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3920 Spring Street
Orange, CA 92869

School website
(714) 997-6240
(714) 997-0705
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Map of El Modena High School address.

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July 31, 2014
This school is probably the best high school in the county. Few schools in OC will provide an excellent honors/AP program in a cultured & diverse environment. Let's face it, OC youth is known for being privileged & spoiled therefore because of it's diverse environment El Modena grounds its students & allows them to be more humble and thoughtful about the society they live in. All high school student bodies are cliquey, but ElMo is overall a welcoming and united community. The teachers are very involved in student activities & are very accessible for extra help. The only department that needs reorganizing is the science department since a lot of excellent teachers left. ElMo has one amazing & dedicated math teacher who teaches three levels of math and provides tons of before and after school help. It does need more math teachers & I hope they start paying attention to hiring more dedicated staff like Mrs. Lissner! I recommend all students to take honors & AP classes because they are one of the most challenging & rewarding classes you can experience. The sports department is excellent for anyone interested in softball, or baseball. The football team is laughable but we embrace it.

- submitted by a student
July 25, 2012
My daughters freshman year at El Modena HS was wonderful. From the first day of registration 2011/2012. The staff and students were kind and heplful. She met new people became good friends with several of them. She joined track n field & cross country. She still continues to get outstanding grades in her Honor classes. Thanks again to the staff and students for making her feel welcome with open arms. Keep it up VANGUARDS!

- submitted by a parent
March 12, 2012
El Modena High School is a great school for your child to attend. The teachers are dedicated and motivate the students. There is Wednesday tutoring available for students. The ASB and school spirit is wonderful. The principal and staff is very proactive. Parents receive messages at least twice a month about upcoming events or what is happening at the school.

- submitted by a parent
October 10, 2011
An outstanding staff, terrific kids, and supportive parents make El Modena a shining example of what a high school should be. In my 20+ years in public education, I have never seen more committed, caring, or capable instructors. I work at El Mo, and I can assure you that my own kids will be attending there. Go Vanguards!

- submitted by a teacher
May 27, 2011
El Modena has been a fantastic school for my children to attend. They have an excellent honors program, a principal who is so devoted and excellent at what he does, and real school spirit! It is ranked high in the state when compared to similar schools and has high AP test pass rates. I think this has been a great high school experience and am proud to my kids are Vanguards!

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2011
Interesting comments by the last two reviewers--one about lack of pride in El Modena and the other about punishment. The school provides an outstanding education, which is why it is ranked 10 out of 10 when compared to similar schools and an 8 out of 10 statewide. It also has some of the highest AP pass rates in Orange County. El Mo graduates attend some of the finest universities and colleges in theb country, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, and many others. El Modena does set high academic and behavioral expectations for students, but these are clearly communicated and constantly reinforced. The staff really does not tolerate students who defy those expectations, so if your child is out of control or simply unmotivated to do what is asked, you can expect consequences.

- submitted by a community member
January 18, 2011
It's an education, nothing more. I never really attached myself to the school, I honestly could care less about school "pride" in a high school like this. I'm a senior here, and it seems the school focus more on sports and supporting those in it than those actually trying to get an education anywhere else. However, decent programs for graphic arts, just received new computers and programs this year (Adobe CS4 (all programs in the pack), 3DS Max 2011, Maya 2011, Mudbox 2011, Motionbuilder 2011) classes in graphic arts/animation were my favorite, great teacher! However I can't say the same for a good number of other teachers for other basic classes. Most of them are mixed, you get good teachers, you get bad ones. Overall, its simply an average high school. You get your diploma and move on to better things.

- submitted by a student
December 10, 2010
My child at this school is not very pleased with the system that El Modena High School has to offer. I have been in the office speaking with my child's counselor and it seems to me that punishment is more of a priority than getting students ahead such as my child. It is very hard for a parent to go to work and know that my child has to go through such a poor education system. The problem is the staff in general, the teachers simply do not make El Modena a good place to be. The area is nice, however, the teachers and other staff members make the experience a waste of time and government money. This school needs to be changed for other students are going into the school constantly, and the main thing which makes it worst are those who are graduating. To see those unprepared with a diploma is a difficult struggle. To know that students are being treated as unprepared adults makes the whole "American Dream" a joke. This needs to be accounted for a serious matter this is not an exaggeration.

- submitted by a parent
October 19, 2010
I LOVE EL MODENA HIGH SCHOOL! There are so many things to be proud about when being a Vanguard. The students get along with one another, teachers are fantastic at what they do, especially the English department, and there is an overwhelming amount of school spirit! I love my school!

- submitted by a student
October 19, 2010
I am so fortunate to be a student at El Modena. The teachers are incredible in the sense that they encourage and motivate us to strive for our goals no matter how unreachable they may seem, such as passing an AP test. The administration works hard to make our school a safe and fun environment that enables us to learn and grow into the young adults we wish to be. What more can you ask for?

