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9-12
Public district
Irvine, CA
Students enrolled: 1,953
 

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4515 Portola Parkway
Irvine, CA 92620

School website
(949) 936-7200
(949) 936-7219
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Map of Northwood High School address.
Develops honesty: Disagree
June 09, 2015
My son run into a couple of bad and lazy teachers who either lost many of his work or forget to enter his grade properly into the system even if his papers were graded. When I challenged her on the last day of school, she still refused, citing that the change wouldn't make any difference anyway. WTF. The assistant principal blamed us for not bringing this up sooner. In fact my son repeatedly reminded the teacher to correct his grade.

- submitted by a community member

May 07, 2015
I am a sophomore at Northwood. If you are planning on transferring into the district or moving into the area which Northwood is in, I would advise you not to. Irvine in general is a very competitive place and Northwood truly embodies this competitiveness. I moved here from a small town in the fifth grade and learned quickly that this was going to be a very hard adjustment. When I reached highschool I suffered tremendously. A majority of the teachers here at Northwood simply do not teach, instead they will hand you a worksheet and make you work on it and understand the material. There are a few gifted students will go to some of the top universities but a majority of us are left hoping to get into a UC. Had I stayed in my old school I would have easily become a 4.0 student with ability to go to any college I want. With that being said, Northwood will decrease your chances of getting into a good college but will help you tremendously when you get to college. Hope this helps!

- submitted by a student

January 27, 2015
Ok, so you might have heard about how Northwood's sports "suck" or everyone here is "snobby" but the reality is that the students who write these reviews are not taking advantage of the great clubs, fine arts, academics, and sports Northwood has to offer. I am a junior and I'm in one year-round sport, 5 college-prep level classes, one Honors class, and 4 clubs. Northwood's teachers truly care about the students and although the academics may be challenging, the teachers are available for you to ask questions after class or during tutorial (tutorial is a 40 minute study-hall like period every Tuesday and Thursday where we can go ask questions or finish homework or study for tests). Our sports at Northwood go to CIF regularly. Also, our fine arts programs such as choral music, instrumental music, and drama are above average and our school has won 6 Grammys. I do not understand how students who actually try to get good grades at Northwood could hate it so much when almost all of the students are genuinely nice.

- submitted by a student

January 04, 2015
I chose Northwood mainly because of the API scores but that was surely a BIG MISTAKE. This school doesn't know what a quality education means. For every class, all tests are multiple choice on a scantron sheet, and there are no analytical or critical thinking problems. Therefore Northwood academics is purely about memorisation, and you don't actually learn. Also, the school only cares about test results. Getting an A on a project you worked hard on won't alter your grade, because the school doesn't bother to evaluate whether you really DO understand the material or how creative you are. In addition, many teachers don't know how to teach. They assign multiple chapters to read and make a full test (not a quiz) out of it the next class, without going over the material even once. So if you have questions, there is no chance to ask them and you must face the test with uncertainties. Parents, you must know that the 10/10 rating is merely based on test scores. High API scores does NOT mean that a school is excellent, and vice versa. If you agree that memorisation is not the right way to go, avoid Northwood and consider schools that actually motivate and teach students, such as Woodbridge.

- submitted by a student

September 18, 2014
Let's get this straight - it's a great school if you are fine with having some of the worst athletics in the state, okay with being considered "below average" in academics if your not in geometry as a freshman, or okay with being in a school of snobby kids who think they are so much better than you, when they are really not. Back to athletics. This school is a joke athletically, all sports, especially football. The coaches think they are professional league coaches, and so do the athletes. Every now and then there are a few good athletes that come out of this school but they are definitely few and far between. There are a couple really good teachers, but the problem is the teachers are either really good or really bad. Then the academic levels. Basically every College Prep class here would be AP or Honors in any other school, and the amount of nightly homework and projects is downright ridiculous. There is also the anchors which are completely stupid, and useless. Like I said earlier, all the students here are snobby and spoiled and think they deserve everything, it's really hard to respect any of them when they don't give you the same respect, same goes for most of the teachers.

- submitted by a student

February 03, 2014
I am a sophomore, and I believe the school's teachers are alright, but their class policy sucks because if you are in a classroom that has a bad teacher and class, you HAVE to stay in it for the rest of the year which to me, is a devastating effect on my grades and GPA.

