San Juan Hills High School

San Juan Hills High School

Infobox School

name=San Juan Hills High School
type=Public High School
location= 29211 Vista Montana San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
information=(949) 234-5900
grades=9-10 (adding the next progressive grade each year)
enrollment= 650 (as of 2008)
faculty= 20
principal= Mr. Tom Ressler
mascot= The Stallions
colors= Blue and Gold
district=Capistrano Unified School District
website= []

San Juan Hills High School is a high school located in San Juan Capistrano, California, and it is the sixth high school of the Capistrano Unified School District. The school officially opened in the 2007-2008 school year as a new comprehensive high school and it serves the residents of San Juan Capistrano, Capistrano Beach, and southern Ladera Ranch in Orange County, California.

SJHHS opened with Tony Ferruzzo as the principal in 2007. He was excited to begin his job with the first school in his community but was frustrated by the ongoing problems at San Juan Hills and quit in the middle of the year. The assistant principal, Shannon Soto, took over to complete the year. Capistrano Unified School District appointed and will transfer the experienced Tom Ressler, the current principal of Capistrano Valley High School in the city of Mission Viejo, who was with that school for 22 years to San Juan Hills in the fall of 2008 to help alleviate the problems at SJHHS and build a successful program like he has helped do at CVHS.

Test Scores

In its opening year, San Juan Hills High School had a Academic Performance Index of 748. The goal for all schools in the state is 800. San Juan Hills has the lowest score in Capistrano Unified and the only school in the district to have a score below 800.


Capistrano Unified School District felt a heat of criticism when opening this school. First and foremost was the changing of the district boundaries. Students in areas like Capistrano Beach and Ladera Ranch felt a stronger sense of community with neighboring cities. Capistrano Beach residents, whose students attended San Clemente High School, feel they are basically a part of San Clemente and that was who their children related to. They thought their children would be the lone "beach kids" at San Juan Hills High School. Ladera Ranch did not oppose as much as the area is brand new and the residents have not really had time to build a legacy at another school. The Ladera students will go from Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo and some from Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita to San Juan Hills, a few minutes closer. The boundary also caused the change of the whole district wide boundaries, including moving all of the students in Mission Viejo from a split between Tesoro High School in Las Flores and Capistrano Valley, to just Capo Valley (due to the San Juan residents, who previously also attended CVHS being removed). Dana Hills High School in Dana Point saw the loss of all its San Juan students and shrunk in boundaries. San Clemente also shrunk but needed the relief as it was overcrowded from the 3,000+ students and the growing Talega neighborhood.

There was also complaints over the district using race to divide the school district. The neighborhoods outside San Juan Capistrano, Capo Beach and Ladera, feared going to a school in San Juan, where there is a larger Hispanic population, who the residents thought would cause the school to be low performing. The fact that San Juan Hills would have a thirty percent Hispanic population drove many residents to move to other boundary areas or apply for school of choice. Meanwhile, Capo Valley and Dana Hills students, who had split the San Juan Capistrano Hispanic population are seeing a predicted drop to 8 and 6 percent respectively, from 24 and 20 percent respectively. Several lawsuits have been filed against the district for their division by race at meetings.

Also, residents of San Juan feared the increase in traffic on Ortega Highway which leads to the school. This heavily traveled road—one of two links between Orange and Riverside Counties—is one of the most dangerous roads in the area.Fact|date=April 2007 (It should be noted, however, that the part of this road considered to be dangerous need not be traveled to reach the school. This stretch of Ortega Highway—from Interstate 5, east to the Antonio Parkway/La Pata intersection—is a relatively flat and straight road.) The increase in traffic that a 2,500 plus-student school would bring to the intersection of La Pata and Ortega is predicted to be disastrous, as it is clogged today and can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes just to get through.Fact|date=April 2007 It should be further noted that the main cause of the traffic congestion at this intersection is due to ongoing construction—a widening of Ortega Highway (from the Antonio Parkway/La Pata intersection to Lake Elsinore) in an attempt to make that part of Ortega Highway a safer route to travel.

Some parents were concerned about health problems with the school being located within 0.5 miles of Southern Orange County's regional dump. Located on the other side of the ridge, millions of pounds of trash are dumped each day from trucks that share La Pata Avenue with school traffic. A green waste facility is also located directly across the street. Multiple high voltage transmission lines are adjacent to the site and questions have been raised as to whether the school site meets the California legal requirements for setback from these facilities. A 16-inch high pressure liquid fuel pipeline that transports gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel from Los Angeles to San Diego passes near the school.


A leadership team of students, representing each of the feeder middle schools to San Juan Hills, was formed in 2006 and has begun drafting plans for the school. In choosing the mascot, future San Juan Hills students voted at their current schools and chose "The Stallions", with navy blue, gold, and white as the school colors. Students will miss out on varsity football and basketball games for the school's first two years, until the students are old enough (in their junior and senior years). Other elements such as Comedy Sports which happen at the five other district high schools will not be ready until the population increases once the school has been around for a few years.

Racial Demographics

In 2008, the official first racial data was released for San Juan Hills High School:White 53%,Hispanic 38%,Asian 1%,Other 8% []

External Links

[ Additional information on school site issues (blog).]

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