About Hillsdale High School
From its inception, Hillsdale has been committed to providing an environment that welcomes and challenges every person, students and staff alike, to learn and grow. Hillsdale has undergone major changes over the past decade as its staff strives to increase achievement and equity for all of its students.
With the assistance of a $500,000 Small Learning Community (SLC) implementation grant in 2003 and a second $1.1 million grant in 2007 to further our work, Hillsdale has become a national model for comprehensive high school reform. Teams of four core academic teachers at the 9th and 10th grades share groups of approximately 110 students and continue teaching and supporting these students for at least their first two years. Similarly, teams of two to four core teachers share students in the 11th and 12th grades. Each core teacher also serves as an advisor to approximately 28 of the students enrolled in his or her house.
Following in the spirit of our Graduate Profile and the school’s vision of high achievement for all students, rigor and relevance play a key role in the development of curriculum and instruction at Hillsdale. In 1997, Hillsdale began a Senior Exhibition program that requires all seniors to define an essential question, write a 15+ page thesis, and defend the thesis to a panel of graders. The Senior Exhibition has been a catalyst for change in other curricular areas, including a junior project, the American Promise, as well as school-wide interdisciplinary projects at the 9th and 10th grade levels. Integrated, differentiated, rubric-based curriculum is now the norm in most subject areas.
With the development of so many academically rich, rigorous, and relevant projects, Hillsdale staff spent the past several years reworking the Senior Exhibition into a comprehensive Senior Exit Portfolio, which brings together all of the work students have done over their four years of high school. Completion of the Senior Exit Portfolio and defense as well as a Senior Mastery Project (a modified Senior Exhibition) is now required for graduation from Hillsdale High School.
Given Hillsdale's goal of continuous improvement, focus on Graduate Profile skills, and dedication to the cornerstones of Equity, Rigor, Personalization, and Shared Decision Making, we believe our students will be extremely well prepared to enter the 21st century adult world.