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Los Altos High School (Los Altos, California)

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Title: Los Altos High School (Los Altos, California)  
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Subject: Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, Los Altos, California, List of FieldTurf installations, Los Altos High School, Alice Wu
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Los Altos High School (Los Altos, California)

Los Altos High School
201 Almond Avenue
Los Altos, California, Santa Clara County, 94022
United States
Type Public
Established 1954
School district MVLA School District
Superintendent Jeff Harding
Principal Wynne Satterwhite
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,663[1]
Student to teacher ratio 21:1
Campus Open
Color(s)              Blue, White, and Gray
Athletics conference Santa Clara Valley Athletic League
CIF Central Coast Section
Team name Eagles
National ranking 326
Newspaper The Talon
Yearbook Aerie

Los Altos High School is a public school located in Los Altos, California. The student-teacher ratios at Los Altos High School are considerably lower than the state average.[2][3][4] Los Altos was opened in 1954.

Los Altos High School is one of the three Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District public high schools, the other schools being Mountain View High School and Alta Vista High School. The main feeder schools are Egan Junior High School and Crittenden Middle School. Since 2005, the school principal has been Wynne Satterwhite. The previous principal, George Perez, left in 2004.


  • History 1
  • Statistics and demographics 2
  • Education 3
    • Test Scores and State-wide ranking 3.1
    • Educational environment 3.2
  • Programs and Highlights 4
    • Athletic Department 4.1
    • Performing Arts Department 4.2
    • Student Clubs 4.3
  • Notable alumni 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7


Los Altos High School was established in 1954 on the site of an orchard. Initially, Los Altos High School served the mostly white, middle to upper class populations of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. During 1982 redistricting efforts, the district closed its oldest high school, Mountain View High School, which was located on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View. Awalt High School was then renamed Mountain View High School, while Los Altos High School replaced its Knight mascot with the Eagle mascot from the old Mountain View High School. The district reaches from Los Altos through Mountain View to San Francisco Bay in the north.[5]

The two remaining district high schools now draw equally from wealthy and working-class families and have a similar demographic population. Both schools are located near the city border of Los Altos and Mountain View and each has a considerable amount of the "other" city in its attendance area.

In more recent history, Los Altos High underwent a major renovation over the past few years, which has significantly enhanced the campus environment, including a new science and art building and a FieldTurf athletic field.

During the El Niño storms of 1998, a tornado ripped through the quad area of the school. The tornado touched down at 5:05PM on May 4, 1998, near the intersection of El Monte Road and Almond Avenue. It was rated F1 on the Fujita Scale, and was one of two that touched down in the area.[6] The tornado uprooted trees, picked up dumpsters, damaged the tennis court fences, and destroyed the baseball diamond dugout. Damages were estimated at $25,000.[7]

Statistics and demographics

As of the 2003-2004 school year, the enrollment was approximately 1600 students; in the last few years each incoming class has been significantly larger than the outgoing class.[8] In 2006, 83% of students participate in academic, extracurricular and community service clubs. Over 50% of the students participate in an athletic team.

As of 2011, European American students comprise 49% of the population at Los Altos High School, Hispanic and Latino American students comprise 24%, Asian American students comprise 21% and African American students comprise 2%.[9]


Los Altos High School is a gold-certified high school and ranked 337th nationally in 2013 by U.S. News and World Report.[10]

In 2006, City-data deemed Los Altos High School to be the 9th best High School in California, with an API of 797.[11] However, Newsweek grades schools on weighted data and teacher:student ratios, while City-Data merely uses API as a standard.[12]

In 2008, the school's performance fell seven points in the API from the previous year, with a final score of 795. Asians lost their score slightly by five points and while students with disabilities lost 25 points from the previous year, while Hispanics and the economically disadvantaged scored higher than the previous year.[13] However, they passed the Federal "Adequate Yearly Progress" standards.[14]

2009 saw an increase of 30 points in the API for the school, with a 34 point increase for Latino students and 64 for English-Language learners. 825 points is the highest in school history.[15]

Test Scores and State-wide ranking

Los Altos High School has consistently ranked as one of the top ten high schools in California.[16] API scores for the student body overall have climbed steadily each year from 799 in 2008 to 875 in 2011.[9][17][18]

Educational environment

The California Department of Education claims that in 2008-2009, 98% of teachers were fully credentialed—this is higher than the state average.[19] In 2009, Michelle Bissonnette, who taught at Los Altos for 10 years, was selected as one of three "Teaching Ambassador Fellows" to work as a full-time employee of the United States Department of Education for one school year.[20][21]

Programs and Highlights

Los Altos High School boasts a strong athletic department, performing arts department and a host of student-run clubs.

Athletic Department

Los Altos High School requires two years of Physical Education credits in order to graduate. After-school sports each provide one quarter or one semester of credits. Its sports teams participate in the regional SCVAL League.[22] The Track and Field team, especially, has made it to State championships numerous times,[23] most notably first place 40 years ago. The team is coached by Olympic runner PattiSue Plumer.

