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San Mateo High School8

San Mateo, CA | San Mateo County

Quality
Principal
Teachers
Activities
Parents
Safety

November 5, 2013


San Mateo High has returned to its glory days as the school that produces exceptional students. Academics are varied and challenging, with many choices for students of all abilities. Facilities are up-to-date, thanks to the recent state-of-the-art renovation and ongoing Foundation funding. Sports programs show promise for future notoriety, and the performing arts are the best in the county, bar none. The recently reopened and renovated Performing Arts Center is on the campus of SMHS. Diversity is a celebrated positive at San Mateo High. All students can find a place and achieve to the best of their abilities; the tools and motivation are there. The administration is attuned and informed.

Submitted by a parent

November 1, 2013


I always thought I was going to attend Burlingame or SI, never considering this "performing arts school." After my mom made me visit, I knew this was home. SM has the best staff, the best students, the best spirit (duh) and the best heart. Not only do we have the most AP classes, but we also have the highest AP&SAT scores in the district. Teachers make learning fun. We have the most fun at lunch and we have the most school events. The teachers care so much. The students defy so many stereotypes. And these wonderful people have made SM a home to so many who need it. There are so many success stories--Stanford, Harvard, MIT. But for others, they still get the tools they need to succeed at SJSU, Cal Poly, or wherever. People negatively make assumptions about this school, and we just go on disproving them. I love how we're not that typical football and cheer-dominated school: our homecoming court has people from Math Team, JSA, Student Government, reflecting our values and our diversity. Even though we have great performing arts, we also have good sports teams too--most teams are in the top division, playing with teams like Burlingame. SM was the best decision I ever made.

Submitted by a student

October 29, 2013


I agree completely with the last reviewer. My son is a Sophomore at San Mateo High School and loves it there. He loves the welcoming atmosphere at the school, as well as the amazing school spirit. The teachers he has had the last 2 years have been great, and have challenged him academically. The Biotech Dept is one of the gems of the school, with amazing, dedicated teachers. There's really no need to look at private schools -- San Mateo HS has it all, plus your child will have an amazing high school experience there. The parents I've met at the school have all been super nice and have as much Bearcat spirit as their kids!

Submitted by a parent

October 28, 2013


San Mateo High School is truly a gem! From its excellent academics (Most AP Classes in the district, National Merit Scholars every year, kids getting into top colleges like Harvard, Stanford , MIT etc.), to its incredible performing arts, biotech and leadership programs, to strong athletics programs, to the huge number of clubs on campus from Mock Trial to Model UN to Jefferson Awards Club, San Mateo has something to offer to every student. My daughter, a sophomore at smhs, shadowed 8 different schools, got accepted into the 2 private schools she applied to, & instead chose to attend smhs precisely because of the above! The incredible spirit and inclusive atmosphere at San Mateo was a huge deciding factor in addition to the advanced math, history, writing, music and performing arts classes she wanted. She is taking 2 ap classes as a sophomore and is involved in pretty much everything the school has to offer from soccer, theatre, mock trial, concert choir to jefferson awards. SMHS is a TRULY SAFE campus with excellent academics, performing arts, athletics & extra curricular activities where diversity is celebrated and as a parent, I couldn't be happier with my daughter's decision!

Submitted by a parent

March 13, 2013


I am a teacher and SMHS and I have had the opportunity work at several other schools and SMHS is by the far the best! The school has a beautiful and modern campus, including a new state of the art Biotech building & the new performing arts center is almost ready. The school also has very up to date technology- document cameras, new computers & everything else a successful school could need. The school if filled with dedicated & hardworking students. Students lead numerous school activities such as a massive canned food drive, Health week , Chalk Festival, & a million other things. You will not find a hardworking, more spirit bunch of students anywhere. The academics are also outstanding, with an enormous amount of advanced placements classes - everything from AP European History to AP Environmental Science. Our school also has an extremely dedicated and hard working staff. One example of this is the staff is currently working on "Mateo Madness" which is month long series of activities and practice tests to help students feel more prepared for the state's standardized testing. We also have an award winning Dance & Drama department, if you have seen as show you are missing out.

