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Hillsdale High School History


First opened to students in 1955, Hillsdale High School is a four-year high school serving students largely from the cities of San Mateo and Foster City.  One of seven high schools in the San Mateo Union High School District, Hillsdale is a Title I school with approximately 1200 students from very diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The Hillsdale community is situated in an ideal location at the center of the San Francisco Peninsula, midway between San Francisco and San Jose.  

Significant Events:

  • 1955- As the winner of the American Institute of Architect’s School Design award, Hillsdale was the prototype for school buildings in the Bay Area. The campus features indoor/outdoor passages, landscaped courtyards lined with students’ lockers and classrooms brightened by skylights.
  • 1987- Hillsdale was selected as the California Distinguished School nominee for San Mateo County.
  • 1990- Hillsdale received the “Best of San Mateo County” award from the San Mateo Times.
  • 1993- The U.S. Department of Education recognized Hillsdale as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, one of only 260 in the United States.
  • 1999- Hillsdale was approved by the State Board of Education to become a Digital High School.
  • 2000- A bond measure was passed to update and renovate the HHS facilities.
  • 2001- Hillsdale became Stanford University’s School of Education’s first Professional Development School.
  • 2002- The U.S. Department of Education awarded Hillsdale a $500,000 Smaller Learning Communities Planning Grant.
  • 2005- Hillsdale was chosen as one of four ‘showcase’ schools for the Stanford School Redesign Network’s “Windows on Conversion” school reform package.
  • 2006- A second bond measure was passed to continue the updates begun in 2002.
  • 2007- Hillsdale was designated as a California Distinguished School.  Also received an additional $1.1 million grant to continue their development of Smaller Learning Communities
  • 2008- Establishment of the Hillsdale High School Foundation, the goal of which is to support the ongoing success of Hillsdale High School and its community.
  • 2016- Hillsdale becomes one of 20 schools from across the nation recognized as a "School of Opportunity" by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). The Schools of Opportunity project celebrates and identifies excellent public high schools that work to close gaps in both opportunity and achievement.


Hillsdale takes pride in these recognitions and in our tradition of creating an environment that welcomes and challenges every person to learn and grow. Maintaining this environment requires a strong commitment from students, parents, and teachers to work closely in an effort to create a true educational community. Supporting these traditions is the philosophy that all students can and will be successful learners in a school which holds high standards of expectations; maintains a positive school climate free from unnecessary distractions; and provides a closed campus environment which is safe, orderly, and attractive.

Ninety-eight percent of the students at Hillsdale plan to continue on to higher education upon graduation; forty nine percent attend four-year colleges. Over the past ten years there has been at least one National Merit Scholarship finalist. The graduating class of 2007 earned scholarships and awards with a four-year value of nearly $2.6 million.

The faculty and administrative staff are highly qualified professionals with over eighty percent holding master degrees in their field. Hillsdale High School is committed to ongoing professional training, much of it in partnership with Stanford University.

While proud of our traditions, Hillsdale is also a school that seeks new ways to help all students embrace the knowledge and skills needed to adapt and thrive in a world of change. Hillsdale pursues the application of computers and technology throughout the curriculum and encourages students to focus their future plans. Hillsdale additionally offers a broad range of Advanced Placement courses along with a strong elective program in fine, performing, visual and industrial arts.

Hillsdale High School continues to represent the best of public school education.