Season Sport Season Sport
Fall Football Spring Track and Field
Boys Water Polo Baseball
Girls Water Polo Badminton
Volleyball Boys Tennis
Girls Tennis Gymnastics
Girls Field Hockey Golf
Cross Country Softball
Swimming and Diving
Winter Boys Basketball Summer
Girls Basketball
Boys Soccer
Girls Soccer

Performing Arts Department

The LAHS Marching Band, performing in uniform.

Los Altos High boasts a large music department, with a state of the art music room equipped with reverb devices. The musical ensembles included are Auxiliary Units (also known as Color Guard), Marching band, Jazz band, Chamber Ensemble, StringOrchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band.[24] Los Altos High School also includes Concert Choir and the world-renowned Main Street Singers.[25] The school also hosts a Drama department, the advanced course of which is called Broken Box Theatre Company and performs in the school's Eagle Theater.[26]

The school's world-traveling vocal ensemble, known as the "Main Street Singers", travel around the world on tour every year.[27] They gained international reputation through completing concert travel to 45 countries from six different continents and performing works in twenty languages ranging from Taiwan to Mainland China via the newly implemented Three Links system.[29] Pop singer Aaron Fresh took part of the school's glee and choir program while he attended Los Altos High School.[30]

The High School's Marching band is part of the Western Band Association, which is based in California.[31] The Band competes in the AAA category. In 1997, the LAHS Marching Band received six awards at the state festival.[32] Since then, the band's reputation deteriorated somewhat, and in the 2007 season, they scored last place out of 11 participating bands.[33] 2008 saw a rejuvenation of the school's marching band program, as it won its first sweepstakes award in four years, and placing 7th out of 48 participating bands at Western Band's state preliminaries.[34] In 2011-2012, the Band's show, "Forbidden", won several captions at local competitions, including the highly coveted Sweepstakes award at the Dublin competition.[35] The Marching Band completed its successful season by finishing 6th statewide at the WBA State Championships in Thousand Oaks, CA.[36] They won a total of fifteen trophies and were undefeated in music throughout the entire season. The band's 2012 AA show was entitled "Senses" and their 2013 AAA show "REM." The 2014 AAA show was entitled "House of Cards" and won 1st place at both Gilroy High School and Quest Classic competitions. In 2014, for the first time, the LAHS Marching Band competed in Bands of America regional championships, coming in in 3rd place in the AAA category.

Student Clubs

Students at Los Altos High School have independently started a club list of over 50 different clubs,[37] including American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, AVID Council, Club Darfur, Future Business Leaders of America, Gay-Straight Alliance, Key Club, Model United Nations, Safe Ride, and Mock Trial. They also have "student unions" of most ethnic and racial groups present in the school. These clubs impact the entire Los Altos community, and in the case of One Dollar For Life and Amnesty International, they impact regions in rural Africa and Haiti, respectively.[39]

The Los Altos Green Team, with the help of

  • Los Altos High School website
  • The Main Street Singers of Los Altos High School - an SATB Chamber Group
  • The Talon (school newspaper)