Submitted by a teacher

November 20, 2011


San Mateo is a school looked down upon by many in the district but truly is an amazing place. Mostly parents look at the test scores and don't want their kids going to a school that isn't as good as others. What they don't realize is that SM has the highest AP scores in the district, the scores are just weighed down by the students that do not speak english as a first language. That shows another great point about San Mateo. We are the MOST diverse student body in the district. Students come from all social, financial, and ethnic backgrounds. This is extremely beneficial to the kids. It teaches that their are other people outside of your own group and to be more open to different races. Unlike the predominantly white and asian backgrounds of Burlingame or Aragon, SM actually prepares the kids for who they will meet outside of high school. But what San Mateo should be recognized for is their extracurriculars. The drama program is award winning and professional level. We have the only biotechnology program in the district with new facilities. And the leadership class is amazing! SM is top notch for student life such as a week entirely devoted to health, peace and spirit!

Submitted by a parent

October 20, 2011


This school is terrible. The majority of students there receive free lunch, and the poor kids there are like the end all and the be all. The free lunch kids always cut in lines and bully those who pay for food with cash. they act all upper class and everything. the school doesn't do anything to help the good students. instead, they spend their time trying to help those kids who don't even try. the school environment is terrible also. there are gangs and kids who do drugs all around the school campus. the bus drivers of this school do not follow traffic rules and constantly endanger the kids who ride the bus. they run yellow lights and they squish way too many kids on the buses. stay at san mateo high for one day and you will know what it feels like if you do not make it to heaven. serious students wanting to attend college should definitely avoid this school.

Submitted by a student

December 14, 2010


SMHS is a great school for teens. My children went to wealthy elementary and middle schools and now they are meeting a very socio-economically and ethnically diverse group of teens. It's great for them to encounter new situations while still living at home. The academics here are excellent, especially the advanced placement and bio-tech classes. Like all schools, not all teachers are superior, but that's an introduction to life. Not all bosses are good, not all teachers are good, not all people are good. School spirit and extra-curriculars are outstanding. It often feels like a Disney movie. Every type of club imaginable is here. Also, the school was totally rebuilt a few years ago. It's beautiful. The school gets a bad rap because there are minority students who come from non-English speaking homes. Well, these students will soon be the majority ethnic group in California. Some are good students, some are not. Hopefully my child will not pick-up bad habits from poor students. Finally, the principal is very dedicated and caring. She knows the names of students and parents and really wants SMHS to be a great school.

Submitted by a parent

April 23, 2010


People can say whatever they want, but SMHS is the best school ever! Its spirit is contagious! It welcomes everyone without looking at their race or color. It makes you feel like it is your second home. All its programs are great! Let's go bearcats!!

Submitted by a student

September 16, 2009


SMHS was a fantastic place to go to school- with an amazing faculty and student body. Go bearcats!

September 12, 2008


I have had 1 child graduate from SM and one child still enrolled. The education is top notch. I think it is the best in the district with the diversity of the student body and the active clubs, drama, music and parent groups. It offers a slice of real life in our very diverse bay area.

Submitted by a parent

August 30, 2007


Without being redundant, San Mateo High is hands down the most diverse High School in the district. As with any organization there are weak spots sure, but I think there is a lot of heart in the teaching staff. I still think fondly about my Senior english teacher Mrs. Iraheta who reignited my love for reading and writing, or my Journalism advisor Mr. Nate Johnson.The best thing about SMHS,is the simple fact you can be anyone who you want to be here. All walks of life are represented in the student population , and I'd say pretty early on there is no division of these many facets. I only wish I had appreciated all this more when I went there :)

Submitted by a former student

April 25, 2006


San mateo high school has a lot of spirit! The kids are in a brand new state of the art building, which is beautiful. My daughter is thriving academically, but is struggling socially, it is a tough school for her. They have an excellent drama department and wonderful, caring teachers! She needed extra help in math and language arts and sm high did not hesitate to put her in the appropriate classes and now she's doing much better. Overall, I think the school is very good and it is very diversed.

Submitted by a parent

October 6, 2005


San Mateo High School is one of the most culturally diverse school in the county of San Mateo. San Mateo High School has a great tradition in education.

Submitted by a former student

September 7, 2005


The quality of education can be very high, depending on student ability. Test scores are misleading, because the student body is extremely diverse in terms of education, ethnic, and socio-economic differences. Thus, despite the test scores, you will find students at SMHS performing at exceptionally high levels. The teaching staff is more than able to meet those levels.

Submitted by a former student

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