Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – Palos Verdes Peninsula High School – Newsweek – 88/100
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (also known as Peninsula High, Pen High, or PVPHS) is one of three public high schools on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, California, USA, (the others being Palos Verdes High School and Rancho Del Mar High School). Located at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Silver Spur Road, Peninsula High serves the communities of Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates.
27118 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates, California, United States
PVPHS has been ranked 15th in the nation by Newsweek and 89th by U.S. News & World Report. It has an API of 907 in the state of California.
The school was formed in 1991 when Miraleste High School, Palos Verdes High School and Rolling Hills High School were merged into a single high school. The former Rolling Hills High School campus (opened 1964) had the highest capacity and was used for the combined school. When overcrowding became a problem after 1999, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District elected to re-open Palos Verdes High School in 2002. There are approximately 2500 students.
Enrollment of 2,543 includes 641 seniors, 579 juniors, 635 sophomores, and 688 freshmen with a certificated staff of 113 (98 teachers, 6 counselors, 3 administrators, 1 athletic director, 1 activities director, 1 safe school counselor, 1 psychologist, 1 librarian, and 1 nurse) to service the multi-ethnic student body.
Students compete in baseball, basketball, choreo, crew, cross country, equestrian, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, marching band, pep squad, roller hockey, rowing, soccer, softball, surfing, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, wrestling, and robotics.
PVPHS has been designated within the state a California Distinguished School, and nationally a New American High School. It has a blue ribbon from the United States Department of Education.
Ranked 89 by U.S. News & World Report out of 18,500 Distinguished California School – four times National Blue Ribbon School (35 schools named of 18,500) New American High School (one of ten named out of 18,500 schools) Siemens Foundation Science Winner (one of four schools of over 27,000) Newsweek recognition (#15 of 18,500 schools) Wall Street Journal (top ten of 27,000 schools) California Junior Classical League (several times) In the 2010-2011 SAT II Tests (out of 800), the average score at PVPHS is 706 in Chemistry, 754 in Chinese, 669 in Math Level II, and 768 in Japanese. The average SAT scores are 578 reading, 634 math, and 605 writing. The average composite ACT score at PVPHS is 27.2, significantly higher than in the state overall (22.2) or the country (21.0).
In May 2010 907 PVPHS students took 2076 Advanced Placement examinations in 30 subjects. 83% of the scores were 3 or above. 39% of the student body was enrolled in Advanced Placement classes.
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School has received national, state, and local recognition competing in the areas of mathematics, science, career technical arts, visual arts, dance, drama, student publications, Academic Decathlon, Model United Nations, Speech and Debate, and Mock Trial.
The Speech and Debate Team qualified 13 students to the CHSSA State Championship in 2010 and 18 in 2011, and has over 70 members who participate in Public Forum, Parliamentary, and Lincoln Douglas Debate as well as in many Individual Events such as Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Advocacy, and Humorous Interpretation. The team is affiliated with the National Forensic League (NFL) and the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA), and participates in the West Bay Forensic League, where it consistently takes home first place in most events, including HI, Parli, Extemp, Impromptu, Interp, Thematic, Duo, etc. In 2011, the team took home 5th place in Original Prose and Poetry at the CHSSA State Championships, as well as spots in the top 20 and 16 in Lincoln Douglas and Parliamentary Debate respectively.
For the first time in its history, PVPHS qualified two students to the National Tournament of Champions, both of whom took spots in the top 30 nationally. The team also travels across the country. In the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, the team travelled to Texas, New York, Chicago, Nashville, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Boston. Debaters competed at prestigious tournaments at Stanford University, Harvard University, The Bronx High School of Science in New York City, and the Montgomery Bell Academy Round Robin.
Model United Nations (or MUN) is a club consisting of approximately 100 students of all grade levels. Together, delegates compete in competitions all over the nation, acting as delegates from countries around the world discussing past and current world issues. Students have competed at high schools such as Mira Costa, Whitney, Tustin, Mission Viejo, High Tech, El Toro and Huntington Beach High School. Students have also had the opportunity to compete in more advanced conferences, most notably, Berkeley MUN, Bruin MUN and NAIMUN (Georgetown University). The team has won Small School awards at conferences.
Students have won awards at NAIMUN, one of the most competitive MUN conferences offered at the high school level. Students boast Rapporteur, Commendation, Outstanding and Best Delegate awards from each conference of the 2010-2011 school year. The Model United Nations club is led by Dr. Jim Dimitriou and seven elected seniors. Members of the Secretariat have gone on and introduced MUN to their own prospective colleges as well as have continued to compete at the collegiate level.
The school yearbook, “La Pantera,” the 2010 Yearbook was honored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association with the Gold Medal, receiving 973 out of 1000 possible points. The school newspaper, “The Pen,“ has been honored with first place recognition through the Southwest Journalism Education Association. In addition “The Pen” won first place with special merit in the American Scholastic Press Association’s national competition and was a Pacemaker finalist for the 2008–2009 school year.
“Eye of the Panther News”, (EOP) the schools broadcast journalism program was created in 2007, and continues today.
Science Research is an elective course which affords students the opportunity to study a chosen topic in Science, Engineering, Social Science or Mathematics. Research students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School compete in the annual Los Angeles and California State Science Fairs at one of the highest rates in the state. Two students annually attend the INTEL International Science/Engineering Fair. Palos Verdes Peninsula High School research students have obtained finalist status for Siemens-Westinghouse and INTEL Talent Search scholarships. A Peninsula research student in 2008 won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the highest level international high school competition for water based projects.
The school has the strongest Latin program in the state of California, having taken 1st place in the State Latin competition 15 years in a row.
The school has been awarded the National Schools of Distinction Award from the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education.
There are more than 100 extracurricular clubs and activities including: National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Teen Court, Key Club, Black Student Union, Future Business Leaders of America, Junior Statesmen of America, Latin Club, Spanish Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Girls’ Service Club, Amnesty International, Interact, Leo Club, Science Bowl, Academic Decathlon, and Best Buddies.
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School was awarded the National Schools of Distinction Award from the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education. Awards include the Bravo Award for the Outstanding Performing Arts Department in Southern California. The 120 students who participated in the chorus program have had opportunities to compete in local and national competitions. Two full orchestras, a marching band and two jazz bands round out the music program. Upon graduation, 99% of the class of 2011 will have completed at least one full year of a visual or performing art in the following areas: Ceramics, Sculpture (including Glass Blowing), Photography, Video Production, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Chamber Jazz Choir, Women’s Choir, Drawing and Painting, Intermediate Dance, Choreo Dance, Competition Dance, Concert Band, Music Appreciation, Guitar, Music Theory AP, Studio Art AP, Digital Animation, and Graphic Design.
Supervising judges from the Superior Court of L.A. County work closely with students enrolled in Teen Court. Students participate in actual cases, exposing them to all aspects of the US legal system.
SMERT standing for Science Math Engineering Robotics and Technology, also known as the PVPHS Robotics team (FRC Team 2637), founded in 2008, competes in competitions. In the 2012 season, featuring Rebound Rumble, Team 2637 made it to the semifinals in the Las Vegas Regionals. They are a part of both the SMERT (Science Math Engineering Robotics and Technologies) and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). The team receives support from the mayor, Boeing, and Mitzi Cress (Principal).
The PVPHS Solar Boat team was placed in the Top 10 at the Metropolitan Water District Solar Cup.
As of the 2009–2010 school year, PVPHS students were 43% White, 40% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 4% Filipino, and 3% African American.