Welcome to Waterloo, Iowa! If you’re new to the area, you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and apprehension. One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make as a new resident is choosing the right high school for your child. The educational environment can significantly impact a student’s future, so it’s essential to make an informed choice.
The importance of selecting the right high school cannot be overstated. It’s not just about academics; it’s about finding a place where your child can grow, both intellectually and personally. A school that aligns with your values, expectations, and your child’s aspirations can make all the difference.
Cedar Falls High School
Located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is a prominent educational institution that is part of the Cedar Falls Community School District. Established in 1846, the school has a rich history that spans over a century. The principal is Jason Wedgebury, and the associate principals are Rafael Benítez and Lindsay Spears, all of whom are proud graduates of the University of Northern Iowa.
Academic and Extracurricular Excellence
Renowned for its academic and extracurricular achievements. The school offers a diverse range of programs, including marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, and pep bands. The choral music department provides students with opportunities to join select concert choirs, the Women’s choir (Treble Clef Choir), and the Men’s choir (Bass Clef Choir).
Additionally, the athletic teams, known as the Tigers, have achieved significant success in various sports, with state championships in girls’ swimming, boys’ swimming, wrestling, girls’ golf, and more.
A commitment to excellence is evident in its consistent top honors in ensemble categories at festivals and active participation in state-sanctioned festivals.
|District||Cedar Falls Community Schools|
|Teaching Staff||87.83 (FTE)|
|Colors||Red and Black|
Hudson High School
Nestled in Hudson, Iowa, is a small rural public high school that is an integral part of the Hudson Community District. Established in 1915, it has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence and community involvement.
The institution is known for its one-to-one learning initiative, which has garnered both local and national recognition. Furthermore, Hudson High School has been spotlighted for its innovative homework policy, emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach to student assignments and their overall well-being.
Athletics play a significant role in the Hudson High School community. Their athletic teams, known as the Pirates, have a rich history of success across various sports. They compete in the North Iowa Cedar League Conference and have achieved numerous accolades over the years.
- The girls’ cross-country team clinched the Class 1A State Championships in 2017 and 2021.
- The boys’ football team has been crowned state champions three times, in 1975, 1994, and 2018.
- The boys’ basketball team also secured the Class 1A State Championship in 1993.
- The wrestling team, showcasing both boys and girls, has twice been named Class 1A State Champions in 2003 and 2004.
The school’s motto, “Hudson Loves Championships,” truly encapsulates the spirit and achievements of its athletic teams.
|Number of Students (2019-20)||356|
|Colors||Navy Blue and White|
|Affiliation||North Iowa Cedar-East Conference|
West High School
Located in Waterloo, Iowa, is one of three public high schools under the Waterloo Community District. Established in 1922, it has a rich history and has been a cornerstone of education in the Waterloo community for nearly a century.
Situated at the intersection of E. Ridgeway Ave. and Baltimore Ave. The school’s mascot, “Westy the Wahawk,” is a unique blend of the city’s name, Waterloo, and the county’s name, Black Hawk. Over the years, West High School has been a hub for academic excellence, athletic achievements, and community engagement.
Mascot and Spirit
The mascot, “Westy the Wahawk,” has an interesting history. The name “Wahawk” is a portmanteau of the city name, Waterloo, and the county name, Black Hawk. The mascot has undergone several changes over the years due to concerns about political correctness. Originally represented by an Indian chief, it was later changed to an eagle flying through a flaming hoop.
However, after three years, the mascot reverted to its original representation. The school’s logo features the “Flying W,” a capital “W” with a feather hanging off of it, and more recently, an arrow has been added behind the “Flying W.” West High School stands out as the only school in the U.S. with “Old Rose” as its color.
|District||Waterloo Community District|
|Number of Students (2019-20)||1,698|
|Colors||Old Rose and Black|
|Affiliation||Mississippi Valley Conference|
Waterloo Christian School
Situated in Waterloo, Iowa, is a distinguished private Christian educational institution that has been serving the community since 1973. Originally known as Walnut Ridge Baptist Academy, the school was founded as a ministry of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church.
The establishment was born out of the desire of church members to have a place where their children could receive an education rooted in Biblical principles. Over the years, the school has seen numerous students pass through its doors, with the graduating class of 1988 being notably recognized as the first batch to complete all grades from kindergarten through 12th grade at the institution.
Mission and Vision
The school’s mission is deeply rooted in Christian values, emphasizing the importance of integrating academic wisdom with spiritual truth. Waterloo Christian School believes that these two aspects should be inseparable in the educational journey of a student.
The institution’s vision is to support families in equipping children to meet God’s standards of spiritual maturity and academic excellence. This vision is realized by training students to influence their world from a Biblical perspective, ensuring that they are well-prepared to face the challenges of the modern world while staying true to their faith.
|Colors||Green, White, Black, Gold|
|Affiliation||Iowa Star Conference|
Valley Lutheran School
Located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is a private Christian educational institution that serves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Established in 2003, the school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and is accredited by the National Lutheran Schools Accreditation.
