American High School (Fremont, California)

American High School (Fremont, California)

Infobox School
bgcolor_section = c8c8ff
bgcolor_label = ffc8c8
bgcolor_value = ffffff

bgcolor_motto = ffffff
bgcolor_address = ffffff
bgcolor_url = c8c8ff
name = American High School

bgcolor_motto = ffffff
bgcolor_address = ffffff
bgcolor_url = c8c8ff
name = American High School

imagesize = 125px
motto = "Diversity and Dedication
Enhance Learning and Education."
established = 1972
campus type = Suburban
campus size = convert|42.79|acre|m2
type = Public
district = Fremont Unified School District
principal = Ron Leone
viceprincipal = Leanna Sutton
faculty = 87 total faculty
77 fully-credentialed
enrollment = 2,017 Total Students
grade9 = 563 Freshmen
grade10 = 535 Sophomores
grade11 = 503 Juniors
grade12 = 416 Seniors
colors = Red, White, Blue
mascot = Eagles
yearbook = Aerie
newspaper = Eagle Express
location = Fremont, CA 94536
country = USA
information = (510) 796-1776
website = []

American High School (AHS) is a public secondary school located in Fremont, California. It is one of five public high schools within the Fremont Unified School District. [ Fremont Unified School District Home Page] The school receives its students through the American Attendance area boundary set by the district. It is currently a California Distinguished School, and will hold the recognition until 2009, four years after receiving the title in 2005. The honor is an example of the increasing academic distinction of the school since 2000.

Founded in 1972 as a new model for schools, American High featured an open-air environment which was absent of physical walls separating each of the classrooms. It was not until 1994 that the school received a massive update which installed walls and transformed the building into a state of the art campus. Prior to receiving a large influx of students in 2001, the school was forced to add permanent portables outside of the main structure, and it continued to expand to meet the ever-growing student population.

As of the 2008-2009 school year, the new principal is Ron Leone, who came over from Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California. Previously, Mitchell Carter was the principal from the 2005-2006 school year up until the 2007-2008 year after deciding to retire to work on other projects.

The Student Body

The American High School student body boasts a large and diverse population that has been growing significantly over the past few years. An initial changing of boundaries brought in students from Ardenwood Elementary School and Forest Park Elementary School, two of the largest elementary schools in the district, which originally attended Kennedy High School and Irvington High School respectively. The school also dropped Cabrillo Elementary School from its attendance area, leaving it to attend Washington High School instead. This move has resulted in the overwhelming increase of test scores at American since Ardenwood and Forest Park are two of the best elementary schools in the district, while Cabrillo ranked among the worst. The high school population has also increased significantly since the boundary changes took effect prior to the 2001-2002 school year. The 2006-2007 school year has witnessed more of a leveling off of the population, as it appears that the effects of the boundary changes are mostly complete.

The Growing Student Population

The student population at the end of the 2004-2005 school year was 1,981 students.cite web
title=School Accountability Report Card for American High: 2004-2005 School Year
publisher="School Innovations & Advocacy"
] In previous school years, 2003-2004, 2002-2003, 2001-2002, the school’s population has been 1,868, 1,692, and 1,586 respectively. A few years before the aforementioned boundary changes, the student population at American ranked around 1,200 students, and according to recent estimates, it has grown to 2017 in the 2005-2006 school year students. [cite web
title=Site Plan for Pupil Achievement for American High: FY 2006/2007
publisher="Fremont Unified School District"
] Final numbers will be released sometime during the 2006-2007 school year for the previous school year in the upcoming annual SARC and SPPA reports for American High.

