• About Us

    Description of Campus

    School Colors:  Red, Black, and Silver
    School Dedication:  October 13, 2009

    Dorothy McElhinney Middle School opened in August 2009 for students in grades six through eight.   Continuing the visual and performing arts emphasis offered at our neighboring school, Lisa J. Mails Elementary, Dorothy McElhinney Middle School will continue to provide students with instruction in vocal and instrumental music, including band, drama, dance and visual art, ceramics and computer arts.  In addition, the school has ASB, Yearbook, GATE, PLUS Forums, intramural sports, at-risk intervention programs and a wide variety of clubs and activities.

    The school has 63 classrooms, a multipurpose room, 3 computer labs, a covered lunch area, a library, a cafeteria, administrative offices, a gymnasium, athletic fields, and a track.

    Instructional Goals and Programs

    Dorothy McElhinney Middle School students will attend an academically challenging six-period school day. The curriculum centers on the core areas of language arts, math, social studies, science, physical education and exploratory courses closely aligned with state standards and enhanced by the inclusion of a visual and performing arts emphasis.

    The expectation for all students is that they will attend college as a logical extension of the academic start they receive at McElhinney. Regular classes, advanced classes in the core subjects, and intervention classes to improve basic skills are all designed to improve our students’ opportunities for success in high school and college.

    About Dorothy McElhinney

    [image]The district’s fourth middle school was named after Dorothy McElhinney (1900-1997), the former owner of the 400-acre Pinto Ranch where the school now stands. Dorothy McElhinney was a beloved and respected member of the community for 65 years and she is named in the biographical dictionary, Who's Who in the West.

    When Dorothy was 22 years old, she traveled to Laramie, Wyoming to visit a friend. Dorothy’s love for horses and her raw talent for taming[image]g and riding them earned her a job wrangling and breaking saddle horses, and soon she had twenty horses of her own.

    Dorothy began competing in rodeos in Wyoming, beating all the men and earning the respect of the cowboys on the rodeo circuit. Each summer she and her girlfriends would ride 50 miles from Laramie to Cheyenne for a  week-long rodeo, sleeping under the stars using their saddles for pillows and saddle blankets for covers. At these rodeos, and as a cowgirl leading pack trips, she earned enough to pay her college expenses.
    In 1928, Dorothy married Dr. Philip McElhinney, who was setting up his practice in Long Beach, California. Since she didn't have enough money to ship her horses from Wyoming to California, Dorothy decided to round up her girlfriends from college and they drove her herd of horses from Laramie, Wyoming all the way over the Continental Divide to the Pinto Ranch in Southern California. Doreen Foote, one of the cowgirls on the trip and one of Dorothy’s closest friends, wrote the story of their two-month journey in a book called Dude Girl.

    Dorothy’s family members retained a portion of the Pinto Ranch and they still live on the property, just up the road from McElhinney Middle School. Dorothy McElhinney’s son and granddaughter they have hosted McElhinney students and staff on the old homestead, sharing stories of the past and creating a bridge from the old West to the 21st century.

    Feeder Schools

    Elementary Schools

    Lisa J. Mails and Monte Vista Elementary Schools.

    High Schools

    Vista Murrieta High School



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