Malibu High School

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Malibu High School
Malibu High School quad.jpg
Malibu High School is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Malibu High School
Malibu High School
Malibu High School is located in California
Malibu High School
Malibu High School
Malibu High School is located in the United States
Malibu High School
Malibu High School
30215 Morning View Drive
Malibu, California

United States
Coordinates34°01′28″N 118°49′37″W / 34.02442°N 118.82696°W / 34.02442; -118.82696Coordinates: 34°01′28″N 118°49′37″W / 34.02442°N 118.82696°W / 34.02442; -118.82696
PrincipalDr. Michelle Nye
Enrollment1,106 (2015-16)[1]
Color(s)Teal and Black         [2]
Team nameSharks
NewspaperThe Current
MagazineThe Inkblot

Malibu High School (MHS) is a public secondary school in Malibu, California for middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12). As one of three high schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, MHS serves the Malibu and Santa Monica communities and by inter-district permit, the greater Los Angeles area and Ventura County.


The campus is located on land originally part of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, which was partitioned in 1963 to create Malibu Park Junior High School,[3] named after its surrounding region in Malibu. With no public secondary school existing in Malibu, upon promotion from middle school the high school-age students commuted 2 hours roundtrip to Santa Monica to attend Santa Monica High School.

In 1992, the district converted the Malibu Park Junior High School campus to its present combined middle school/high school, and allowed MHS's first freshman class to walk onto campus.[4] The State of California erroneously shows the high school established in 1993.[5] Classes were added every succeeding year, culminating in the first 1992 freshman class graduating in 1996. The school mascot, a grinning mako shark, was designed by an art student in the first graduating class of 1996.

The high school's first principal was Michael Matthews. Under Matthews's tenure in 2003, the school earned its designation as a California Distinguished School[6] and first achieved a national ranking as #177 in Newsweek|Newsweek's Top 1200 Schools in America, a ranking system based on what percentage of a school's student body takes Advanced Placement exams in any given year.[7]


The school is located in the northwestern part of Malibu, one block from the Pacific Ocean and the famed Zuma Beach in the Malibu Park district. Its address is on Morning View Drive, made famous by the breakout album by Incubus. The school spans 35 acres (0.14 km²) of rolling hillsides between Merritt Drive to the south, Via Cabrillo Street to the north, and Harvester Road to the east. The campus is located next to Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, a public school, and Malibu Methodist Preschool & Nursery, a private pre-kindergarten school for ages 0–5. MHS's facilities include a baseball diamond, ranked the best in America in January 2004 by Baseball America.[citation needed]

The school is accessible via the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus line 534.[8] The majority of students arrive on campus by private car or school bus.[citation needed]

Environmental concerns[edit]

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District had performed a polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) cleanup of the school in 2009 and 2010 with the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) advising.[9] In October 2013, after three teachers developed thyroid cancer, a group of teachers grew concerned that environmental contaminants at Malibu High School may be to blame; caulk tested for PCB showed levels "slightly elevated" above the regulatory limit of 50ppm in November 2013.[9] The three relevant government agencies, the DTSC, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were informed and certain buildings were closed to students.

"Based upon published reports and interviews with long-time residents who were present during those years" Malibu served as a WWII military training center.[10] Upon recommendation of Hugh Kaufman, a senior EPA policy analyst, teachers approached Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) for help.[11] In February 2014, PEER attorneys wrote to the school district asking for a site assessment of the campus.[10] After a five-month investigation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded in July 2014, that the school had never been a military site.[10] The District hired an environmental firm named Environ, whose initial clean up plan was criticized for allowing elevated PCB levels to remain inside classrooms for 15 years or more, for not testing caulk in all rooms built prior to 1979 and for air quality monitoring of only one year. The plan was rejected by the EPA in April 2014. Environ released a second PCB clean up plan on July 3, 2014. Two weeks later PEER published PCB test results of caulking and dirt from rooms sampled in June, and not previously tested by the District, "at thousands of times the levels previously released to the public".[12]


MHS consistently boasts the highest SAT and API scores in its three high school districts.[13] MHS has periodically been awarded honors by various ranking authorities; As of 2007 Newsweek Magazine's Top 1200 Schools in America ranked Malibu High #184.[14] In 2007 U.S. News & World Report ranked Malibu High #98 of the top 100 schools in the country and awarded a Gold Medal.[15] Over fifteen Advanced Placement courses are offered at the school.

Besides regular college-preparatory, honors, and advanced placement courses, the school is one of a handful in California that provides extensive resources for Special Education (SpEd) students. As of July 2006, 125 SpEd students were enrolled with 26 SpEd faculty at MHS, where roughly 10% of the student body are receiving 24% of the school's instructors.[16]

Zuma Project[edit]

Although no longer in effect, the Zuma project took advantage of close proximity to the Pacific Ocean: students who took 10th grade Biology or the Honors Marine Biology elective course participated in a year-long field ecology study known as "The Zuma Project." Students collected oceanographic, biological data, and plankton samples every week during the academic year, and did so since the first senior class in 1995. The research program has been copied and used by other schools as part of the UCLA OceanGLOBE program.


