I'm a former student and now a parent of a student. Yes there are drastic difference in student home lives but we have one of the smallest public schools in the area! You have the rich and poor right next to each other and not much between them, however I think it's the parents fault for not teaching their child to respect everyone no matter what. I had a great education without doing any extras really. Yes the teachers push you hard and expect the best but my first year in college was so easy because it was mostly review. It showed how advanced our education can be in the FCCPS school system. I will not move out of this area until my child graduations from Mason because their education is one of the best! Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria or any other close district can't come close to what this school district can offer.
As a parent, I've heard students' comments similar to the the post below. Also from other sources (outside counselors; parents) that this is not a friendly school. Students are cliquish, administration doesn't intervene. We had about 60% of the teachers who are truly wonderful, 20% so so, and 20% flaky.
I went here. I was bullied, put on a hate last on fb, ridiculed by students every day, was told I was ugly and worthless, every time I spoke students would tell me to shut up and teachers never intervened. I was also asked to prom as a "joke". Smell the coffee you oblivious parents. You didn't know what it was like to go home to a dying parent, and then go back to school only to be ridiculed on the daily for 4 solid years. I have never felt more alone and hopeless in my life. I also had a cross country coach who pushed me past the point of obvious injury and resulted in having 3 stress fractures and osteoporosis. Considering I was an all state runner, she wasn't willing to let me take the time to heal since I was status and win(s) in her eyes. Some of the parents on here are so completely oblivious to the reality of GMHS. You didn't know what it was like to go home to a dying parent, and then go back to an awful high school only to be ridiculed on the daily for 4 solid years. I have never felt more alone and hopeless in my life.
I grew up in FC my whole life and switched to from private to public school in high school. My experience was that unless you were in the IB program, your mere existence was treated as insignificant. Many of the students were full of it whether it be money or status. I was bullied daily and ridiculed nonstop to the point I was on a Facebook hate list;most everything was lies. I was nice to everyone every day despite hating my life there. I became depressed after my dad had a stroke and then was asked to prom as a joke. The teachers watched the insults and bullying occur and never intervened or acknowledged it. I was also told I would never get into a real college thanks to the college counselor Ms. Bracken. Turns out I got a scholarship to the best art school in the nation and 3rd in the world. After that, the school wanted me to give a speech about how much GMHS helped me get ready for college. Moreover, there was Ms. Gantz who accused me of having discalculia without any grounds for saying such an accusatory statement when all she truly cared about was winning a teaching award for filming us while learning. I really pity all the students who are simple themselves.
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