It’s been too long since we’ve made the time to chat with a group within our HHS community and review some wonderful things happening. Obviously the 2020-21 school season has been challenging. Different groups around the building have been racking their brain to provide meaningful experiences for our students. Over the course of the last month, our wonderful counseling team has developed a regional activity call Random Acts of Kindness week or #RAKweek. They’ve encouraged different groups within the HHS community to rally around one another to share kindness with others. They extended the invitation to other schools from around Region 6 to participate as well. They spent time at Firth middle/high school, Blackfoot, Skyline, and Idaho Falls high schools. Our social media was flooded with kids and community members doing nice things for one another.
The community sponsorships from a variety of business and individuals was incredible! We are so fortunate to live in such a wonderful community!
We are excited to present our first podcast of the year! We believe it is important to share our successes, and more importantly, our challenges with our Hillcrest School Community. This year will not be easy. But, in sharing our message with the community, we hope to inform and entertain parents and patrons with what is happening at Hillcrest.
During this episode, we start with Demik’s perspective on what challenges have come with StuCo trying to develop school spirit and striving to keep our students and faculty safe. He also discusses the activities that have been able to still take place (i.e. the game, PowderPuff, the parade, and spirit days). The Homecoming Dance has been moved to Friday, November 20th. The student council worked with our D93 Safety Committee to make this a reality.
Mr. Miller discusses the appreciation for families who are making the choice to keep their students home when they do not feel well and also shares some kudos for students masking up. It really will take a total team effort to continue providing a wonderful experience for all Hillcrest Students.
Mr. Salsbery and Mr. Miller discuss the challenges with restricting tickets for HHS activities and the extra duties that entails for our office staff and Wendy Johnson, our activities director.
Mr. Miller and Jamie Hansen, our senior class president, have developed a plan for a graduation we can be proud of. There are a couple things everyone needs to be aware of within the first five minutes of this conversation. Please take the time to listen to this portion of the audio conversation.
The school year did not close out like any of us could have ever imagined. However, the admin team still would like to take some time to share the successes of the Hillcrest family. We are confident in saying that every day something great happens in our classrooms at Hillcrest. Our staff continues to grow the positive culture based on the four pillars of D93: Integrity, Positivity, Teamwork, and Literacy and Learning.
Throughout the year, we encourage every staff member to choose a word that drives their goals. This activity stems from the Jon Gordon book called One Word that will change your Life. Miller: Elevate, Mills: Design, and Salsbery: Elite.
Highlights from celebrating great things…
Miller: The Hillcrest environment and teacher retention. We had 6 of the 7 new staff members in the building stay for year #2! Staff have embraced distance learning and will continue implementing technology they’ve learned and used during this challenging time.
Mills: Overall behavior at extracurricular events from students and parents. Some of Hillcrest’s smaller departments continue working across the district to find best practices. The numbers for enrollment in classes continues to improve in CTE, Fine Arts, and PE.
Salsbery: Student Council presentations at regional and state conferences. Our Hillcrest community is positive on social media platforms. We appreciate the lack of “trolling” that occurs on our platforms. The office staff created different “Forced Family Fun” activities for our staff with meals, book studies, and teacher appreciation.
This week we are focusing on one of the four pillars to D93 Culture: Literacy and Learning. Scott Peterson and Suzie Daley both teach general education social studies classes with additional sections of Advanced Placement and Dual Credit classes. There are a few items of interest the HHS community will find beneficial, such as: what is the difference between an AP course and a Dual credit course from the college admissions office? And, what additional work do teachers need to complete to qualify to teach these courses.
We are working hard as a school community to offer college level courses in all of our departments. We encourage students to take at least one during their high school career to experience the rigor, but still have the small class and support at Hillcrest High School.
If you have questions about whether or not your student should take these courses, please contact our counseling office or talk with an administrator. 208.525.4429
This week Mr. Miller and Mr. Salsbery sit down for a quick, 8-minute conversation regarding the facilities plan Mr. Miller presented to the school board during their work session on Wednesday, January 22nd. The District Leadership commended Mr. Miller for his work to generate interest in improving the Hillcrest facilities without asking for general taxpayer dollars. The business owners and community volunteers are working with the Hillcrest staff to find resources and solutions that will improve the interior and exterior quality of the campus.
The picture above is the front entrance to the building referenced in the podcast. The furniture was added a year ago. You can also see the carpet that covers the floor throughout the building. The picture below shows the blemishes on the brick walls the staff would work to cover with new wraps and wall coverings.
Please take a listen and if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to be part of these projects, please contact Scott Miller at Hillcrest High School 208.525.4429 or email@example.com.
This week Lindy Sommer, instructor for our FLITTE 2 program, sits down with Mr. Mills and Mr. Salsbery to discuss the great things happening for students who qualify for our 18-21 year old program. The special education students who meet the entrance requirements are working on life skills that will propel them forward after leaving the program.
