Women’s Athletics Summer Plans with Coach Wade and Coach Francis

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This week, we talk with two of the most enthusiastic, energetic teachers/coaches at Hillcrest High School– Miss Wade and Mrs. Francis. They have organized an exciting Women’s Athletics Summer Strength and Conditioning program. This program will allow any female student or athlete participate for a $75 fee for the entire program.

From the conversation with Mr. Barber and Mr. Salsbery, you will see that these two coaches are ready to put in the time to change the culture and build ALL of our women’s athletic programs. If the picture on this post isn’t enough indication of how much school spirit and pride these two have, take a listen to their approach to this summer program. We are excited to see the results throughout the school year!

Location: Hillcrest High School Weight Room
Dates: M, W, F from 6/3/19-8/9/19 (No training 7/1-7/5)
Time: 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
** 33% of every payment is donated back to each student-athlete’s respective program.

It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!


The “Fab 5” who opened HHS in 1992 share some thoughts…

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Mr. Barber and Mr. Salsbery really enjoyed this morning’s conversation with the remaining teachers at Hillcrest who were on the first staff at HHS. From left to right in the picture, we have: Linda Hostert (PE), Bob Neal (Health), LeAnn Bean (Math), Camille Blackburn (Choir) and Scott Peterson (Social Studies). This incredible group opened up about how HHS became a reality and were candid about how much the education profession means to them. Mr. Barber asked each of them to share what they believe their LEGACY at HHS will be and here is a summary of some of their answers.

Mrs. Blackburn: Shares a story about writing the school song in a day. That tradition will live forever and her picture is still in the library with the words of the song. We appreciate the vast amounts of students who have sung their way through the exceptional choir program she’s built. The HHS school song lyrics are written below:

Go Hillcrest Knights 
Onward on to fame
Boldly fight for glory and our Alma Mater’s name
Go Hillcrest Knights
Ever brave and true
Red, black, and white with courage fight 
Forever we will honor you… 

Mr. Peterson: Winning the 2008 and 2018 state football championships were very special and will forever be a part of our HHS history. But, winning the 2018 championship with his son, Jordan, was very special. He experienced the winning season as teacher, coach, and father. He mentions seeing kids in the community that still recognize him as a legacy as well.

Mrs. Bean: Toward the end of the pod, she states, “I hope my legacy is that kids liked being in my classroom. Even if they didn’t care for the math portion of class, I hope they felt good being in my classroom.”

Mr. Neal: Building the wrestling program and working with those kids from 1992-2012 was an incredible experience. He mentions a couple of times in the pod that he likes “working in the shadows”, but anyone who knows his voice and laugh knows that isn’t entirely true.

Mrs. Hostert: She explains that coaching multiple sports, building the PE department facilities from essentially concrete floors and cinderblock wall into what it is today has been a lasting legacy. She also mentions the creation of the cancer club and the locks of love assembly tradition that will carry on for years to come.

Anyone would tell you that staying positive and always looking for ways to improve is a huge part of becoming a successful teacher. This group of five professionals exemplifies this idea to the highest degree. They genuinely care about the HHS students and create opportunities for everyone around them to shine. Thank you so much Camille, Linda, LeAnn, Bob, and Petey! Committed educators like you make Hillcrest GREAT!

It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Mastery-based Learning and Mr. Miller visiting Sandcreek MS P/T Conferences April 17th

Mr. Salsbery is joined this week by Physical Science teachers Mat Barber and Robert Field. These two amazing, innovative teachers are leading the charge at Hillcrest High School to implement Mastery-based education practices. Throughout this conversation be looking for the following terms defined below with hyperlinks:

Mastery-based Learning: This link presents information about Idaho Mastery Education Network which our legislature is supporting heavily over the last few years.

Columbia High School: This will bring you to their “Personalized Learning” page where they outline their mission and the reasons for implementing mastery-based learning. They are doing INCREDIBLE things! Mr. Miller took a group of HHS staff to visit Columbia and those teachers were blown away by the high levels of learning, collaboration, and success those students demonstrated.

Summit Learning: Check out this information regarding the digital platform Hillcrest High School will start using fall 2019. This is a wonderful site for parents to learn more.


Lastly, we’ll share a TED Talk that outlines the “why” for Mastery-based Learning:

8TH GRADE PARENTS! We are excited to see you at Sandcreek’s P/T Conferences on April 17th from 5:00-9:00 p.m.

As a disclaimer, we understand that this isn’t going to replace traditional education, but we are excited about the opportunities we’ll be able to offer students at Hillcrest High School during their freshman year starting Fall 2019! It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Spring Planning and Improved Communication with Parents


As we recorded this on April 3, 2019, we just wrapped up an interesting morning at the Hillcrest High School Dungeon. Due to a power outage that impacted most of the schools within D93, we cancelled school and sent the students home at 8:45 a.m. We moved our faculty meeting up from what usually occurs at 2:40 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. After Mr. Miller addressed the staff regarding our newly hired district superintendent, Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme’s vision for our collaborative, Professional Learning Community culture, we broke out into small groups to hear presentations from fellow colleagues about instructional practices. Amanda Wade presented good things happening in her math classroom and the impact of students self reporting/tracking their grades. Heath Ferguson and Scott Peterson discussed their collaborative instruction and how they build common formative and common end of unit assessments. And, Mat Barber and Robert Field presented the work they’ve put in to build a self-paced, mastery-based learning environment in their Physical Science classrooms.