- submitted by a student

October 27, 2013
Sierra Vista is a great school in Irvine District and the United States and California!

- submitted by a student

September 17, 2013
This school says their athletic programs are good, but in reality, some of the coaches in some athletic programs are really lousy and don't know how to motivate students. In particular, an athletic program which starts with a letter "c", I found the coaching to be very poor, which is pity because the school should really take athletic programs as seriously as their Arts or Music Programs.

- submitted by a parent

May 08, 2013
Great school that offers students a full dimensional educational experience that goes far beyond academic excellence! Our son who is a freshman has grown tremendously not only in the classroom but also in the athletic field and the symphonic band. While there are couple courses that can use some better equipped teacher, overall NHS has offered our children a great, full dimensional education.

- submitted by a parent

December 27, 2011
No words to describe about Northwood High School Academic Performance. It is simply Astonishing and two thumbs up.

- submitted by a parent

December 18, 2011
I am a junior. Although the instruction and counseling are decent and the material not too challenging, the workload is overwhelming. It would easily rival (or outrival) that of Asian countries. For so much work, the test scores are still not as impressive as Uni High. Also, the honors students are arrogant and intolerant. An elitist attitude prevails, and the honors students ridicule the non-honors students. Basically, they are ardent believers of survival of the fittest. Worse yet, the school is rigidly structured, limiting opportunities for non-honors students but maximizing those for honors students. There is also a lot of ethnic tension between different groups of Asian students.Furthermore, the students are hostile towards conservative politics. So if you are a non-honors/conservative student, expect to be utterly suppressed.

- submitted by a student

December 18, 2011
I'm currently a freshman at NHS, and it is the best experience I could ever ask for. I'm taking both honors and non-honors classes, but the teachers genuinely want to prepare you for a sucessful future. There are tons of clubs to choose from during lunch, and the campus is breathtaking. We have 45 minutes twice a week to ask teachers questions, which is very helpful. I hope this helps!

- submitted by a student

November 30, 2011
The school is absolutely breathtaking; building designs, academics (education received), teachers, and even the people roaming the campus. Northwood is a great school where the competition to achieve perfection is well sought throughout each student. Even as its birth since 1999, it has climbed up the ranks and is now situated to be 7th in the top ten best schools in Orange County. Northwood High is a multicultural high school where top-notch students expand their learning in a competitive environment as well as mature and discover their identity through elective classes such arts (visual, performing), business and technology courses, world languages, science/history/social science courses that go beyond core subjects (Horticulture, Psychology, Economics, Anatomy/Physiology, etc), as well as English courses exceed the core subject (Journalism, NHS Howler Newspaper, Speech and Debate, Broadcast Communications, etc), and also our vast range of award-winning sports. Northwood provides an elite education as well as a community filled with students that are motivated, highly determined, welcoming, and admirable.

- submitted by a student

November 19, 2011
I'm currently a sophomore at NHS and I love this school. My parents and I moved to Irvine the summer before freshman year and we chose between Northwood High and Uni. I decided I wasn't up for the pressure of Uni and chose Northwood - I'm so glad I did. Though I was new, I quickly made friends. I found that the students were a lot more friendly than those in the city I previously lived in. The academics are stellar at this school. The teachers I had during freshman year were some of the best I've ever had, and the teachers I have right now are awesome too. Northwood High even has 45 minutes twice a week to ask teachers if you need help on anything. However, Northwood High isn't totally academic-focused and also has great extracurriculars. The music programs are great and they offer a ton of clubs, sports, etc. for you to join. I have no regrets about coming here. If you're searching for a good school for your kids look no further!

- submitted by a student

October 26, 2011
Northwood promotes a very different curriculum which can provide your child with a great education. However the school prefers to polarize its students into two groups: The honors and the regular students. If your child is placed in the lower bracket, good luck. Most of the teacher's teach the curriculum as if the student was in the honors classes. Also the math program as Northwood high school is atrocious. The books focus on concepts, but they have very little in the way of actual problems, so it is challenging for students to learn the basics and practice the basics. The Integrated science program also has serious issues. On paper, it sounds like a great idea. Students explore the various fields of science so they can see what they are interested. In reality, majority of students are confused because they do not learn enough of any one concept. So if your child is really smart and is part of the Gate program, they will probably benefit from the difficult course load. If you consider your child normal, your child will find the school very challenging and become frustrated with courses. I gave it a ranking of 3 starts: 5 for advanced students, 1 for normal students.

