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Acalanes High School

1200 Pleasant Hill Road, Lafayette, California 94549, United States

Acalanes High School is a public secondary school located in Lafayette, California, United States, San Francisco Bay Area, Contra Costa County. Acalanes was the first of four high schools in the Acalanes Union High School District. It was built in 1940 on what was then a field of tomatoes. The school was built using federal government labor funds provided by the Works Project Administration, the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency set up by the Roosevelt administration.

Businessman M.H. Lafayette. Stanley suggested the name "Acalanes" the name of the Mexican grant from which all land titles within the City of Lafayette derive. Rancho Acalanes himself appears to have been named by his Hispanic settlers after the local Native American Bay Miwok tribe called Saklan (Saclan), referred to by the Spanish missionaries as Saclanes. The school's first graduating class in 1941 selected the colors blue and white. They chose the Don for the school sports mascot (a Spanish honorary title).

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Acalanes Mission Statement

The mission of Acalanes High School is to develop responsible, productive, informed citizens who appreciate and respect their own and others' uniqueness and worth.

Acalanes High School Expected School Wide Learning Outcomes (ESLRs)

Acalanes students will:

  • be creative and complex thinkers
  • demonstrate curricular knowledge and skills
  • demonstrate communication skills
  • be purposeful and responsible learners
  • be positive and productive citizens

The Curriculum

Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and recognized as a distinguished school by the state of California, Acalanes High School has a long and decorated history of excellence. Today, the school serves primarily the suburban community of Lafayette, California. Of the approximately 1,350 students enrolled in Acalanes, the majority live in Lafayette, with the remainder coming mostly from the surrounding communities of Moraga, Orinida, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek. Lafayette is proud to be a community that values and promotes education. Over 95 per cent of Acalanes students continue to study at post-secondary institutions.

Acalanes High School is offering a strong college preparatory program supported by expansive elective and school-sponsored, co-curricular opportunities. Students can take from five to seven classes per year. The school day will run on a block program on Monday Anchor Day, where students will attend all of their classes in a 45-minute class, with Tuesday-Friday serving a 90-minute block class.


Acalanes offers a wide selection of courses and a number of AP and honorary courses. Sports medicine, digital design, auto mechanics, graphic arts, video production, journalism, drama, photography, Mandarin (Chinese), Spanish, French, chorus, band (four groups) and orchestra are selected.

Acalanes academic clubs regularly take part in the Bay Area quiz bowl tournaments, including BAAL (Bay Area Academic League). Acalanes also offers Model UN and Academic Decathlon as an extracurricular activity. The Acalanes Academic Decathlon team won first place at the Contra Costa Regional Meeting in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. They took first place in Division III in the 2009 California State Competition.

Acalanes High demonstrated its scientific excellence in 2008, winning the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Regional Competition of the National Science Bowl. Acalanes finished second in the same competition in 2009.[citation needed] However, the school has consistently lagged behind the local high schools of Campolindo and Miramonte in more comprehensive rankings based on AP scores and overall academic quality. In 2013, Campolindo High School was ranked 131st in the United States. News and World Report, Miramonte ranked 173rd, while Acalanes ranked 275th.

Lafayette, California has some of the top schools in the SF Bay Area. Be sure to check out the following:

  • Lafayette Elementary School
  • Stanley Middle School
  • Springhill Elementary School 
  • Meher School
  • Happy Valley Elementary School
  • St. Perpetua School
  • Bentley Upper School
  • Burton Valley Elementary School

All of these wonderful schools are located just a short distance from our location at 3369 Mount Diablo Blvd in Lafayette! Stop by for a visit anytime!