Their emphasis on community commitment, use of mentoring, and other techniques are evidence of their stated commitment to character building, which in my mind is as easily as important as (if not more so) than academics.
We are more than midway though our first year at Hill and we love it. Our daughter is in first grade and is really thriving. I think the emphasis on arts and community is a welcome departure from the ridiculous amounts of homework often assigned to kids under 10 years old. If you teach to a test they will memorize it, only to regurgitate it on a test. This is NOT learning.
I like Hill because it encourages students to explore their surroundings and themselves through art, music, sport, community involvement, theater, etc... They also have a very nice mentoring program that matches younger students with older ones that may share their interests. My daughter really enjoys the attention from her "older and wiser" mentor. The faculty, staff, and parents are some of the most dedicated I've encountered and truly make The Hill School a special place. In fact, many of the teachers volunteered to help shovel the school out after the recent snowstorm that left 3 feet of snow. We drive about 50 miles round trip everyday to take our daughter to the Hill School and it is so worth it!
I have no doubt there are many schools with much more rigorous academics and if that is what you're looking for, perhaps this isn't the school for you, but if you value art, culture, humanism, sport, community, and a warm and nurturing environment. This is the place for your child!
I knew I wanted my children to attend The Hill School even before they entered preschool. I had heard about Hill s attention to the whole child through academics, art, sports and music. I had heard that it is their mission to help each child find at least one thing in which they feel a sense of competence. Children who feel they are good at something are typically successful in life. And now, many years later, my oldest son has graduated from Hill and by all reports has been more than adequately prepared to meet the academic challenges of high school. At Hill, my children have thrived in an environment that values community, compassion for others, and putting forth one s personal best at whatever you set out to do. Their investment in character development, not only academics, has more than adequately prepared my children to meet the challenges of life. My second son continues at Hill. An entirely different child than his older brother with his own approach to learning, Hill appreciates these differences and meets the educational needs of each individual child. Hill has lived up to everything I had heard; I am very grateful for all they have given to my children.
When searching for schools for my two children I wanted a place with a deep sense of community and a strong program. The Hill School has offered my children both of these - a loving, nurturing community with teachers and staff who truly care about them and their school experience. A strong academic program and a rich co-curricular program that includes music, art, drama, and athletics. The strong sense of partnership with school administrators and teachers as well as other parents has been invaluable.
My daughter was bullied daily at The Hill School. After many desperate attempts to stop the relentless abuse, I removed her mid-year from the school. I was later told by one of her former teachers at Hill that I was smart to remove her when I did because the bullying has not only continued but exponentially worsened. " Girls will be girls " is what I was told. I disagree. Mean girls will be mean girls only as long as that behavior is tolerated by adults.
As a parent of two recent graduates from The Hill School, I couldn't be happier with the overall experience at the school. Our children were challenged academically, learned to support their classmates, had opportunities to engage in sports, chorus, drama performances, and in mentoring lower school students. The program is designed to build confident students that love to learn and that is exactly what we see in our children. Both are recognized leaders in their out of school activities and received academic merit based scholarships to leading private secondary schools in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Hill School invites parents to partner in their child's education experience. Participation in field trips, assistance with major school projects, holiday activities, annual cultural study programs and sporting events allowed us to get to know all of their fellow students and many of the other parents. The faculty was highly responsive to our requests for challenging but age appropriate book recommendations and often provided personal copies for our children to enjoy. The caring atmosphere at The Hill School made this a fantastic experience for our children.
Hill School has a serious bullying problem. The parents are too self-focused to care and the faculty turns a blind eye to it. Of our class of 24 children, 8 left due to bullying related issues. Once I moved my son to another school , I discovered he was so far behind academically that he needed to be tutored yet he was an honor roll student at Hill. The best thing I ever did was to pull him out of there and get him on a track for emotional and scholastic success. My only regret is not pulling out of Hill sooner!
A Hill School parent for four years now, I continue to be impressed with the way the school fulfills its mission and philosophy. The school asks children to try everything in order to know what it feels like to succeed and struggle. How many schools do you know that teach someone how to manage disappointment or failure? What a gift it is to be given the time to work hard and see yourself succeed at something that was once difficult for you. The rich academic program challenges my children to think deeply. The sports program teaches personal best not only on the field but in life. There is a vibrant, integral arts program that encourages creative expression with music, drama and sophisticated art. The overall culture promotes kindness, self-awareness and good citizenry. I feel like I am in a true partnership with teachers and faculty and that my children are loved and respected by every adult at their school. We feel very fortunate to be a Hill School family.
This is an outstanding school. My son enjoys the school and works well with students and teachers. He is made to feel important and feels the sense of an extended family. Academically, he has reengaged in the enjoyment of learning and is improving at a pace that he has not seen before. The low pressure, wholesome approach really works for him.