As an administrative team, we recognize that we need to be better about getting parents involved and participate in their children’s education. That starts months before a student walks in the door for their first class. We will be available on April 17th to answer questions regarding registration, how schedules are built, and what the process is for solidifying a schedule in the summer/fall. We will also discuss SUMMIT LEARNING which is an online platform that assists students in a mastery-based setting. We will have a team of students working through this model in the fall in their core subjects, in an effort to start small. Information about changes to our FRESHMAN ONLY DAY that will involve parents will be shared as well.

We’ve fielded a lot of calls regarding the process for signing up for classes and people seeking clarification about what occurred during “Class Choice Registration” over the last two weeks. We understand where there could be misunderstandings, so we’ll do the best we can to clarify below:

Step #1: Spring Registration with counselors within a program called “Class Choice” gives us a chance to look at the number of students interested in course offerings at Hillcrest High School.

Step #2: Our administration team, our counseling department, and our department chairs collaborate to create a “Master Schedule”. This has a specific number of sections of classes that will be offered at HHS.

Step #3: Course requests from spring registration are then dropped into the master schedule to see if it works and students are able to view an imperfect schedule. (Hopefully right around the time school is released for summer)

Step #4: In the summer, the Class Choice program will open for parents and students to work together to get as close to an ideal schedule as possible.

Step #5: At summer registration on August 15th and 16th, our administration team, counselors, and student council students will assist families to work through any last minute class changes that need to occur.

As you can see, this is a fairly fluid process that takes time. Please just keep lines of communication open and schedule a meeting with a member of our office team and we will work to alleviate any understandings.

It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Podcast #8: Squire Mentoring Program


Today Ty sits down with four of the freshmen mentors who have volunteered to participate this year. We are calling this program the “Squire Mentoring Program” because our 9th grade Knights need to learn what it’s all about at Hillcrest High School. These upperclassmen are teaching mini-lessons two days a week focusing on social and emotional skills that will assist our freshmen in experiencing success.

Mr. Barber stole this idea from Adlai Stevenson High School in Illinois while visiting in the Spring of 2018. Check out this podcast and webpage to see what the program looks like there.

Some of the strategies and standards for this program are listed under Social Emotional Learning Standards: social_emotional_learning_standards_earlyhs_9-10… we encourage you to check these out as a starting point for what concepts will be taught throughout the year.

We apologize for some of the low sound quality for some of the interview. We are still learning and will fail forward as we progress. It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Podcast #7: Fall Coaches’ Corner (Part 1)


“Part 1” of Fall 2018 Coaches’ Corner features our three of our newest coaches to Hillcrest High School: Amanda Wade- Volleyball, Kevin Meyer- Football, and Jon Manby- Cross Country. When listening to these interviews, it’s easy to see why there is so much positivity and optimism for these programs.

0:00-11:26- Amanda Wade shares her volleyball experience, some things she’s changed this year for a new program/team, and what she most looks forward to this season… improved “volleyball IQ” and “improvement.”

11:26-26:12- Kevin Meyer talks about the summer program, progress with both players and coaching staff, and some philosophical approaches he takes to a football season and new program. As a side note, this was recorded on Thursday, August 22nd, so the Knights played Star Valley HS in the mini-dome in Pocatello and defeated them 42-21 in the opener. Great job Knights!

26:13-end- Jon Manby discusses some of the challenges he’s faced when starting a new program and sharing student-athletes with the new high school that opens in Fall of 2018. Coach Manby brings with him a wealth of experience and passion for the sport and we look forward to seeing how he makes the program his own.

During the first week of school, we’ll sit down with Coach Francis (Girls Soccer), Ryan Ellis (Boys Soccer), Kayla Waters (Cheer) and Dolly Boyer (Knightline). It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Podcast #6: Summer Professional Development with Scott Miller and Gene Smith

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It’s been an amazing, fun, and productive summer for the HHS admin team. This week’s podcast features Scott Miller, principal and Gene Smith, assistant principal at Hillcrest High School.

Scott discusses his experience at the Solution Tree PLC Conference in June. His big takeaway had to do with shared responsibility throughout the entire school. These aren’t “my kids”… these are “OUR KIDS”. It is evident that Scott is a lifelong learner and takes the time to get better through reading, audiobooks, and researching best practices.

Gene talks about his excitement for the foundation the HHS has laid working toward an ideal Professional Learning Community culture and how we will continue improving through answering the 4 Questions of a Positive PLC.

Ty explains some of the things he took away from the D93 Best Practices Institute organized by Jason Lords, as well as snippets from the IASA Conference Breakouts he attended last week in Boise. We were fortunate as an Admin Team to present some things to the D93 teachers about “Avoiding Educator Burnout” and how we stay positive and come to work everyday with energy and enthusiasm.

It’s going to be an exceptional 2018-19 and we look forward to seeing our students and staff in the coming weeks as we get ready for “Freshmen Only Day” on August 27th and the first day of school on August 28th…. It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!