and students to build a welcoming community; and the IB program is challenging. My only concern is a small group of parents who continue to hound the administration and degrade the school division based on their personal agendas. If you can avoid that group, your children will have a wonderful experience.
We moved to Falls Church City because of this school. It's a small high school with a real community feel. They have an active IB program, excellent music program, lots of sports teams, great robotics team, foreign language exchange program. Not every teacher is great--no school can say that--but some are really excellent. And the principal always shows up. He's at games, tournaments, concerts; he's outside every single morning greeting the kids as they come into the school.
If your child is bright and has an IEP then this is a scary place. As a parent you will have to be the case manager and the Administration is much more interested in following the law then helping your child be successful. They will drag their feet all year and do nothing to help you. There is no one to go to for help because the Superintendent will not help you. If you have a child with an IEP I would suggest Arlington or Fairfax. George Mason just fired their best special ed teacher, the only one that really knew what he was doing and had the will to do it. Sad state of affairs there. I suppose the reviews for general education students might be true but I don't enjoy that world, my child is special ed and our experience is so different.
My child was a student for four years at George Mason. We returned to the US from living overseas so she could attend high school here, and interviewed several public schools that offered the IB program in both Virginia and Maryland. Mason seemed the best of them, and we relocated to Falls Church specifically so she could go there. It was a good choice. She did the IB program and graduated with the full IB diploma. I was struck by the great support she received from the IB program coordinator and the guidance counselors. As a senior, she was accepted at most of the colleges she applied to, and has since flourished at the highly selective college she chose to attend. The challenging academics at Mason certainly played a large role. One of the best public high schools in Northern Virginia, I've no doubt
Boy, we've moved around alot! One lesson I've learned is that your child feeling like part of the community is crucial! This school is so wonderful! They care about the needs of each student...and they place their resources behind that! I KNOW that firsthand...and as my son has told me, there is a real feeling of belonging. You will find kids from all walks of life..rich, poor, white, not white, driven, lazy...and for the most part, they are accepted. I'm so thankful for this school! We've been through some major challenges before landing here, and I am SO thankful that my son is at George Mason. It's a wonderful balance of academics and social acceptance...so key for our teenage kids.
Everything about it is great --environment, teachers, students, clubs, creative classes, size-- and it rates while students go on to productive, happy futures. ...Given today's budget issues, we are trying our best not to cut anything-- help us help our school, and all the educators and students in it!
This school is truly amazing. Ever since the day my family stepped in the building it was inclusive. I have learned that a lot of embassy and military children go to Mason so the kids there are very good about including everyone and most importantly the teachers. The guidance department makes transferring very easy. The academics are top notch, one of the most difficult in VA. The sports are great, they won the sports illustrated award for the best sports school in VA beating out much larger schools. The school very much rivals all private schools in academics in fact about twenty kids pay over 14 thousand dollars just to attend Mason. If you are thinking about moving to northern Virginia set up a meeting to tour the school, because this is one of those school that you do not want to miss.
Even with the recent replacement of principal Mr. Snee, the school did not lose its inclusive atmosphere. With a small student population of 800+ students dispersed throughout 5 grades, teachers are able to work one on one with students. This website is somewhat misleading as GMHS works almost entirely through the IB program, not AP. IB is more challenging as IB grade are determined by both internal and external assesments. The IB Diploma itself requires students to take 7 IB courses, the average AP student only takes 3 or 4 AP classes. However, I stress that AP is not more difficult in terms of workload. GMHS is flawed in that it creates impractical standards. A survey was taken by a senior in 2009 of students that have taken on the full requirements of the IB Diploma. The survey displayed that the average IB student got only 4 hours of
No school is perfect, but Mason has one of the most welcoming environments to be found in a public high school. I have some issues with the IB program, but the teachers, Mr. Snee, and the students all make learning enjoyable, safe, and possible. George Mason will meet students wherever they are. If you really want to learn and stretch yourself, the school will meet you halfway there.
I am so impressed with the school. There is such a friendly and enthusiastic attitude demonstrated by the students and teachers. The scholastics are top notch. I could not imagine more from even top private schools in N.VA.
The teachers, the curriculum, and general atmosphere of interest in learning prepared me exceptionally for my future studies. In comparing high schools with others during college and grad school, I have found few that prepared others as well as this school prepared me.
There are few words to describe this nurturing and challenging educational community. GMHS ensures the growth and development of every student from the most advanced to the most challenged learner. The administration and teaching staff are committed to the success of the individual and to communicating the joy of lifelong learning.
This school continues to give my child all the tools to success. As soon as an 8th Grader comes into the High School setting, this school takes the time to acknowledge the change and has set up the Triad Academy, which is course that enables the child to catch up on work and go on at their own pace and get used to the High School Life and pace. George Mason High School really goes out of their way to see their children succeed in their academics.
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