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Dana Hills High School

Dana Hills High School is a high school in Dana Point, California. It is one of the oldest high schools in South Orange County, having opened in 1973. The school's enrollment of 3,000 students is drawn from the nearby communities of Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, and San Juan Capistrano.

Dana Hills now has over 155,839 square feet in permanent buildings, yet it still struggles with overcrowding. Two new science buildings have opened as of 2007, and the math wing has been redone, featuring wider hallways and larger classrooms. These two improvements to Dana Hills have allowed for the removal of fourteen portables making the new portable count 38.

STAR Testing

Dana Hill's Academic Performance Index (API) for the year of 2007 was 824. This was a significant improvement over 2006's API of 816. Both scores are well over 800, a goal that most Californian schools are struggling to reach. The recently high test scores have provided the school with partial funding for new science buildings, a redone math wing, an artificial turf football field / all-weather track, and over 150 new computers and flat screen monitors used in CECA, Career and College Planning, AP Computer Science, and Digital Photo. Incentives are given to the students to do well on these standardized tests. If the API reaches 825, one more school dance will be added. If the API reaches 830, two more school dances will be added. The ultimate goal for the administration and student body is to reach an API of 900. Activities Director Ken Nedler announced that if the API reaches 900 Dana Hills will be eligible to receive more minimum days. Whole school days cannot be removed from the school year due to Californian law.

Recent Scores

Year API Growth
2007 824 8
2006 816 5
2005 811 43
2004 768 18
2003 750 1

Advanced Placement

Dana Hills offers the widest array of Advanced Placement (AP) classes out of any High School in Capistrano Unified School District. These AP classes include Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Literature, Language, Music Theory, Art History, Psychology, Spanish IV, French IV, Latin: Vergil, European History, United States History, Government / Economics, Computer Science A, and Computer Science AB. All AP classes offer a “grade bump” making a 5.0 GPA possible in that class exclusively. Honors Pre-Calculus is the last Honors class at Dana to still offer a 5.0 GPA.

Future of AP

While taking AP classes is encouraged, some teachers have proposed having qualifying tests for entrance to their sections of AP. This is in part due to a growing trend for students to take AP classes for the grade bump and skip the AP exam. To further prevent this, the administration is considering taking away the grade bump from students that do not take the AP exam. The school is willing to pay the full price of the exam for any student that cannot afford it. This is because it reflects badly on a school to have a low percentage of students testing with such a high enrollment in the program.


The South Orange County School of the Arts (SOCSA) at Dana Hills High School is a performing and visual arts public high school Academy within Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, California. It provides an in-depth educational opportunity to talented young artists affording them the chance to explore and develop their artistic talents and prepare them for placement in the college or university and employment in the professional arts industry of their choice. The SOCSA Foundation was founded in 2000 to support the SOCSA Academy, founded in 1996, in fund raising and volunteer endeavors. The mission of the Foundation is to support the SOCSA Academy’s educational and artistic mission, goals, and financial needs through fundraising and related operational activities. The Foundation operates through the SOCSA Academy and Foundation Offices located at Dana Hills High School.


The Dana Hills newspaper, simply known as The Paper, consists of approximately twenty students. Ten newspapers are produced a year, two of those being written by the journalism class and the other eight by the actual newspaper staff. The Paper's advisor is Kris Evans who will retire in 2008 and Paige Prescott will take over the next year.


Dana Hills has its own junior medical program, the Health and Medical Occupations Academy. The academy is for those who wish to study or pursue a career in medicine, as it prepares students for higher education in the medical field. Participants are involved in field trips, hospital duties, and even view medical procedures as they are performed.

Cross Country

The pride of Dana Hills' sports is its boys' and girls' cross country teams - which almost always finish as league champions in the South Coast League, which is arguably one of the most competitive in Southern California. As of last year (2006), the boys' team appeared in CIF-SS Finals for the 27th time under Coach Tim Butler. The boys' team later went on to the state meet where they placed 9th in D1. Continuing their success, the following week they participated in the first ever Nike Team National Open Race where they placed 3rd overall. Dana Hills has one State Championship plaque which they received in 1988, two 2nd place finishes, and two 3rd place finishes. The program is also the most successful in the state of California with its 30+ year history.

On September 26, 2007, Megan Myers, a freshman runner on the girls' team collapsed and later died during her race in a dual meet against Capistrano Valley High School. The cause of her death is now known to be heart inflammation.

On October 13, 2007 Dana Hills Varsity Boys' team won its third Orange County Title. They also won its 2nd consecutive title in the always competitive South Coast League Finals on November 1, 2007. Led by outstanding Junior Tyler Valdes that got first with a time of 15:10 for three miles. This has been Dana Hills' 8th title for the past 10 years for the dolphins. On November 17, 2007 The Boys' varsity team won the CIF SS FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP race after a 19 year gap from the last first place they earned in 1987-88. They scored 94 points over second place (vista murrieta 133)and ran the third fastest Mt. Sac team time in 77:01.

At last after 19 years, the boys cross country team won its 2nd D1 State Championship in its 30+ years as a program under the guidance of coach Tim Butler, assistant coaches Craig Dunn, Andy Corman. The boys team, led by Tyler Valdes was: Tyler Valdes Jr., Tyler Alvarez Sr., Zak Phillips Jr., Ryan Valdes Jr., Josh Chan Sr., Rusty Parker Sr., Josh Dean Jr., and Anthony Lacambra Jr. Their score was 65 to 2nd place Murrieta Valley's 135 and Vista Murrieta's as one family; it is an obvious help to their great accomplishments.

Student Government

The Student Government at Dana Hills, known as ASU, is a group of about thirty students who work together to host school events for the school's 3,000 students of all backgrounds. In addition to organizing dances, pep rallies, canned-food drives, and other events throughout the year, ASU also puts its name on the Homecoming half-time show and Air Guitar, a student-run lip-syncing concert that takes place each spring. In practice, these decades-old traditions are largely kept alive and well through the hard work of the school's Lighting and Sound Crew.

Notable alumni


External links

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