Del Mar High School opened to begin the 1997/1998 school year as the “Community Education Center”. The school was located on the rear corner of Lincoln School, a L.A. County facility for the severely handicapped, and consisted of one portable classroom, expanding to two portables, two years later. The staff included two teachers, one principal and one office manager. The first principal, Mrs. Harriet Rothschild, was adept at dealing with at-risk youth and was a tremendous advocate for her students. Mrs. Rothschild and her staff built the school from the ground up. The curriculum at the school was based on non-direct instruction so that the two teachers and Mrs. Rothschild, who taught English classes as well, could give students the curriculum that would meet graduation requirements. Students attended school for 3 hours per day in separate morning and afternoon sessions.
Upon Mrs. Rothschild’s retirement after the fourth year of the school opening, Mrs. Pamela Feix was hired as the school’s second principal. Under Mrs. Feix, the school expanded to three teachers and was able to expand the curriculum and course offerings. Curriculum was based on an approximate 50/50 model of direct to non-direct instruction. Students now attended school for up to six periods a day of 45 minutes each. In 2004, the school moved to its current location into what was once the school district’s textbook warehouse building. This building was converted into three exceptional classrooms and the school was renamed Del Mar High School. The school chose the Dolphin as their new mascot, and a new identity was born. Students were now able to say they attended a high school and not an education center. This improved student and staff morale instilled a sense of pride and ownership in the school.
The current school staff and principal have worked hard to maintain and build upon the foundations set by both of the previous principals. Del Mar High School is now a school committed to direct instruction as its base of curriculum delivery. Students attend school for up to seven 50-minute periods a day. The school was able to hire its first counselor in 2007 and as of the 2015/16 school year added another 50% counselor so the is a counselor on site all day, every day. Del Mar has since added a fourth teacher to open up additional curricular opportunities for students. Del Mar has evolved into a school with programs such as ASB, Yearbook and Peer Helping and the La Casa Community Center pre-school aid program. Students are able to participate in events like L.A. County History Day competitions, athletic contest against other schools through the San Gabriel Valley Continuation School League (SGVCL) and are chosen to be counselors at the Malibu Science Camp. Construction of a new $4 million dollar facility with two additional classrooms and a Fitness Center was completed in 2010. The school boasts state of the art technology in each classroom and has a fully outfitted computer lab/library with an additional Google Chromebook cart and Apple PowerBook cart.
In 2007, the Del Mar staff asked students to propose a motto that best represents the school and represents the schools cultures and values. “Where Second Chances Happen” was the overwhelming favorite. That school motto is the rallying cry of not only Del Mar staff and students, but it is the vision and expectation for Del Mar when viewed by the San Gabriel Unified School District and the community of San Gabriel. As we have transitioned from a school that at its origin was housed in two portable class rooms and was not accredited, to a school that is now entering its second full WASC Accreditation and is a two time California Model Continuation School, Del Mar is truly an integral part of the school district and community of San Gabriel.