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Hillsdale High School (San Mateo, California)

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Hillsdale High School is a public co-educational high school in San Mateo, California serving grades 9–12 as part of the San Mateo Union High School District. Hillsdale generally serves the residents of San Mateo and Foster City. The main feeder schools to Hillsdale are the Abbott, Bayside, Borel, and Bowditch Middle Schools.

Hillsdale High School
Hillsdale High School Logo.jpg
3115 Del Monte Street


United States
Coordinates37°31′57″N 122°18′46″W / 37.532403°N 122.312669°W / 37.532403; -122.312669Coordinates: 37°31′57″N 122°18′46″W / 37.532403°N 122.312669°W / 37.532403; -122.312669
TypePublic Secondary
PrincipalJeff Gilbert
Number of students1,385 (2016-2017)[2]
Color(s)Columbia Blue, Scarlet Red
Athletics conferencePeninsula Athletic League
Team nameFighting Knights
RivalAragon High School
NewspaperHillsdale Scroll[3]
YearbookThe Hillsdale Shield



Hillsdale High School has received a number of awards and honors:


The original 1955 campus is noted for the model it set for area schools, in particular the use of natural lighting, landscaping, and a combination of exterior and interior passages. SMUHSD residents approved Measure D[10] in 2000 and Measure M in 2006,[11] which directly funded the repair and modernization of District schools, including Hillsdale.

In 2003, the city of San Mateo approved funding for Hillsdale to put in Small Learning Communities (SLCs). Hillsdale is divided into seven SLCs, also known as "Houses," each of which are named after important historical cities: Florence, Kyoto, Oaxaca, and Marrakech in the 9th and 10th grades, and Cusco, Jakarta, and Timbuktu in the 11th and 12th grades. The Houses are designed to be individual small schools of 200-280 students each. The Houses are semi-autonomous, meaning that students will take each core class (English, History, Science, and Math) with members of the same House. However, elective classes, world languages, and PE, as well as AP core classes, are mixed between the Houses.[12] Hillsdale's academic performance, as measured by the Academic Performance Index (API), has increased from a score of 662 in pre-SLC school year 2002-03[13] to 818 in 2012-13,[14] exceeding the statewide API performance target of 800 for all schools.

The athletic facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, and football, soccer, baseball, softball and track fields. In 2008, Hillsdale put in new batting cages for the baseball and softball teams and received a new turf field. The track field was re-done as a turf field in 2008 so that football games could be played at "home" and other sports could have access to the field as well. There are two gyms [North (Homer P. Zugelder) and South], and two theaters [Little Theater and Auditorium]. There are three levels of the school, which all have accessibility ramps, and there is an elevator right beside the main office for wheelchairs.


Hillsdale High School has been recognized nationally for its academic excellence. In 2013, it was ranked 711th in Newsweek's Top 2,000 Public High Schools[15] and 999th nationally by The Washington Post's ranking of "America's Most Challenging High Schools."[16] 98% of Hillsdale graduates go on to college, and 49% attend 4-year colleges.

Hillsdale is notable for its use of a Graduate Profile, which is a set of skills that have been proven to help students beyond high school. The five parts of the Graduate Profile are Communicate, Read, Think, Respect, and Understand and Apply.[17] Important projects from all subjects are labeled "Portfolio Pieces" and they connect to the five parts of the Graduate Profile. The portfolio pieces culminate in a Graduate Profile Defense, which every senior must pass before graduating.[18]

Hillsdale's course choices are tailored to the UC A-G Course Requirements.

Social SciencesEdit

Hillsdale offers AP United States History (APUSH), AP United States Government and Politics (AP Gov), Economics, and Psychology. Economics and CP Gov are half-semester courses.


Hillsdale offers Honors English (11th grade) and AP Literature (12th grade).


Hillsdale offers Algebra 1, Geometry, Integrated Mathematics, Algebra 2, Precalculus, Finite Math, and AP Calculus AB. Students can also take advanced math courses as part of concurrent enrollment with College of San Mateo.


At Hillsdale, all freshmen must enroll in Biology 1, and all students must pass Chemistry 1 before enrolling in AP Science classes. The AP science classes offered are AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, and AP Physics 2.

World LanguagesEdit

Hillsdale offers Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language as its world languages. There are 4 levels of Spanish, including AP Spanish, and 5 levels of Chinese, including Honors and AP Chinese.

