Desert Sands Charter School: Full Guide

Location: Lancaster, CA

Are you a student or parent at Desert Sands Charter School? Want to understand how to get the most out of high school?

We've written the best guide to Desert Sands Charter available. Here we'll cover:

  • Breakdowns of student ethnicity, gender, and family income
  • How safe Desert Sands Charter is to attend
  • SAT/ACT/AP scores earned by Desert Sands Charter students
  • Which AP/IB classes you can take at Desert Sands Charter
  • Every sports team you can join at Desert Sands Charter

Let's get started!

Basic Information

Desert Sands Charter School is a public school, supporting grades 9 to 12 . It's located in Lancaster, CA in Los Angeles County.

Based on its location, Desert Sands Charter is classified as a school in a large suburb. Here's the location on a map:

Contact Information

Mailing address:

Desert Sands Charter School
42455 10th St. W.
Lancaster, CA 93534-7060

Phone number: 6619423357

Desert Sands Charter School homepage:

Principal: Cheri Tuinstra
Email the principal: [email protected]

Student Demographics

Student Enrollment

The total enrollment at Desert Sands Charter School is 1392 students, making it a large high school, in the top 25% of all California high schools by size.

Attending Desert Sands Charter will feel like attending a small college. You'll have a few hundred students in your class, enough to provide an interesting set of activities, sports, and classes to try. But compared to the largest high schools in California, the student body size won't be overwhelming.

Growth in Student Body Size

Is Desert Sands Charter School growing or shrinking? This will help you see trends in where the school is headed.

From our calculations, the enrollment at Desert Sands Charter has steadily decreased over the past few years. We calculate this by comparing enrollment in grades 9 to 12.

Male Students Female Students All Students
9th grade 18 37 55
10th grade 70 93 163
11th grade 152 147 299
12th grade 420 455 875

As you can see in the table above, the senior class is 820 students larger than the freshman class. This suggests that Desert Sands Charter is shrinking in size and taking on fewer students.

There are a few reasons this can happen. The population of Lancaster could be decreasing, thus sending fewer students into Desert Sands Charter. Alternatively, other schools (like charter or private schools) might be appearing, drawing students away.

Gender Split

Are there more boys or girls at Desert Sands Charter School?

From our statistics, Desert Sands Charter has a 48:52 split between male and female students in the high school grades.

Desert Sands Charter has a balanced male-female ratio that's largely representative of the general population in Los Angeles County. Since the student body is roughly half and half, it should feel like there are equal numbers of boys and girls in your classes.

This usually means that Desert Sands Charter doesn't strongly select for either males or females, unlike other schools that have a large majority of males or females.

Ethnicity Breakdown

What's the racial diversity at Desert Sands Charter School? Does one ethnicity make up most of the student body, or is it fairly balanced?

From our statistics, Desert Sands Charter has a somewhat homogenous student body, with the majority of students identifying as one ethnicity, but not representing over 70% of the student body. Most schools in California fit this profile, so Desert Sands Charter isn't out of the ordinary. Most students attending class with you will be of the predominant ethnicity, but there will be meaningful diversity from other races.

The majority of students at Desert Sands Charter are Hispanic. In California, Hispanic students make up the majority of all students at 51.5%, and are thus the most common ethnicity. Predominantly Hispanic schools are the most common type of homogenous school, and Desert Sands Charter fits within this category.

Percentage Number
American Indian/Alaska Native 1.9% 27
Asian 1.1% 16
Hispanic 52.7% 734
Black 19.1% 267
White 23.2% 324
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0.7% 11
Two or more races 0.9% 13

High schools usually reflect the population in the surrounding area, so the ethnicities of students likely resembles those of Lancaster. If you'd like to see how other nearby schools look in diversity, just google "[name of school] prepscholar" to find our guide to that specific school.

Income Level of Desert Sands Charter Families

What are the family incomes of students at Desert Sands Charter School? To determine this, we look at the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, a classification by the US federal government.

To qualify for a reduced price meal, family income needs to be below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of 4, this means an income of around $45,000 or below.

To qualify for a free meal, family income needs to be below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of 4, this means an income of around $32,000 or below.

The lower the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price meals, the higher the income levels are likely to be.

At Desert Sands Charter, 9.8% of students qualify for reduced-price lunches, and 67.8% qualify for free lunches.

This means Desert Sands Charter has a high percentage of students at or near poverty. Almost a third of all schools in California show this level of poverty, and by National Center for Education Statistics standards, Desert Sands Charter can be classified as a high poverty school. The income level of families in Lancaster is thus likely to be low.

Number Percent
Reduced-price lunches 137 9.8%
Free lunches 944 67.8%
Do not qualify for reduced-price or free lunches 311 22.3%

As with ethnicity, this likely reflects the surrounding community in Lancaster and doesn't speak much about the school itself.

