District History

  • The Sulphur Springs District provides Kindergarten through Sixth Grade educational services to students living in an area known as Canyon Country within the Santa Clarita Valley. Located in the eastern end of the Santa Clarita Valley, the approximately 75 square miles of land that comprises the District is primarily within the jurisdiction of the City of Santa Clarita with the remainder being located within the unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles.

     Sulphur Springs School District is the second oldest school district in the County of Los Angeles and traces its beginnings back to 1872 when the Mitchell family started a school in their home kitchen to provide instruction to children living on the Mitchell Ranch property. An adobe building housed students until 1920 at which time a one-room frame schoolhouse was constructed. The school’s bell, still at Sulphur Springs Elementary School, was donated by the Mitchell’s. This building housed eight grades and a library.

     In 1940, this building was torn down and a new two-classroom building was built housing 65 students in eight grades. This building, which has been“modernized” several times, is still in use. In 1943, when a fire destroyed the Mint Canyon Elementary School, the District joined with the Mint Canyon District to become the Sulphur Springs Union School District. This new area would be the District’s boundaries until the 1970’s and 1980’s when, through the territorial transfer process, the District acquired portions of the Newhall, Saugus, and Los Angeles City Schools Districts to arrive at its current boundaries. Since the original District boundaries were determined by a combination of ridgelines, streambeds and section lines, it became clear as significant development began to take place that those boundaries did not always align with communities or major roads.

     In 1945, the William S. Hart Union School District was established to provide secondary education to students in the four elementary school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley. This was the beginning of the K-6 elementary school configuration for the Sulphur Springs District, which in 1945 had an enrollment of 138 students and five teachers.

     In the early 1960’s, the District experienced significant housing development and added a number of new schools and ten additional classrooms to the Sulphur Springs School campus. Mint Canyon School was built in 1962-3 and opened in 1963 with 138 first through sixth grade students housed in six permanent classrooms. Leona Cox School was completed in two phases with the first students starting in 1964 in eight classrooms, with the second phase of six additional classrooms completed in time for the beginning of school in September of 1965. The Soledad Canyon School was completed in November of 1966, with 14 classrooms. The first phase of the Mitchell School, 14 classrooms, was completed in 1969 and the second phase of six classrooms was completed in 1971.

    The twelve-year period from 1970 to 1982 saw a decline in enrollment in the District from 2,357 students in 1970 to a low of 1901 students in 1982. With the addition of a few portables the District was able to house all of its students at its five sites until 1982 when, through the territorial transfer process, it acquired the Valley View School from the Saugus District. In that same period, because of declining enrollment, the District sold two surplus school sites and used the money to make interior and exterior improvements to many buildings throughout the District. In addition, monies were used to construct a new transportation and bus maintenance facility on the Sulphur Springs site and a separate maintenance and operations facility on the Mint Canyon Site.

    In 1984, the District sold $2.87 million worth of bonds to build an additional school. In 1988, Pinetree School was opened with eighteen classrooms. In 1991, Honby School was acquired from the Saugus District. This took place at the same time the District abandoned the Soledad Canyon School site and moved those students to Honby, which was later renamed Canyon Springs.

    Prior to 1966 all of the District’s support facilities were located on the Sulphur Springs School campus. In November of that year, the District Offices were moved to a corner of the Soledad Canyon campus, and in 1978 a facility was built on the Mint Canyon site to house the District Warehouse and the Maintenance and Operations Department. The Transportation Department continued to be housed on the Sulphur Springs campus. In 1991, the District Office was moved to facilities on Sierra Highway. In October of 2008, the District Office, District Warehouse, Maintenance and Operations Department and Transportation Department all moved to administrative facilities located on Weyerhaeuser Way.

    With continued growth through the 1990s, and particularly with the implementation of the Class Size Reduction Program, the District focused its facility activities on providing additional classroom space with relocatable classrooms and modernizing existing sites to house additional students and provide appropriate space for administrative and support services. The District funded these projects through a combination of borrowed money (Certificates of Participation), developer fees, and a $20.2 million General Obligation Bond Measure passed in 1991. With those dollars, the District was able to modernize Valley View in 1992; modernize Sulphur Springs in 1993/5; modernize Canyon Springs in 1993/4; and modernize Mitchell in 1999.

    In 2002, Fair Oaks Ranch School was constructed through a combination of funds coming from the new Proposition 47 funding and funds contributed by Pardee Homes, the developer of Fair Oaks Ranch subdivision. This school has 30 regular classrooms, two for special education programs, and sufficient support facilities, including an administration building, a library, a dedicated computer lab, and a large multi-purpose building. Mint Canyon School was virtually rebuilt in 2006 with the addition of new permanent classrooms and multipurpose room. Our newest school, Golden Oak Elementary, opened in August of 2008.

    With the approval of Measure CK, in 2012, the district implemented technology into classrooms. The technology came in waves, from the first step, which was creating a new wireless network that could support many mobile devices, Smart Boards and iPads. The plan was to have a 3-to-1 student-to-iPad ratio in all classrooms. They implemented new software, networks and equipment for the district’s 240 classrooms from  April to August, which was “quite a project."

    In 2015, the district broke ground on the Valley View Community School Modernization + New Addition project for the Sulphur Springs Union School District. Valley View provides a general education program for all students and additional targeted services for a variety of community needs: an educational program and specialized services for severely disabled students, intervention programs for at-risk students, and before/after school childcare programs. This project included additions and renovations to the school’s 38,000-square-foot administration building, as well as the construction of a new two-story facility.The new building was named the Tommye D. Warner Annex in honor of the late Ms. Tommye D. Warner, a long-time school psychologist and director of special education in the district, opened in September, 2016. 

    The district incorporated all-inclusive playgrounds starting in 2017. The playgrounds incorporate the Principles of Inclusive Playground Design: cognitive, physical, social/emotional, sensory and communication. They are built and designed to allow full access for all children, no matter what their ability levels are. The playgrounds are designed with sensory-rich activities that focus on supporting the whole child. The first was unveiled at Valley View Community School in 2017, the second was unveiled at Sulphur Springs Elementary in 2019 and the third and fourth were unveiled at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in 2021.

    Now, in 2022, the Sulphur Springs Union School District has over 700 employees, including administrators, certificated staff, classified staff, district office staff, maintenance and operations, and transportation staff. We have over 5,200 students enrolled and since the Coronavirus pandemic, in 2020, we leaped from a 3-to-1 student-to-iPad/chromebook ratio to now being 1-to-1 student-to-iPad/chromebook ratio. We are able to provide over 5,800 devices (iPads, Chromebooks, Macbooks) to students and staff. 

    Our Vision Statement is: 

    Empowering all students through a relevant and personalized education, supporting them as critical thinkers, and providing them the tools, supports, and learning environments needed to be creative innovators.