Hillside has been fantastic for both my girls. I can't say enough about how it has changed their lives and completely prepared them for university. Both girls have loved going to school every morning for over five years of attendance. It's a place of acceptance and tons of humor and good cheer. In addition, the academics have been fantastic. My kids can write papers without stressing. My girls have been very supported in math/algebra/calculus with class sizes of 1 to 7 kids. If they fell behind, the teacher immediately jumped on it and helped them catch up. The drama program is unequalled to any other program anywhere. Also, I like the leadership of the school. I have seen so much fun, knowledge, kindness, moral behavior, wisdom, and excellence in their own field by the teachers. My oldest daughter attended Newport High School and I lament that we did not know about Hillside School when we were deciding where to send her because the preparation for university from Hillside far surpasses Newport High School
Hillside for me was a safe place to explore language, culture and identity (creative writing, Spanish language, history), nature (access to outdoors, biology) and community (friends, teachers, small classes). Safe, however, should not imply that I wasn't pushed or stretched to grow... internal growth was indeed constant! My teachers seemed always aware of the students and our unique challenges and gifts, and drew on those differences in supporting the community's growth. Larger projects like the Medieval and Renaissance Feasts really showed me (and, I believe, our families) how hard work paired with close study of an individual (or narrow subject matter) can result in a beautiful and deep appreciation for history! Singing songs in myriad languages on the short but sweet bus ride up the Hill is one of my fondest memories of my youth. Thank you to my teachers, mentors and classmates! Keir W
We highly recommend Hillside Student Community for parents and students looking for a more integrated model of learning. Both of our daughters thrived there with small classrooms, caring teachers and engaging lessons. They both also enjoyed the outstanding drama department and grew as critical and creative thinkers in Hillside's supportive, in depth learning environment. Hillside is a wonderful alternative to the big classroom, busy work approach to schooling and offers respect for the different learning styles and personalities of the students.
Hillside provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, but in a very warm and supportive manner. There is rarely more than 8 students in a class. This allows for some very close interaction among students and teachers, and for some really lively discussions. When I visit the school, it is not uncommon to find teachers and students seated in sofas -- just like talking in very comfortable living room. No student can just "hide" in this type of environment. The school has a great liberal arts program -- including fine arts, drama, creative writing, literature, etc. The objective is to make sure any student is able to do high level analysis/reasoning, really solid writing skills, learn how to take risks, how to react to failures, and exponentially increase expressive language. Then, the student is supposed to explore his/her own potential in an independent manner -- including more advanced STEM focus. By 12th grade, all students are taking exclusively college level classes -- and quite successfully. Personally, I think the secret of Hillside's success is to create a very supportive environment among the students.
I have 2 daughters who attended Hillside for several years before they had to leave due to our moving out of the area. Hillside was a fabulous experience for them, and they were sad to leave the school. Both girls got an excellent education with tons of individual attention and very small classes. The teachers care about each student and are responsive to each student's individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. They spend a lot of time on each student. For example, the high school humanities teacher spends hours going over all writing assignments from his students with copious comments and revisions and really teaches them how to write. Best of all, Hillside nurtures each student's individual gifts. They place great importance on everyone in the community treating each other with kindness, respect and appreciation for who each person is, and there is no expectation like in many public schools to conform. Everyone is accepted for who they are. As far as how students treat each other, bullying is absent, as is exclusive behavior. All that plus rigorous, high quality academic instruction.My husband and I heartily recommend Hillside.
Going to Hillside was a phenomenal experience that prepared me for all aspects of life intellectually, creatively, and inter-personally. I still maintain connections with most of my piers and teachers from my time there. Truly a wonderful place, and one that not only nourished and readied me for the best colleges and academic pursuits, but taught me to become an involved member of my community and hugely enrich my life.
Looking for the next step after Seattle Country Day for our two daughters my wife and I knew what we wanted in a school, but not where to find it. It was important that both go to the same school. One was very strong in math but needed help with her writing. The other was the exact opposite. We were looking for a strong foundation in basic skills, not frills or current educational fads. Although I was initially very skeptical based on the size and appearance of the campus by the end of the first year both my wife and I were completely won over. Hillside has a gifted teaching staff that offers a flexible approach and attention to each individual student, meeting them at their current level. While the small size of the student body does limit some opportunities it also promotes a level of cooperation, respect, individual responsibility and tolerance that won't be found in more conventional schools. If looking for a school today we would make the same choice. Involvement with the running Start program is a plus. The results speak for themselves- the older daughter is a mechanical engineering major at Stanford, the younger a biology/anthropology double major at Bowdoin.
I'm a Hillside Alumni. I was there from 4th grade (they no longer have 4th grade) to graduation. As a 3rd grader coming from a terrible public school experience, Hillside was exactly what I needed. The teachers and staff genuinely care about the students. I felt safe and looked out for by not only the staff and teachers, but students as well. These are the kind of people you want your kids around. I was struggling with school confidence and I was able to get the 1:1 help I needed to help with the school subjects I was lacking in at the time and my personal confidence too. If your child goes into the upper school grade levels, they will learn how to write a quality college paper. I graduated from BC (AA degree) and UW (BA degree) and was amazed how a scary portion of my peers didn't know how to write a quality paper. I helped edit a lot... Other graduates from Hillside (who are still my best friends today) also experienced this at their college. There are at least 3 more qualities I wish I could list that I loved about it but I'm rapidly running out of room. So to sum up, if you're not sure. Win and doubt check it out.
The curriculum of this school is exceptionally demanding, but also the teachers are incredibly warm! My child is very confident and supported by his peers. This school is a hidden gem for any student who is interested to achieve their very own best.
This school is amazing. Most classes have no more than 5 or 6 students. The teachers are from top university. The average SAT scores are insane. This school is extremely warm, but also demanding that each student reach their FULL potential. My child was never so happy in life -- and he never learned so much so quickly.