South Lake is named Orange County’s top middle school in newspaper’s latest ranking

The Orange County Register released its latest breakdown of the county’s best middle schools on Sunday, and taking the No. 1 spot this year is (drumroll, please!) … Irvine’s own South Lake Middle School.

For those of you scoring at home, South Lake has now secured first, second or third place four years in a row.

“I am just so proud of every single individual who works here and their dedication to our students,” Principal Bruce Baron said, “and we could not ask to work with a more wonderful group of students and parents.”

In the newspaper’s assessment of 87 Orange County middle schools, South Lake, Lakeside, Sierra Vista and Rancho all placed within the top eight, earning gold- or silver-medal status based on a formula that takes into account academics, environment and accolades. Venado Middle School, which ranked No. 1 in overall school environment, was recognized with a bronze medal.

Plaza Vista and Vista Verde schools would have also likely been recognized, but the Register does not include K-8 campuses in its annual analysis because it says the data is difficult to compare.

To access a package of stories about Orange County’s best middle schools of 2011-12, click here. To read a previous Register profile on South Lake, click here.