Independence High School is on the rise

Students at GBHS are becoming more open to an alternate form of education



Independence High School is starting to become an appealing option to students at Granite Bay High School who need a change of pace.

Granite Bay High is considered to be one of the best schools in the Northern California region for its prestigious International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs and heavy investment in its athletics department. 

So, what is the reasoning behind the number of students flocking toward Independence High?

As it turns out, the style of education that is offered at Granite Bay just isn’t for every student. While it is a universally standard workflow for high schools across the nation, many would prefer to be able to guide themselves through material and do school work on their own schedules.

“I left Granite Bay because I like to learn at my own pace, and at Independence that means I can finish a class in only a few months if needed,” said Reagan Oliver, a senior at Independence. He left GBHS halfway through the fall semester of his junior year and is planning on getting his diploma before 2020. 

The culture at the school also played an important role in his decision. 

“I felt like Granite Bay only supported two types of students –  those with 4.0 GPAs and athletes.” 

It seems that, while many like the very hands-on and self-led format of teaching at Independence, for others its the pressure of the social scene at GBHS that can become absurdly intense. 

Lauryn Goodwin, who transferred out during the spring term last school year and graduated from Independence, said she “felt like (GBHS) was a toxic place.” 

Goodwin says the atmosphere hurt her rather than helped her.

I felt like Granite Bay only supported two types of students –  those with 4.0 GPAs and athletes.

— Reagan Oliver

“It was just stressful for me … it caused me to not do great in school,” Goodwin said.

The Granite Bay bubble had become so toxic that she felt she needed to leave. 

“Everyone thinks I went to Independence because GB was too hard,” Oliver said. “It’s true I only have to go a few times a week for class, but that means I have hours and hours of work to do at home on my own time under my own guidance.”

Oliver has been irritated by the thinking of those who have questioned his decision to switch to IHS.

“I have seen many friends of mine transfer to Independence because they thought that they could go and just sit at home all day and do nothing, and within weeks those kids were removed for not being able to survive there,” Oliver said.

Carly Burgess left GBHS in the spring term last school year, and she has experienced some of the same frustrations.

“People assume (others go) because (they’re) a dropout, or (they’re) unmotivated, and I’ve heard many times that others think it’s almost a type of rehab (where) kids with drug abuse issues go,” Burgess.

While it is unknown what has fueled these fallacies, those who attend Independence want to clear the air surrounding their campus. 

“It’s still a valid form of education, regardless of the size of the school or amount of time you go in for,” Burgess said. “You need to have a lot of discipline, and because there’s nobody reminding you to get your work done, you have to hold yourself accountable.”