HHS enters its 125th school year, major new offerings highlight Dr. Emily Shaw’s tenure
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
Any institution that can lay claim to over a century of work should be proud to wear its name badge. This holds true for Hemet High School, established in 1894 and entering its 125th school year this week.
For Principal Emily Shaw, who is entering her ninth year as the Bulldogs’ top leader, the 2018-19 school year is poised to be another historic year.
What is Shaw’s overall goal for the new school year? “We’re trying to offer students multiple opportunities to be prepared for college and career. So we believe that all students should have the opportunity, when they exit Hemet High School and Hemet Unified School District, to have choices when they leave to be college- or career-ready. One of those things is to be an A-G graduate, which means that they meet all of the criteria set forth by the State of California.” Those include core classes, enrichment courses, electives and so on. Part of that is adding specialized courses which reflect the needs of our changing world and the workforce which drives it.
Among Hemet’s newest offerings for the school year include a Cybersecurity course, which Shaw says she’s very excited about. “It’s a growing industry. It’s an in-demand field. We’re preparing students for in-demand opportunities. We’re currently looking at internship opportunities in that area as well!”
Hemet High has also been selected as one of only about 100 schools in California and 1,000 throughout the USA to offer AP Capstone and AP Seminar; collegeboard.org says that AP Seminar is designed to cultivate curious, independent, and collaborative scholars and prepare them to make logical, evidence-based decisions. “This year, we’ll be rolling out AP Seminar and AP Capstone. So students who complete a certain number of AP courses and then during their junior and senior year take AP Seminar and then AP Capstone will be eligible to earn an AP Diploma.”
The AP Diploma, like the similar International Baccalaureate diploma program, is just one of several advanced diploma programs available at valley high schools.
Hemet High is also one of six schools in the Hemet Unified School District to receive the Gear-Up grant. “It’s a six year grant that will allow us to focus on improving instructional practice in the area of English Language Arts and Math. And so we’ll be working with the University of California and Riverside County Office of Education work on improving, ultimately, student outcomes in the area of English and Math.”
The other recipient schools are Dartmouth, Rancho Viejo, Tahquitz, Hamilton K-8 and Hamilton High.
For Shaw, the longest-tenured principal in the district, being principal isn’t a means of upward mobility but rather her commitment to the Bulldogs. This comes in sharp contrast to shuffling of principals at other Hemet sites. Shaw says of this “I’ve made a commitment to the kids.”
One project that is on top on Shaw’s to-do list is starting an American Sign Language course: “We currently offer French and we currently offer Spanish, and so to provide students another opportunity, we wanted to bring in sign language.”
So what’s stopping the class from starting? No teacher. “That is still true and correct! The position is still being flown and the pool is… limited, shall we say.”
Aside from obviously knowing the language and being able to teach it, Shaw wants nothing more than a teacher who can form positive, lasting relationships with students. “Somebody that wants to connect with kids, to show every day that they care, that they want the kids to be in their classroom and that they care about their students.”
If you’re fluent in ASL and are able to meet the qualifications to become a teacher, please call Hemet High at 951-765-5150 and ask about the ASL position. Or email Shaw directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.