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The Story

The Story of The Academy of Innovation

The Helen Hunt Jackson Independent Study program was established in 1976 in the district as an independent study alternative available to various students at their comprehensive high school sites.  In 1990 Helen Hunt Jackson Alternative School was founded and shared a site with Hemet Adult School and Alessandro Continuation High School.  One principal managed all three alternative programs.  Over the next several years, Helen Hunt Jackson moved to various school facilities but began operating with its own principal in the fall of 2004.


In 2013, Helen Hunt Jackson moved to its current location on Dartmouth Avenue.  College Prep High School (a district charter program) was not renewed and the Governing Board elected to merge the program with Helen Hunt Jackson, providing seat-based and independent study options for students. The combined program, along with the merging of the district ACE online instructional program, would provide a hybrid or combination-class schedule to fit student/family needs.  


In early 2020, school administration was tasked with redesigning what is now The Academy of Innovation. Part of the redesign process was ensuring the inclusion of traditional, seat-based, and fully online learning models. As part of each model, students would have access to the same high-quality instruction, project-based opportunities, community/service learning opportunities, and rigorous, A-G aligned coursework that would allow students to be prepared for college and/or career. The proposed changes to the school were adopted by the Governing Board in June of 2020. The determination of whether or not The Academy of Innovation will offer fully online instruction after the 2020-2021 school year has not been made at this time. 


Despite these brief setbacks, enrollment at The Academy of Innovation grew substantially for the 2020-21 school year. With the pandemic, most schools in California began operating from an entirely virtual platform. Many families in Hemet Unified selected The Academy of Innovation for the 2020-21 school year as their option to remain in an online setting all year-even if the other district sites return to in-person instruction. Starting in 2021-2022, The Academy will be offering the district’s online learning option for the district to families wishing to continue their students’ education in this format. 


According to the California Department of Education Data Reporting Office, The Academy of Innovation has graduated over 2,200 graduates over the last 29 years, proudly celebrating with families and friends the accomplishments of these students.