- submitted by a community member
no rating
January 02, 2010
We've had three very different children who have attended Northwood High School, and it is an awesome place for each of them! Academics, athletics, and arts all excel at Northwood! If you are looking for a wonderful place to send your children, look no further.

- submitted by a parent

November 24, 2009
I have gone to school here for 4 years, and this school is an amazing school compared to all previous schools I have attended. It is a safe environment, and offers everyone a chance to pursue whatever passion they hold. Attend this school, it will be worth it in the long run.

- submitted by a student
no rating
September 17, 2009
The advisement program breaks a large school (over 2,000) into a smaller and more intimate community.

- submitted by a community member
no rating
September 16, 2009
Grammy winning music program and superb academics.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
September 01, 2009
Northwood HS placed more students in Ivy League Schools than any other public high school in the US. Rated best public school in 'The OC.' Great staff. Upper middle immigrated professionals move to Irvine to get their children to this school. The academics and music programs dwarf sports and normal high school student life. The school is, however, surprisingly weak in science education per its' robotic adherence to CA's poorly designed public school frosh/soph 'integrated science' mandate.

- submitted by a parent

January 17, 2009
This school is just great i am a junior that transfered from Uni and Northwood is way better. The classes are much more challenging than Uni. Pretty soon this school is going to be the best in the city. The teachers and staff are also great. teachers teach about things you use in real life not just the stuff out of the book. I love this school!!!!

- submitted by a student

January 15, 2009
I love Northwood! its one of the best schools in the city, and anyone should take their chances to come here. The academics are amazing, and the music programs are out of this world. Sports are good but could be better, like the schools dirt track, but that's a money issue from the city. Almost every teacher is amazing, with the exception of about 2. They all help out immensely and the two tutorials a week give the kids a chance to either catch up on their homework or go to a class for individual help. The blocked schedules give students a chance to get an extra day on homework so they can ask for help if they don't understand it. The school is possibly the nicest in the city, with a central court yard that almost all the kids hang out at. Overall, its the best school.

- submitted by a student

January 11, 2009
I am dissappointed in northwood H.S I'm a student that just transfered there and it just stinks. I heard I was supposed to take a entrance exam or math and english for placement since I was from out of the state and i didn't. The teachers arent very structured. I understand that NHS is supposed to be one of the top high schools in Irvine but besides the education there isn't very much. The counslers aren't any help with credits and advice.

- submitted by a student

January 08, 2009
i love northwood! it's a great school!

- submitted by a student

September 24, 2008
im a sophomore at northwood now, and i complately love it. its likee such an amzing school and since irvine i like the safest city in amaerica, it slike really quiet. anyone would be really lucky to be able to go to northwood.

- submitted by a student

August 10, 2008
I graduated from Northwood High School in 2005, and I have found that this school prepared me for life after high school wonderfully. I was accepted to many respected universities (I am currently a senior at the University of Washington). In addition, I won a Grammy with the rest of the fine arts program during my time there-not many schools can say that!

- submitted by a community member

November 26, 2007
Northwood High School is a wonderful school with an unbelievable sports program. I recommend it!!!

- submitted by a student

June 17, 2007
The academic programs are competitive and intense. The Music department is just amazing- only the minority of Northwood is not involved with music or art. there are tons of extracurricular activities- no one is left out. What gives the school the ability to be so top-notch is the parent involvement. And someone commented that NHS is socially segregated...and I would personally have to strongly contradict that. Out of all the schools I've attended I feel that NHS is the most comfortable environment, socially...except for some people that think they are better than others. /

- submitted by a student

February 17, 2007
Great school.... similar to the academic environment of a private prep school,especially for those students enrolled in Honors/AP classes. Fantastic music/ athletic/ extracurricular programs. Quality, caring teachers. Very competitive environment for the students... a lot of academic pressure for many. The students driving are unruly in the parking lot but overall an excellent high school that we are very fortunate to have in Northwood.