- submitted by a student
October 18, 2010
A phenomenal school that has only pushed me closer to my goals. The atmosphere at school is caring and friendly, at school I feel safe and feel that i'll never be judged. Going to Elmo is something I can truly be proud of.

- submitted by a student
October 17, 2010
A fantastic school that allows all students to be who they are in a friendly and safe environment.

- submitted by a student
October 05, 2010
All of my children have attended El Modena and I do not regret a single thing about it. This school is successful academically, with teachers that spend much time outside class to help students. I can say this from my own children whose teachers were more willing to help.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2010
Math teachers us MIMEOGRAPH papers, read paperback books in class; admin staff routinely forgives absences undermining parent consequences.

- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2010
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- submitted by a student
October 25, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
no rating October 20, 2009
Excellent academics in the Honors and AP programs. Caring faculty and administrators.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 20, 2009
El Modena has great academics and an awesome marching band! This school has more to offer than most private high schools in Orange County.

- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2009
I am currently a senior at El Mo and i simply love it at this school. the environment is very inviting.... the teachers as well as the students seem to connect and get along with everyone. its as if it were a big family full of life. i came from villa park high school where i attended my freshman sophomore and junior year but i wish i had been here at El Mo the whole time

- submitted by a student
August 08, 2009
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- submitted by a student
June 04, 2009
El Modena is an awesome school and a million great things have happened. We have a tremendous staff that keeps me interested in learning. We have the best AP teachers with some of theh highest pass rates in the OC. El Mo is the best kept secret in orange, and peoplepass judgement on it too quickly. It's not a gang banger school. It is a melting pot of different unique people and truly prepares student for life after college.

- submitted by a student
June 03, 2009
I'm currently a senior at El Modena High School and I have had a wonderful experience. Of course there were some difficulties and not everything was perfect, but my overall experience has been amazing. The honors and ap program are amazing (and our scores beat the other schools in our district in passing rates). Some of the sports are amazing and others aren't as succesful, but that doesn't really matter. This year has been a year of change. The morale has increased do to energetic and optomistic students and staff members. I honestly believe the administration has improved immensely. They really care about students succeeding and they are trying to inspire change and improve school spirit, but I think students need to be open to change also. Students have to care if they want to succeed. The school can't force them to.

- submitted by a student
June 02, 2009
Four of our kids went to Elmo, and our experiences ran the gamut, from good to terrible. Most of the teachers were wonderful, and truly went above and beyond what was expected. There were several who had issues of their own, but that happens anywhere. My biggest problem with the school is the administration, which seems to be more about grandstanding than serving students and staff. All talk, and no follow through.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 21, 2009
I had four sons and three nieces who attended El Modena between 1994 and 2007. I saw many changes at the school during those 13 years, some good and some bad. Three were honors students and graduated college and grad school. They did fine at El Mo and in college. Two went into the military and their experience at El Mo was less than stellar. Two were jocks, and saw many changes in the athletic program. One had terrible problems with teachers, and staff, some of it his own doing and some of it problems with prior administration. So the school is great for a self motivating honor student or a jock who needs grades for college but for a 'sweat hog' or student not interested in school, better off somewhere else with more supervision and more caring staff

- submitted by a parent
February 24, 2009
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- submitted by a student
December 01, 2008
Both of my students were open enrolled at El Modena. My oldest was well prepared for college and has now graduated early from a UC with a double major. My younger son is also in college and well on his way to a double major. Like most schools El Mo has some good and bad aspects and is an easy target to blame when things do not go well. But in my experience both my sons were well prepared for success at the UC level.

- submitted by a parent
August 16, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 12, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2008
I could not get my child out of the school fast enough. The staff was 'just doing time' and the safety was a Great concern to us. We would not ever allow a child of our to attend there again!

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2008
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- submitted by a student
February 27, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
January 28, 2008
My first daughter did alright because she was fairly self motivated. My second daughter does not really care about school, though, and was failing almost all of her classes. Nobody notified me. By the time I found out it was almost too late to do anything about it. I went in one morning to talk to her counselor, and she let me sit there and did not acknowledge me for 20 minutes. Finally I left. This is not the school for unmotivated kids who need a little extra push and attention.

- submitted by a parent
January 02, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 24, 2007
I have a son who has been there for two years. The school overall is probably a little better than most CA schools. Some teachers are good (English honors), some are terrible, most average. Like most CA schools, wayyyy too crowded. Worst aspect is no accountability for teacher quality, but probably the same at most CA public schools. Good sports program.

