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Santa Ana
Unified School District
Dennis Cole, Principal
2000 North Bristol Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Phone: 714.972.7800
Fax: 714.972.7899

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Our News

  • Mendez Cancer Warriors are on the MOVE!

    You are invited to join us for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life Santa Ana April 12 – 13, 2014 From Saturday Noon to Sunday Noon. Click here for more information

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  • 2014-2014 School Year Calendar Available

    The 2014-2015 School Calendar is now available on the District website at Some key dates are as follows: The first day of school for students is Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the winter break recess is December 22, 2014 – January 2, 2015 with students returning to school on Monday, January 5, 2015, and the last day of school is June 18, 2015.

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  • Mendez Selected for Business Honor Roll for School Excellence

    Congratulations to Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School and Greenville, Thorpe, and Muir fundamental elementary schools have been selected for the 2013 California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll. These schools were selected by the business community because of their success in raising student academic achievement. After an extensive analysis of student achievement data for every public school in California, the California Business for Education Excellence selected these schools for raising their students to grade-level proficiency and beyond. The Honor Roll is published annually. Since 2005, the Honor Roll increased from 261 high performing schools to 2,099 high performing schools in 2013. Through the Honor Roll our schools will be recognized in local and state media as well as at events across the state. Each school will also receive a free, full-sized banner that can be proudly displayed to announce their accomplishment.

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  • Mendez Parent Honored

    Maria Cervantes, Diversity Partnerships Manager at the neuroscience and education nonprofit MIND Research Institute, has been named to OC Register Metro magazine’s 10 Women to Watch for 2014.

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  • Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

    Find out more about the SBAC test that will be administered in teh Spring

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  • All Eyes on Learning

    Parents, Community Members & Staff are invited to join the conversation: Thursday March 6th, 6pm @ Mendez

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  • Register for the Annual Parent Conference

    Annual Parent Conference Saturday, March 1, 2013 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. @ Godinez Fundamental H.S. Visit to learn more!

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  • Mendez Morning Fitness Club

    The Mendez morning Fitness Club did not take a break during winter vacation. On December 21st these students & staff ran from Mendez to the Angels Stadium and Honda Center. Check out the photos.

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  • Congratulations to Mendez Parent Maria Cervantes

    Mrs. Cervantes is being honored by Cosmopolitan for Latinas for making outstanding strides in her field.

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  • Is it rocket science? For these students, yes

    See OC Register Article featuring our students and the Rocket Science Tutors Program.

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Principal's Message

Mr. Dennis Cole   Mendez Continuing Excellence

Posted on

The 2013-2014 school year is well under way, with great plans to continue our tradition of excellence here at Mendez. At our Back to School Evening celebration, we had record numbers of parents come and see the outstanding learning happening in our classroom. One parent shared, “I love all my son’s teachers. They really expect a lot from him, but make the classes fun.” I know this is true in all our classrooms. Mendez scholars – both students and staff – are special.

This year our focus is on Collaborative Academic Conversations. Students are working together on creative problem solving tasks with an emphasis on critical thinking. These skills are the recommended 21st century skills from international experts which will prepare your students for their college and careers in the future. I know our Mendez Mustangs will go far, and we are excited to be preparing them to make a difference in their world.

- Mr. Cole

Mendez Family

Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez
Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez



        GONZALO AND FELICITAS MENDEZ were like so many other Mexican Americanfamilies living in California in the 1940’s. Gonzalo and FelicitasMendez faced discrimination at all levels of society. After the Treatyof Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 ceded California and the Southwest to theUnited States, Mexican American families saw little hope of acheivingequality with their Anglo counterparts. Mr. and Mrs. Mendez were hurtby the discrimination they encountered on a daily basis. But it hurtthem even more when they saw their children become victims of thisdiscrimination. After one hundred years of California’s MexicanAmerican children being relegated to an inferior education, Gonzalo andFelicitas Mendez decided to do something about it.
       Gonzalo was a tenantfarmer living in the Westminster area of Southern California. Mendezand his wife, Felicitas, decided that neither they nor their childrenwere going to be treated as second class citizens. In early 1945, theyorganized a group of parents to take on the Orange County School andstop its practice of keeping Mexican American children segregated fromAnglo children. While Anglo children attended academically orientedclasses in modern buildings using new books, Mexican American childrenattend vocationally oriented classes in old buildings using inferiorbooks.

        Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez knew that a legal fight against awell entrenched segregationist educational system was going to betough. This did not stop them. A civil rights attorney was hired andthe lawsuit was filed in the federal courts in Los Angeles. The lawsuitnamed five Mexican American families, including the Mendez family asplaintiffs.The lawsuit, entitled Mendez V. Westminster, asked the courtto issue an injunction ordering the integration of the school district.The lawsuit argued that segregation based on national origin violatedthe United States Constitution. The case was won but the districtappealed. On April 14, 1947, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appealsruled in favor of the Mexican American families.

        Eight years afterMendez V. Westminster, the then future Justice of the Supreme Court,Thurgood Marshall, argued the famous case of Brown V. Board ofEducation. The Brown case outlawed the “separate but equal” educationthroughout the United States. In arguing his case, Marshallrelied on Mendez V. Westminster as legal precedent.

        Because of theirbravery and dedication, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez opened the doorfor a better education not only for children in California, but forchildren throughout the United States. Their efforts have been recentlyrecognized and honored by groups like the Los Angeles Mexican AmericanBar Association.

        On December 3, 1997, the Santa Ana School Board, thesame school district that once practiced segregation, dedicated theGonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School. MendezFundamental Intermediate School is a school of choice. Allstudents will have the opportunity to receive a quality and enrichedcurriculum, regardless of the language they speak or the color of theirskin.
For More information check the School Pride section under Our School.