A parents Review of Southeast Raleigh Magnet high school
Are you thinking about sending your child to Southeast Raleigh High School? Maybe you are worried about the school – the safety, the academics, or the overall experience?
I am the type of person who gives a lot of thought to my child’s school experience, more than the average person! If you are one of those people and are looking for a resource about Southeast, I hope this helps. This will be a journal of my son’s four years at the school, starting with some background as it relates to high school course experiences.
Before high school, R went to a regular public elementary school, we then sent him to Exploris Middle School. Wake County did away with his track going into middle school so he was going to lose his intact friend group and we were not thrilled with Lufkin Road Middle where he was assigned. Exploris had a good reputation so we took advantage of that as we had positive experiences with charter schools in the past. His first year there under the direction of Kevin (the director at the time) was wonderful, we loved the school. Kevin retired and we were not happy with the changes post Kevin – without a lot of detail by 2nd quarter of 8th grade, he chose to homeschool the rest of 8th grade.
During 7th grade at Exploris they were the first group of Common Core Math 1 – but it was a transitional year and he learned the material (passed fine) but without the level of practice I would have liked on some of the procedural mechanics. In the beginning of 8th grade, Exploris tried this discovery learning approach to Common Core Math 2 and he was not learning ANYTHING, another reason we pulled him out – thankfully, it gave us 3/4 of a year to give him the foundation of Common Core 2 to prepare him for high school Math 3.
R was very interested in Engineering and Computer Science, we looked at the STEM Early College and SE Raleigh High School as the two best fits for him. We were impressed with both during the Magnet fairs. The advantage of SE Raleigh, however, is that it allowed him to explore other interests as well outside of just STEM interests and he could take Math 3 right away while STEM would make him take a fluff class first since they didn’t let first semester freshman start in Math 3 (why? you are a STEM school???).
R went to the orientation and made friends that day! On the second day of school, he went to the Theater interest meeting and made more friends. By the end of the week, he was auditioning and by the second week, he had one of the leads in the play, Much Ado About Nothing! His fall classes were:
Healthful Living: He had a lively teacher who was very organized and nice. The class was not difficult. It was taught using New Tech and everything was online to see. Grades were posted daily, so you always knew how well your child was doing. The only test he every studied for was his final exam. They played a variety of sports and had health class. He got an A without much trouble.
Foundations of IT: R started off in the IT Academy in addition to the Engineering Academy and this course was required. He knew everything in the class but used it to challenge himself with his friend who also already knew how to do everything. This year, R, decided to drop the IT Academy since he knows too much of the class content already and doesn’t have space in his schedule. He enjoyed the teacher and easily got an A.
Honors IED: Intro to Engineering: This is part of the Engineering Academy that he joined. It was also New Tech, everything was online and he could retake quizzes until they 100 and would lose points based on how many times he had to take them to get a 100 (much nicer way to do it). He did projects at the computer every day and class seemed fun and interesting. All the engineering teachers seem great. He got an A without much trouble.
English 1/World History: This class was a combination class that met together for the entire year rather than just one semester. R did not like the class. This was his worst set of teachers. They were okay from a parent perspective, they communicated with me and worked with him on issues but they did not engage him and he was bored. They read some books, studied literary terms, did grammar, and learned about World History. He got an A in English and a B in World History.
His second semester continued with English 1/World History and:
Honors Biology: This was another New Tech class, so they did a lot of tests and projects. After doing New Tech, I think R prefers not doing New Tech but he is stuck with a certain number of them since he is in the Engineering Academy and they have to do New Tech classes. Biology was easy for R and he easily got an A in the class. The teacher was okay in his opinion, not wonderful but better than his English / World History teachers.
Honors Math 3: After homeschooling Math 2, I was able to make sure he had a good foundation (something he would not have gotten at Exploris) in math and was prepared for Math 3. I see this same type of good foundation in kids coming from Math 2 at Apex Middle School (who I tutored) who do well. I can’t speak for other schools right now, some schools give good foundations, others do not! It was amazing to see the difference in ability in the kids. R was the star student and if it wasn’t for the New Tech situation, he would have had a high A average but he had to deal with other students who did not pull their weight, brought his project grade down (on one project) enough to give him just enough that he got a 92 and a 93 (still on a 7 point scale) was needed for an A, so he got a B in the class, despite getting 100 on the midterm and final exams. The teacher had a lot of strengths but was frustrating when she couldn’t look past this one project and grade R with the correct grade that matched his ability. However, he continues to be the top student in his math class so far sophomore year too.
Digital Arts: R had to find a class to fill a spot, there were other things he wanted to take but nothing fit his schedule but digital arts. He worked on Adobe Flash Studio Suite and usually finished his work so early the teacher gave him her own projects to work on for her. He did great, helped other classmates, and easily scored an A.
Socially: R did 2 plays and participated in the FIRST Robotics Team for the 2015 year. He also went to 2 football games and took drivers ed. He was awarded: Most valuable Freshman Performer
This year started well, R has decided not to do FIRST Robotics Team due to the inflexibility of the moderator and his ability to work with his medical needs. Therefore, he has joined Vex robotics instead. He has also auditioned for 2 shows, he has a part in Macbeth and in A Christmas Carol.
Fall semester he took:
Honors Precalc: If your student had a good background in Math 2 and 3, almost everything in Honors Precalc will be a review. R has gotten a 100 on every test so far.
Honors Chemistry Due to schedule conflicts, he was placed in regular Chemistry rather than New Tech. He actually was happy about this. Although the New Tech program has good intentions, it has to be run by a teacher who really understand how to implement it and unfortunately, I don’t feel that most of the teachers really understand the goals behind New Tech and therefore it has been more of a negative than a positive. He has been much happier without New Tech!
Honors US History 1 – This class he has had to be in New Tech. I don’t know that his teacher follows the ideals of New Tech, he does a lot of worksheets. It is supposed to be project based and clearly it isn’t. I dream about the day I find a US History teacher that actually makes kids excited about learning History.
Mandarin 1 – see my review on this course on a different page. This is an online course through NCVPS so it has nothing to do with Southeast, except that they are flexible enough to let kids take online classes.
AP Computer Science – also online through NCVPS, I believe Southeast Raleigh will eventually offer this course but it was not offered this year so R took it online. Again, a review of it through NCVPS can be found elsewhere on my site.
Second Semester will be:
AP Chemistry – his first AP class!!!
Honors English 2
Honors POE – Principal of Engineering
AP Computer Science – online AP courses are full year courses so he has to take this for a full year.
Socially: R received parts in two plays, joined the Vex Robotics Team, is driving with his permit.