Northwood High School (Irvine, California)

Coordinates: 33°44′02″N 117°45′02″W / 33.73395°N 117.75043°W / 33.73395; -117.75043
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Northwood High School
4515 Portola Parkway


United States
Coordinates33°44′02″N 117°45′02″W / 33.73395°N 117.75043°W / 33.73395; -117.75043
School typeComprehensive 4 Year Public High School
MottoFor the Good of the Pack
School districtIrvine Unified School District
SuperintendentTerry Walker
PrincipalLeslie Roach
Staff83 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment2,195 (2018–19)[1]
Average class size29.2
Student to teacher ratio26.63[1]
Color(s)    White, Silver, Navy Blue
Athletics conferencePacific Coast League
Team nameTimberwolves
RivalPortola High School
NewspaperThe Howler
YearbookThe Element
Feeder schoolsSierra Vista Middle School

Northwood High School is a public high school located in the northernmost part of Irvine, California, United States, in the Orchard Hills neighborhood. It opened in 1999, and its first graduating class graduated in 2002. In 2016, Northwood was ranked 25 nationally in Newsweek 's list of top public high schools.[2]


The school operates on an alternating block schedule, in which students attend odd-period classes (1, 3, 5, and 7) on one day, and even-period classes (2, 4, 6, and 8) the following day. Classes are 90 minutes long, and meet for either 18 weeks (semester) or 36 weeks (year-long). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students attend a tutorial session, which lasts for 35 minutes between the first and second classes of the day, and can be used at the students' discretion. Every Wednesday is designated a "late-start," in which classes start an hour later than the regular schedule. All students, with the exception of seniors, are required to take a minimum of six classes per semester.[3] Seniors are required to enroll in a minimum of five classes for the fall semester and four for the spring.

In 2005, 2009, 2013, 2021, and 2024, the school was recognized as a California Distinguished School[4][5] and in 2006 was also named a Blue Ribbon School.[6]

Location and Layout[edit]

Northwood High School sits in a narrow valley in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, and was surrounded by working avocado groves at its founding. Currently, the surrounding land is now Orchard Hills, a residential community extending north from the existing community of Northwood Pointe. Northwood High School's site had been designated for a high school from the very beginning as part of the Irvine Company's master plan, which was drafted in 1960.

Student Activities[edit]

The music program has received the Grammy Signature School award multiple times, the latest in 2015.[7]

In 2006, the Northwood Marching Band won 1st in 5A division at The Huntington Beach High School Surf City Open. In 2008, the band placed 1st in 5A division at the Newport Beach Open.

Northwood's Speech and Debate team has won the title of #1 Speech and Debate Team in Orange County.[citation needed] In 2018, Northwood students won the title of State Runner-Up Champions at the California High School Speech Association Championships.

In 2018, Northwood's Boys Swim Team won the title of CIF and State Champions.

In 2021, Northwood's Football team won the Pacific Valley League Championship before capturing the CIF Southern Section D11 Championship. This was Northwood football's first Southern Section Championship.

In 2022, Northwood Football again won a CIF Southern Section Championship, this time D8, after winning the Pacific Hills League Championship. The most accomplished football team in school history went on to win the 2022 CIF 4-AA Regional Bowl game and play in the CIF 4-AA finals. The team was led by Adam Harper a first-team all Orange County selection, who played RB, Safety, and returned kicks.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]


Orchard Hills, Irvine
  1. ^ a b c "Northwood High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "America's Top High Schools 2016". Newsweek. August 11, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Northwood High School (NHS) opened in the fall of 1999
  4. ^ Distinguished School Awards – California School Recognition Program (CA Dept of Education)
  5. ^ "Irvine Unified School District".
  6. ^ Microsoft Word – list-2003.doc
  7. ^ "Announcing The 2015 GRAMMY Signature Schools". Grammy in the Schools. July 20, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  8. ^ "Northwood football delivers in the clutch to win CIF SoCal Regional title". Orange County Register. December 3, 2022. Retrieved February 6, 2024.