Dana Middle School (San Diego)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 32°43′58″N 117°14′24″W / 32.73278°N 117.24000°W / 32.73278; -117.24000[1]

Dana Middle School
Aerial - Dana Middle School, Point Loma, San Diego, CA 01-cropped.jpg
Aerial view from the north
San Diego (Point Loma), California
United States
Type Middle School
Motto Learning Together @ Light Speed
Established 1941
Principal Scott Irwin
Grades 5-6
School color(s) Green and white
Mascot Mariners

Richard Henry Dana Middle School is a public middle school in San Diego, California, part of the San Diego Unified School District. It serves approximately 820 students in grades 5 and 6. It is located in the Loma Portal neighborhood of Point Loma. It draws students from all six elementary (K-4) schools in the "Point Loma Cluster", as well as accepting students on a space-available basis from throughout the district under the District's Volunteer Enrollment Exchange Program (VEEP) and Open Enrollment Program.[2]


Dana is named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of the book Two Years Before the Mast which described the San Diego and Point Loma areas in the 1830s.

Before the opening of Dana, students in grades 7-12 attended Point Loma Junior-Senior High School, now Point Loma High School. The dates of Dana's opening are not entirely clear. A review of Point Loma High School yearbooks suggests that Dana opened in 1941 for 7th-graders only, served grades 7-8 from 1942 through 1945, and became a full 7-8-9 junior high school in the fall of 1945.[3] This format was retained until Dana's closure in 1983. During the 1940s-1950s the school doubled as a Cold War era bomb shelter.

In 1983, the school was closed as part of sweeping changes occasioned by declining enrollment. Prior to the realignment, two area junior high schools (Dana and Collier) served grades 7-9, and fed Point Loma High School which served grades 10-12. After the realignment, Dana was closed; Collier was renamed after artist Steven V. Correia and restricted to grades 7-8; and Point Loma High became a four-year school serving grades 9-12.

In the wake of the closure, the school district clashed with local residents. The district sought to lease or divest the Dana site; community activists, led by Ann Tripp Jackson (then president of the Point Loma Association), lobbied for its reopening as a school. Jackson's efforts led, among other victories, to the school site's being permanently rezoned for educational use.[4] During the protracted battle, however, the site stood vacant for 10 years.

Finally, it was reopened in 1993 to serve as a school district office building.[5] Community support for returning Dana to its use as a school remained strong. In 1998, state-mandated school occupancy guidelines provided the final impetus for reopening Dana as a school.[6] Another major realignment of local schools took place, with local elementary schools becoming K-4, and Dana reopening as a central school for all local 5-6 graders. This alignment — one middle school for grades 5–6 and one for grades 7-8 — is unique in the district. The school's auditorium was christened the Ann Tripp Jackson Auditorium to honor Jackson and others who led the successful preservation effort.

In October 2011 the school district proposed closing Dana and a dozen other district schools as a cost -saving measure. The proposal would have sent Point Loma area fifth graders back to elementary school, while combining grades 6, 7 and 8 at Correia Middle School.[7] However, the district withdrew the proposal after a community outcry, including a "save our schools" rally at Dana attended by 600 people.[8]


The campus includes a softball field and a baseball field; the latter is the home field for Point Loma High School baseball. It is named for Major League pitcher David Wells, a PLHS alumnus. In 2014 the school district approved a plan proposed by Wells to replace the grass at Wells Field with artificial turf and perform other upgrades. The upgrade was completed and dedicated in December 2014.[9] Wells now serves as head baseball coach at PLHS.[10]

Student life[edit]

Extra-curricular student programs offered at Dana include:

  • Instrumental Music [11]
  • Surf Club [12]
  • Student Newspaper, the Dana Times


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Dana Junior High School
  2. ^ Dana School website
  3. ^ Aerial photographs from c. 1941 show a partially completed school, but with some of today's wings missing. Review of Point Loma High School yearbooks of the era shows all six grades present at Point Loma HS through 1941. The 1942 Point Loma HS yearbook shows no seventh grade, which implies that the 1941-42 seventh graders were at Dana. The 1943, 1944, and 1945 yearbooks show only grades 9-12, so presumably Dana functioned as a grades 7-8 middle school in those academic years. Starting with the 1946 Point Loma HS yearbook, only grades 10-12 appear, so from 1945-46 onward, Dana evidently served grades 7, 8, and 9, with Point Loma HS serving grades 10-12.
  4. ^ Dana Times: About Ann Tripp Jackson; 11/7/2007
  5. ^ "By July, Dana Junior High a nuisance no longer", San Diego Union Tribune, October 11, 1992
  6. ^ "Board votes to revive Dana campus", San Diego Union-Tribune, October 29, 1997
  7. ^ "Panel recommends San Diego school closures". San Diego Union-Tribune. October 21, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Closure plan dropped". San Diego Union-Tribune. October 28, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ Culver, Heather (December 4, 2014). "Ex-MLB Player David "Boomer" Wells Dedicates Namesake Baseball Field". NBC-7 San Diego. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Schwab, Dave (July 3, 2014). "Trio of local athletic fields get green light for various upgrades". San Diego Community Newspaper Group. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  11. ^ Dana Instrumental Music Website
  12. ^ Surf Club Website

External links[edit]