We have a daughter that is now a 7th grader and was 6th grader last year. Overall, we have been very satisfied with the entire experience. There is currently a strong desire to improvement the school and the current principal and teachers are clearly trying to motivate the students and engage them in many activities. We have really been impressed with the STEM courses. The Honors track has been solid and the theater program has been fun too. All around, we are pleasantly surprised. Clearly, ratings and scores don't give the whole picture as this school has a lot of potential.
We are a new family to Hill with a 6th grade student. Despite much trepidation about transitioning to middle school, things have gone far better than expected because of the passion and dedication of the teachers and administration at Hill. We have been impressed by the combination of structure and care and concern and the quality of teaching.
My son is just finishing his 3rd week of 6th grade at Hill and thus far our family is beyond thrilled! Our son comes home each day excited about what he's learning in class, his teachers, the new friends he's made and basically his whole day! The communication from the administration has been great - quick response to emails, weekly newsletters, monthly meetings for parents with the principal.... Our family researched and visited several different middle schools and ended up choosing Hill. At this point, I'm very happy with our decision.
My kid has faced several encounters of bullying and slight harassment from faculty. My kid complains about many behavior issues and poor treatment. While Hill certainly isn't the worst school, I would not rate it as great.
We have been blown away by the quality of teaching at Hill -- intelligence, level of commitment, how they challenge students and how each of them, in their own unique ways, make learning fun.
Specifically we like:
- Accountability (Our son has had to have late homework signed by parents and administration).
- Students have the opportunity to improve quiz or homework grades since the real point is *learning* the material.
- Teachers make themselves available for students to get extra help, though they require students to take the initiative to come see them.
- Teachers go the extra mile to make students feel special, respected and connected. (i.e. our son recently redeemed some Ms. Howard's "Howie bucks" for a Chipotle lunch with her.)
Other things we like about Hill:
- Class groupings - The same group of students make up all of my son's core classes. This "shrinks" the size of the school and has helped him make friends quickly.
- Mindfulness with Mr. Kavanaugh - This seems like a great way to regroup after lunch.
- The principal knows our son by name and says hello in the hallways.
- The principal is open to ideas from parents and responds quickly.
- Our son feels safe at Hill.
- STEM is offered. Our son loves his projects in this class.
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.