Talented and caring teachers understand the range of student needs at this school, from kids bound for top colleges all the way to those struggling to stay in school and graduate. Staff and students create a culture of acceptance that is remarkable and one that will serve students well in their adulthood. Totem pride is amazingly high, despite having sports teams that struggle and a high level of poverty. SHS is full of opportunity to challenge oneself academically as well as in extracurriculars. A full range of AP classes is available to all, including those who need financial assistance. Frankly, the Athletic/Activity Director is out of touch with community needs, but one way or another that is going to improve with parent involvement and open communication. This isn't stereotypical Bellevue, so it may not be the right fit for those uncomfortable with economic, cultural, and social diversity. The building is in the midst of a major remodel and will be a beautiful state of the art facility upon completion in 2016. Hopefully the amazing school culture will remain intact as district boundaries are re-drawn and families pursue that fancy new building.
Sammamish is special with a broad diversity of students and needs. The school responds with programs such as Jumpstart and AVID to a plethora of AP classes plus College at High School and Running Start. Additionally, school spirit is very strong with the State's biggest high school fundraiser, Walk for Aidan. The principal is working tirelessly to improve the school, its teachers and its offerings.
Sammamish High School was rated #48 in the nation by Newsweek magazine for the 2008 school year. My daughter has flourished there and I couldn't be happier with our home neighborhood high school. By the way, all of the six high schools in Bellevue made the top 100 list in Newsweek and five of them were in the top 50.
As a parent of a student at SHS, I have found this school as having brought a well-rounded and strong academic experience for our child and future Totem. As a leader in the fine arts, math, and science depts., my kids will have a step up in their future academia world of college. The teachers actually care about their students and they hold the kids accountable for their actions. Tom Duenwald, current principal, works tirelessly in his efforts to hold the standards level high for the staff and the kids. The school spirit is much higher than other Bellevue high schools. SHS represents the real world of high school life.
School is quite safe, nice teachers except some mean councelors, who don't pay enough attention to the student's needs. Great classes and advance curriculum. Great after school programs, from sports to art to music. And the theater department is one of the best; the new theater just opened with the best teacher ever, Ms. Mordford. School had very good students a couple of years ago but the new incomming students seem to care less and less about academics. Parents are always involved in all aspects of the school, helping out at the PTA or whenever the school organizes fundraisers to help raise money for the school. The students are all very nice, although like I said, they were nicer. But all get along very well. Very low drug and alcohol use.
Sammamish has the reputation of being inferior to 3 of the other high schools in town -- but if you look at the demographics, the school holds it's own. The teachers are more caring, the schedule is more flexible, and you can take as many APs as the other schools, more than anywhere else in the state. The principal and counselors are caring, too.
After originally picking an Eastside private prep school, we made an active choice to enroll our high schoolers in the public schools after meeting with SHS staff 5 years ago. Given the fact that Sammamish has successfully addressed the key issues of maintaining challenging studies within real world diversity, we couldn't be more pleased.