Hillsdale High School (San Mateo, California)

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Hillsdale High School
Hillsdale High School Logo.jpg
3115 Del Monte Street
San Mateo, California 94403
United States
Coordinates 37°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
Type Public Secondary
Established 1955
Principal Jeff Gilbert
Faculty 77[1]
Number of students 1,375 (2015-2016)[2]
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Columbia Blue, Scarlet Red
Mascot Fighting Knight
Rival Aragon High School

Hillsdale High School is a public 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. Feeder schools include Abbott, Borel, Bowditch, and Bayside middle schools.


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[8] in 2000 and Measure M in 2006,[9] 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 six SLCs, also known as "Houses," each of which are named after important historical cities: Florence, Kyoto, and Marrakech in the 9th and 10th grades, and Cusco, Jakarta, and Timbuktu in the 11th and 12th grades.[10] The Houses are designed to be individual small schools of 200-280 students each.[11] 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[12] to 818 in 2012-13,[13] exceeding the statewide API performance target of 800 for all schools.

In 2008, Hillsdale put in new batting cages for the boys baseball and girls 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 [Big (Homer P. Zugelder) and Small], and two theaters [Little Theater and Auditorium]. There are three levels of the high school, which all have accessibility ramps, and an elevator is right beside the main office.

Academic reputation[edit]

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[14] and 999th nationally by The Washington Post's ranking of "America's Most Challenging High Schools."[15]



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 testing[edit]

SAT Scores for 2014–2015[16]
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[17] 2013 Growth API[13] 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.

At the school today there is a 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 a one-act 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. More info can be found at http://www.hhs.schoolloop.com/drama

Student life[edit]

There are many extracurricular activities. The school has a variety of clubs which are all student run and very active. Clubs include:

  • Art Club
  • Black Student Union
  • Boost Confidence Club
  • Cake and Discussion Club
  • Christian Crew
  • CSF Club
  • Culinary Club
  • Drama Club
  • Engineering Club
  • Environment Club
  • Ethics Club
  • ESports Club
  • Equality Club
  • Filipino Club
  • Gaming Club
  • The Hillsdale Effect
  • Improv Club
  • Jam Club
  • Kendama Club
  • Knoisy Knights
  • Latinos Unidos Club
  • Leo Club
  • Magic Club
  • Math Club
  • Mock Trial Team
  • Middle Eastern Club
  • Minecraft Club
  • Manga Club
  • Quiz Kids
  • Red Cross Club
  • Science Club
  • Science Bowl
  • SCORE Club
  • Yu-Gi-Oh Club

Along with clubs is an array of sports. Hillsdale participates in the Peninsula Athletics League (PAL) in the following sports:[18]

Hillsdale has a competitive Spirit Squad (tryouts in May of the previous year).

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Nick Vanos (d. 1987), former NBA player with the Phoenix Suns.
  • Billy Hardwick, Bowling Hall of Fame.
  • Valerie Fleming, Olympic Silver Medalist and World Cup Champion bobsledder.
  • John Holdren, scientist who is director of the White House Office Science and Technology Policy and a co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.[19]
  • Thomas Schumacher, theatrical producer.
  • Karen Kraft, two-time Olympic Medalist in women's rowing.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c "Hillsdale High School History". 
  4. ^ "Blue Ribbon Schools Program, p.11" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ 2007 Distinguished Middle and High Schools - California Distinguished Schools Program (CA Dept of Education)
  6. ^ "Hillsdale wins state Mock Trial". The Daily Journal. March 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ America's Best High Schools 2011 - Newsweek and The Daily Beast
  8. ^ Measure D: San Mateo Union High School District Bonds For Repair and Renovation - San Mateo County, CA
  9. ^ http://smuhsd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1220710917877/1219362004947/4309626863391656666.pdf
  10. ^ "Hillsdale High School: About SLCs". hhs.schoolloop.com. Retrieved 2016-09-18. 
  11. ^ Hillsdale High School: About SLCs
  12. ^ "2002 Academic Performance Index (API) Base Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Policy and Evaluation Division. 
  13. ^ a b "2013 Growth API School Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Analysis, Measurement, & Accountability Reporting Division. 
  14. ^ "America's Best High Schools 2013". Newsweek. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ "America's Most Challenging High Schools-National Rankings 2013". The Washington Post. 
  16. ^ "SAT Report - 2014-15 District Level Scores". California Department of Education. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  17. ^ "2009 Base API School Report - Hillsdale High". California Department of Education Assessment, Accountability and Awards Division. 
  18. ^ "Peninsula Athletic League". Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  19. ^ Sue Lempert (28 July 2014). "Famous local high school graduates". San Mateo Daily Journal. 

External links[edit]