The administration lacks leadership from top to bottom. When problems are evident and overwhelming the answer is always to cover up. This goes all the way up to the Superintendent's Cabinet. If you want your child to be a great follower - this school is for you. Don't let them speak up, have an opinion or think for themself - This school will crush them for doing so. I bought my home for my kids to go to this school, I am selling it to get them out. As a result of what we have been through we have learned more about the widespread problems, do your research first so you don't subject your kids to this hostile environment. Note that the recent comments are mostly negative and the older comments are mostly positive. The leadership has changed and it is reflected below. This administration is still riding the wave of success in academics and sports put in place by their predecessors - by the time the acolades have gone away the school will need years to recover from the damage these people are doing to our kids. For the followers they have created, time may heal but opportunities will be lost forever. From the parent of a well adjusted, popular, pretty and well liked child.
Academically and athletically, the school speaks for itself. The school culture, however, leaves much to be desired. Though there's always an "in-group" in any school or setting, BHS's is particularly vicious. The same kids who ran the elementary schools in 4/5th grade, are the same kids who ran the middle schools, are the same kids who now run this high school. I've had 3 kids go through this school, 2 of whom were popular and still had problems with bullying, hazing, and the school looking the other way at their problems. The third developed severe anxiety and school aversion within 6 months of entering the school, now much happier being homeschooled. There is a true wolf-pack mentality not only among the students, but among the teachers as well. They seem to side with the "normal" kids and we had stunningly insightful suggestions about our GLBT teen such as, "Have you tried telling him not to flaunt it?" Make no mistake by the test scores and athletic program - a handful of students (and to a lesser extent their PTA moms) run this school. It's a school for the in-group and run by the in-group. My other children will not be going to BHS. We've had enough.
This is a school for students who will do well anywhere, anyway. If a student is struggling for any reason, the blinders go up and no one seems to notice or care. There is the rare teacher who will attempt to treat students as individuals, but that is the exception and not the norm. The administration is not supportive, creative or present. The counselors are completely out to lunch and not even capable. Remember that a very poor teacher can do damage to the way a student sees himself/herself as a learner and that is not easily undone.
My daughter, a high achiever motivated to go to a good college, thrived in this school. After graduation, she is accepted to the honors program of a nationwide well known university. The level of academics in this school is comparable to college prep private schools found throughout the region. So any student with college aspirations and motivation to work hard will find what they are looking for in this school.
If you're son is looking for a football experience that no other school on the westcoast can offer, this is the school for him. the football team is one of the top programs in the country and the staff is hands down one of the if not the best in the country. It is loaded with ex-nfl and college players who truly care about the kids. The players learn valuable life lessons through the program, lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. The coaching staff stresses progress and success in the classroom and will not allow a player to play if they feel he is slacking in school. The basketball teams as well as the lacrosse team are very talented as well.
Bellevue High has good academics if you take the AP classes, although they do push AP too much on students who are not ready or capable of it. However, if you want to take more than 3 or 4 AP classes, they will try to block you. I also found that the only way to move out of an AP class that I didn't want to take was to move into a different AP class, which reflects badly on their focus on AP classes versus what the students need. The counseling system is very poorly set up. Some counselors just don't care about their students, while those who do care are overwhelmed and slowly pushed under by the sheer number of students hey are responsible for (5 counselors for ~1400 kids). The administration in general is extremely unhelpful, with the exception of the people in the registrar's office.
Serious need of better counselors. Parents need to educate themselves about how to get their kids into college. Don't need an outside coach, just get engaged in the process. My daughter has an IEP and is a 4.0 student. Kids need to advocate for themselves with teachers.
Bellevue is easily one of the best schools in the state. The student population is way more diverse than people say, it's demographics are rapidly changing with its generally upper-class neighborhoods. Academic programs are stellar, the majority of students take and pass AP courses. Obviously it has some great sports programs as well. In recent years other clubs and organizations are becoming involved. The mostly student-run LINK program has made tremendous progress in changing the overall attitude of students at BHS. Overall, Bellevue is an academically challenging school that will prepare your student for whatever they decide to do post-high school. Mike Bacigalupi and several staff members have helped transform this to a stereotypical 'upper class' school into a place where students are safe and learn about the real world.