Malibu High School

Malibu High School
Malibu High School
30215 Morning View Drive

Malibu, California

Type Public
Established 1992
Principal Dr. Mark Kelly
Faculty 107
Grades 6-12
Enrollment 1,152 [1]
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Teal and Black         [2]
Mascot Shark
Team name Sharks
Newspaper 'The Current'
Yearbook 'Aquarius'

Malibu High School (MHS) is a public secondary school in Malibu, California for middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). As one of three high schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, MHS serves the Malibu and Santa Monica communities and by inter-district permit, the greater Los Angeles area and Ventura County.



The campus is located on land originally part of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, which was partitioned in 1963 to create Malibu Park Junior High School[3], named after its surrounding region in Malibu. With no public secondary school existing in Malibu, upon promotion from middle school the high school-age students commuted 2 hours roundtrip to Santa Monica to attend Santa Monica High School.

In 1992[4] the district converted the Malibu Park Junior High School campus to its present combined middle school/high school, and allowed MHS's first freshman class to walk onto campus. (The State of California erroneously shows the high school established in 1993[5].) Classes were added every succeeding year, culminating in the first 1992 freshman class graduating in 1996. The school mascot, a grinning mako shark, was designed by an art student in the first graduating class of 1996.

The high school's first principal was Dr. Michael Matthews. Under Matthews tenure in 2003, the school earned its designation as a "California Distinguished School[6]." Also during his tenure, the school first achieved a national ranking in 2003 as #177 in Newsweek's Top 1200 Schools in America.


The school is located in the northwestern part of Malibu one block from the Pacific Ocean and the famed Zuma Beach in the Malibu Park district. The school spans 35 acres (0.14 km²) of rolling hillsides between Merritt Drive to the south and Via Cabrillo Street to the north, and Harvester Road to the east.

The school is accessible via the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority[7] (MTA) bus line 534. The majority of students arrive by private car or school bus to the campus.

The campus is located next to Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, a public school, and Malibu Methodist Preschool & Nursery[8], a private pre-kindergarten school for ages 0–5.

MHS's facilities include a baseball diamond, ranked the best in America in January 2004 by Baseball America.[9][citation needed]


MHS consistently boasts the highest SAT and API scores[10] in the district. A California Distinguished School, the highest state-wide academic award given, MHS consistently ranks among the country's top public schools: Newsweek Magazine's Top 1200 Schools in America ranks Malibu High #184 as of 2007.[11] In 2007, under the tenure of Principal, Dr. Mark Kelly, US News & World Report ranked Malibu High #98 nationally and awarded a Gold Medal, given to U.S. schools rated among the top 100 schools in the country.[12] Over fifteen Advanced Placement courses are offered at the school.

Besides regular college-preparatory, honors, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the school is one of a handful in California that provides extensive resources for Special Education (SpEd) students. As of 2006-07, 125 SpEd students[13] were enrolled with 26 SpEd faculty at MHS, where roughly 10% of the student body are receiving 24% of the school's instructors.

Zuma Project

Taking advantage of close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, all students participate in a year-long field ecology study known as "The Zuma Project" as part of their 10th grade Biology course, and Honors Marine Biology elective course. Students collect oceanographic and biological data (and plankton samples) every week during the academic year, and have done this since the first senior class in 1995. The research program has been copied and used by other schools as part of the UCLA OceanGLOBE program.


The school is classified a small school by the California Interscholastic Federation, competing at the Division IV CIF Southern Section. Football is in Division XI. A study published in 2007 by the MHS Site Governance Council reported that 75% of all honors and AP enrolled students participate in the school's sports programs.[14]

Performing arts

In recent years,[when?] MHS won several awards in instrumental and choral music.[15] In 2006 and 2007, the MHS full symphony orchestra earned the highest ranking (Superior) from Southern California judges.[citation needed]


The school's journalism produces a monthly newspaper, The Current, for high school. The middle school's paper The Surfwriter is now[when?] defunct after a several-year run. A yearbook class also publishes the high school yearbook, Aquarius. In 2008 a school literary magazine, The Inkblot, was added, published by students showcasing student stories, poetry, cartoons, and illustrations.[16]

Memorable events

  • 2009: MHS palm trees go missing.[17]
  • 2008: MHS vandalism causes a stir with racial implications.[18]
  • 2007: MHS is chosen by U.S. News and World Report as #98, one of the top 100 schools in the nation and awarded a Gold Medal.
  • 2007: MHS technology controversy arises concerning students posting videos of teachers on YouTube.[19]
  • 2003: MHS is ranked by Newsweek as #177 among the nation's best schools. MHS consistently ranks in the top 184 schools on Newsweek's list.
  • 1996: MHS's first class of seniors graduates.

Student/Teacher demographics

For the 2007/08 school year, MHS's student composition[20] was:

  • 1,303 enrolled students; 52.9% male, 47.1% female
  • middle school's (grades 6-8) class size averages 163.7
  • high school's (grades 9-12) class size averages 203.8
  • student demographics: 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.0% Asian, 1.1% Pacific Islander/Filipino, 9.2% Hispanic or Latino, 2.5% African American, 84.7% White (non-Hispanic), 0.2% Multiple.

For the 2007/08 school year, MHS's teacher composition[21] included:

  • high school: 64 certified teachers; 53.1% male, 46.9% female
  • high school: Certificated teacher demographics: 6.2% Hispanic or Latino, 4.7% African American, 87.5% White (non-Hispanic), 1.6% Multiple.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

  • Dr. Louis Leithold,[29] author of The Calculus, a widely used high school and college textbook (2005)


Scenes from the movie Smile (2005) were shot at MHS. The film was inspired by the international organization Operation Smile and portrays real-life MHS figures such as former principal, Dr. Mike Matthews (played by Sean Astin). MHS hosts a student chapter of Operation Smile to help fundraise, and every year, a few students accompany Operation Smile tours. Scenes from the Disney Channel Original Movie Brink! were also shot at MHS and Zuma Beach.[30][31][32]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^ Malibu High School 15th Anniversary Brochure, The Shark Fund: L. Rosenthal and Kaiser Marketing, Publisher: Kaiser Marketing and ColorGraphics 2007
  4. ^ Malibu Times article on MHS history
  5. ^ MHS becomes a high school, according to State of California
  6. ^ MHS earns California Distinguished School Award, 2003
  7. ^ LAC Metropolitan Transportation Authority (busline)
  8. ^ Malibu Methodist
  9. ^ MHS Baseball
  10. ^ MHS SAT and API scores
  11. ^ Newsweek Top Schools 2007
  12. ^ Malibu High: Best High Schools -
  13. ^ MHS Special Education Enrollment
  14. ^ MHS Site Governance Council, SGC
  15. ^ Music Awards
  16. ^ Malibu High School The Inkblot, 2008
  17. ^ / Los Angeles Times article
  18. ^ / Malibu Times article
  19. ^ / CBS article
  20. ^ State of California MHS Student Demographics
  21. ^ State of California MHS Teacher Demographics
  22. ^
  23. ^ Jesse Billauer Official Website
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Los Angeles Times Article,0,2310039.story
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Dr. Louis Leithold
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^

External links

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