Diversity in the Student Population

The student population at American High School is approximately 51% male and 49% female. In terms of ethnicity, the largest group at the school is the Asian population. It is the fastest growing portion of the population and represents 31% of the student body. The second largest group is Whites, which represent 28% of the population, followed by Filipinos at 10%, Latinos at 9%, African Americans at 6%, Pacific Islanders at 1% and Native Americans at less than 1%. 16% of the population identifies itself with another race or multiple races. The large growth in the Asian population is attributed by many to the arrival of students from Ardenwood and Forest Park elementary schools, which both boast a majority Asian population. [cite web
title=School Accountability Report Card for Ardenwood Elementary: 2004-2005 School Year
publisher="School Innovation & Advocacy"
] [cite web
title=School Accountability Report Card for Forest Park Elementary: 2004-2005 School Year
publisher="School Innovation & Advocacy"

tudent to Teacher Ratios

American High has struggled to maintain low class sizes among all subjects and classes, but the rapidly increasing population and the limited class space and resources have resulted in a slight increase in class sizes. The class sizes for English and mathematics have stayed about the same, or gone down slightly, as state regulations has mandated smaller class sizes in these critical subjects. However, social science classes have been forced to add 5 more classes of 33 students or more than in previous years. Science classes have had to add 6 more classes of 33 students or more than in previous years.

There are four full-time counselors on campus.

General aspects


American High School's academics are on the rise. The school has gone from having a 59% passing rate on the CAHSEE in 2001 to having an 87% in 2004. The Academic Performance Index (API) has gone from 646 in 1999 to 673 in 2000, 676 in 2001, 681 in 2002, 721 in 2003, and 757 in 2004, improving a total of 111 points in a period of 4 years. Additionally, American High School earned a rare 6-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and prides itself on once being a poorly performing school to now being a California Distinguished School (as of 2005). [ [ Distinguished Schools for 2005 - Year 2005 (CA Dept of Education) ] ]


Over 60% of students participate in the school's clubs and organizations. From 2004 and onward, students have enjoyed over 40 on-campus organizations run by various student body leaders. In 2004, ASB implemented a new rule restricting students to only one presidential position.

In the 2003-2004 school year, the new ASB Administration moved toward restricting the creation of new clubs, as well as cracking down on clubs that were not active according to ASB rules that had been rarely enforced up to that year. Several clubs were ultimately eliminated due to lack of fundraising, lack of membership, or failure to participate in required ASB functions.


American High School is the only indoor school in the district and was remodeled in 1994 to a state of the art facility. Currently, American is also the only high school in Fremont Unified School District to have a closed campus.

American High School was originally separated into three main wings under its original design, the 300. Classes have been organized according to the wings. The 300-wing has traditionally served as the home of English, social studies and foreign language departments. The 500-wing has traditionally served as the home of the mathematics and science classes. The 700-wing has generally been reserved for the arts: music, theater, photography, art, and architecture. There are also two theatres. Theater 50 is similar to a college lecture hall, while Theater 70 serves as the theater for the fall play and spring musical. In addition, there is a 400 wing, which is a series of two computer labs between the 300 and 500 wings. Between the 500 wing and the 700 wing is 600 wing, which is a series of three classrooms, one of which is now a kitchen for the cooking ROP classes. The cafeteria is also located between the 500 and 700 wings, and the classrooms of the 600 wing open up to the cafeteria. The 900 wing is a fenced complex of four classrooms just beyond the 700 wing. There is also a relatively large Faculty Commons, which includes small cubicle areas for the staff, a break room, and a decent sized lounge. The Faculty Common was also the home of the Book Room until the close of the 2005-2006 school year. The Book Room is now in the small office areas below Eagles Nest which were previously affiliated with the Student Activities Center.

American High currently houses the newest swimming/sports complex and library/media tech center in the district. The school is currently undergoing further remodeling, including the recent remodeling of all bathrooms, which was completed throughout the 2005-2006 school year. Further efforts to accommodate the ever-growing population at American High School include the construction of a new cafeteria/multi-purpose room slated to open sometime toward the end of the 2006-2007 school year, as well as the addition of a new, permanent laboratory room to house Honors and AP Physics classes. The new laboratory was slated to open in the 2005-2006 school year, but recent delays in updating the school's power grid coupled with other complications have delayed the construction of both this project, as well as the new cafeteria/multi-purpose room.

The school has been forced to add permanent and temporary portables to areas outside of the main structure completed in 1972, despite the renovation and retrofit to accommodate a larger population in 1994. Initially, in 2000, four permanent classroom portables were added just beyond the 300-wing complex, as well another two permanent classroom portables and two permanent laboratory portables at the end of the 500-wing.