External links
  1. ^ "Los Altos High School".  
  2. ^ "About LAHS".  
  3. ^ "Los Altos, California".  
  4. ^ "Los Altos High School". School Tree. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  5. ^ Rosenzweig, Zia (2008-11-24). "Orchard teardown demolishes town history". Talon. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  6. ^ Monteverdi, J.P., W. Blier, G. Stumpf, W. Pi, and K. Anderson, 2001: First WSR-88D Documentation of an Anticyclonic Supercell with Anticyclonic Tornadoes: The Sunnyvale–Los Altos, California, Tornadoes of 4 May 1998. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 2805–2814.
  7. ^ Domingue, Joanne Griffith and Taaffe, Linda (1998-05-04). "Freak tornado rages through Los Altos". Los Altos Town Crier. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  8. ^ California School Population Stats
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "Los Altos High School - Overview".  
  11. ^ High School Statistics
  12. ^ See previous two references.
  13. ^ "2008 Growth API School Report".  
  14. ^ "2008 Growth AYP School Report".  
  15. ^ "MVLA continues to earn high API scores". Los Altos Town Crier. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "LAHS-Teachers". Great Schools. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  20. ^ Chan, Ya-an (2009-07-01). "Los Altos High School teacher makes way to Washington, D.C.". Los Altos Town Crier. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  21. ^ Bissonnette, Michelle (2009-08-03). "Michelle Bissonnette — Washington Fellow".  
  22. ^ Los Altos Athletics
  23. ^ LAHS Track Page
  24. ^ Ferrucci, Ted. "Los Altos Instrumental Music".  
  25. ^ LAHS Performing Arts Department
  26. ^ "Broken Box Theatre Company".  
  27. ^ Main Street Singers
  28. ^ Sharpley, Cheryl. "About the Main Street Singers". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  29. ^ 国外团来厦也走小三通头一回 (in Chinese).  
  30. ^ Shannon, Kimberly (2008-11-24). "Eye on the Pupil: Aaron Hinton". The Talon. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  31. ^ "List of WBA bands".  
  32. ^ (Marching Band)Looking Back in TimeLAHS Instrumental Music:
  33. ^ "Class Championships 1/2/3A".  
  34. ^ "Class Championships 1/2/3A".  
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Miller, Don. "List of Clubs".  
  38. ^ Freeman, Robert (2008-02-22). "Why teaching must adapt to what students can handle".  
  39. ^ ODFL Projects
  40. ^ Cool Los Altos, Community Site
  41. ^ Los AltosCoolcity
  42. ^ "List of Participating Mayors". Mayor's Climate Protection Center. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  43. ^ Walatka, Pam (2009-05-13). "LAHS Green Team gets tips from expert".  
  44. ^ "The SGRO". Los Altos High School Green Team. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  45. ^ Mangaliman, Jessie (2008-06-14). "In S.J., celebrating a gay rights milestone".  
  46. ^ Brigham, Roger (2006-02-26). "Los Altos council bans gay proclamations".  
  47. ^ Brigham, Roger (2006-03-09). "Los Altos kids get support from SF mayor".  
  48. ^ "ACLU Helps Los Altos Community Reverse Gay Proclamation Ban".  
  49. ^ Sebastian, Simone (2006-06-05). "300 march in gay pride parade organized by high school group".  
  50. ^ Buchanan, Wyatt (2006-05-31). "As gays plan parade, city's inaction in focus".  
  51. ^ "Daniel Moerner Wins Berkeley". Victory Briefs Daily. 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ "NSPA Best in Show Winners 2009". National Scholastic Press Association. 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ [7]
  57. ^ Estrella, Cicero A. (2006-08-22). "Family fears for U.S. journalist kidnapped in Gaza Strip / Captors unknown, and no demands have been made".  
  58. ^ [8]
  59. ^ Stephen Clark (swimmer)
  60. ^ [9]
  61. ^ Tom Harrell
  62. ^ "Diplomacy Lessons: Personal Information"John Brady Kiesling, . Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  63. ^ [10]
  64. ^ Williams, Carol J. (2009-05-26). "Bush vs. Gore rivals challenge Prop. 8 in federal court".  
  65. ^ Klein, Joe (2010-04-29). "David Boies and Theodore Olson — The 2010 TIME 100".  
  66. ^ "Former Los Altos attorney argues Bush case". Los Altos Town Crier. 2000-12-13. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  67. ^ Neil A. Lewis (2001-02-15). "Man in the News; Prize Job for a Bush Rescuer; Theodore Bevry Olson".  
  68. ^ [11]
  69. ^ [12]


  • Steve Centanni, Fox News National Correspondent[57]
  • Stephen Clark, Goes by Steve, a Freestyle swimmer and 5-time Olympic Gold medalist (1960 and 1964 Games). Holder of 9 World Records. Class of 1961. Attended Yale University. Featured in articles in Time and Life magazines.[58][59]
  • Juliette Frette, June 2008 Playboy Playmate of the Month, class of 2002.[60] 2.
  • Tom Harrell, Jazz Trumpeter recording artist, winner of Down Beat Magazine "Trumpeter of the Year" three times, class of 1963.[61]
  • Willie Howard, two-time All-Pac-10 tackle, member of Stanford's 2000 Rose Bowl team, Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2000, class of 1996.
  • John Brady Kiesling, former U.S. foreign service officer who resigned in 2003 to protest the invasion of Iraq. His resignation letter was published widely. Class of 1975.[62]
  • Raj Mathai, Primary Evening News Anchor and 3-time Emmy Award winner for NBC Bay Area. Class of 1989.[63]
  • Theodore Olson, 42nd United States Solicitor General, lawyer [64] Time 100 recipient;[65] class of 1958.[66][67]
  • Nick Swinmurn, founder of[68][69]
  • Andrew Arnold Tink Member of Parliament (1987–2007), New South Wales Legislative Assembly, class of 1971.
  • Nicolas Terradas Founder of NikkisCo
Lorrie and Ronnie Fair (class of 1996), FIFA Woman's National Team
Theodore Olson was the 42nd United States Solicitor General and lawyer for Bush in Bush v. Gore.

Notable alumni

[55] In 2011, The Talon's website qualified for the Pacemaker online finalists.[54] is the school's student-run newspaper which has been nationally recognized by the Journalism Education Association and the The Talon

Los Altos High School shares a Speech and Debate team with Mountain View High School. The team was founded by Charles Dahan in 1999, with Dahan earning nine Tournament of Champions bids during his debate career. In 2008, Daniel Moerner, class of 2009, won the Walter Alan Ulrich Award for Top Speaker in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Tournament of Champions. In 2009, he also became the first debater to ever win the Stanford Invitational and Berkeley National Invitational back-to-back in their 20-year history.[51]

In addition, class of 2008 and previous president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, received an award for his efforts in promoting Gay Pride parade in downtown Los Altos, with over 300 in attendance.[49] Due to this event, the County of Santa Clara and multiple local cities declared a gay pride day in honor of the club.[50] In addition, the school sponsors a Day of Silence event annually to combat discrimination against LGBT students.


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