We are a new family at Hill (6th grader) and we are having a very positive experience so far. The transition from elementary school to middle school, not to mention the choice system, can be daunting and stressful, so it has been a relief to get off to a strong and positive start. We are realistic to know that “it is middle school” and that there will be ups and downs, but have been impressed and pleasantly surprised with what we have seen so far.
As we hoped for and expected, we are enjoying the well-rounded traditional programs at Hill, from honors tracks in core subjects to a wide range of electives across the arts and sciences, to after school clubs and sports. The year-long STEM elective is a must and has been the most differentiating part of the year so far.
More than we hoped for, the school is clearly working to set a positive and upbeat tone. The administration has been very responsive, and we have been encouraged to see all the efforts, small and large, traditional and creative, to build a constructive culture across a diverse student body. The PTA has also been very welcoming, and it is great to see people working hard to build a strong and more importantly, caring community. Thank you for all you do.
This is simply a warning to anyone thinking of working at this school for the first time. Basically, all the teachers who want to work in a good, honest, positive environment have left (at least 80% in the past year and a half). The few who are staying are the ones, and there are always a few in every company, who believe that they are favorited and protected by admin for whatever reason. I taught at this school for several years and never would have chosen to leave if it wasn't unbearable to work with the current administration. The students are basically good and, for a DPS middle school, it's a good school. However, the administration is the worst I've ever seen. They are dishonest, demoralizing, ruthless, condescending, and they lack communication and people skills. However, the principal is such a great salesman that you won't believe these things at first. Give it time, however, and you will see what I'm talking about. Heed this warning and try to work somewhere else. Hill is not a good place to be right now.
Please do not accept a job offer from this school, especially if you live out of state. As someone who has done so, I want to caution others against upheaving their lives for what will likely be the most unpleasant experience of your teaching career. The turnover over the last 1.5 years is all the evidence you need.
Hill is a great school! It is by far one of the best traditional middle schools in DPS. The leadership team has great vision and enthusiasm. The entire building staff (not just teachers) truly cares about students and creating an environment that is challenging, nurturing, safe & fun. Change can be challenging for the entire community, and not without it's positives and negatives. Hill has historically been a good school, continues to be a good school, and will be a GREAT school under the new administration.