An additional two temporary portables were added beyond the 500-wing sections in the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year. These portables were set to accommodate classes until permanent portables were built; however, they remain as of the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year. They have been joined by three more temporary portables set just north of the original portables beyond the 500-wing. Also, two temporary portables were added to the original four permanent portables beyond the 300 wing.

The complex beyond the 700-wing, consisting of the FUSD maintenance facilities, the weight room, the woodshop room and the Student Responsibility Center (SRC), were all retrofited to better serve the current model of the school. Currently, the weight room is now in the center building of the complex. The woodshop was obsolete since the school no longer offered those classes, and the SRC was moved to a room in the Eagle's Nest, a complex reached by traveling up a staircase at the center of the Rotunda. The south portion of the complex now serves as four classrooms.

The large rotunda at the center of the campus attracted criticism from the school's newly appointed administration in the 2005-2006 school year. It was initially closed for two days due to an excessive trash problem around the school, as a warning and reminder to the students to look after themselves. Up until the 2005-2006 school year, none of the four classes had ever experienced the closing of the rotunda for such a reason.

While regular rotunda lunchtime activity resumed shortly after the administration's warning, the administration again closed the rotunda due to a fight which resulted in the injury of an assistant principal. Citing overcrowding as the problem, Principal Mitchell Carter closed the rotunda for approximately one week in May 2006, and eventually restricted access to the rotunda by alternating allowance between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen throughout the remainder of the year due to continuing outbreaks of fights.

Shortly before the end of the 2005-2006 school year, a new plan was designed for reopening the rotunda, despite a larger freshman class in the 2006-2007 school year. Initially, the district had plans to remodel and retrofit the rotunda, including reinforcing the several large pilings holding up its roof. The Administration refined the remodeling plans to include the demolition of the Student Activity Center, which occupied a significant portion of the rotunda, in hopes of providing more space. This plan resulted in several changes, including a reduction in the number of available lockers, which previously were not been able to sufficiently provide every student with storage space. Other changes included the widening of the infamous "Hell Hall," a large hall filled with lockers which served as a connection between the 300-wing, and the 500-wing. In addition, the large amount of retrofiting resulted in the replacement of all flooring in the rotunda. All of the carpet which was purchased by the ASB in 2002 was ripped out and the entire rotunda was paved with colorful red, white and blue tiles.

Plans to address the lack of locker space as well as inefficient architectural design, which would result in remodeling the area so that offices are relocated to the center of the rotunda were never initiated, and are set aside as a possibility for a later time.


American High School's mascot is the eagle and its colors are red, white, and blue. American High School belongs to the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL), which includes the five Fremont high schools as well as Union City's James Logan High School and Newark's Newark Memorial High School. The MVAL is a league of the North Coast Section (NCS) of California school sports.

The following sports are offered at American High School: cross country, football, girl's volleyball, water polo, girl's tennis, basketball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, golf, softball, swimming, track and field, boy's tennis, badminton, and boy's volleyball.

American High also boasts an award-winning marching band and color guard. The American Band is the only marching band in Fremont that competes in both parade and field show competition. The band normally places in the top 3 at competitions. In the fall of 2006 at the Foothill Band Review the Marching Band and Color Guard both placed 1st in the field show competition. In the following year the Color Guard received 1st place while the band received 2nd place, a tenth of a point off from first. The Marching band continues to represent American High School, Fremont and the State of California where ever it goes in the best way possible.

The most current league championships have been in Golf (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006) and Cross Country (2002, 2004) coached by John Randazzo. Other emerging teams include Boys Tennis, which went from 4-8 in 2003 and 5-7 in 2004 to 9-3 in 2005 and 7-2 (3 games canceled due to weather) in 2006. In 2005 American boasted its first win over Mission, snapping Mission's 87 game league winning streak, and preventing them from winning at least a share of the title for since 1983. 2006 also featured American's win over Logan, which helped American win second for the first time in Boys Tennis history. The American High football team has also had a significant turnaround, including an NCS berth under first-year coach Ken Peffer. In 2006, American opened the season with 3 straight league wins including a 55-6 domination of Mission at the Homecoming game, but it ended the season with three losses, including a 2-point loss to the surprising league champion, Irvington, and a 1-point loss to the runner-up James Logan.