FLITTE stands for Fostering Learning Independence Through Transitional Experiences. The FLITTE 1 program started a few years ago and the students in that program are working on job skills and training. They work within the district, but also work through job coaching in the community. The students in Hillcrest’s FLITTE 2 program stay at Hillcrest and attend a couple of classes in the building. “The staff and administration at Hillcrest have been supportive of this program. It continues to get better each trimester,” Special Services Director Julian Duffey.
We are extremely proud of the direction Lindy and her team are taking this program. We are grateful for the support of Julian Duffey and Rex Miller in D93’s Special Services/Federal Programs departments. Without their guidance and encouragement to develop student success by design for this population, we would not be where we are today. Heather Gerard’s work in the FLITTE 1 program that built the momentum for FLITTE 2 is also very much appreciated!
Here are a few pictures of the positive classroom environment Lindy and her team create…
This week Mr. Mills and Mr. Salsbery sit down to recap some things they are grateful for as assistant principals at Hillcrest and highlight some upcoming events in the last five months of the school season they are looking forward to.
Mr. Mills: Appreciates the work our staff does EVERY day. Our teachers work extremely hard in their professional collaboration and work to collectively improve every trimester. He’s looking forward to understanding everything that goes into creating a master schedule that fits the needs of all of our students and staff. He also mentioned the professional development opportunities he and Mr. Miller will attend for the development of our freshman program “THE REALM”.
Mr. Salsbery: Is grateful for the emphasis and commitment of our District Leadership to the PLC process. Having the Solution Tree group come to D93 this summer to kick off the school year has made a HUGE impact. He’s looking forward to staying in the moment with the people at Hillcrest this school season.
As they talked, the conversation came to strategies for goal setting and new year’s resolutions. They strongly believe in the author Jon Gordon /Buzz Williams (basketball coach at Texas A &M) philosophy of choosing ONE WORD. It’s been a game changer for the office staff and teacher discussions. Check out the links above to learn more about this process and how it works. Try it with your students or other family members!
Mr. Mills and Mr. Salsbery feel so fortunate to serve the community as administrators. They wish everyone a relaxing holiday season filled with carefree timelessness with friends and family!
This week Mr. Salsbery and Mr. Mills talk with our HOPE Squad advisor, Anna Goodson and some of the students in this year’s HOPE Squad class. This week is our fall “HOPE WEEK” to bring awareness to our HOPE Squad and what they do for HHS.
This is Hillcrest High School’s third year with a class and we’ve seen incredible things from these kids. They work as a team to be the eyes and ears for the school for kids who may be struggling with mental health or contemplating suicide. The curriculum for the program was developed in Utah in a school that experienced a devastating amount of completed suicide over several years.
We are proud to be a part of School District 93’s commitment to this program. D93 was the first school district in Idaho to implement this program. Please click on the links within these notes about the episode to learn more about HOPE squads and their impact on schools in Utah and Idaho.
This week Mr. Salsbery and Mr. Mills have a wonderful conversation with Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme. During his short tenure as superintendent of School District #93, Dr. Woolstenhulme has put an emphasis on the four pillars of D93 culture: Integrity, Teamwork, Literacy and Learning, and Positivity. Each month he’s asked schools to try and incorporate the pillar of the month in the classroom. Hillcrest has been featuring students who practice the pillar regularly to share their thoughts on our various social media platforms. We hope to educate and involve the community on the direction of our culture. When you see videos or hear about the word of the month, please have a discussion at home or in the car with your students about the pillar word of the month.
Dr. Woolstenhulme served as an assistant principal for five years in the early 2000s at Hillcrest High School and now has his own children attending Hillcrest. We are excited for you to listen to this 8-minute discussion and hope you enjoy it!
This week Mr. Salsbery catches up with five freshmen students who participate in our mastery based learning program called “The Realm”. Mr. Barber, one of their core teachers, discusses the reasons for implementing this unique mastery-based program at Hillcrest High School.
During the conversation, you will hear students share their experiences in developing their own daily learning goals and how that process has impacted their learning. They also discuss the ownership they have for working through the 12 Idaho Skill Competencies established by the Idaho Mastery Education Network’s work in providing a framework for Mastery Education in Idaho.
The administration at Hillcrest High School is pleased with the hard work and dedication our core teachers have put into The Realm. Mr. Barber, Mrs. McCracken, Miss Nalazek, and Mr. Webb continue to refine and improve the program through common collaboration and planning. They’ve attended several training sessions for Mastery Based instruction and recently were active participants in the Idaho Mastery Education Network’s state meeting in Boise. The Summit Learning team has visited The Realm and provided a lot of positive feedback to the group as well.
As with any new or unique program, we understand there will be an implementation gap in how successfully things are rolled out to students and parents. But, we would also like to recognize our students and parents for their support and willingness to communicate as we move forward with this style of instruction at Hillcrest High School!