Santiago Charter Middle School is a tuition free public school with a private school approach. We are entering our 22nd year as Orange County’s first charter school! We have amazing programs that offer our students many opportunities that other middle schools do not offer. We were named a California Distinguished School in 2011 and continue to STRIVE to be one of the top middle schools in Orange County. Santiago was also recognized as a California Distinguished school in 1999. In many ways, we operate like a traditional middle school and in other ways, we are very much a charter school offering students choices that traditional schools often do not offer. We have about 1000 students enrolled (grades 7 and 8) at Santiago from our surrounding community and feeder schools. Because we are a school of choice, we can accept students from any attendance area. Many of our students come to Santiago on Open Enrollment, No Child Left Behind applications, and from surrounding school districts
Being a charter school allows Santiago to receive its funding directly from the state government, resulting in site-based management of every aspect of the operations of the school. While Orange Unified School District maintains oversight responsibilities, Santiago has its own governing charter board and is solely in charge of providing a quality educational experience for its middle school students. Santiago currently operates on a traditional August to June calendar with a staggered start for seventh graders who start one day early.
Personalization. Santiago is proud to have caring teachers, staff, and administration that focus on personalization. We treat every single student with a caring and supportive approach. Our programs are outstanding as we focus on teaching students through project-based learning and hands-on activities. Our students enjoy classes such as Honors, Leadership, Computers, Public Speaking, Choir, Band, Guitar, Art, Drama, Woodshop, Home Economics, Films, Chinese, Spanish, French, Dance, STEM (brand new STEM lab) as well as all of the traditional 7th and 8th grade classes. We also have nearly 500 technology devices on campus for student use every day. Our students thrive with extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, and educational travel opportunities. In the past few years, some of our students have taken educational international tours to Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Costa Rica.
Understanding that it takes a village to raise children, Santiago has developed a strong partnership with its parents. Santiago has two co-principals, an assistant principal, a counselor, a psychologist, a part-time special educational coordinator, and a nurse. Our support staff reflects Santiago's desire to help its students strive to not only succeed academically, but socially as well. Developing students of strong character, academic excellence, and community involvement is one of Santiago's goals while preparing students for a successful transition to high school and beyond.