Granite Hills High School was founded in 1999 and is one of four comprehensive and two charter high schools in the Porterville Unified School District that serves the city of Porterville, Calif. Porterville consists of a population of approximately 50,000, along with smaller rural communities in close proximity. It is located between Fresno and Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley and mainly consists of manufacturing and agricultural businesses.
Porterville contains a population of about 12.3% of unemployment as of November 2011. The average household income is roughly $32,046 and 40 percent of families make less than $25,000 annually. The parents’ educational level: 51 percent did not graduate high school, 17.6 percent have high school diplomas, 14.9 percent have some college, 7.4 percent have a BA or higher and 9.1 percent declined to respond. The graduation rate of the 2009-2010 school year at Granite Hills was 85 percent.
About 87.7 percent of students qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Granite Hills’ once high enrollment of 1,479 students has reduced to the current 1,060. This decrease is partly in response to the opening of Harmony Charter Academy in Strathmore and the availability of intra-district transfers.
The current ethnic makeup is 76 percent Hispanic, 18 percent White, 2 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 1 percent Filipino, 1.4 percent Asian, and 1 percent African-American.
Granite Hills continues to focus on quality educational programs for all students through a wide range of academic offerings. In the past few years, the PUSD was awarded a grant from the Irvine Foundation. This grant funds the development of student pathways in the PUSD. ConnectEd, specifically at Granite Hills, drives the development of the Digital Design and the Law, Justice and Education academies. Course offerings for the DDC pathway include: Principles of Information Technology, Digital Video, Graphic Design, GTV Video Production, The Grizzly Gazette Web-Based Newspaper, Photography, Digital Magazine, Computer Animation, and Web Design. Course offerings for the LJE pathway include: Introduction to Law, Justice and Education, Freshmen Seminar, Foundations in Law, Criminal Justice, Criminal Psychology, Forensics, Foundations in Education, Child Development/Psychology, Careers in Education, Mock Trial, and Public Safety.
The PUSD does have a high school publication review policy, which includes the principal’s right to preview any article that is deemed inappropriate; however, the Tulare County Counsel has stated that high school journalists are given the same 1st Amendment rights as adult journalists.