The school is classified a small school by the California Interscholastic Federation, competing at the Division IV CIF Southern Section. Football is in Division XI. A study published in 2007 by the MHS Site Governance Council reported that 75% of all honors and AP enrolled students participate in the school's sports programs.[17]

Performing arts[edit]

MHS has won several awards in instrumental and choral music.[18] In 2006 and 2007, the MHS full symphony orchestra earned the highest ranking (Superior) from Southern California judges.[citation needed] In 2011, all four MHS choirs received "Superior" ratings (the highest rating possible).[19] In March 2014, the Malibu High School chorale choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. In the summer of 2016, the MHS Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall.


The school's journalism produces a monthly newspaper, The Current, for high school. The middle school's paper The Surfwriter is now[when?] defunct after a several-year run. A yearbook class also publishes the high school yearbook, Aquarius. In 2008 a school literary magazine, The Inkblot, was added, published by students showcasing student stories, poetry, cartoons, and illustrations.[20]

Memorable events[edit]

  • 2013: Some MHS teachers claim that recent construction and moldy classrooms are making them sick, causing cancer.[21]
  • 2012: Student accuses teacher of misconduct, gains media attention [22]
  • 2009: MHS palm trees go missing.[23]
  • 2008: MHS vandalism causes a stir with racial implications.[24]
  • 2007: MHS is chosen by U.S. News and World Report as #98, one of the top 100 schools in the nation and awarded a Gold Medal.
  • 2007: MHS technology controversy arises concerning students posting videos of teachers on YouTube.[25]
  • 2003: MHS is ranked by Newsweek as #177 among the nation's best schools. MHS consistently ranks in the top 184 schools on Newsweek's list.
  • 1996: MHS's first class of seniors graduates.

Student/Teacher demographics[edit]

For the 2007/08 school year, MHS's student composition[26] was:

  • 1,303 enrolled students; 52.9% male, 47.1% female
  • middle school's (grades 6–8) class size averages 163.7
  • high school's (grades 9–12) class size averages 203.8
  • student demographics: 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.0% Asian, 1.1% Pacific Islander/Filipino, 9.2% Hispanic or Latino, 2.5% African American, 84.7% White, 0.2% Multiple.

For the 2007/08 school year, MHS's teacher composition[27] included:

  • high school: 64 certified teachers; 53.1% male, 46.9% female
  • high school: Certificated teacher demographics: 6.2% Hispanic or Latino, 4.7% African American, 87.5% White (non-Hispanic), 1.6% Multiple.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


Scenes from the movie Smile (2005) were shot at MHS. The film was inspired by the international organization Operation Smile and portrays real-life MHS figures such as former principal, Dr. Mike Matthews (played by Sean Astin). MHS hosts a student chapter of Operation Smile to help fundraise, and every year, a few students accompany Operation Smile tours. Scenes from the Disney Channel Original Movie Brink! were also shot at MHS and Zuma Beach.[31][32][33]

In 2010 TV Show 90210 showed a "Malibu High School" flag at a surf competition.

It was also referenced in the movie Double Take (2001 film) as Eddie Griffin's character school.


  1. ^ "Malibu High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "MaxPreps High School Sports".
  3. ^ Malibu High School 15th Anniversary Brochure, The Shark Fund: L. Rosenthal and Kaiser Marketing, Publisher: Kaiser Marketing and ColorGraphics 2007
  4. ^ Melonie Magruder (6 August 2006). "High School High". Malibu Times. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  5. ^ "California School Directory.School: Malibu High". State of California Department of Education. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  6. ^ "MHS earns California Distinguished School Award". State of California Department of Education. 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Newsweek fails the high school ranking test". SFExaminer. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  8. ^ "LA Metro Home - Go Metro". Archived from the original on 2007-10-29.
  9. ^ a b Simpson, David Mark (22 November 2013). "PCB Levels at Malibu High Trigger EPA Involvement". The Malibu Times. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Sagona, Nancy (17 July 2014). "Feds Say Malibu High Not A Former Military Site". The Malibu Times. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  11. ^ David Mark Simpson; Melissa Caskey (January 22, 2014). "New Firm to Handle Malibu High PCB Removal". The Malibu Times. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Malibu school highly contaminated with toxic PCBs". Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. 17 July 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-06-17. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Malibu High – Reports". California Department of Education. 2012/2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ "Newsweek Top Schools 2007". Newsweek. 2007. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007.
  15. ^ "Malibu High: Best High Schools". 2007.
  16. ^ "MHS Special Education Enrollment".[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ MHS Site Governance Council, SGC
  18. ^ "Music Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  19. ^ "Malibu High Choral Groups Bring Home Awards". 11 May 2011.
  20. ^ Malibu High School The Inkblot, 2008
  21. ^ "Malibu High Teachers Claim School Is Making Them Sick, Causing Cancer".
  22. ^ "Out Of Pocket: NAACP Wants Slap-Happy California "Bridesmaids" Teacher That Laid Hands On A Black Student Fired ASAP!". 8 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Malibu High School's queen palms vanish". 12 February 2009 – via LA Times.
  24. ^ "Malibu High on alert following vandalism".
  25. ^ "The Skinny: Tortured By YouTube".
  26. ^ Yu, Sai. "School Enrollment by Ethnicity - Enrollment by Ethnicity for 2007-08".
  27. ^ "Number of Teachers in California Public Schools by School".
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-12-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Home". Jesse Billauer.
  30. ^ "Dr. Louis Leithold". Archived from the original on 2006-03-18.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2008-05-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Robert Smurf (20 December 2007). "Brink - worm sandwich - Malibu High School" – via YouTube.
  33. ^ Robert Smurf (20 December 2007). "Brink - Malibu High School 6/24/98" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]