Pasadena High School (PHS) is one of four comprehensive high schools in the Pasadena Unified School District and includes grades ninth through twelfth. With a little over 1,700 students, PHS is the most populated high school in Pasadena Unified. Pasadena is a city of over 141,000 people just fifteen minutes from downtown Los Angeles, nestled at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The city's popular shops and restaurants lend comfortably with tree-lined streets, distinctive neighborhoods, historic buildings and a vibrant cultural scene. Pasadena is most famous for hosting the annual Tournament of Roses Parade as well as the Rose Bowl football game. Pasadena is also the home of leading scientific institutions, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Pasadena High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1891, the City of Pasadena passed the High School Provision Bill that founded Pasadena High School. In 1928, Pasadena High merged with Pasadena Junior College. In 1953, Pasadena High School was re-established and in 1960, the school moved to its current location. In nearly 131 years of existence, the school has maintained an unwavering commitment to provide students with a firm, wide-ranging academic foundation on which to build a successful, college-bound future.
The school draws its student body from the City of Pasadena and from the adjacent communities of Altadena and Sierra Madre. The student body is culturally diverse. The student ethnic population consists of 17.9% African American, 3.3% Asian, 3.0% Filipino, 54.2% Latino/Hispanic, 21.4% White and Pacific Islander and American Indian less than 1%. Pasadena High School draws two-thirds of its enrollment from lower socio-economic homes and, of these students, 10% reside in foster homes or group homes. This accounts for Pasadena High School having one of the largest foster enrollments in the state. We also serve 160 students in our Special Education Program and 219 English Language Learners in the English Language Development Program.
Pasadena High School provides a rigorous academic environment, one with high expectations, focused on student achievement. The staff, curriculum, and support programs are in place to allow students to reach their highest level of achievement. Our credentialed staff (teachers, counselors, librarian, nurse and administrators) of 90 along with various support personnel, PTSA, Hathaway-Sycamores (school-based counseling program), and two school resource officers from the Pasadena Police Department serve students and parents. All of our teaching staff are assigned within compliance with their credential authorizationsns and are designated as highly qualified under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) with 66% of the credentialed staff holding a master's degree and higher. The average tenure of the credentialed staff is 14 years. 78% of the credentialed staff have been at PHS 5 or more years and 59% have been at PHS 10 or more years. The school endeavors to foster an environment for learning that prepares students to be successful in colleges and careers and to be lifelong learners.
The school offers a variety of outstanding extra-curricular programs, including the California State Scholarship Federation (CSF), National Honor Society (NHS), Academic Decathlon Team, Robotics Team, Bulldog Marching Band, Campus Yearbook, The Chronicle (our school newspaper). These are just a few of the 70 or so clubs/organizations on campus. Pasadena High School participates in interscholastic sports as part of the Pacific League with equal opportunities for male and female students.
There are various programs available for our students within our school community. Our Pathways Programs include Creative Arts Media and Design (CAMAD) which includes the Graphic Communications Academy, which has a focus on commercial art, printing, graphic design and advertising. CAMAD also includes the Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA), which has been designed to provide students with exposure to the varied and challenging careers within the visual arts. In addition, the Law and Public Service (LPS) pathway is designed for the student with interest in legal, government or protective service careers. Fianlly, the App Academy is where students learn computer science through mobile, web and game development.
The community is supportive of Pasadena High School and the district. In October 2009 and 2021, the Pasadena Weekly reported in an article titled, "Best of Pasadena: The Pasadena Way" that the best public school in the city was Pasadena High School. PHS received high marks for its special programs, academies, and strong athletic and extracurricular programs. There is a history of strong community support. In 2008, the citizens of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre voted in bond Measure TT with an overwhelming 74.5% in favor, exceeding the minimum threshold for passage and outperforming 25 of the 26 school improvement bonds on the ballot in Los Angeles County. The successful passage of Measure TT, a $350 million school improvement bond, will help repair, renovate, and upgrade campuses throughout the district. The last bond, the $240 million Measure Y, was passed in November 1997. In 2000, Measure Y was used to modernize PHS, upgrading electrical, plumbing, sewer, heating and ventilation systems, renovating restrooms, replacing of roofs and installing technology infrastructure.
The Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) was established in 1971 to increase community-based support for the public schools of Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre. As a community-based nonprofit organization supporting the goals of the PUSD, PEF develops community partnerships, financial resources like the Teacher Grant Program, and educational opportunities that benefit all students and encourages greater involvement from the community in support of public education and teachers. PHS has received $1500 grants to fund programs such as: printing more editions of The Chronicle, the school newspaper, provide reduced rates for tenth graders to take the PSAT, and purchase audiovisual equipment for the Social Studies department.
Parents support the school through PTSA, School Site Council (SSC) and English Learner Advisory Council (ELAC). Parent involvement has increased significantly over the past few years. Currently, PHS' parents and other volunteers assist the counseling department as well as the entire high school campus in the following ways: campus beautification, school registration, tutoring, mentoring, test proctoring, providing scholarships and staff appreciation activities, collaborating with Pasadena Educational Foundation, mailing school newsletters, making guest presentations for Career Week, chaperoning, participating in PTSA, the District Disaster Drill, the Visual Arts and Design Academy Parent Advisory Council, the Graphic Communication Academy Parent Advisory Council, the Athletic Booster Club and the Music Booster Club (IMC).