Military Science/Leadership Education


The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) programs for each military service are available to all students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. Note that there is no military obligation when participating in JROTC. All JROTC courses earn credit that counts toward the 44 total credits needed to graduate.

Note: The type of credit JROTC courses earn depends on the instructor’s teaching credential and the number of the course in which the student is enrolled. See course titles and descriptions in the View Courses tab above. Counselors, instructors, students, and parents should all be aware of the two credit types, Physical Education and Elective, and make sure students are enrolled in the course that will result in students earning the type of credit required and expected.

JROTC courses are offered at the following locations:

  • Army JROTC at Crawford, Hoover, Lincoln, Madison, and Morse High Schools, and the Kearny High and San Diego High Educational Complexes
  • Navy JROTC at Patrick Henry, Point Loma, and Serra High Schools
  • Air Force JROTC at Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch High Schools
  • Marine Corps JROTC at University City High School

The JROTC course of study is designed to provide students with personal character and leadership skills for career success. It emphasizes critical life skill development, importance of health and physical fitness/wellness, and the significance of oral and written communication skills.


JROTC is designed to give students insight into the ethical values and principles that define citizenship. It includes the values of integrity, responsibility, and respect for constituted authority. It stresses the development of leadership potential with the attendant skills to live and work cooperatively with others. Cadets also refine the skills of logical thinking and effective oral and written communication. In the physical education and wellness curriculum, cadets learn the importance of an active lifestyle and maintaining good health. Cadets also learn about the educational opportunities beyond high school, including Senior ROTC scholarship and service academy appointments.


The JROTC curriculum is defined in five major core competencies:

  • Citizenship/Leadership. Students gain insight into the ethical values and principles that underlie good citizenship, as well as the development of basic, intermediate, and advanced managerial and leadership skills.
  • Health & Physical Education. Students study health and physical fitness principles, human growth and development, environment and heredity, and drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Communication. Students learn the principles of communication, with emphasis on oral communication. Advanced students prepare and present materials on JROTC-related subjects and serve as assistant classroom aids.
  • Drill and Ceremonies. Students learn the importance of teamwork and discipline in accomplishing goals. Drill and ceremonies are the foundation of the overall leadership training aspects of the JROTC program.
  • Service Learning and Community Awareness. The JROTC program is one of the military's contributions to motivate America's youth to become better citizens. The program produces successful students and productive adults, while fostering in each school a more constructive and disciplined learning environment. This program makes substantial contributions to many communities and ultimately to the nation's future.


Leadership development starts at the basic level when a student first enters the program and progresses to the level at which the student becomes an effective leader and mentor. Students experience leadership development opportunities on a daily basis, and as a resultant their responsibilities increase as they progress through the second-, third-, and fourth-year programs.


Performance assessment is driven by competencies. Each JROTC lesson addresses a competency that is the intended learning result of the lesson. Competencies describe discipline-specific measurable and observable skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Performance standards (criteria and conditions) provide the specifications for assessing mastery of a competency. Cadets show they have learned competencies by applying them in the completion of assessment tasks that require them to do one or more of the following:

  • Make a decision
  • Perform a skill
  • Perform a service
  • Solve a problem
  • Create a product

Each cadet is constantly assessed and evaluated by both the teacher and the cadet leaders on a daily basis Positive reinforcement is recognized by promotion to higher cadet rank; grade reports and the award of ribbons, medals, and trophies.


High school graduates who have successfully completed three years of JROTC may choose to apply it toward a one-year credit in a four-year college ROTC program. JROTC cadets may also chose to apply their high school experience toward special recognition in applying for SROTC college scholarships. Based on the attending university, these scholarships may pay for all tuition, books, laboratory fees, and a monthly stipend. Students may also compete for appointments to any of the military service academies, such as the Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.


Although JROTC holds no military obligation for participation, nor does it serve as a recruitment tool for the military, some graduates with JROTC experience opt to serve in the military after graduation. Each military service offers various advanced promotions based on successful completion of JROTC courses and upon enlistment in a particular service.


Academic, Basic Drill, and Fitness competitions are used to provide cadets with additional opportunities outside the scope of the classroom with a competition format similar to many Varsity sports. These competitions are intended to supplement or reinforce the JROTC curriculum and permit JROTC units to strengthen their programs according to their desired academic focus. The following competitions are conducted each year:

  • Nationwide Academic and Leadership Competition
  • National Cyber Patriot Competition
  • Cadet Physical Fitness Challenge
  • Best Unit Regulation Drill competition
  • Best Drill first-, second-, third- and fourth-year individual cadet competition
  • Statewide Archery Competition
  • Best Drill Freshman and Varsity Color Guard
  • Exhibition Drill Teams

In all these JROTC competitions, cadets may earn ribbons, medals, and trophies or a combination of these. Competitions are conducted at the local, regional, state, and national levels.


Each summer, on a voluntary basis, qualified JROTC cadets participate under the supervision of their Military Science instructors in a one-week, fully funded leadership camp. This outdoor, outward-bound experience challenges cadets with physical, mental and confidence building opportunities that are considered by the cadets to be an important part of the JROTC program of the San Diego Unified School District.


The concept of this summer program is a fully-funded, one-week (five-day) residential experience for selected JROTC cadets on a University campus. The cadets are housed in a university dorm, with all meals provided, giving them an excellent understanding of campus life. Through this course, they are given classroom lectures by university professors, with hands-on projects, experiments, and an admissions briefing. Visits to STEM-related work sites and the university's Engineering Research Laboratories are also included as part of the curriculum.


All JROTC programs conduct unique field trips to give students an opportunity to explore the various experiences in a military career. The majority of training during field trips is conducted at:

  • Marine Corps Air Station – Miramar. Selected cadets explore careers in aviation while visiting the Miramar Air Show.
  • Sea Cruises. Selected cadets take sea cruises on U.S. Navy ships to demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired in classroom studies.
  • Marine Corp Recruit Depot, San Diego. A visit to MCRD orients cadets to entry operations into the USMC.
  • Fleet Training Center, San Diego. Cadets may engage in pre-shipboard training involving damage control and fire fighting.
  • Amphibious Base, Coronado. Cadets may receive training with either the Marines or the Underwater Demolition Team.
  • Camp Pendleton. Adventure activities include tower rappelling, confidence courses, navigational instruction, and team- building exercises.
  • Various Air Force bases. Cadets take orientation trips to Luke AFB, Phoenix, Arizona; Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Edwards and Vandenberg AFBs in California.


Service Learning and Community Support are vital portions within the JROTC curriculum. These particular projects teach the students the value of selfless service and community involvement. Some noteworthy events include:

  • JROTC Holiday Food Drive
  • Military Order of the World Wars – Massing of the Colors
  • Wreaths Across America
  • Martin Luther King Day Parade
  • Military Child Education Coalition
  • Veterans' Day Parade
  • Race for Literacy
  • Middle School Mentoring Program