Irvine Valley College has some excellent teachers and you are able to learn as much as you put into the classes. There are many experienced, good teachers. Unfortunately, there are also some adjunct, part-time teachers who are not the highest quality. Ask other students for recommendations and stick with those. The well-known, great teachers are known on campus. The campus has grown from three or four small buildings into a full-fledged campus. This is very nice. The bookstore still needs some work to bring the level of the campus up to some of the other community colleges in the area. It is nice to see that the south campus (Saddleback College) has allowed Irvine Valley College to develop into a school that can stand on its own, instead of always needing the main campus OK to do things. The parking can be tough, if you don't arrive early for classes.
Brindles Bookstore was purchased about ten years ago and the types of books changed at that time. The store now has lots of boxes loaded with used books all over the floors and chairs. The store has many topics including literature, local history, gardening and children's books. The largest amount of books are romance novels that are filed in separate bookcases in the center of the store. If you are looking for something special, call first and give the staff time to take a look around. You can find some very good buys in the store. If you don't find what you want the fist time you visit, be sure and check back because the inventory changes quickly. The store is located behind commercial stores on the street. When you visit the store for the first time, you might be confused since you need to go around the front business to see the bookstore sign. Parking is free and you can pull up directly in front of the store. The store is open on the weekend and some evening hours.
The Laguna Beach Art Museum began as a tiny gallery and then moved to the new deluxe location sometime in the 1950s. The nice thing about this museum is that they are able to offer exhibits that feature local art as well as specialized topics. The museum has a number of early local Laguna artists in their regular collection. The museum also offers specialized programs where you can dine in the museum and hear a lecture on a special exhibit. Evening presentations often include music and lectures. Parking is available on the street or in the museum lot.
The main focus of this gallery when it first opened was to represent Chuck Jones, the famous animation artist. Jones died, but the gallery continues to represent his estate. Jones' fabulous coffee table books can be purchased at the gallery. These include sample cells from his most famous cartoon figures. The gallery also offers single and series cells from Jones' most famous cartoons. These are signed by the artist and marked with the official seal showing that they were authorized. (Many of the cells have been faked, so the seal shows that it came from directly from the gallery and artist). Lots of free parking. Call for hours.
I love the small gardens and benches in this small shopping center. The outlots have restaurants and a gas station. There are small speciality cooking shops and clothing stores. Even though the structure was built in the 1970s, the wood is well-kept and the trees and bushes are mature. The parking can be tough on a Saturday afternoon or during the work week around 5:00-6:30. Saturday and Sunday lunch hours can also be crowded. Parking is free.
This small shop in the middle of the parking lot has a post office, pharmacy and a small number of over the counter medicines and snacks. The employees are extremely nice and helpful. It is a handy place to stop because you rarely have to wait to pick up needed drugs. I also like to take my holiday packages here to mail. They rarely have a line for packages or to buy books of stamps. The parking is usually easy since you can use the lots to the side or the rear of the building. The best time to visit is during the work day for parking. Prices are list, but are not outrageous. It is well worth the prices they charge to pick up a quick prescription when you are sick or don't feel like waiting in lines.
This is one of three high schools located in the city of Tustin (four, if you include Hillview Continuation High School which is located directly to the rear of Foothill's campus). Foothill High School has the highest parent income level of all four schools and scores well on national standardized tests. This should not be surprising, since high income families can afford magazines and books that lower-income families cannot provide. These families also can afford to pay for tutors and additional review sessions. The physical building was constructed in the 1960s and the classrooms are sometimes underheated or lack air during extremely hot days. There is a shortage of parking spaces since so many senior level students drive cars.
Tustin High School was the first high school in the small town of Tustin and originally had students from communities throughout the area. The first two buildings were demolished and the present structure was built in the late 1960s. Part of campus, the additional classrooms to the side of the school, was built in the 1930s and 1940s as additions to the old two-story building. These do not have central air and are quite hot in the late summer months when school has first started. The campus has a competition-sized pool and the district football stadium. There is a shortage of parking places after the 5 Freeway was widened in the 1980s. The baseball diamonds were redone in the 1990s and are in excellent condition. Even though this is the oldest high school in the district, the education at the school is top notch.
Santa Ana High School is near the heart of downtown Santa Ana. The school has over 3,000 students in grades 9-12. The school operates smoothly and has a wide variety of sports and extra curricular activities for all grade levels and interests. The main building is extremely old (built sometime in the early 1920s), but there are classroom additions to the rear and side of the main building. The campus includes gyms and many portable buildings for the large number of students. While the new units have heaters and air conditioners, it would be nice to have all of the students in permanent buildings. Parking can be tough and some of the student cars are vandalized, if they are not parked in the chained lots. The school has a list of influencial graduates and a long tradition of scholastic excellence.
Where else can you attend a school where you look out the back large windows of your classroom and see the Pacific Ocean? You also have the luxury of going out to recess and your playground is situated directly on the white sand of Newport Beach. The school is also an historic treasure with classic traditional architecture with mosiac murals showing the history of Newport Beach on the front of a short fence located between the sidewalk and the school building. The education quality at the school is excellent since Newport Beach is a small district and the teachers who teach at this school have years of experience and training. The classrooms show the devotion of the teachers, administrators, and students. Art work is always seen on the windows of the lower elementary windows. If you can afford to live in this district, you should not worry about having your children attend a private school. The education level at Newport Elementary School is far superior than any private institution. Parking is tough, especially in late summer and after college classes have ended but the public schools are still in session.
PROS: Quality teaching--historic building!