Northwood High overtake University High
as No. 1 high school in Irvine during year 2012-2013

Northwood High School

Northwood High overtake University High during year 2012-2013
Northwood High now is no.1 high school in Irvine School District


Northwood High API 921 in year 2013
University High API 913 in year 2013


Northwood High API 910 in year 2012
University High API 909 in year 2012


Northwood High API 907 in year 2011
University High API 910 in year 2011

Northwood High School opened just 15 years ago , now it's already earned top notchhigh school reputation.

Northwood's rapid ascension to the top can be credited to a deliberate attempt by staff to mold the school into a mirror image of its phenomenally successful sister schools - University, Irvine and Woodbridge high schools, all part of the Irvine Unified School District.

Teachers and administrators unabashedly admit they lifted the best elements from the other three high schools, including teaching strategies, block scheduling, and top teachers and administrators. Northwood also re-created Irvine High School's enormously successful faculty mentoring program, in which students are paired with a teacher all four years and meet with that faculty member during homeroom multiple days a week.

Northwood, which opened in 1999, is nestled in the foothills of northeastern Irvine, at the edge of the developed portion of the city in the Northwood Pointe community. It's surrounded by avocado groves and dirt roads, although grading is taking place behind the school for a new housing development called Orchard Hills.

The sprawling campus consists of a circular grouping of two-story, tan-stucco buildings with teal-tinted windows. Many of the classrooms are connected to "pods" - common areas filled with computer labs that are designed to promote interdisciplinary learning. The campus also features a state-of-the-art, 680-seat theater.

The campus converges on an outdoor quad area where a mature oak tree serves as the focal point. The prominently displayed tree has become a symbol of pride for the school.

Northwood's staff prides itself on what it considers to be a younger, hipper approach, less entrenched in traditions than other schools.

"I relate to the kids with pop culture," said English teacher Jennifer Gray. "I'm able to remember what it's like to be in high school and the conflicting priorities. Or, I'll say, 'Steinbeck is good. I know it's different - just trust me.' They respond to that."

Like the other three Irvine high schools, Northwood is known for its diverse, highly tolerant student body. In addition to ethnic diversity, it's home to a developmentally delayed population that is fully integrated into campus life.