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

Episode 7 Picture

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!

Episode #5: Fine Arts Collaboration


In Episode #5, we were joined by Adrian McCracken (Drama teacher/Dept. Chair), Camille Blackburn (Choir Teacher), and not pictured, Richard Landauer (Band Teacher). This conversation was incredible not only to hear about the unique, collaborative culture they’ve created within their department, but also for the insight they share about how much benefit comes from team teaching. During the third trimester, they created a “Productions” class where all the components of a great theatre production come together as one unified group to create something special. Mr. McCracken would work with the theater group and direct, Mrs. Blackburn would work with the chorus and soloists, and Mr. Landauer would coach up the pit orchestra, this year consisting of both stringed instruments and the band members. Mentions of the art teachers chipping in and contributing to the spring musical as well.

The relationship and bond between these educators is truly special. Hillcrest High School is lucky to have their professionalism and experience!

Mr. Barber brings up standards based grading in the arts and how he has brainstormed with Mr. Landauer throughout the year to create rubrics for continuous improvement. Mr. Landauer has also found ways to use both YouTube and Google Classroom for auditions and formative assessments, so he isn’t using class time with individuals as much and is more efficient.

Mr. Salsbery gives a shout out to Isaac Child and Ethan Hatch for their work as student body president and vice president. Mr. Barber shares his experiences watching the enthusiasm his freshmen students had while presenting their Rube Goldberg Machines last week.

It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!


Episode #4: Scott Barr and CB Nelson walk down memory lane


This episode is very special and was a blast to record. Mat and Ty both feel very strongly about the two guests today and their contributions to HHS. Scott Barr was able to open HHS in 1992 and has been a career educator and coach. Throughout the conversation, Coach Barr discusses the changes he’s experienced while at HHS and his plans for the future in his retirement years. The explanation of how far our baseball facilities have come under his leadership are amazing. The stories from the evolution of the weight room facilities was also really fun to hear.

CB Nelson spent many of his years at HHS coaching with Coach Barr and their strong relationship is evident throughout the discussion. CB has the unique opportunity of opening up a new school (Thunder Ridge) in the fall. In the podcast, he discusses the challenges he had while trying to order all of the materials for a new facility and members of the science department at the new school. CB has coach ed a variety of sports and has also impacted several kids through his instruction of upper level science classes and AP Physics. He will be missed and Mat and Ty feel happy to have had the opportunity to work so closely with him for the last 6-10 years.

Episode #3: Standards Based Grading, Mastery Based Learning, and Problem Based Learning at TRHS


Mat Barber and Craig Miller join Ty this week to discuss how things are progressing with the HHS Physical Science implementation of Standards Based Grading and “genius hour” and also the plans for “Problem Based Learning” at the new high school, Thunder Ridge.

This was a great conversation and is hopefully valuable as different schools and districts grapple with the decisions on what will be best for their situation. We’ve added the working definitions for all of the terms discussed in the pod below:

CTE: Career and Technical Education

Mastery Based Learning
— The link above is taken directly from the Idaho State Department of Education and viewers can access the schools participating and other items related to Mastery Based Learning. Rocky Mountain Middle School within D93 is featured on the page.

Standards Based Grading is a practice several members of the HHS staff are experimenting with. As we mention throughout the pod, there are no silver bullets, but rather best practices we must implement to continually improve and move forward as an organization.

This conversation regarding instructional practices and assessment is constant within our Professional Learning Communities throughout D93.

Great things happening… Chase Beckman is settling in as an involved, enthusiastic member of the HHS team. Julie Tillitt is stepping up into more of a leadership role not only sharing quality practices with her department, but the rest of the staff as well by serving as the new Professional Development Focus Team Leader. Skylar Lubbers, a senior at HHS is recognized by Mr. Miller as a kid he regards in high esteem for his perseverance, attitude, and overcoming obstacles.

It’s a GREAT day to be a KNIGHT!

Episode #2: Teacher Appreciation Week

Scott and Ty discuss the fun activities our HHS counseling department has in store for the staff for May 7-11 during Teacher Appreciation Week. We also discuss why we decided on careers in education.

We are excited to send five of our teachers to AP- College Board Training this summer in Math, English, and Physics areas of study. We also discuss the personal professional development opportunities we each have individually and/or through district training during the summer. The “D93 Best Practices Institute” on July 30/31 is something we are looking forward to. It’s always fun and meaningful when you can learn from those in the same town and bounce ideas off one another.

Scott discusses the impact a current book he’s reading is making on his outlook on relationships within the building… Heart: Fully Forming your Professional Life as a Teacher and Leader by Tim Kanold.

Ty talks about a book called The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. Ty would recommend this book to anyone looking for a positive perspective on life and how to approach every day. Ty’s shared the book with several people at HHS and the conversations based on the book have been amazing.

Good things happening: More teachers are going paperless through the use of Google Classroom. We will continually provide training for this, but staff members who do it well and with consistency are implementing some very neat instructional practices. Fine Arts collaboration in the production of “Annie Get Your Gun” was incredible.

Staff Celebration: Coaches Dave Austin and Alan Sargent for their time in the gym building their programs in the off season. Linda Atwood for taking on the role of National Honor Society advisor.

** The audio isn’t great. We are working through some things and trying to improve the quality, but we’ll keep “failing forward” and get better every time! Go Knights!