How is San Marcos High School? Does anyone have teenagers that attend? If so, what has been your experience?

Asked by Jerry, Los Angeles, CA Thu Nov 22, 2007

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Ric.rmpainti…, Home Buyer, San Marcos, CA
Tue Oct 9, 2012
San Marcos High School is an excellent school. For the last 9 consecutive years, my three children attended and graduated from this High School (the last one graduated June 2012). I initially pushed for my children to go to Mission Hills HS when it first opened, but was greatful that we could not enroll them there. Although Mission Hills has a good football team, there are many problems with the school, such as school hallways being built too narrow and the school in general is overcrowded and had some issues related to gang problems initially (I don't know if they still are). Although San Marcos HS does not have a "Great" football team (they do ok), they offer other sports such as LaCrosse, waterpolo, soccer, and other programs that do very well. Their band and dance programs have won many awards. They have a genetics program, state-of-the-art wood shop program (hopefully it didn't get cut), and and an ASL program to name a few. Their ASL (American Sign Language) teacher is excellent. To give you an idea, my daughter just entered a PAC 12 University to earn her degree in ASL and was placed in a level 3 class. She is repeating the same (exact) course work at the University that she did at SMHS. She is the only freshman in her class at that level. Only having 2 years of ASL at SMHS, her teacher did an excellent job of preparing and teaching my daughter advanced college level work.

Don't get me wrong, every school has it's issues and problems and SHMS is not any different. All three of my children had some sort of disability and on a 504 or IEP. Due to this, I had to be very "present" in my childrens education and there were times that I had to go head-to-head with faculty. But I would have had to do that at ANY public school, it's just the nature of the beast within a public school setting.

As far as the previous posts about teen prenancy, that just makes me furious. While I too had first heard of these rumors upon my children entering the HS, I found out that that report was OVER 20 YEARS AGO, get over it! That report is NOT relevant to today. San Marcos HS today is ranked as one of the top schools to go to. Currently, the school is under construction but will be beautiful (college like) once it is complete.

For anyone reading this, I hope it helps!
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Hholmes74, , San Marcos, CA
Thu Oct 14, 2010
I attended SM High school in the late 80's. The rumor about 'highest pregnancy rate' was a popular topic at that time and I can tell you it wasn't true. How it was explained to me when I asked about it at the time was that the counselors in the past did an anonymous survey asking the girls to be honest and when they counted up the number of pregnancies (according to the survey) they published the information in order to emphasize the importance of sex education in school to help PREVENT such problems for kids everywhere. They were hoping other schools would step up and do the same (but most didn't). By being the first school to publicly share the information they were hoping to pave the way to fix a social problem that people were trying to ignore. I think it was commendable for the people at the school to put themselves and the school out there like that for a great cause.

As far as the education aspect of the school - I thought it was slow paced & boring and I ditched a lot but I felt that way about all the schools I went to except for private school. I ended up going to independent study after missing my first year a half, caught up and graduated on time then went on to college and graduated from CSUSM.

I choose not to have children but if I did have kids I would make private school a priority and eat top ramen every day if I had to. But this is nothing against SM high school particularly but my opinion about public schools everywhere in the US (sad to say). I went to a lot of school (Ohio, TX, CA) and private school was the only place I felt challenged and interested (up until college - college was different and much better).

As for gang activity - I saw way more of that at SM Jr High than I did at the HS. There was also a higher rate or pregnancy in Jr High too (from what I saw with my own eyes, not 'statistical data' or anything). Those people didn't make it to HS. SM JR HS also gave out 'jr hs diplomas' when I went there so that those people who didn't make it on to HS at least had some kind of certificate of achievement before they moved on to raise their families. That's kind of a nice thing for those kids raised in a culture that emphasized family over education and hopefully it encouraged some of them to continue on despite the new family responsibilities. But gang activity in the school (SM HS) while I was attending was not extreme and barely noticed by me and my friends. We noticed it more in Escondido,Oceanside and Vista than we did in SM.

Anyway, the town has changed enormously since then - there's a lot of new businesses, a lot of new homes and nicer neighborhoods so I'm sure that the level of education has gone up due to increased revenue, and as was mentioned by another person, demanded by the homeowners in these nice communities. I moved back to SM and I love it here. The addition of the university and the development that has occurred so far has definitely made SM a better place to live & learn and I am happy to be here.
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Roberta Murp…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Thu May 8, 2008

One of our agents has two sons who recently graduated from San Marcos High School. She is very pleased with the school and the progress her sons made there. One is about to graduate from college and the other is on his way to becoming a master chef.

I treasure dinner invitations to her home--and her family's great stories about San Marcos High School would put many fears to rest.

Best wishes with your decision!
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Joan, , San Marcos, CA
Wed May 7, 2008
I would just like to comment on the last answer. The supposed 'high rate of pregnancy' was a news item in 1978. It was never an actual count, just something that one of the counselors was concerned about that sonehow made the news. Unfortunately, those types of things are never forgotten.
I have two kids attending SMHS and both of them are getting a great education, are very involved on campus, have incredible friends, and they and their friends are getting into great colleges. My son is going to CSUN next year (excellent music program), and of his best friends who have attended SMHS and SM schools, one is going to USC, two are going to UCLA, one to San Jose (aviation), another to UCSD. Also, the older sisters of one of these friends, and graduates of SMHS attended Stanford and one was accepted to Harvard (but turned them down.)
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Bill Richard, , 92009
Mon Nov 26, 2007
We had two teenage daughters attend another well known top five of the high schools in San Diego and this is what our general feeling is about all high schools. If you can afford a private school for high school go for it. If you can not then make sure you are completely as much as possible involved in your childrens lives. They may not want you to be but they are not in charge and you will be left picking up the pieces for years to follow. If they have good friends that is half the battle. If they are boys they will tell you what they are doing right to your face. If they are girls they will tell you what you might want to hear.
Also San Marcos High as has been said it two different high schools. Students have graduated from that school and gone on to all the colleges and universities that let's say Torrey Pines students have gone to. It really comes down to your involvemend and their dedication.
Try dating your kids like you date each other. Try family vacations which include their friends. Try parties that you supervise with their friends or outings.
Of course they want to walk 10 feet behind you didn't you.
Of course you know nothing.
Of course the teachers and everyone else knows more and nothing is more important then loud music, text messages and cell phones.
BUT you are the parent and never give up that right. Remind them there are only two of them in this world that have the right to call you their mom and dad.
One last thing when they turn around 21-22 they begin to get their minds back even though you might have lost yours!!!!!
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Patti Philli…, , Carlsbad, CA
Thu Nov 22, 2007
Jerry, There are actually 2 high schools in San Marcos. San Marcos high & Mission Hills High School. Mission Hills is almost new. In the past there were problems with gang activity, high rate of pregnancy, etc. at SM High. All around the area the demographics are changing dramatically- as there are newer, high end homes which feed into the school. In a case like that the schools must change for the better, as the homeowner's will demand it. The school is supposed to be improving. I don't know the recent test scores, but would be happy to get the info to you. Depending on exactly where you live, would depend on which high school you would feed into.

If I can help you with any more specific info. please call me.

Patti Phillips
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