We moved to San Clemente from NJ (August 2014) and I had many concerns about sending our son to SCHS his freshman year. The large number of students and campus in need of a face lift was quite intimidating. Not to mention we were new to the area and my son can be quite shy. We arrived the week of registration and though the office staff were quite stressed and not friendly they were efficient. We pushed our son to find a few clubs he would enjoy. He audtioned for the choir, signed up for drama, and joined a card club. The staff and students involved in drama and vocal arts were amazing and welcoming. He truly found a home away from home with these groups at SCHS. The school is large but there truly is something for everyone. We have enjoyed watching our son grow socially and emotionally this year. There are some great kids who attend this school and so far the staff have been wonderful.
Overall a terrible school. No conditions for 3000 students;maybe 1500 max! Not even enough bathrooms. All my time at this school was wasted in absurdly long bathroom lines to wait for disgusting and leaking toilets barely fit for use. Most cafeteria food sucks and lack of resources for all these people. The majority of my teachers were nonchalant and uninspiring, assigning copious amounts of busy work. Also, most people at this school are very cliquey, closed-off and rude. Couldn't be happier to get out of this hell hole.
Because our family has had such a positive experience at SCHS, I wanted to submit this review. Our goal for high school for our kids was for them to get the education and experience to be successful in college and in their futures. SCHS has done this. The teachers, school staff and their advisors in particular have all been great. Being on a campus with 3000 students at first was intimidating, but I really feel its a great experience to prepare for college, and once the kids get familiar with the campus, they were fine. I've heard that people say drugs and alcohol use is prevalent at SCHS, but from talking to friends and family, it's prevalent at most high schools across the country. As parents it's our responsibility to know what our kids are doing and address that with them.
I graduated from San Clemente High School ("SCHS") in 2007 and then attended UCLA. I would argue that there are two "tracks," and implicitly two different schools, within SCHS: honors/AP/IB, and everything else. I did the former of the two, so my experience and comments are limited therein. I had an excellent experience at SCHS, particularly in the International Baccalaureate program where deeper thinking, not simply rote learning, was encouraged. Students in the honors/AP/IB track generally know the same kids for four years, and that fosters both a sense of community and one of hard competition (net positive). Nearly every teacher has at least a masters degree in their subject (again in the honors/AP/IB route) and most were outstanding instructors, not just knowledge stores. Students rarely lack extracurricular activity options (orchestra, band, multitudes of sports, dance, theater, etc.) and many of those are nationally and regionally ranked and well-respected. I strongly recommend taking any classes from Kathleen Sigafoos, Patrick Harris, Lisa Kerr, Jeff Kolasa, Jennifer Morris, Rob O'Rear, Allison Schick, Rob Urquidi, Pat Wilsey, and Duncan Wilson.
SCHS has been a great school for my daughter, who is currently a junior. They offer a variety of classes that other schools may not. From fashion to surfing classes, there are many options for kids who want to explore the courses that may very well turn out to be professions for them one day. As for the drug issue, there are many kids who are involved with it, however, in my opinion it seems more like a county wide problem rather than a school problem. We are a military family and not exactly in the same financial bracket as many of the other parents. I have noticed that much of the problem lies with parents who are so busy making money that they tend to ignore the needs of their kids. Some of these kids are given as much as 6,000 a month to do as they please! Eventually they are going to turn to drugs without parental support and free spending. My daughter has a good head on her shoulders and we don't have that kind of money so she has stayed on the right course. If you stay involved in your kids lives, most likely you will not have an issue.
I attended this school in 2012, and the school may seem nice at a glance. However, there is a SERIOUS drug problem and students can often be found engaging in extremely inappropriate PDA everywhere. Bullying is extremely common, but campus is generally well-maintained . There is an over-emphasis on sports over academics, as well as a low budget and lack of discipline.
I have three children who have either graduated from or are still involved in the AP and IB programs. The teachers are all exceptionally capable, dedicated and hard-working. Unfortunately Capistrano USD receives even less funding than the woefully low average for the state of California, and it shows in the facilities. In spite of that, the school performs well both academically and athletically, with equally dedicated coaches.