James A. Whitaker School was named after the founder of Buena Park and a wholesale grocer who came from Chicago in 1885. He bought 690 acres of the Stearns Rancho, part of what was once the sprawling Rancho Los Coyotes. Whitaker intended to create a cattle ranch, but Santa Fe Railway officials convinced him to use the land for a new town. Whitaker filed his township papers in 1887 in Los Angeles County - Orange County had not been formed - to create the town of Buena Park. The City was not incorporated until 1953.
Whitaker School is currently serving the diverse community of Buena Park. The school is located next to the Buena Park Auto Center and Buena Park High School. Whitaker School's teachers and students have been embracing CA Common Core Standards excelling in early literacy in grades K-2. Teachers have ongoing training in Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop. The school continues to incorporate new standards and teaching practices.
Recently, Whitaker School has become modernized. All classrooms have been modernized with the latest in technology. Students in grades 1-5 have one-to-one iPads while grades TK-K have class sets of iPads.
In 2017, Whitaker School was approved by CDE to open a preschool. Whitaker provides an after school program, ASES, connected with Cal State Fullerton.