Highland provides technology-based instruction across the curriculum. Highland just completed its sixth year of a full six year term of accreditation and will be visited this year. Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors classes are offered for juniors and seniors in English, calculus, statistics, math analysis, advanced algebra, Spanish, U.S. History, government/economics, chemistry, and physics. The school offers a strong college preparatory program which includes four years of English, five years of mathematics through calculus, four years of Spanish and French, three years of social studies including world civilizations, U.S. history, U.S. government, and economics, and three years of science chosen from biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics.
Approximately 10 percent of Highland's graduates go directly to a four-year college or university with an additional 40 percent attending community and technical colleges. The fine arts department provides a wide variety of enrichment courses including orchestra, intermediate and advanced band (Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble), five choirs, beginning, intermediate, and advanced arts/crafts, and beginning and advanced drama. Forensics (public speaking) and journalism/ publications are taught through the English department. Students are highly encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities and in athletics. Highland provides more than 30 clubs and 32 athletic teams. Highland has a very strong Academic Decathlon team which typically places in the top five teams each year in the county competition and a highly competitive Science Bowl team that has won the regional competition and represented the region in the national competition several times. Highland's athletic teams are competitive. Highland's students are very active in community service, typically among the top schools in the highest percentage of eligible donors giving blood.
Highland High School, located in the northeast part of Bakersfield, serves a multi-cultural population of more than 2,000 students drawn from three distinct eastside neighborhoods, two of which are uniquely "island" areas outside the immediate school neighborhood from which Highland draws approximately 53% of its students. Career-technical education courses that are offered at the school include agriculture, computer applications and CAD/drafting. The CAD/drafting classes focus on architectural design, qualify for UC fine arts credit, and are articulated with Bakersfield College. Highland's drafting students compete each year in the California State Fair; the 2006 competition resulted in 8 student ribbons won and another 7 Honorable Mention awards given. Highland's agriculture program is outstanding and produced the state science project winner who will be one of eight semi-finalists who will present their projects at the national Future Farmers of America Conference in October. Highland's music programs are well-known throughout the county and state.