Mater Dei is a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory high school located in Santa Ana, California.
- Founded 1950
- School colors: Scarlet & Gray
- Mascot: Monarch (Lion)
- Enrollment fall 2017 - over 2,100 students making us the largest non-public school west of Chicago
- Student ratio is: Male - 48% / Female - 52%
- Accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and is co-accredited Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- Member of College Board and Member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
- 99% college placement (Click here for our college placement report)
- 28:1 student/teacher ratio; average class size is 25-30 students
- School wide, mandatory, random drug-testing program fosters a safe, drug-free environment
- Closed campus; 24 hour security
- Over 55% of the student body receives need based financial aid through the generosity of Mater Dei benefactors and the Bishop’s Assistance Fund through the Diocese of Orange
- Mater Dei was renewed as an Apple Distinguished School through 2019. We have held this honor since 2012. This is an official recognition from Apple, Inc. for innovation, leadership and educational excellence
- 35% of the professional staff coach, moderate or direct extracurricular programs
- More than 95% of the student body participates in at least one co-curricular or extra-curricular program
- 70% of student body are registered members of over 40 school clubs
- ASB (Associated Student Body) involves over 400 students who organize and coordinate more than 150 school activities including rallies and dances
- Monarch Television informs the students of upcoming events and offers courses in television production
- The Crown yearbook and Scarlet Scroll student newspaper offer hands-on publications and print production experience to students.
- Mater Dei's Campus Ministry program and Religious Studies Department involves the entire school community through faith development and enrichment through service, outreach, retreats, daily prayer, pastoral counseling and Reconciliation.
Our students come from every city in Orange County bringing a variety of gifts and talents to a large school with a small school atmosphere. Just as a family cares for each individual, so does Mater Dei. When young people and their parents get to know the Mater Dei family, they want to become a part of it.
- 62% Caucasian
- 34% Hispanic
- 22% Asian
- 5% African American
- 3% Native American
- 2% Pacific Islander
- 6% Other Race
- 74% Catholic
- 26% represent a variety of other faiths
- 50% of the student body come from Catholic elementary schools, 50% attended public/private schools
- Mater Dei is centrally located in Orange County in the City of Santa Ana. We are 2.5 miles north of South Coast Plaza.
- Students come from every city in Orange County and some commute from as far as Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.
Mater Dei offers a comprehensive academic program in college prep, honors and Advanced Placement. Those who are motivated to learn and work hard, within a college-preparatory curriculum, find success at Mater Dei and beyond.
- Mater Dei has had 139 National Merit Finalists in its history and our first Gates Millennium Scholar graduated in 2014.
- 34 Honors and 24 AP classes offered; 63% of the student body is enrolled in Honors and/or AP courses
- Electives offered in visual arts, television production, math, performing arts, physical education, science, social studies, language and business & technology
- 80% of students appear on the honor roll with a 3.0 + GPA
- Daily peer-to-peer and faculty tutoring offers students the extra help they need to succeed
- The Muth Family Learning Center serves 10% of our students who have diagnosed special learning needs
- The Gateway Center provides support for students to prepare for life after Mater Dei
- The Guidance & Counseling Center is supported by eight academic counselors, five personal counselors; the center includes the College & Career Gateway Center; parent/student access to Naviance, a comprehensive college and career web-based software for college planning
- Teaching faculty are credentialed; over 40% have advanced degrees
- Over 5% of faculty/staff and coaches are MD alumni
- SAT and ACT Scores are above national and state averages
- 1:1 iPad program has enhanced the educational and assessment process with digital textbooks, applications and online learning resources through Canvas.com
- Over 52 dynamic, cost effective e-text titles are available. Over 90% of books are electronic for most incoming freshmen.
- Extron MediaLink, an integrated digital multi-media system is in all classrooms for projection and collaboration
- Re-imagined state-of-the art library opened in September 2013 and includes learning commons, tech hub, private study rooms, iMac workstations and print corrals, LibGuide digital portals for high quality research information.
Arts at Mater Dei
It is an exciting time to be an artist at Mater Dei. Through involvement in either performing or visual arts, students have avenues of creativity in and out of the classroom. Nearly 50% of the student body participates in the visual, film and media and performing arts programs.
- Film Studies
The Performing Arts Department includes comprehensive Choral and Hand-bell, Instrumental, Theatre, Dance, and Pep programs.
- Students sing, play, dance, and act, and run crew in a wide variety of performances throughout the school year.
- Performing Arts faculty members are artistically proficient and accomplished
- Musical and theatre groups excel in festivals
- Dance Team, Cheerleading Squad, and Song Team compete nationally each year
- Many performing artists are admitted to prestigious colleges with some receiving scholarships to continue their studies in music, theatre or dance.
The Visual Arts Program offers an array of classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced artists in various mediums including pencil, paints, ceramics, photography and graphic design.
- Student artwork is showcased throughout campus and is featured in the Annual Student Art Show each spring.
- Students have exhibited work in a number of art shows including Imagination Celebration, Color it Orange Juried Art Exhibition, and the California Art Education Association Youth Art Month Exhibition to name a few.
The athletics program at Mater Dei offers 25 different sports programs over three seasons with multiple levels in each program.
- Over 68% of MD students participate in athletics as athletes, statisticians, managers or trainers
- State of the art facilities include aquatic center, gym, athletic fields, track, weight room, golf practice facility and baseball complex
- 63 student athletes from the Class of 2018 signed Athletic College Commitments
- 110 National, State and CIF championships won by athletic teams
- Ranked #1 by ESPN Rise & MaxPreps.com and #2 by Sports Illustrated for comprehensive athletic program
- Two Heisman trophy winners in school history
- Eight Olympians (four in the 2016 Summer Games and one in the 2018 Winter Games)
- Five National and 14 State Gatorade Players of the Year
Christian education is intended to "make people's faith become living, conscious and active, through the light of instruction" (The Bishop's Office in the Church, 14). Mater Dei is a unique setting within which this ideal can be realized in the lives of our students. Many Mater Dei students become leaders in the Church and the community.
- 100% of student body complete at least 80 hours of community service prior to graduation
- Class of 2018 completed nearly 86,000 volunteer hours at hundreds of organizations – an average of 160 hours per student
- Over 400 involved in daily and weekly liturgies and prayer services
- Over 500 participate annually in retreats
- Over 500 participate annually in on-campus Special Games Outreach
- Monarch Ministry, a service group, promotes faith-filled student leadership
- Service Awards: Disneyland Community Service Award for Youth
Building on over 65 years of excellence, Mater Dei is rich in tradition and a belief in the very best.
- First graduating Class of 1953 created the school traditions that are alive and well with today’s generation of Monarchs.
- Alumni network of over 28,000 have pursued careers in medicine, law, technology, finance, government and ministry.
- Active alumni association with online social networking through Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
- Class reunions keep Monarchs connected to former classmates, faculty and their alma mater
- Family events throughout the school year (the Family Mass & Reception, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Brunch, Grandparents Day and Marian Mass) unite the Mater Dei family in a spirit of faith while celebrating our bond.
Mater Dei is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and guests. An atmosphere of mutual love and respect exists at our school, while the disciplinary procedures address issues that may disrupt our school's commitment to family values.
Mater Dei has adopted a zero tolerance policy for certain behaviors deemed a danger to our school community: Any student directly associated with or conspiring to bring a gun, gang, or drugs for sale onto the campus or to any Mater Dei function or activity will be subject to immediate expulsion.
School-wide mandatory, random drug testing, initiated in 1997, is a pro-active program designed to create a safe, drug-free environment for students and to assist them in getting help when needed.