The school’s mission is to provide a Christ-centered learning environment, emphasizing the integration of faith and knowledge. With a strong commitment to academic excellence, Valley Lutheran School boasts an average ACT score of 25 and offers seven Advanced Placement courses, including Calculus AB, Computer Science A, and US History.
Diverse Offerings and Achievements
The school takes pride in its diverse offerings, both academically and extracurricularly. Valley Lutheran ranks among the top 20% of private schools in Iowa in various categories, including diversity, sports offerings, and extracurricular activities.
The institution offers 16 different sports, ranging from baseball and basketball to weightlifting and wrestling. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, including the Chess Club, National Honor Society, Robotics Team, and the Speech Team.
A commitment to a holistic education is evident in its emphasis on both academic rigor and character development.
|Religious Affiliation||Lutheran Church Missouri Synod|
|Total Classroom Teachers||15|
|Student: Teacher Ratio||9:1|
|Average Class Size||11 students|
|Number of AP Courses||7|
|Average ACT Score||25|
|Yearly Tuition Cost||$8,600|
Don Bosco High School
Located in Gilbertville, Iowa, is a private Roman Catholic high school that has been serving the community since its establishment in 1956. The school is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque and is part of the Bosco System Catholic Schools.
The institution’s mission is to provide a challenging environment that nurtures intellectual, social, physical, and creative abilities while fostering spiritual and emotional growth.
This mission has been the guiding principle throughout the school’s history, ensuring that students are well-prepared to meet the demands of a changing global society.
|Religious Affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|District||Bosco System Catholic Schools|
|Average Class Size||20-30 students|
|School Day Duration||7.5 hours|
|Colors||Royal Blue, Gold, and White|
|Athletics Conference||Iowa Star Conference|
Choosing the Right High School
When it comes to selecting the perfect high school in Waterloo, there are several factors you should consider. It’s not a one-size-fits-all decision, and what works for one family might not work for another.
Factors to Consider
Every family has its priorities. Some might prioritize academic rigor, while others might look for schools with strong arts or sports programs. It’s essential to identify what’s most important to you and your child.
Location and Commute
Consider the school’s location and how it fits into your daily routine.
- Is it close to your home or workplace?
- How long is the commute?
These practical considerations can play a significant role in your decision-making process.
Look into the school’s academic offerings.
- Do they offer advanced placement or honors courses?
- What about vocational or technical programs?
Ensure the school provides opportunities that align with your child’s interests and aspirations.
School isn’t just about academics. Extracurricular activities can play a pivotal role in a student’s personal and social development. Whether it’s sports, arts, or clubs, ensure the school offers activities that your child is passionate about.
School Culture and Values
Every school has its unique culture and set of values. It’s essential to find a school where your child feels comfortable and can thrive. Talk to current students, parents, and teachers to get a sense of the school’s environment.
Tips for Making an Informed Decision
- Attend open houses or school tours.
- Talk to current students and parents.
- Research the school’s performance metrics and reviews online.
- Consider your child’s needs and aspirations.
How can I determine if a high school is serious about sending its graduates to college?
One way to gauge a school’s commitment to higher education is by asking about their graduation rates and the percentage of those graduates who continue on to college. Schools often provide a list of colleges their recent graduates are attending. This can give you an idea of whether graduates are getting into prestigious institutions or if the school has a strong emphasis on college preparation.
What should I look for to ensure the school will fully prepare my child for college?
It’s essential to ensure that the school offers a college-preparatory curriculum that meets state college and university requirements. This includes core subjects like math, science, history, and English. Some schools might not offer certain requirements like P.E., arts, or community service time, so you might need to seek these credits outside of the school.
How can I know if the school environment is safe for my child?
Safety should always be a top priority. Inquire about the school’s disciplinary policy, and the number of suspensions and expulsions in recent years, and observe the school’s corridors during a regular day. It’s also essential to ask about policies related to bullying, both on-campus and online, and if there are any known issues with alcohol or drugs on campus.
How can I ensure the school meets my child’s basic needs and learning style?
Consider the school from your child’s perspective. Look at factors like the school’s start and end times, average and maximum class sizes, and overall school size. It’s also crucial to understand the school’s academic approach and see if it aligns with your child’s learning style. Engaging your teenager in the decision-making process can also be beneficial, as they are more likely to succeed in an environment they helped choose.
Waterloo, Iowa, boasts a wealth of high school options, each with its unique offerings and strengths. As new residents, it’s crucial to take the time to research and find the best fit for your family.
Remember, the right school can set the foundation for your child’s future success. Take the time, do the research, and trust that you’ll make the best decision for your family. Welcome to Waterloo, and here’s to new beginnings!