Irvine 92604 Is Home To Woodbridge High School, #10 Rated Public High School In Orange County, CA

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Woodbridge High School (Irvine 92604) is comparable in size to University High School down the road, but at just 22 acres, the grounds are less than half the size. Established in 1980, Woodbridge has approximately 2,200 students and is a California Distinguished School. It is in the Irvine Unified School District.

woodbridgehighschoolThe second-floor walkway was built to ease pedestrian traffic along the campus’s narrow, ground-floor walkways. But it’s also helped foster the development of a family atmosphere, faculty and students say. You can’t help but cross paths with your classmates and teachers – all day, every day.

“There’s a real sense of community,” said 23-year social science teacher Joan Malkin, selected by the county Department of Education this year as one of the five Orange County Teachers of the Year. “Because it’s a small setting, we see more of each other. Everything is closer, so everybody goes to the faculty room on breaks.”

At Woodbridge, the lines between campus and surrounding community have been blurred – intentionally, to foster a community feel. There wasn’t enough room on the campus to build all of the necessary athletic fields, for example, so student athletes trek to nearby Alton Athletic Park via a custom-designed walkway that passes under West Yale Loop street.

At the west end of campus sits a Mormon church, separated from the school buildings by a parking lot that is shared between school and church. Students and staff use the lot on weekdays, the church at night and on weekends.

And wedged between the main campus and the school’s tennis courts is a Presbyterian church.

“We’d like more room, sure,” said Principal Tom Nelson, who has been with the school since its founding 28 years ago. “But being condensed in here, we’ve been able to create a nice community.”

Woodbridge prides itself on providing a well-rounded high school experience – with strong arts, music and sports offerings – while still providing a rigorous curriculum.

In fact, Woodbridge has the county’s fourth highest participation rate in arts and music classes, behind only the Orange County High School of the Arts and two fellow Irvine schools. The school also scored highest in its district on the Register’s Best High Schools sports and fitness indexes.

“It’s really the balance of activities here,” said 18-year-old senior Matt Rashoff of Irvine, who will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this fall.

“We downplay the frenzy of working toward college,” Nelson said. “We’re able to create a really rigorous curriculum, but also create another venue to relieve some of that pressure.”

 

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Irvine 92604 Is Home To Irvine High School, #5 Ranked High School In Orange County, Located In Greentree Community

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Irvine High School (Irvine, CA 92604) opened in 1976 in a mostly residential neighborhood opposite the Greentree community. Being one of four comprehensive high schools in the Irvine Unified School District, it currently supports a student enrollment of 2050.

It was named a California Distinguished School by the State Board of Education and received the highest award for Excellence in Education from the U. S. Department of Education.

Additionally, in 1994, the Accrediting Commission for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges awarded Irvine High a full six-year term of accreditation under the Pursuing Excellence format.

Classrooms are housed in single-story buildings with indoor hallways, and all buildings converge on an outdoor quad area in the center of campus. Irvine High also earned the highest score for school environment and culture among the Register’s Top 10-ranked schools and fourth highest overall.

Administrators and teachers credit a targeted intervention strategy that emphasizes personal ethics and the development of well-rounded citizens.

This recipe for success is emblazoned on a painted mural inside the school’s practice gym that reads, “Integrity, Honesty, Social responsibility,” creating the acronym IHS – not coincidently the school’s initials.

“It’s a very accepting, gentle school,” Principal Monica Colunga said as she watched students walk through campus on a recent school day. “You set the tone right away in the ninth grade – we have certain expectations founded in our values, and the students rise to the occasion.”

The strategy ensures a majority of students on the campus take ownership of their educational experience. So many of the students have been molded around a model of tolerance and respect, in fact, that students from rougher schools who transfer here are typically transformed themselves, Colunga said.

Added 15-year-old freshman Min’ka Lewis: “It’s easier to get along with different varieties of people here. You feel safe and comfortable – everyone cares about you.”

Every student at the school is paired with a faculty mentor who stays with the student all four years.

During 10-minute homeroom periods three days a week, students meet with their mentors to discuss everything from their course loads to problems at home. The mentors also meet with the students’ parents each year during a mandatory conference.

“Our students really trust us because they feel they have a teacher who’s their friend, not giving them a grade,” said social science teacher Terry Griffin, who has been at the school for 29 years. “Students don’t have as many opportunities to fall through the cracks. We know their families, and they have an intimate relationship with us.”

Because classes are challenging, Irvine High has worked hard to offer as many diversions as possible. The school operates on a complex “blended block” schedule that allows students to enroll in eight classes each semester, not including zero period. Some classes meet daily; others meet every other day. The schedule gives many students ample time to participate in performing arts and athletics, Colunga said.

 

(Excerpts from OC Register)