A major part of my service site is to help students gain access to college prep high schools. Although my role has little to do with high school access, this week I visited four of the schools that my site places students. All four schools, Hogwarts, the Brotherhood, Brainiac Academy, and the Art Gallery, are unique and would be best suited for a specific type of student.
Hogwarts is a private all girls school. It has a beautiful and spacious campus with a deeply rooted history. The girls wear uniforms complete with plaid skirts. Also, 100% of the girls who attend this school are accepted into 4 year universities, but at the cost to attend this school this is an expectation rather than a perk. This was the most formal school visit I attended. The tour was lead by the admissions representative, and consisted of lunch (The best high school lunch ever!), a conversation about the schools values and issues related to the girls from our organization who attend the school, and a tour.
The Brotherhood is a private all boys school. Similar to Hogwarts, the Brotherhood has a spacious and beautiful campus, but it also has a decorated sports team. The boys wear khakis with Polo shirts. This school visit was less formal, and I only visited the front lobby and cafeteria. I am pretty sure I walked past the son of a celebrity while stompin’ in my Life Strides. I got the chance to speak to scholars and found out that in contrast to Hogwarts, this school has a large population of low-income students, and thus transportation is provided via bus to these students.
Brainiac Academy is a public co-ed high school. The students do not wear uniforms. This school’s drab appearance reminded me of a prison. The walls are grey, there is a security guard and metal detectors at the front entrance, and there is very little green or outdoor space. Unlike Hogwarts or the Brotherhood, physical appearance is not this school’s selling point, rather this school has a reputation of being academically challenging. This school is so challenging that it loses over one third of each academic class. With this being said, a student who graduates from this school leaves with a great academic education.
The Art Gallery is a private co-ed high school. Similar to Brainiac Academy, students do not wear uniforms, and overall there is more room for artistic expression. Artwork created by students is either hung, or painted directly on the walls throughout the school. Besides a few benches, there is no outdoor space, and surprisingly this school does not have a “hot kitchen”. A student was selling prepackaged Subway lunches when I went on the tour. Art programs like drama are prominent at this school. One downfall is that it seems like there is a high teacher turnover rate. I was given a tour of this school by a staff member at the organization I serve with. This staff member graduated from this high school around 10 years ago, but only pointed out one teacher this person had as a student.
Which school would I choose to attend if I could go back in time? Obviously, I could not attend the Brotherhood because I am not a boy. Hogwarts seems like a nice school with plenty of access to resources and an almost guaranteed acceptance into college, but I think it could be challenging to fit in socially at this school. Brainiac Academy would academically prepare me for college, but a major downfall is the seeming lack of support and retention of students. Lastly, the Art Gallery allows a high amount of creative expression, but I am worried about the teacher turnover rate. As of now, I would choose the Art Gallery because of the value on artistic expression, individuality, and educating students holistically.With this being said, I will visit another school next week, and I have heard nothing but positive things about this school.
Which school would you attend?
*Pseudonyms are used to refer to the schools