This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Interlake Senior High School3
Posted April 21, 2015
- a parent
I am a senior at Interlake. Interlake is a good school, but has a competitive atmosphere. Students are pressured to take more AP/IB courses than they can handle, but are looked down upon if they don t. Interlake has an open enrollment policy for AP/IB courses, meaning anyone can register for an AP/IB course without any prerequisites, teacher recommendation, or counselor approval. A student who was already getting C s and D s in math and science, like my sister, should not have been allowed to take IB Physics. Now that registration is online, parents don t know what their child signs up for unless he or she involves the parent in the process. The gifted program fosters unhealthy competition. Everyone is trying to outdo each other. Many Interlake students get less than five hours of sleep which is worse if students are also involved in after school sports. Many are. IB requires more critical thinking than AP and requires a host other assessments. The other assessments are no trip either. Look on the IB website for more information. If your child is not the best student, consider a different Bellevue high school. All of them are excellent and your child won t feel dumb.
If you are planning on attending this school, I advise you to not sign up. Especially if you or your child is not a prodigy, like over half of the students here claim to be. I have first hand experience and the teachers here are for the most part, great. The teachers help most students directly if they need help; even after school they are available. On the other hand, there are those sour apples that just read off of a poorly made PowerPoint and become enraged when a student asks too many genuine questions. The biggest and most hard hitting factor in this high school is the students, don't get me wrong here (I am not anti social or have any social problems whatsoever) but they are extremely competitive to the point where people can become quite stressed. This is mostly due to the fact that there is a program called the PRISM or GIFTED program. First of all, it's called the GIFTED program- Now come on. GIFTED? Are you trying to make us (the average person) feel incompetent? Most of these kids are pumped full of pride and ignorance because they are shoved a mirage down their throats. There are still many students in the program that are very nice so don't judge please.
Interlake HS.... very disappointed, my child attended all four years, and two weeks before graduation in 2012 I was notified that my child was 1 credit short to graduate...when I had been told everything would be fine. So now I have a child with no high school diploma or assistance from the school on what to do now... My child has been so disappointed by this all dreams once talked of no longer exhist now working flipping burgers. Too much emphasis on gifted program.
I have two daughters that graduated from Interlake and it was a great experience for both of them. My youngest just graduated this week and is going on to USC. I can't believe the comment that only football was a good sport there. Both of my daughters went to state multiple times in three different sports. The cross country coach is a former Olympian (1996, best American in the 10,000 meters!). The only concern we had was that the PRISM program (for talented and gifted students) are automatically alloted the top 50 slots in class ranking so that was a negative when it came to applying to colleges since the top schools want students who have placed in the top 10% of the their class.
Our kids haven't yet met any great teachers at Interlake, though quite a few are competent. Given the high ratings of this school, we are very disappointed with the reality. Math is especially weak. My child had a calculus teacher last year who didn't know calculus, and said so on the first day of class. It didn't get any better, although our child's experience in the class improved when one of the students started teaching the class each day. Thank goodness for that student. The teacher sat at her computer and played games. Parents protested, to no effect: she's back again this year. This teacher has been at the school for 7 years at least, so I guess they can't get rid of her. Don't bother talking with the counselors or administration about it. They don't return your calls and don't seem to care, or maybe are just jaded.
Academically, you won't get much better, however, there is a social aspect of the school that's challenging. It's extremely clicky... On a couple occasions I had to email the principle regarding some issues my child was having. Neither of the emails I'd sent were responded to. In my experience, this is how they tend to handle things, so keep that in mind. The curriculum is up there with the best, and there are a couple teachers that are flat out phenomenal (e.g. an English teacher), but unfortunately it's not enough to make up for the extremely awkward and challenging social environment. Sports are ok. The football coaching staff is good, but other programs are far behind it. There is awareness, however, in this area to bring other sports up to par with football. In addition, school spirit is a bit lackluster here. Music programs are top of the line and a lot of energy is put into them. If your child isn't concerned with the social aspect, is part of the gifted program (gifted program is a bit separated from the rest of the school), or is full academic, then this could be a good fit.
I have a daughter in this school and I have only good comments about it. The Staff is great, she's had some amazing teachers. She has some very good friends from the gifted program but most from the regular program which is really fine. The English teacher is awesome, her favorite! the Music department is really good, and watching the Band and the Orchestra is amazing! Both vice principals are very approacheable and good.
I have had two sons graduate from Interlake and will have my youngest son will enter Interlake as a freshman this fall. My boys were there both before and AFTER the rebuild. The rebuild wasn't fun for the kids, but the students took it all in good humor. It is academically outstanding, and their music department is top drawer. After the remodel, the district's gifted student program was expanded and moved to Interlake. And there is where my only criticism is. The gifted kids are the only really cliquey group there. They are a somewhat isolationist and unpleasant bunch, but there are also gifted kids who like being involved with the school and shine in the school environment.Loking forward to my youngest son beinfg there in the falland taking orchestra with Dr. Katsman
Interlake is by far one of the best schools in Washington state. It has had its problems years ago but was put back on track by a wonderful staff and community. Not only is it a beautiful campus sitting on a hill nestled in the beautiful evergreen woods, it has wonderful attributes such as, state of the art academic wings, 3 gyms, a turf football field with a solar powered concession stand, enough computers throughout the school to guarantee availability if a student need to use one, Smart boards in every class, horticulture wing, an award winning music program,a very succesful special ed program, diversity, a reviving sports program, an every growing saints community, Interlake was usually always a large school throughout the 70s and 80s but declined in enrollment plummeting to 730 students around 2004 and 6 years later Interlake has nearly 1,400 students. I love this school.