In 1973, California High School opened its doors in what was then known as San Ramon Village. Coast Pod, Desert Pod, Mountain Pod, and Valley Pod are the four main classroom pods at the school, which were designed in an open classroom style. The four pods were grouped around a central area that housed the library upstairs and science rooms below; Gold Coast elective classrooms were situated off the backside of the main building.
In an academic unit, each pod included teachers representing various subjects, a dean, and a counselor. Cal High began as an intermediate/high school with students in grades 7-10, under the direction of its first principal, Ernie Berger. The school added 11th and 12th-grade classes over the next few years. California High School evolved into a conventional high school serving grades 9-12 with a seven-period day after Pine Valley Middle School opened in 1977.
The internal configuration of the open-classroom pods in the main building was updated in 1977 to create self-contained wedge-shaped classrooms divided by folding walls. In the green, blue, and brown locker bays, students found places to hang out.
The Tri-Valley area surrounding California High School experienced substantial growth and change during the 1970s. Light industry and housing developments also grew. Bishop Ranch Business Park, which opened in 1978 in San Ramon, drew corporate headquarters and regional business centers such as Chevron, Pacific Bell, Toyota, and United Parcel Service.
San Ramon was incorporated as a city in 1983. San Ramon and Danville formed joint ventures with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, which included shared-use facilities and parks. This active and ongoing partnership can be seen at the San Ramon Olympic Pool and Aquatic Center, as well as the tennis courts at California High School.
Since its inception, California High School has benefited from community support, including community volunteers, student internships, and corporate partnerships. Students, instructors, and services have been sponsored by Cal High Booster organizations, the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation, and corporate partnerships. Facility renovation, remodeling, and infrastructure enhancements have been funded by state grants, voter-approved bond initiatives, and parcel taxes.
The school was able to add a new commons and facilities for science, technology, music, athletics, and administration in 1998-1999 thanks to new construction provided by a local parcel tax. A ten-classroom World Language Building was added to California High School in 2004.
Awards and recognition:
The United States Department of Education awarded California High School the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence during the 2006–07 school year, the highest honor an American school can earn.
The Californian, a student-run monthly at Cal High, is an award-winning publication. From 2000 to 2018, the paper's authors, photographers, graphic designers, and artists received multiple awards, including 17 in the 2007–2008 school year. The Bear Facts, the first school newspaper, was founded in 1973.
California High School was ranked No. 250 in Newsweek's top 500 US high schools in 2011, putting it in the top 1.5 percent of the country's over 18,000 high schools. Cal High was named a California Distinguished School in 2005.
San Ramon, California is blessed to be one of the top school districts in all of California. Here’s a list of our favorites:
Dougherty Valley High School
Windemere Ranch Middle School
Pine Valley Middle School
Gale Ranch Middle School
Iron Horse Middle School
Hidden Hills Elementary School
Live Oak Elementary School
Bollinger Canyon Elementary School
All of these wonderful attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 9835 Belladonna Drive in San Ramon!