Toward the end of March 2005, controversy sprung up after the reassignment of former principal Connie White, a very well respected individual within the Fremont and American High School community, was announced. Over 250 supporters attended school district meetings, and many parents, local residents, students, and teachers spoke up against the decision, urging the school board and the district superintendent Dr. John Rieckewald to reverse the decision. Over 50 speeches were made between March and May 2005, and the money for two full-page newspaper ads ($1265) was raised solely through donations. Students created "Save Connie White" pins and a [ website] in her support. The decision to reassign Connie White was finalized on May 25, 2005. Connie White was reassigned to a teaching position at Irvington High School, but she resigned shortly after the beginning of the 2005-2006, choosing to move to South Dakota to care for her parents.

After a final meeting in June to discuss what particular qualities and attributes parents, students and faculty would want in a principal, the school board announced Mitchell Carter as principal for the 2005-2006 school year.

The reassignment of White and hiring of Carter resulted in a massive shake-up of the administration and the staff at American. Longtime Assistant Principal David Chamberlain left for a position as principal of a middle school. Newly appointed assistant principal Kathy Burgardt joined Chamberlain's replacement, Rob Reibenschuh, in the 2005-2006 school year. Citing the lack of communication and a troubled relationship with the new administration, longtime counselors Debra Miller and Nancy Johnson left at the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

The 2007-2008 School year proved to be transitional. Mitchell Carter retired at the end of the school year after beginningsome very innovative projects. Replaced at the beginning of the 2008 school year Ron Leone of Deer Valley high school and the pupil services department began an aggressive campaign to make American High a model school for academic learning. Without any major staff or administrative defections, Leone focused heavily on academic success, student involvement, and a new disciplinary matrix.


In 2003 American High School students, parents and teachers fought to keep their graduation ceremony on school grounds, as was tradition, instead of moving it to TAK Fudenna Stadium. Many supporters attended and gave speeches at district meetings. The lobbies were successful, provided that the school would bankroll the ceremony for that year.

In 2005 students and parents again lobbied to keep the graduation on school grounds. The school board agreed, allowing all schools the option to graduate on their own campus due to unfinished repairs at TAK Fudenna Stadium. Both graduating classes at American High School and Washington High School were able to raise enough money to hold graduation on their own campuses. The graduating class of Mission San Jose High School, Irvington High School and John F. Kennedy High School, however, failed to raise enough money and thereby held theirs at Central Park in Fremont.

The following year, in 2006, parents and students failed to approach the board, resulting in the first time since 1987 that American High School students graduated off campus. The ceremony for the 384-student graduating class of 2006 took place at TAK Fudenna Stadium on June 14th, 2006. Since the class of 2005, the graduating classes have assumed the motto "(Graduating year, e.g. 'oh five')! Like what?" The Class of 2007 is also stated to graduate from TAK Fudenna Stadium, as no future efforts to bring back graduation to American have been initiated.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni from American High School include:

* Len Wiseman, director of "Underworld" (2003) and "" (2006) and husband of Kate Beckinsale [ [ Len Wiseman, Biography, Filmography, Photos – MSN Movies UK ] ] [ [ Len Wiseman Biography - Yahoo! Movies ] ]
* Steve Lewis, 1988 Seoul 400 meters Gold Medalist, 1988 Seoul 4x400m relay Gold Medalist, 1992 Barcelona 4x400m relay Gold Medalist, and 1992 Barcelona 400 meters Silver Medalist.


External links

* [ Map of American High School Campus]
* [ American High School's official website]
* [ American High School's ASB official website]
* [ American High School's booster club]
* [ American High School PTSA]
* [ Class of 2006 Mock Convention]
* [ Class of 2009 Message Board]

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