- submitted by a parent

January 28, 2007
I have a daughter at Northwood and another at Woodbridge High School, both in the Irvine Unified School District. The music and the debate programs are top notch, but our experience with teachers has been mixed, as teachers have come and gone over the years. Academics are extremely competetive.Many students are wealthy and feel 'entitled.'Everything, as a matter of fact, is so competitive that I wish the school was more grounded and balanced. The facilities are beautiful, brand new. Northwood would be a good school for kids who have a strong sense of self.

- submitted by a parent

March 04, 2006
Northwood High School has an extensive music program: 4 bands, 4 string orchestras, 1 symphonic orchestra, 2 jazz bands, 7 choirs, and a marching band. The academics are excellent - great teachers who give support and extra help. Tutorial twice a week is also great. Sports are also great. Participation is encouraged and NHS has countless number of teams. Socially, the school is very segregated among races.

- submitted by a student

February 06, 2006
Parents involvement is wonderful, many committed people. The academic programs are OK, could be better. Music is very good although the selection process for advanced bands seems to be questionable. Sports programs are very good as well. Many teachers are poor ones, however.

- submitted by a parent

January 14, 2006
We are new to Northwood and find it to be very good in some respects and not so good in other respects. The counselor we dealt with was not friendly and does not present himself in a professional manner. The academic are ok, but not challenging - even in honors. All of my childrens' teachers have taught only one or two years (with the exception of one). The advisor my child has told us flat out that she does not know the answers to any question we might have so we would need to ask someone else for help. She is new; which is no excuse! The sports programs have been great. The technology, music, and theater departments are wonderful. I am extrememly concerned about the limited experience of most administrators. It seems that there are so many new staff members that they really have little direction/cohesion.

- submitted by a parent

January 12, 2006
Fantastic school with outstanding teachers, incredible programs/facilities, wonderful student body and active parents.

- submitted by a parent

August 07, 2005
This school is amazing! Northwood really focuses on the education of their students and not only does Northwood provide outstanding academic programs, but the extracurricular activities are those no other school can match. It provides students with a chance to choose activities they enjoy with choices from Dance to Band to Drama! Northwood High School runs with the help of the community and parents who are willing to help. This school is the best high school I have attended.

- submitted by a student

July 30, 2005
The administration and teachers have accomplished a phenomal amount in the short time the school has been opened. The school has been open six to eight years and it is already the high school of choice in the Irvine school district. It is mainly known for its fine arts and music program, but delivers on all academic fronts. Extra curricular activities abound whether it be sports to choral, band, or debate. Parents are involved from the giving level to the actively involved level. The school could not have gotten to where it is in such a short period of time without parent involvement. This is a rigorous, competitive environment where students and their parents are achievers with high goals. You need to evaluate who your child is and their goals. If it is not to go to College with a full scholarship, then they will not be in the norm.

- submitted by a parent

February 14, 2005
This school is highly competitive and exceeds my expectations of a California High School. Truely a great school.

- submitted by a parent

August 08, 2004
As a Northwood student, I completely disagree with the parents who say the school has unmotivated teachers and an 'elitist' attitude. NHS has gained a reputation as an academic, athletic, and artistic powerhouse. The average SAT score at Northwood is >1200. Over 45% of the school's population has earned over 3.5, an incredible feat considering Northwood's rigorous curriculum. The AP program is very strong, with great programs in the sciences and social sciences. The European History course, especially, is perhaps the best in the state. The teachers at Northwood are without doubt dedicated to motivating the education of the highly competitive student body. Outside of academics, Northwood has proven itself greatly after only 5 years of existence. The Football team has won the Pacific Coast League multiple times. The Music Department has already won Grammy Signature Gold and the Philharmonic Orchestra is slated to perform at Carnegie Hall in Summer 2005.

- submitted by a student

June 10, 2004
I have two children currently at Northwood High School. I have been overwhelmingly happy with this school's academics, especially the Science Department. My children have also participated in the outstanding Music and Drama Departments. My daughter is graduating next week and will to attend UC Berkeley in the fall.

