Hillside Elementary has been honored with the Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award by the State Board of Education for its work to raise achievement among students who traditionally face challenges in the classroom. Each year, the award recognizes successful efforts to eliminate gaps in achievement among students.
Hillside Elementary was recognized for its work with English language learners (ELL), noting that the proficiency rate for Hillside’s ELL students is 70 percent in reading and math. That compares to a statewide average of 49 percent for the same group of students.
I believe this award is reflective of the hard work all of the Hillside teachers conduct with our children daily,” said Principal Dr. Robert Davis. “Our staff strives to help our students acquire a deep understanding of how the English language works.”
At Hillside, teachers are data driven. They set monthly achievement goals for all students. Then, they progress monitor every child to ensure students make the necessary growth to be proficient in reading, writing and mathematics.
“It is our teachers’ relentless focus on making sure all of our students are achieving high standards every day that has made the difference with our English Language Learners,” added Dr. Davis.
This year’s award-winners were recognized for having the highest proficiency rates statewide in math and reading among a specific subgroup of students, such as students who do not speak English as their native language and students from low-income backgrounds. State assessment data from five years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school. Interviews with school principals revealed a common thread between the honored schools: the use of evidence-based practices, a staff-wide commitment, high expectations and substantial teacher collaboration.