Unfortunately, schools in areas of lower income levels are likely to be more poorly funded. As a result, they might feature less advanced coursework like AP/IB classes, and you may not have a full range of sports and extracurriculars to draw from. Because Desert Sands Charter is an especially high poverty-level school, it might not have the resources you need to meet your full potential.

You definitely don't have control over the city, the school, or other families, but you can structure your own learning to be more productive. If you'd like to open yourself to more opportunities, you can look into whether it's possible to transfer to a nearby school with higher income levels.

If not, don't be alarmed - it's possible that Desert Sands Charter has all that you need for your ambition. And you can definitely be proactive about learning outside of your school, looking to your community or to the Internet to find more resources.

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School Safety

How safe is Desert Sands Charter School to attend? Can you expect a lot of conflict as a student here?

To study this, we look at disciplinary data for two types of incidents at Desert Sands Charter: referrals to law enforcement (when incidents are reported to police), and arrests.

These are the most serious disciplinary actions available to school administration and are more severe than suspensions or expulsions. Suspensions are often discretionary and can be given just for being disruptive in class. In contrast, law enforcement referrals and arrests often indicate incidents that put the safety of other Desert Sands Charter students at risk.

In the school year of 2011-2012, there were 0 referrals to law enforcement, and 0 school-related arrests. This is out of a total enrollment of 1771 students.

To put this into perspective, most California schools (59% of them) reported 0 law enforcement referrals and arrests.

Compare this school with other high schools in the same school district, using the following table:

Antelope Valley Union High School District Safety

School Name Total Referred Total Arrests Enrollment
Antelope Valley High 0 0 1764
Desert Winds Continuation High 0 0 433
Palmdale High 0 0 3067
Quartz Hill High 0 0 3151
Lancaster High 0 0 2452
Phoenix High Community Day 0 0 140

Academic Performance

Now we get to a major aspect of assessing a high school: academic performance. How good of an education will you get at Desert Sands Charter School? Will you be competitive for college? Will you have access to advanced classes?

We've compiled everything we could find about Desert Sands Charter's academics here.

Graduation Rate

To start off, an important benchmark of academic achievement is graduation rate. For all students who start high school at Desert Sands Charter, the state of California wants as many students to graduate as possible, since a high school diploma can mean a big difference in getting a job.

At Desert Sands Charter, 10% (of 880) Desert Sands Charter students graduated within four years of starting high school.

Here's how this stacks up to other schools. The California state government has defined 90% as a target rate. The state average is around 80-85%.

Desert Sands Charter is in the 25th percentile of all public high schools in California for graduation rate. This is well below average. Generally, a graduation rate of above 90% is considered good and well above average, and below 75% is well below average.

Note: This data comes from a few years back, but the trends are likely to stay the same, since schools don't get significantly better or worse within a short period of time.

Standardized Testing

Next, we'll look at another major piece of high school academics: standardized testing performance for Desert Sands Charter School students. These are tests that are administered to large populations of students for comparison purposes.

State Tests

As of 2014, eleventh graders attending Desert Sands Charter School must take standardized tests in English/Language Arts and Math as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). These align with the new Common Core standards and are called the "Smarter Balanced" tests.

If Desert Sands Charter students meet or exceed state standards, they're academically prepared to graduate high school and go to college. Specifically, we care about the percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards. The larger this number, the higher the preparation of students at Desert Sands Charter.

English/Language Arts

At Desert Sands Charter School, 20% of students meet or exceed state standards in English/Language Arts.

This is considered below average and puts Desert Sands Charter in the bottom 50% of all high schools in California for English/Language Arts. The majority of Desert Sands Charter students do not pass state standards, and only a small percentage pass.

This specific percentage isn't much cause for concern - because the Common Core is new, the pass rate at Desert Sands Charter will likely rise over time. But it still reflects Desert Sands Charter's below average standing among California high schools.

English/Language Arts Test Results (2015)


Read more about what’s measured in each ELA area score here.


The other major test taken for state assessments is Math. Across the state, Math performance is generally lower than English/Language Arts performance, so it's natural for this number to be lower.

At Desert Sands Charter School, 1% of students meet or exceed state standards in Math. This is considered well below average and puts Desert Sands Charter in the bottom 25% of all high schools in California. The vast majority of Desert Sands Charter students don't meet state standards, and only a small percentage pass.

Math Test Results (2015)


Read more about what’s measured in each Math area score, go here.

Sports Teams

What’s Next?

Want to get more useful information about high school classes and preparing for colleges? Our blog has a ton of articles and advice on topics ranging from coursework and GPA to letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and much more!

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The data on this page is drawn from a variety of sources, including (but not limited to):