South Hills High School
At South Hills, we “show what we know” with a strong focus on instruction, school culture, and a thriving participation in extracurricular activities. We provide a relevant, high quality education that inspires our diverse student body to be prepared for college or career opportunities in a global society. Consequently, our staff is committed to providing all students with necessary skills and knowledge to become lifelong learners, effective communicators, and responsible and productive citizens. Our retrofitted campus is located in a suburban community on the eastern fringe of Los Angeles County. With panoramic views from Mount Wilson to Mount Baldy, South Hills High School (SHHS) serves the municipalities of Covina, West Covina, San Dimas, and Walnut. Community housing is mixed in this quiet residential area with mid-ranged priced homes located to the north, high-ranged priced homes to the south, and several subsidized apartment complexes within the school’s boundaries. We are situated in an ideal location with numerous community colleges and public and private universities nearby.
The campus opened in 1964 on thirty-three acres of land in West Covina, California, joining two other comprehensive high schools, and eventually one continuation high school to form Covina-Valley Unified School District (C-VUSD). Collectively, the district serves three middle schools, twelve elementary schools, an adult transition program, a trade tech academy, and Vincent Children’s Center, which houses three programs: Special Education preschool classes, a General Child Care Program, and County Special Education classes. The total student population for C-VUSD is approximately 10,000.
The population of South Hills in 1997-98 was approximately 1,500 students. It surged to over 2,000 students in the 2010-2011 school year. However, over the past six years, SHHS has experienced declining enrollment, but has remained steady at approximately 1,650 students, with close to 500 of those students on permits from other districts. The demographics have completely changed since its inception from predominantly Caucasian to Hispanic, with a representational number of students of African-American and Asian Pacific Rim ethnicities. South Hills currently serves a student body with approximately 66% free and reduced lunch.
The school day consists of seven, 52-minute periods, five days a week. Most content area teachers share a common prep period for additional collaboration time, as well as a teacher prep to plan for class work and planning every day. Twice a month on Tuesdays, our staff has a late start with a modified bell scheduled for an additional 90 minutes of professional development time.
South Hills High School has a well-trained and dedicated staff, with a high teacher retention rate. Of the 79 full-time teachers, all are No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliant and possess English Learner (EL) authorization. A large percentage (82%) of our staff holds a Masters degree. Of the four administrators and three counselors, two hold a Doctoral degree and all others hold a Master’s degree. Out of all our teachers, 87% of the teaching staff is tenured. In addition to our teaching staff, the West-Covina Police Department partners with the District to provide a school resource officer (SRO) on campus, which is vital to maintaining a safe and secure school environment.
Approximately 13% of the teachers are SHHS Alumni and nearly a quarter of the staff has children who have attended, currently attend, or will attend SHHS. Our staff is rooted in South Hills’ tradition. More than 53% of our teachers have taught at South Hills for more than 10 years and 12 of our teachers have taught at South Hills for over twenty-one years. Overall, 67% of our teachers have taught longer than 10 years in the teaching profession. South Hills High School’s staff is comprised of conscientious professionals who have dedicated time to establish and maintain high levels of teaching and learning.
The SHHS Professional Development Program was implemented with the current administration and staff to help build capacity for professional learning and to serve as a catalyst for positive changes to our school and culture. Over the past two years, the program is responsible for creating a unified and focused Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) that is based on our WASC, district and school goals, and aligns targeted and valuable professional development to help meet those goals. At the heart of our SHHS Professional Development Program, is the Instructional Leadership Team. The team is comprised of administrators, elected department chairs, program specialists, and coordinators. Student performance data, survey feedback, and evidence of best practices have helped to create a culture and foundation for sustained growth and improved achievement.