Hello Valencia High School Community,
I am thrilled and honored to be entering my first full year as VHS principal! This is my 5th year at Valencia (3 1/2 as assistant principal) and my 27th year in high school administration. I have had the pleasure of serving as principal at two excellent high schools in Orange County, but I am completely amazed at the quality of programs and commitment of the staff, students and community of Valencia High School. This truly is a remarkable school, as you know already or will come to discover.
VHS boasts top tier programs for everyone. We are an AVID National Demonstration school and nearly our entire staff is trained in effective AVID instructional techniques. We have the largest and most successful International Baccalaureate (IB) program in the County with double the amount of diplomas as the nearest competitor. Our Val Tech program offers deep curriculum in technology (including programming, networking, cybersecurity robotics, mechatronics and more), media production, graphic design and business. Val Tech students complete a 150 hour internship doing the work in their chosen field. VHS is now a Cambridge International school as well, offering yet another highly respected international diploma to prepare students for the most competitive universities and the demands of global problem solving. VHS offers a full culinary program for those aspiring chefs, a building and industrial trades program (BITA) for construction careers and an aspiring teachers’ pathway Tigers Leading Cubs. We reach out to all students with a comprehensive English Language Learner program, GEAR Up and HOUSE for students who may have struggled in the past, and a highly trained Special Education team for those with disabilities and unique needs.
Update August 22, 2021:
We are now just one week away from returning to full-time, in-person school since March 13, 2020. What an amazing 17 months it has been. As a staff, and as parents we have all learned a huge new skill set and we are poised to utilize those skills in the setting we know and love best - in-person learning. Our Mission statement says we are committed to supporting every student through high expectations in a nurturing environment to ensure success now and in the future, and we are striving to live that mission every day.
Somehow, in the midst of this pandemic, our Academic Competition Teams reached heights collectively we have never reached in the same season before. Recently, our Science Olympiad team finished 4th out of over 40 teams in the County and earned a spot in the State competition. Our Academic Decathlon team finished third in the County and also competed at State. The VHS Mock Trial team made it to the final round for the first time ever and was narrowly defeated by University High in a three-hour battle, and finally our Chemistry Olympiad team finished in 1st place of 32 teams and had a strong showing at the State level. Any one of these finishes is remarkable. For all of these teams to reach these heights in the same year, during a pandemic is nearly unimaginable. And it’s not for lack of competition - there were just as many teams and participants as always. Somehow - the nearly 100 students in these programs excelled under crazy, unfamiliar conditions.
Perhaps equally amazing was the athletic success of our Tigers last spring. Valencia teams captured 8 Empire League titles with strong post season showings in girls and boys basketball, golf, tennis, track and field, soccer and more, including the boys soccer team who finished with a 21-1-1 record as CIF runner ups.
That said, we know there were hundreds of students who were not thriving academically or emotionally during hybrid and remote instruction and we are eager to utilize the power of relationships and (masked) face-to-face interaction to help students establish positive connections with their teachers, coaches, counselors, peers and with the subject matter they will be learning..
Feel free to visit my Principal’s Corner page that I will use to post updates, thoughts and resources from time to time. Browse the website for information regarding all that is offered at Valencia High School.
Chris Herzfeld - Principal