Santiago Charter Middle School offers GATE and high achieving students a differentiated program that pairs rigorous academic goals with an accelerated, in-depth academic program focusing on student achievement. Students are looked at as individuals and are encouraged to become life-long learners and leaders of tomorrow.


The educators that comprise the honors team promote academic excellence while striving to meet the needs of the individual honors student. Students are encouraged to be active participants in their educational experience and further their academic growth through projects and participation in diverse educational activities.

Standards for Placement

Students who are GATE identified and/or have a score of Advanced on their 6th grade CSTs are automatically accepted into the Santiago Honors Program. High achieving students with CST ELA scores between 385 and 399 will be considered on a case by case basis. A test for placement may be offered and these students will be evaluated each trimester to ensure proper academic placement.

Additional Offerings

In addition to a highly-experienced and qualified staff, the Santiago Honors Program offers a variety of academic experiences and extracurricular activities that meet the needs of the adolescent student and set it apart from the traditional middle school experience:

Academic Excellence
  • Active learning, project-based instruction
  • Analytical thinking and writing instruction in all core classes
  • Career Awareness
  • GATE identification through Santiago Middle School
  • High school credit classes in Chines, French and Spanish
  • In-depth study of classic and modern literature; SAT vocabulary instruction
  • National Junior Honor Society (NJHS-21 years at Santiago)
  • Princeton Review standardized test preparation
  • PSAT: students take the test; parent meeting follows to discuss test results
  • Recognition of Academic Excellence: STRIVE, Wall of Fame
  • Technology imbedded into the core curriculum

Electives Program
  • Art
  • Band and Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Computers
  • Drama
  • Foreign Languages: Chinese, French and Spanish
  • Home Economics
  • Industrial Arts
  • Public Speaking
  • STEM

Extracurricular Activities
  • Academic Pentathlon
  • Clubs
  • Field Trips
  • Physical Education Decathlon
  • Science Olympiad
  • Travel Opportunities

Leadership Opportunities
  • ASB and Leadership Team
  • Community Service (NJHS; New Generation)
  • Peer Tutoring

Required Courses

Each seventh and eighth grade student will have a total of seven classes. Five of the classes are required courses:

1. Language Arts (Honors Placement for both 7th and 8th grade)
2. Math (Honors Pre-Algebra, Honors Algebra I)
3. Social Sciences (Honors World and US History)
4. Science (Honors 7th and 8th grade)
5. Physical Education

Seventh grade students participate in the foreign language wheel in which they experience one trimester of Chinese, French, and Spanish. In addition, students will participate in the electives wheel where they experience curriculum in three of the following areas: music, art, drama, woodshop, home economics, computers, and speech. Students participating in Band or Orchestra will enroll in just one wheel.

Eighth grade students, under the guidance of their parents/guardians, choose two, year-long electives. Additional eighth grade offerings include Musical Theatre and foreign language for high school credit.

Dates to Remember

The Open Enrollment window has yet to be determined for the 2017-2018 school year. We will post these dates when they become available.

Contact Information

For further information or questions about Open Enrollment please contact:

Jim D'Agostino, Principal: E-mail:

Mrs. Holly Mikkelsen, English
(8th year at Santiago)
B.A. in Secondary Education
with Emphasis in English,
Master's Degree in Administration

Mrs. Amy Hale, History
B.A. in History from CSU Fullerton
Single Subject Teaching Credential in History from CSUF, Masters in Education

Mrs. Cathie Hunsberger, English
(19th year at Santiago)
B.A. summa cum laude, English Literature:
DePauw University (Phi Beta Kappa)
M.A., Educational Leadership and Curriculum
Instruction: National University
Single Subject Credential, Language Arts
National Board Certified Teacher
UCI Writing Project Fellow
OUSD Middle School Teacher of the Year
Curriculum Manager, Santiago

Mrs. Marisa Mallory, History
(8th year at Santiago)
B.A., History:
Cal Poly Pomona
M.A., Education:
Claremont Graduate University
Single Subject Credential, Social Sciences
Supplemental Authorization: English
Certificate in GATE Education
Curriculum Manager, Santiago
UCI History Project Presenter

Mrs. Kristi Peckham, History
(13th year at Santiago)
B.S. cum laude,
Public Administration with
emphasis in Criminal Justice:
CSU Dominguez Hills (Phi Kappa Phi)
Masters of Education:
Graceland University
Single Subject Credential, Social Studies
Honorary Service Award Recipient, Santiago
STRIVE Coordinator
UCI History Project Fellow

Mrs. Lani Napoli, Math
BA UC San Diego
MSE CSU Fullerton
AVID Coordinator
Math Department Chair

Mr. Steven VanSmaalen, Math
Single Subject Teaching Credential-Math,
California State University, Long Beach
B.A. in Film and Television Production from Azusa Pacific University

Mrs. Dorothy Yan, Science
(4th year at Santiago)
B.S., Biological Sciences:
UC Irvine
M.A., Education/New Media Design/Production:
CSU Los Angeles
Single Subject Credential,
Biological Sciences
Supplemental Authorization: Computers
Field Operations Supervisor, US Census Bureau
NJHS Advisor
Mrs. Kim Meier, Science
(5th year at Santiago)
B.S. cum laude, Biological Sciences:
UC Irvine
Single Subject Credential, Biological Sciences
Supplemental Authorization: Chemistry
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Middle Manager, HMO Industry
AVID Coordinator, Santiago
UCI Physics Institute Participant