- submitted by a parent
August 22, 2007
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- submitted by a student
August 02, 2007
As a former parent and stepparent of 3 El Modena students, I would have to say that my experience was less than positive. The counselors seem to push the junior college route even to well prepared and accomplished students. The teachers are a mix of good and awful. The athletics at the school are determined by the individual sport. Some good, some not. It seems as though the coaches however do not stick around. With the exception of the wrestling team and I beleive girls track and football (a few years back) The school morale is very low. There is a lot of animosity among students. I had all three types of students there. The sporto, the scholar and the problem child. 1 went through, barely with my intervention, the other 2 left the school and excelled in other schools. I would not recommend anyone send there child there.

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2007
I went to El Mo for less than a year and HATED it! I am very confused how all those parents are saying there kids went there and loved it, they must have been the ASB parents. The whole school was huge disappointment. The teachers were uninterested in the students, except for the ASB kids or problem students. If you weren't in that group, Good Luck getting any help or guidence from the teachers.

- submitted by a former student
January 24, 2007
I think this school is a great school.I currently attend ELMO and I have for the most part been enjoying my 4th year here. The teachers are wonderful and very caring but my peers on the other hand are another story; much like most high school. Overall I would highly recommend ELMO.

- submitted by a student
January 13, 2007
My child goes to Elmo and I am looking for other school options. The teachers and administrators are disappointing. Most teachers have no concern about educating the students but just working for their salaries. The concept of discipline at Elmo is enforcing the rules rather than teaching the ethics of life to the students. Teachers and counselors, administrators must first open their mind and look at the bigger picture before they can convince the young life the positive side of education.

- submitted by a parent
January 03, 2007
El Modena is outstanding, especially with it's AP program, it probably has some of the best teachers Orange County has to offer. The school has high parental involvement with a very active ASB. The principal's new clean campus committee, leaves the school looking beautiful as well.

- submitted by a student
October 24, 2006
No matter how great the teaching staff are, the classroom size is too oversized to count for anything.

- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2006
As a former student of this high school, I saw many things that both helped the students and things that didnt. One of the things that I saw that helped the students was the fact that many of the teachers took time out of their busy schedule to help and educate students. that is one of the best things I remember from this school. The negative feed back, I guess you could say, is that many students got away with many things. I should know, my friends and I did.

- submitted by a former student
March 22, 2006
My god son attended El Modena last year and the parental involvement was wonderful. While he did have a couple of teachers who were totally burned out and overwhelmed, the majoirty if them were caring, sincere and had the student's best interest at heart. I am trying to get my daughter into 'elmo' next year. One of the few public high schools I would even consider sending my child to.

- submitted by a parent
March 22, 2006
Good school, great sports program. Parental involvement is great, some communication concerns as far as certain teachers but overall I had no problems with my daughter's stay there. I would recommend.

- submitted by a parent
October 26, 2005
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- submitted by a student
June 06, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
May 09, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
March 21, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
November 12, 2004
CTP program is excellent!

- submitted by a student
June 03, 2004
We are Elmo Alumni's, and our child goes to Elmo, and we are sorry to say, that our other children will not be attending this school. It seems as if there is no supervision on campus, or at off campus events. What ever happened to the no tollorance program - for everyone? Discipline, or lack there of only comes when the schools reputation is at risk, not when the students need it and is not constistant. They do not address administrative problems, and do not deal with issues relating to the staff. We are very unhappy with this school and the way it has chosen to handle certian problems.

- submitted by a parent
February 23, 2004
I was a student Class of 2002. I loved El Mo. There was so much school spirit you couldn't help but be proud. There was some drug problems but not huge ones. I felt accepted by my peers regardless of race, class, or sexual orientation. I learned so much from teachers and peers alike. They used to have the best choir and drama programs but since the old teachers retired last year (2003) I've noticed that they are going downhill. Well overall El Mo was a great and wonderful experience for me.

- submitted by a former student
February 15, 2004
I had two sons go through El Modena High School. Both had nothing but good things to say about their high school experience. As long as they keep their A.P. classes and honors classes as respectable as they are now, El Modena will prove to be one of the most outstanding high schools in the Orange County area.

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2003
My daughter graduated from El Modena and my son attends there now. I have always been very pleased with the academics and athletics at Elmo. But the thing that makes me proudest is the community atmosphere where everyone is respected, regardless of one's race or income level. Some of the richest kids in Orange go to Elmo and some of the poorest do, too. But they are all respected as equals by one another, by the faculty and by the community.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2003
I taught at El Modena for 36 years. I do not agree with the one comment that has been made. Elmo is a great school in a diversified area. The teachers love and care about their students. We have an excellent fine arts and performing arts department that trains students for college. Our athletic department promotes healthy competition and provides great outlets for all that teenage energy. We offer more AP classes that any other school in OUSD. The principal is on top of things and works well with the staff, students and parents. All three of my children went to ELMO and they are also proud of their school.

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2003
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a former student
August 19, 2003
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a community member
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El Modena High School
3920 Spring Street, Orange, CA  92869
(714) 997-6240
Last modified El Modena High School is a Public school that serves grades 9-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
El Modena High School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 58 reviews. Top