Santa Susana High School

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Santa Susana High School
3570 Cochran Street
Simi Valley, California
United States
Coordinates 34°16′41″N 118°43′37″W / 34.27802°N 118.72687°W / 34.27802; -118.72687Coordinates: 34°16′41″N 118°43′37″W / 34.27802°N 118.72687°W / 34.27802; -118.72687
Type Public
Established 1996
School district Simi Valley Unified School District
CEEB code 053372
NCES School ID 063684006815[1]
Principal Jerry Block
Teaching staff 49.9 FTE [1]
Grades 9-12
Enrolment 1282 [1] (2013-2014)
Campus Suburban
Color(s)                  Silver, black, white,and teal
Mascot The Troubadour

Santa Susana High School is one of four public high schools located in the Simi Valley Unified School District in Simi Valley, California. Built in 1970, the school campus was originally designed as a junior high campus formerly known as Sequoia Junior High School. In June 1995, the Simi Valley School Board voted one junior high campus be converted into a magnet high school to accommodate the move of 9th graders into regular high school campuses, and all remaining junior high campuses be converted into middle schools. The school board elected Sequoia Junior High over Hillside Junior High because of location, and in September 1996 it became Santa Susana High School.[2]

Currently Santa Susana High School is configured with three major classroom blocks, surrounding a quad. A large open air amphitheater divides the classroom complex, and the school's MUR, music, stagecraft, film and broadcasting workshops, and Black Box Theater. The technical, 422 seat Performing Arts Center, dance studios, and the student parking lot are located west of the multipurpose room. The school colors are silver, black, white, and teal. The mascot is the Troubadour.

School structure[edit]

Santa Susana's school structure is the "school-within-a-school" model, which allows students to pursue their academic interests as they build skills for a post-secondary life. Programs are organized into three smaller schools: the School of Academics, School of Technical Arts, and School of Visual & Performing Arts.[3] Students receive priority for enrollment in their selected course of study ranging from: accelerated academics (Humanities, Math, Science), legal practices, STEM: Robotics & Engineering; Technical Arts including graphics & publication, movie and film production, broadcast journalism, stagecraft, & website design; Visual & Performing Arts including fine arts, vocal & instrumental music, theater & musical theater, and dance. The World Languages course of study integrates the Career Education standards in Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation and is conducted in French, German, or Spanish. Two new courses of study will be offered for 2016-2017 including Audio Recording and Commercial Illustration.

Advanced academics[edit]

In 2015, SSHS scored 86% proficient and above on the CAASPP ELA and 55% in Mathematics.[4] These rates were nearly double the state average for 11th graders.[citation needed]

Secondary Santa Susana High School Logo used since 2013.

Advanced Placement courses offered include: AP English Language & Literature, Calculus AB and BC, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, French, Music Theory, 2D Design; 2D Studio Art: Drawing, World and U.S. History, Physics 1, 2, & C - E & M, and C-Mechanics; Psychology, Statistics, Government/Economics and Human Geography. As of 2015-2016, all freshmen are enrolled in Understanding College & Career Choices which earns both high school and college credit. Students can also earn college credit in ROP Digital Media: Graphics, ROP Digital Media: Film, and Business (offered through the college district).

The Law Academy is part of the School of Academics. In 2007 Santa Susana received a large California Department of Education Specialized Secondary Programs Grant, to create the Academy of Law & Society. Students in this academy complete courses such as Ethics & Logic, Law and Order, and Applied Legal Studies. The Mock Trial team won 1st place in 2014 San Francisco's Empire Competition and 4th place overall in 2015 New York's World Competition. Students in this program are mentored by several attorney coaches, college Mock Trial team members, and an Artist in Residence.

The STEM: Focus on Robotics & Engineering emphasis started in 2013-2014. In the first two years of inception, STEM has received over $70,000 in funding to build courses such as Exploring Computer Science and Robotics, provide STEM training to teachers across the curriculum, and purchase supplies for students such as robotics equipment and 3D printers.[5] Student activities within this program include an active and competitive Robotics Club and STEM Science Fair.

The Distinguished Speaker series brings academic topics into the theater and has included guests such as but not limited to Holocaust Survivor Ben Lesser, Curiosity Rover engineer Melissa Soriano, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Sergeant Gary Littrell, Skeptic Magazine Editor Michael Shermer, and Former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Visual and performing arts[edit]

Santa Susana has a Visual and Performing Arts Programs. Santa Susana High School received funding from a city bond and state funds to construct a Performing Arts Theater Center. First approved by voters in 2004 as part of the Simi Valley Unified School District's C4 Bond measure, HMC Architects initially delivered plans for a multipurpose room for which $8.6 million was allocated. The multipurpose room became an auditorium, and eventually became the 12,730-square-foot (1,183 m2) Performing Arts Center unveiled in April 2011.

Since its opening in 2010, the PAC has been a focal point for the school. Each year, the Stagecraft and supporting programs run over 80 productions. The season opens and closes with a vocal music concert with themes such Rocktober and Cafe Troubador. The theatre department operates six productions per year including two play productions such as Great Gatsby and the Laramie Project; two children's theater performances such as James & the Giant Peach and Seussical the Musical; and two musicals such as Bye Bye Birdie and The Sound of Music. Dance performances incorporate classes such as Ballet I, II & Pointe; Jazz 1 & 2; Tap 1 & 2; Modern Dance; Dance Ensemble; & Hip Hop. Instrumental Music has hosted a Southern California Band Festival four years running and produces shows with themes such as Star Wars.