Visual and Performing ArtsEdit

Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) classes offered at Hillsdale include Studio Art (including AP Studio Art), Dance, Drama, Music, and Video Production.

Art is divided into Art 1-2, Advanced Art, and AP Studio Art.

Dance is divided into Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. Dance students learn a variety of styles, including ballet, classical, contemporary, and hip-hop. Dance students can join the Dance Ensemble or Dance Team. Every spring, the Dance Ensemble puts on a show called Knight Moves, directed by Sabrina Braccini.

Music students can be enrolled in Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, String Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Women's Choir, or Chamber Singers.

Career and Technical EducationEdit

Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at Hillsdale include Audio Production, Child Development, Intro to Computer Science, AP Computer Science A, and Digital Photography.



2015-2016[2] 1,375 students: 712 male (51.8%), 663 female (48.2%)

White Hispanic Asian Two or More Races Filipino Pacific Islander African American American Indian Not Reported
556 358 212 125 80 20 19 5 0
40.4% 26% 15.4% 9.1% 5.8% 1.5% 1.4% 0.4% 0%

Standardized testingEdit

SAT Scores for 2014–2015[19]
Critical Reading Average Math Average Writing Average
Hillsdale High 524 554 520
District 544 570 544
Statewide 489 500 484
2013 Academic Performance Index
2009 Base API[20] 2013 Growth API[14] Growth in the API from 2009 to 2013
774 818 44


Hillsdale was the birthplace of Broadway by the Bay, a community theater organization originally known as the San Mateo Community Theatre. Beginning in the summer of 1963, high school and college students from throughout the Bay Area gathered at the school to perform in musical productions, presented in the school's Little Theater. The first three productions were Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. In 1966, rehearsals were held at the school for the theater group's first musical comedy, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, which was performed at the College of San Mateo. Beginning in 1967, performances were moved to San Mateo High School's auditorium, where they have been ever since.

The Hillsdale Theatre Department run by drama teacher and director Allison Gamlen who has been keeping traditions alive. Each year there is a fall musical following a spring play. Recent plays include Gypsy (fall 2008), Romeo and Juliet (spring 2009), Urinetown (fall 2009), Laramie Project (spring 2010), Fiddler on the Roof (fall 2010), Princess Bride (spring 2011), Little Shop Of Horrors (fall 2011), A Midsummer Night's Dream (spring 2012), and Cabaret (fall 2012). Those performances were directed by Gamlen, and students have an opportunity to direct one-acts in the late winter where emerging actors have opportunities to act and direct.

The school has an improv team known as the H.I.T. (Hillsdale Improvisational Theatre) Squad, led by Lisa Rowland.[21]


Hillsdale participates in the Peninsula Athletics League (PAL) in the following sports:[22]

Notable alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "School Profile 2011-12: Hillsdale High School". California Department of Education. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Enrollment by Ethnicity for 2015-16: Hillsdale High School". California Department of Education. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Hillsdale Scroll
  4. ^ a b c "Hillsdale High School History".
  5. ^ "Blue Ribbon Schools Program, p.11" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2014.
  6. ^ 2007 Distinguished Middle and High Schools - California Distinguished Schools Program (CA Dept of Education)
  7. ^ "Hillsdale wins state Mock Trial". The Daily Journal. March 23, 2010.
  8. ^ America's Best High Schools 2011 - Newsweek and The Daily Beast
  9. ^ "2016 Recipients - Schools of Opportunity". April 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Measure D: San Mateo Union High School District Bonds For Repair and Renovation - San Mateo County, CA
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Hillsdale High School: About SLCs". September 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "2002 Academic Performance Index (API) Base Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Policy and Evaluation Division.
  14. ^ a b "2013 Growth API School Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Analysis, Measurement, & Accountability Reporting Division.
  15. ^ "America's Best High Schools 2013". Newsweek. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013.
  16. ^ "America's Most Challenging High Schools-National Rankings 2013". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ "Hillsdale High School: Graduate Profile". April 4, 2017.
  18. ^ "Hillsdale High School: About HHS". April 4, 2017.
  19. ^ "SAT Report - 2014-15 District Level Scores". California Department of Education. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "2009 Base API School Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Assessment, Accountability and Awards Division.
  21. ^ "Hillsdale High School: Drama". April 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Peninsula Athletic League". Retrieved December 30, 2009.
  23. ^ Sue Lempert (28 July 2014). "Famous local high school graduates". San Mateo Daily Journal.

External linksEdit