This school can increase persistence in students as long as they have a lot to begin with. Students become tougher and more determined as they go through, although there is an epidemic among top students of procrastination and "just going through the motions because they have to."
Most teachers are very respectful of students, although they are tough on students, and can get a bit harsh if a student isn't being respectful themselves. Teachers do, however, say often disrespectful things about other public schools (i.e. "you guys are acting like you're from Lakota" or "I wouldn't assign you this if you were at Decatur",) and make it sound like other schools always have bad education in order to keep students at the school. There is also a problem with students putting down others in lower math classes, which teachers seem ignorant of, and occasionally even join in. Other than with other schools and classes, students learn well how to respect other's and their differences and personal culture, and not to "act like their better."
Students develop compassion through community service, what they learn in history, english and humanities classes and school activities. There are some kids that don't want to learn and mess it for the rest of the kids because they have to be rough and not care too in order to get by, and one teacher that shows almost violent contempt for students, but FWPA is overall the best place for a smart, hardworking kid to learn compassion any day.
This school does a good job developing honesty, integrity and fairness in students that care at least a little about what they do. There are required community service hours, which really get students involved in the community, along with many at-school community service projects and assemblies. Most teachers exemplify honesty, integrity and fairness and help gifted teens "figure themselves out" and become better people.
Despite many teacher's efforts, the students that do care to learn and grow are constantly irritated and brought down by students that don't care about school or their behaviour and shouldn't be at the school. Teachers end up spending a lot of time chewing out certain classes for bad behaviour and having unfavored classes that they treat all of the students in worse because of the students in there that don't care. All students not in top math classes are looked down upon by other students and some staff because they are seen as 'lazy' and 'dumb.' To make things worse, there are about five students in every lower level math class that don't belong there and are simply locked into a track that they were only put into because classes need to be filled, then have to deal with bullying and goofing off in class from other students, along with disfavorment by teachers, which forces them to act like a disrespectful, non-serious student that they really aren't in order to fit in.
Best public school in Federal Way. Two to three hours of homework every night, sometimes more, especially for older students during finals week. High school instruction is great, and a good school for above average math students. The Spanish program isn't too good. The quality of middle school instruction varies; their science program is good, but their eighth grade reading program is pretty mediocre, and sad being some of the student's ability levels, and the seventh grade writing class is horrible. Teachers can be biased and pick favorites, but mostly just can't put up with students that aren't willing to learn, study, and do homework every night. Some very talented teachers, along with a few that could be better. Your student will thrive if they're willing to work hard and take advantage of the leg-up that FWPA provides.
FWPA is not for everyone! You should know what the school is about before making a commitment. It is true that they emphasize on academic...they are true to their words. After all, it is a college prep school. For those who don't appreciate an academic environment, don't enroll your child there. You will only end up complaining about the school, staff, and claim victim because it did not work for your child. My son finished through 10th, and have two daughters currently attending. They love the school. My oldest daughter told me the materials she learned in the first few months in sixth grade was more than what she learned in the years combined in elementary school. FWPA kids are exposed to a plethora of topics that one can only wish for their child. They are exposed to worldly topics from knowledgeable teachers. They are allowed to be creative and apply what they've learned in class into their projects. Kids are allowed to show their leadership skills at an earlier age than most schools; the dances, spirit week are all student organized and run. As someone once said ' FWPA is the gem in the Federal Way school district'. I would have to agree.
Having done some research, I see that there is a misconceptions about the teachers at FWPA. I just have to say that it's not that they pick favorites and purposely try to make the lives of those who struggle miserable, they try to help and want to see their students succeed. I had problems with the material in 6th and 7th grade. Yes, the teachers constantly nudged me to work harder and it was tiresome, but I'm so glad they did. Thanks to Mrs.Whisenhunt, and Mr. and Mrs.Tarling, I've developed great work ethics.
Safe school in terms of gangs and drugs, but teachers tend to play favorites and makes kids feel bad. Do not send your kids to this school if your child is not willing to sacrifice their own social and athletic life for some college prep school with teachers who went to a community college.