In addition to student performances, Santa Susana acknowledges the importance of including the community in this outstanding operation. Each year, the Troubadour Classic Theater Company hosts Shakespeare performed by professional actors, alumni, staff, and students.

Technical arts[edit]

Santa Susana High School offers five programs in the Technical Arts: Digital Graphics & Design, TV & the Art of Film, Stagecraft, Internet Development, and Computer Programming. As part of each of these course of study students are provided with the opportunity to meet A-G College Requirements. Students of the CTE Web Design class develop and maintain the school website:

Career and Technical Education[edit]

Santa Susana High School offers a number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes, including: web design, graphic design, broadcasting, stagecraft, and video production. The newest CTE programs include Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation AND Performing Arts. These classes are designed to train students for future careers, and for any workplace environment with training in proper workplace etiquette. Students receive an articulated curriculum and work-based learning experiences such as guest speakers, trips to job sites, and mentor & internships. They also develop an online portfolio to be used when looking for work and applying to colleges.

Web design[edit]

Santa Susana's CTE Web Design course's goal is to prepare students for entry level positions in the Internet Web Design industry. Students learn how to code dynamic websites with a variety of programming and markup Languages. Students work on projects that range from coding rock-paper-scissors in JavaScript and PHP with a database, to redoing local restaurant or business sites, to creating and maintaining the school's website.[6]

Students of the CTE Web Design class are responsible for maintaining the school's independent website,


The Stagecraft Technology class is a member of the Career Education Center administered by the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools and taught by professionals who continue to work in the entertainment industry. Over the course of the school year students gain hands-on experience in all facets of backstage production. Each student is afforded a chance to focus in on his or her area of interest, with an eye toward eventual placement in a professional internship and job.[7]


The Broadcasting class consists of two components, journalism and production (often referred to as "tech.") Each week broadcasting writes scripts, researches stories, produces and published a weekly KSSH News Show.[8]

Video production[edit]

The goal of CTE Video Production is to prepare students for entry level positions in the film industry. Students learn how to edit films using Final Cut Pro on Macs in a video development room. Students develop story writing, videography, sound and editing techniques.

Awards and Achievements[edit]

Santa Susana High School has been named as a silver medal winner in U.S. News & World Report's "Top 500 Schools in America" for the last three years.[9] In 2007 and 2011 it received the Golden Bell Award from the California School Board Association for Invigorating High School Programs for the manner in which courses of study, certification, and senior project work together.[10] On May 23, 2015, SSHS received the California Gold Ribbon School Award for this process which integrates Common Core and Career Education - preparing students for college and career.[11] With an API (Academic Performance Index) score of 871,[12] it remains as one of the highest ranking schools in the area.[13] Santa Susana High School is also serving as a CTE-AME Demonstration Site for the State of California from 2014-2016.[14]

The Troubadour Team at the 2015 World Empire Competition in New York.

Mock Trial[edit]

Santa Susana High School's Mock Trial team has been the #1 public high school team in Ventura County for over two years running. The Troubadour Team placed second in the county in 2014 and first in the International Empire Competition (San Francisco). In 2015, they placed 4th in the World Empire Competition (New York). Student in this program work with five volunteer attorney coaches and alumni/college Mock Trial students.

KROQ Punk Rock Prom with Blink-182[edit]

In 2000, Los Angeles-based radio station KROQ held a contest open to all high schools in the broadcast area, requiring each school to successfully complete several Blink-182 and KROQ themed challenges in order to win a KROQ Punk Rock Prom with Blink-182. The student body total enrollment was smaller than what most high schools had in their senior class, but Santa Susana won. The Punk Rock Prom was held on May 23, 2000 inside the Moorpark Community College gymnasium. The whole student body was allowed to attend. KROQ outfitted the event with beach decor, snacks, Stryker as DJ, and a 2-hour long set by Blink-182.

Battle for Milquarious[edit]

Santa Susana High School won the grand prize of $20,000 in the Got Milk? “Battle for Milquarious, White Gold Milkdonkulous Giveaway.” The contest was designed to encourage teens to get creative with their video-making skills for a chance to win thousands of dollars for their public high schools’ art programs.[15][16]


In 2011, 4 students competed in a worldwide Cyber security competition from the United States Cyber Challenge sponsored by the several US government agencies. Santa Susana as a whole scored 4th Place in California and 14th place nationally. The top student scored 23rd overall, 1st in Ventura County, CA, and 4th in California.[17][18][19]

Nancy Reagan's Funeral[edit]

In March 2016, two of Santa Susana High School's choirs were selected to perform at the funeral of former First Lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan. The funeral took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Advanced Women's Choir and Abbe Road A Capella sang songs such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Battle Hymn of the Republic. The event was broadcast on television nationally and internationally.[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Santa Susana High". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved Sep 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ Simi Panel Votes to Convert a Junior High,
  3. ^ "Santa Susana High School". Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ . California Department of Education Retrieved 25 December 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Santa Susana High School". Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ and Santa Susana High School Academy Structure .
  13. ^
  14. ^!demo-sites/cy2g
  15. ^ Parpis, Eleftheria. "Adweek", February 25, 2010.
  16. ^ "World Dairy Diary", January 28, 2010.
  17. ^ 2011 US Cyber Challenge. May 6, 2011, accessed May 22, 2011
  18. ^ "Information Security Media Group", January 31, 2011.
  19. ^ "Center for Internet Security".
  20. ^ Moore, Jean (March 10, 2016). "Two high school choirs from Simi Valley will sing at Nancy Reagan's funeral". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 

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