Oakland High School (Oakland, California)

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Coordinates: 37°48′17.58″N 122°14′10.43″W / 37.8048833°N 122.2362306°W / 37.8048833; -122.2362306

Oakland High School
1023 MacArthur Boulevard


United States
TypePublic magnet high school
Motto"In Virtute Summum Bonum Ponamus"
(In virtue we place the highest good.)
School districtOakland Unified School District
PrincipalPamela Moy
Teaching staff91.14 (2020-21; FTE)[1]
Enrollment1,650 (2020-21)[1]
Student to teacher ratio18.10 (2020-21)[1]
Athletics conferenceCIF Oakland Section
NewspaperThe Aegis
YearbookThe Oaken Bucket

Oakland Senior High School (also known as O-High or OHS) is a public high school in Oakland, California. Established in 1869, it is the oldest high school in Oakland and the sixth oldest high school in the state.


Oakland High School, 1872-1895

Oakland High was first located at 12th Street and Market Street, then at 12th and Jefferson Street. It has been at its current location at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Park Boulevard since 1928. The building that stood before its current manifestation was known as the "Pink Prison" or "Pink Palace." The stairway leading up from Park Boulevard is what remains of the exterior. The lamps in the commons are original fixtures. What is now the football field and basketball courts was once classrooms and a huge theater. The school colors are royal blue and white.

The building was torn down in 1980 to be rebuilt as a safer structure in the event of a major earthquake.

A new football/soccer/baseball field was inaugurated in the spring of 2006. The football field is officially known as the "Jackie Jensen Field", while the baseball/softball field is dedicated to Mike Marcoulis Sr., longtime coach and teacher.

Pamela Moy became Oakland High's principal in Fall 2020, succeeding Matin Abdel-Qawi, who was the principal serving from 2012 to 2020.[2] As of October 2021, the assistant principals are Jose Irizarry III, Chris Johnston, Rita Skyers, and Shoshana Towers-Cabrera.[3] Other administrative positions include Rany Ath (Wellness Center Director).[3]

In the summer of 2008, renovations and rebuilding to the main building (as well in the former shop buildings) began and were completed in August 2011.

In January 2021, filmmaker Peter Nicks released Homeroom, a documentary following the Oakland High class of 2020 through their senior year. The 2019–2020 school year started normally but made an unexpected turn in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the students into quarantine and to attend virtual classes, with no prom or graduation ceremony.[4]


With over 1,800 students, 39% are Asian, including students of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, Mien, and Laotian descent. Another 38% of students are African American/Black, 21% of students are Latino or Hispanic, 1% are white and 1% are of two or more ethnicities.[citation needed]

Class colors[edit]

  • Freshmen:   purple
  • Sophomores:   yellow
  • Juniors:   green
  • Seniors:   blue

Student life[edit]

Oakland High School has more than 40 student-run clubs and 24 sports.[citation needed]



OHS offers many Advanced Placement (AP) courses and a wide array of challenging academic electives. Many concurrent enrollment college courses are offered from the Peralta Colleges after school.

The AP Test Site Coordinator for the school is Carlos Padilla.

AP courses[edit]

  • Biology AP
  • Calculus AB AP
  • Calculus BC AP
  • Chemistry AP
  • Computer Science Principles AP
  • Environmental Science AP
  • Spanish Language and Culture AP
  • Spanish Literature and Culture AP
  • Statistics AP
  • World History AP
  • Computer Science A AP
  • English Language and Composition AP

Test scores[edit]

For 2013, the school's API score was 634 out of a possible 1,000 points.

California Standard Tests Scores, proficiency rate [1]
English Mathematics Science History/Social
38% 17% 32% 15%

Families and Pathways[edit]

Ninth-grade students are parts of learning communities called freshman "families".[6] Students in grades 10 to 12 join one of the school's Career and Technical Education (CTE), aligned pathway programs:

Visual Arts & Academic Magnet Program (VAAMP)[edit]

VAAMP is an art-based academy; it teaches student how to be creative and piques their interest in art. It offers students classes in art, fashion, drama, and graphic design. VAAMP students painted a mural on Park Blvd. entitled "Beautiful Struggle."

Environmental Science Academy (ESA)[edit]

The Environmental Science Academy (ESA) at Oakland High was founded in 1997. ESA is known for its hands-on learning and field trips including regular sophomore water quality monitoring at Lake Merritt and an annual trip to Catalina Island. Students are given various tools to prepare themselves for the future, such as community service, college courses, and School-to-Career. Sophomore ESA students usually have a block class consisting of Chemistry and Environmental Studies.

Public Health Academy (PHA)[edit]

Established in 2011, the Public Health Academy is the newest academy at Oakland High School. Its goal is to teach students about public health and policy. Public health problems involve complex and interrelated social, behavioral, legal, medical and economic issues. Students are given opportunities for internships in the health profession at Highland Hospital and Kaiser Permanente. balls

Innovative Design & Engineering Academy (IDEA)[edit]

IDEA engages student learning in engineering and technology through rigorous curriculum, real-world applications, and relevant field trips. This pathway was formerly known as Project Lead The Way Engineering (PLTW).

Law & Social Justice[edit]

LSJ prepares students for careers in education, law, and community organizations with a focus on social justice and current events.

RISE Academy[edit]

R.I.S.E. (Recent Immigrant Support and Engagement) Academy welcomes newly arrived immigrant students and provides them with a sheltered space that supports their transition into the American high school education system. Unlike the other pathways, RISE includes students from all four grade levels.


In the 2008–2009 season, the Oakland High football team managed a 9–2 record, winning a co-league championship.

In the spring of 1998, 2007 and 2009, the badminton team defeated Skyline High School (the seven-year defending champions) to become the OAL champions. They won the league with a record of six wins and no losses. Along with athletic talent, the badminton team also maintained a very high average GPA, and were named Oakland High's 2007 Outstanding Spring Sports Team.

The Oakland High Catfish Swim Team is another of the many strong teams at Oakland High School. The Catfish have roughly 40 people on the Varsity and JV teams. At the 2008 OAL finals, the Catfish defeated Skyline in both men's Varsity and JV, becoming OAL champions.

In the fall of 2007, the bowling team became OAL champions without a single loss.

The Lady Wildcats Volleyball team finished third in the OAL for the 2014 season.

In 2002, the basketball team played Dela Sale in the State Champions Semi-Finals. They also won the OAL (Oakland Athletic League) basketball against Oakland Tech High School in 2000.


  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Oakland High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "Administration / Matin Abdel-Qawi, Principal". ousd.org.
  3. ^ a b "Administration". ousd.org.
  4. ^ Bugbee, Teo (August 12, 2021). "'Homeroom' Review: Salutations for the Class of 2020". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  5. ^ Math Club
  6. ^ "9th Grade Families". Oakland High School. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  7. ^ Kovner, Guy (2013-03-26). "Robert Nichols". The Press Democrat. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  8. ^ Bay City News Service (25 October 2019). "City's Oldest High School Will Celebrate 150 Years Saturday". SF Gate. Retrieved 19 August 2020.

External links[edit]