Attendance and School Choice

To view the attendance zone for Santiago, please visit the SVUSD School Locator and choose “Elementary” boundaries in the drop down box.

If you live (or move into) the Santiago attendance zone you can register with the Santiago Front Office at anytime during the school year.  If you are homeschooling or attending private school, you can register with the district at any time of year and attend your home school if a space is available.  If you have used the SVUSD School Choice process to have your assigned school set to another SVUSD school, you will need to wait until the March School Choice window to request that your assigned school be reset to Santiago.   Residents of the attendance zone have priority if they choose to choice back to their home school.

If you live in SVUSD, but another school is your home school, you will need to wait until the March School Choice window to request your assigned school be set to Santiago.   This is the only process to request a school other than your home school.  Priority is given to siblings of existing Santiago Students.

If you live outside of SVUSD, you can use an inter-district transfer to attend Santiago.   Please contact SVUSD for more information on this process.


High Quality Project Based Learning Units

To Learn more about HQPBL and the Specialized Curriculum Units at Santiago STEAM, Please visit the school website:

CLICK HERE for the Santiago STEAM School Webpage about HQPBL and Unit Topics for each grade level


Our School – Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary

Since opening in 1973, Santiago Elementary has served students for more than 40 years.  In 2018, our School re-opened as Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary, with a focus on HQPBL (High Quality Project Based Learning). We are a unique school because of our beautiful location in the heart of Lake Forest. When visiting our school, you’ll quickly notice that our campus is covered with eucalyptus trees that help to make our school a warm and inviting place to be.  Students from all walks of life make up and add to the richness and diversity of the Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School population.

College Field Trips – Every year, all grades will visit a college campus and receive a college t-shirt.  Kindergarten will visit El Toro High School.  First Grade will visit Saddleback College.  Second Grade will visit Irvine Valley College.  Third Grade will visit CSULB.  Fourth Grade with visit CSFullerton.  Fifth Grade will visit UCIrvine.  Sixth Grade will visit Chapman University.

Second Step Social Emotional Program – Santiago STEAM Classrooms will once again be using the Second Step Social-Emotional Program that will help students learn invaluable skills that help them navigate their way through school as well as their community. The Second Step Program’s age-appropriate games, activities, and media engage students and set children on a path to lifelong success. Topics include empathy and compassion, paying attention and listening to others, and conflict resolution.  With age-appropriate lessons, the Second Step Program for K—5 features catchy songs, fun games, and other engaging activities that develop social-emotional skills. Children learn how to make friends, manage their emotions, solve problems, and deal with peer pressure.

Full-Day Kindergarten – Kindergarten Students at Santiago STEAM Magnet will attend the full day from 8:10am until 2:20pm.

Music Program – SVUSD’s instrumental music program teaches 4th grade students to play the recorder.  Students in 5th and 6th grades will be allowed to learn an instrument such as Intermediate Strings, Advanced Strings, Beginning Flute, Clarinet, Alto & Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, and Baritone.  Sixth Grade Band and Advanced Strings will be able to perform in an all-district concert.   Our Santiago STEAM Magnet Program takes music a step further by introducing the recorder in 3rd grade, and providing bi-weekly music instruction to K-2 graders.  We also have a “Morning Choir” for upper graders who meet before school.

Field Trips – Field trips within the city and to other nearby points of interest are scheduled by classroom teachers throughout the school year. These trips are designed to supplement different aspects of the classroom curriculum and to introduce students to the resources of the community.

Student Council –  Students in sixth grade are given an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting the student body at Santiago STEAM Magnet and to receive first hand knowledge of the democratic process. The student council sponsors special school spirit dress-up days and other campus improvement projects.

Red Ribbon Week – A full week of programs to encourage children to stay away from drugs and adopt healthy lifestyle choices. This special week is planned by the Student Council.

6th Grade Science Camp – This year our Santiago STEAM Eagles attended High Trails Outdoor Science School in January.  Students learn a variety of topics over a 4 day program, such as archery, orienteering, plant life, and environmental awareness.

Spirit Wear Wednesdays – Students are encouraged to wear college and university wear on Tuesdays to learn about various college opportunities and remind each other of their goals for higher learning.   On Fridays, students are encouraged to wear their Santiago Spirit wear and school colors.

Computer/Technology –  Computer/technology education is provided to all students via a distributed network of classroom computers, IPADs, the computer lab, and portable notebook computers with access to the Internet.  Classroom projectors allow teachers to present online material to the entire class.  A distributed video broadcasting system is also provided to each classroom as well as the library.

The Innovation Lab – The Library Clerk provides weekly visits to the library for all students. Students are welcome to check out books of interest and conduct research during their time in the library.  This year our library and computer lab have merged into one large collaboration space, where students can pursue group projects using both books and technology.

English Language Programs – We have an active English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) that is committed to supporting our English Learners and their families. Santiago Elementary has worked with to develop a Communication App to have two-way communication with families in multiple languages.

District Community Services Programs

The Learning Connection (TLC) is a positive alternative for working parents in need of childcare. TLC centers are open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at all elementary school sites in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. For information about this program, please call (949) 768-0981.

Kids Factory – A drop-in program sponsored by the City of Lake Forest provides after-school supervision and recreational activities.

SVUSD Afterschool programs – Our School District’s Community Services Department coordinates with a variety of youth sports and educational programs that utilize the fields and facilities of local schools.   Classes that take place on our Santiago campus include academic chess, spanish, photography, and drawing.