- submitted by a parent

March 01, 2004
Northwood high school is a very excellent high school. Test scores are high and NHS has a tendency to think that they are better than the other schools, it doesnt mean that the kids there are stuck up. There are many great programs and many sports and activities to participate in and is one of the best schools around.

- submitted by a parent

February 11, 2004
Great campus (when it doesn't look as if the weeds haven't been pulled in 6 months), state of the art facilities but an overwhelming 'elitist' attitude prevails among the principal, staff and the parents. We have a horrible reputation of acting as if our kids are better than those of the other Irvine High Schools and that is reflected nowhere more than when we visit or are visited by the other Irvine Schools. Frankly I think that we deserve the bad reputation - I am embarrassed by the attitudes that I have seen in 2 years of having a child at NHS. For the most part, the coaches are allowed to operate unchecked, run their 'off-season conditioning' as if it is the only class of importance, with no regard to ending the class time anywhere near 3:30, the counseling is sub-par and the staff intervention is practically non-existent. They are definately not interested in putting in any more effort with the students than they are required to do to earn their paycheck. Two years down two to go as far as we're concerned.

- submitted by a parent

December 18, 2003
There are always good and bad inherent in every school. Some teachers are mediocre and some quite good at Northwood. The test scores coming out of this school rank in the top 10 in the state of California public schools and top 20 (approx) for all schools (public and private) in California. This is a school for high achievers. Parents are highly educated white collar professionals. Parents from outside Irvine are doing everything (including driving up home prices in the school's boundary area ) to get their kids in this school. An absolutely outstanding music department of which word has leaked out and has become a huge draw for parents/students from in and outside Irvine. Wind Ensemble group conistently beats out college ensemble groups in competitions. Excellent English and Science departments. Math is hit and miss with Calculus rating poorly. Consider going elsewhere (local community/state colleges) for decent instruction in this course. Academically second only to University High School in Irvine. Good athletic programs as well; beats University High in this regard. If there's a drawback it may be the lack of ethnic diversity. Predominantly caucasian and asian demographic.

- submitted by a parent

December 08, 2003
We are so lucky to have our daughter in this school. The campus is beautiful and the academic challenges will have these students well prepared for college. It is competitive school and yet the environment is very nuturing.

- submitted by a parent

November 11, 2003
Despite the positive comments listed by other parents, having put two children through this high school, I believe it is a lousy school. The principal lets the teachers run the show and most are lazy and have terrible attitudes. The college counseling available is woefully inadequate

- submitted by a parent

October 06, 2003
Northwood High has a beautiful, safe campus, with an emphasis on high academic achievement as well as sports and other extracurricular activities. The Northwood student is well-rounded, polite, neatly dressed (no ganglike attire is seen at all), and definitely college-bound. You can't find a better principal than Mr. Feruzzo. I could go on and on about what an excellent school Northwood High is. My freshman felt welcomed with open arms (the older students have been very nice to the freshmen), and we couldn't be happier.

- submitted by a parent

September 19, 2003
A school which stresses high performance, scholastically, athletically and extracurricularly. What is most impressive, is the massive heart that this school community has for its special needs students. We have two football players and a cheerleader who are developmentally disabled, plus a massive club which buddies typical kids with special needs kids for social support and fun times. Students are supportive and generous with each other, warm and welcoming. The faculty is bright, youthful, energetic and warm. Instruction and facilities are top notch. Counselling is compassionate, realistic, intuitive and available. Security is firm; students are safe. You can do no better than to send your child to Northwood High School.

- submitted by a parent

August 19, 2003
i'm a senior at NHS and i love it. if anyone in irvine has a choice on whether or not the want to attend NHS, go for it! you won't regret it. it is honestly in my experience the funnest, and most worthwhile school experience you may ever have. (and all the teachers are young too, which makes it an environment that's easy to learn in)

- submitted by a community member

May 03, 2003
What an amazing campus! I am a junior at NHS right now and I totally love it. It's definetely a challenging enviornment that stresses college preparation.

- submitted by a community member

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Last modified: June 09, 2015

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Northwood High School
4515 Portola Parkway, Irvine, CA  92620
(949) 936-7200
Last modified Northwood High School is a Public school that serves grades 9-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Northwood High School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 58 reviews. Top