Sunset High School is located in Encinitas, California, in northern San Diego County and currently has a population of approximately one hundred and forty-five students. Sunset High School's motto is “Respect and Responsibility”. Students are constantly reminded of how much we value respect. Staff members set an example by respecting one another and students, and respectful behavior is encouraged campus wide.
The school is very student-centered with an emphasis on these two qualities and on helping students to recognize their own potentials and possibilities. An advisor system is at the core of the school whereby all teachers, the counselor, and the principal serve as advisors to a group of ten to twenty-five students with whom they have daily contact. This establishes an immediate connection to the school and helps students to be more aware and accountable for their progress, attendance, and behavior.
Sunset High School’s curriculum and graduation requirements are aligned with the other high schools in the district. Textbooks are approved by the California Department of Education and adopted by the San Dieguito Union High School District. The textbooks, supplemental materials, and course requirements are standards-based.
Sunset students are required to attend school four hours a day, five days a week. The school day consists of four periods with an optional 5th period...teachers are available after school for individual help or tutoring. Students generally enroll in two to four classes at a time and work at their own pace. When a class is completed, students work with an advisor to select and enroll in a new one. The goal is to complete at least 6 classes in a semester, 12 in a year.
Credits can be earned in a variety of ways within the school and also through independent study in the areas of physical education, work experience, leadership, music, and the arts. Students can earn additional credits by attending community college, taking classes at one of the comprehensive high schools, attending private school classes, or by taking Adult Education classes.
Small class sizes, one-on-one student-teacher interaction, student-paced, individualized instruction, and wide availability of technology resources provide opportunities for all students to meet standards and excel academically. A 4-to-1 student-to-computer ratio facilitates informational literacy. Weekly staff meetings provide the opportunity to address school issues and concerns regarding students. Conferences with students and parents are regularly set up as a result of these meetings. Progress reports and a school letter with relevant information are sent home every six weeks.
Students arrive at Sunset for a variety of reasons. Most students are referred from one of the four comprehensive high schools in our district. Some students choose to come here because they like the small size and family atmosphere; others want to work hard and graduate early; some students are behind in credits and want to make them up. We have is a wonderful blend of students who work together in a very diverse and interesting environment.
We at Sunset are dedicated to making the campus, curriculum, and teachers accessible, supportive, and encouraging for the students. Some of our students have never viewed school in a positive way and now they do. We strive to provide each of them with a sound education and a caring and challenging learning community. Our goal is that every student connects with his or her deepest potential and leaves with the life skills and academic preparation to be successful as they transition out of high school.