City Lifestyle

Los Angeles


Local Schools Make the Grade

Student-Centered Programs Enhance Learning

Malibu High School

Malibu High School offers strong academic, athletic, arts and community service programs for students in Grades 6-12, providing access to unique, hands-on learning opportunities.

Celebrating its first graduating class in 1996, Malibu High School is a top-performing high school in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, with graduates attending colleges and universities throughout the country. The accomplished staff includes doctorate-level faculty members and award-winning teachers, who take pride in establishing a friendly, caring environment in which to prepare students to be “thoughtful, insightful, lifelong learners, who are responsible citizens of a global community.”

In addition to the dedicated faculty and staff, MHS benefits from an engaged and supportive parent community. Parent support and organizations, such as the Shark Fund, enhance students’ education by providing quality programs and resources.

Giving Students an Edge

Starting in eighth grade, students have the opportunity to take high school-level electives, and high schoolers can enroll in college courses at Santa Monica College. Complementing its academic core curriculum, which includes AP and Honors courses, the Visual and Performing Arts programs are a vibrant part of MHS, where students must complete a year of coursework in the fine arts to graduate.

Rooted in the belief that creative art expression helps develop a passionate and healthier mind, students in Grades 6 through 12 are given ample opportunities to express their creativity. Middle school offerings include classes in studio art, vocal and instrumental music, and drama, while high schoolers can choose courses in photography, digital design, vocal and instrumental music, audio technology, two- and three-dimensional studio art (drawing, painting, ceramics), acting and stagecraft. With the goal of helping students develop their inner artist while teaching the fundamentals of art technique, teachers create projects that challenge and prepare students for college-level fine arts courses. Annual community art exhibitions, such as the Santa Monica Pier Event, allow students to showcase their work.

MHS graduates have attended highly-selective conservatories, colleges and universities, including the Berklee School of Music, California Institute of the Arts, California College of Arts and Crafts, the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and the acting conservatories at Yale University, New York University and Emerson College.

Theatre Arts

Students in the Theatre Arts Programs produce a play and musical each year, providing hands-on experience for the practical, theoretical and technical aspects of acting, set design, lighting and sound design and costume design. Training in acting includes in-depth character work in scene study, script writing and analysis, cold reading techniques, monologues and improvisation.

Service Learning 

With the aim of integrating a sense of civic responsibility in students, MHS’s Service Learning Program introduces students to meaningful and engaging civic and social activities outside of student life. Service-learning projects are built into the middle and high school curriculum, and high school students must contribute 80 hours of service learning to graduate.


Malibu High School’s student musicians participate in award-winning bands, orchestras and choral ensembles, which offer opportunities to perform throughout the state, including the highly anticipated Disneyland trip.


A strong sports program includes teams in cross country, water polo, swimming, football, tennis volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, Lacrosse, track and field, cheerleading, equestrian, and surfing.

Student Publications

Journalism students produce a leading high school paper, The Current, and creative writing students write and edit MHS’s literary and arts magazine,The Inkblot. Yearbook classes provide the opportunity to learn about design, layout, photography and color graphics.

Clubs & More

Some 30 different clubs and a variety of activities, such as Associated Student Body (Student Council), Mock Trial and Coffee House, offer students the opportunity to get involved to accomplish goals, develop leadership skills and build lasting friendships.

 Palisades Charter High School

Some 3,000 students attend Palisades Charter High School, one of Los Angeles Unified School District’s first high schools to achieve independent charter school status in 2003. The diverse student body represents 110+ zip codes, and the school has earned honors as a California Gold Ribbon School and a California Distinguished High School.

With the mission to “empower our diverse student population to make positive contributions to the global community by dedicating our resources to ensure educational excellence, civic responsibility, and personal growth,” PCHS offers an innovative college-preparatory curriculum with over 40 AP and Honors courses in art, computer science, English, foreign language, math, science and social science, as well as specialized programs and activities to enhance student growth and learning.

PCHS’s dedicated staff and award-winning faculty strive to “create a cohesive and constructive community” by cultivating an “uplifting environment where students are inspired and empowered to pursue their personal aspirations.” In its aim to ensure all students feel safe, valued and respected, PCHS leadership promotes campus unification, encouraging members to connect and participate in building a community that intentionally moves forward, so each student graduates feeling supported, empowered, valued and prepared for the next stage in life. 

Small Learning Communities

Incoming freshman receive personalized, interdisciplinary education via learning “Pods,” tailored to help students transition into high school and foster relationships. Each Pod comprises a team of teachers, a resource specialist, a literacy instructor and a counselor. Students can choose from eight pods: STEAM, Art, Music, Digital Media, Social Justice, Entrepreneurship, Drama and Urban Ecology.

Career Technical Education

With the vision to “engage every student in high-quality, rigorous and relevant educational pathways and programs developed in partnership with business and industry promoting creativity, innovation, leadership, and lifelong learning and allowing students to turn their passion into their dream careers,” Career Technical Education provides students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the global marketplace.

CTE classes include Clothing and Textiles, Computer Programming, Data Processing, Foods and Nutrition, Graphic Arts, Parenting & Child Development, Internet Publishing and more.

STEAM Shop Innovation Lab  

Students engage in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) subjects through computer science, engineering and robotics. A blend of traditional shop tools and digital technologies promote differentiated learning, and concepts like wearable tech and 3D printing provide opportunities for entrepreneurship.

Visual & Performing Arts

Students develop skills to create and appreciate visual and performing art through courses in drawing, painting, ceramics, dance and drama. Theater Improv students study improvisation and acting, history, stage terminology and criticism. In Theater Production, students design and produce stage productions, including the Fall Play and Spring Musical. Covering the artistic, technical, managerial and financial elements of a dramatic production, the course prepares students for professional theatre involvement.

Productions & Publications

Film and video production courses teach students advanced skills, including script construction, production organization, camera operation, sound recording, film lighting and editing. Students post their videos on the Pali Production website, and the online literary magazine, Writer’s Salon, allows for creative expression.

Music & Sports

From AP Music Theory to Jazz Band, Drum Line, Marching Band, Symphony Orchestra and Choral ensembles, students participate in a variety of musical opportunities.

Dedicated to the ideals of “Pursuing Victory with Honor,” the PCHS teams include baseball, cross country, football, golf, Lacrosse, softball, swimming tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, basketball, soccer and wrestling. 

Clubs & More

Clubs and organizations enhance student involvement and include the Pali Ambassadors, Associated Student Body, Human Rights Watch, the Latino Student Union, Gay-Straight Alliance, arts and interest groups.

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