Award Year: 2018
Hillcrest is a community working together to provide a challenging, meaningful education for all children, in a safe and stimulating environment where diversity is welcomed and learning is celebrated.
- Black/African American: 6%
- White: 42%
- Hispanic: 29%
- Asian: 14%
- Native American: 3%
- Two or more races: 6%
- ELL: 57%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 77%
Hillcrest Students tending the Garden with a Community Volunteer
A dynamic, inclusive learning community, Hillcrest Elementary School provides a challenging education to 300 k-5 students in a safe, welcoming environment in Lawrence, Kansas. Hillcrest, an English as a Second Language community site, is "Where the World Goes to School." English Language Learners make up 60% of the population, hail from 20 countries, and speak 26 languages.
Teachers have participated in the national Reading First initiative and ongoing equity training. Project-Based Learning enhances core content. In addition to a standards-based curriculum, students participate weekly in integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics time. They develop critical-thinking skills and conduct hands-on exploration. Staff use a multi-tiered system of support to meet students' academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.
A Healthier US Bronze School with an emphasis on wellness, students learn by tending the garden. They enjoy cooking lessons and eat local produce at lunch. Hillcrest plans wellness workouts and accommodates its high-needs population with weekly extra-curricular activities. Students explore interests like robotics, dance, and basketball, at no cost during school.
Thanks to community support, Hillcrest benefited from an $8.4 million expansion. Improvements provide state-of-the-art learning spaces that enable technology integration and support individualized instruction. The school hosts a fully accessible playground, where children of varying abilities play together.
Teachers build strong relationships by visiting school families annually. Daily class meetings set the tone for respectful learning. As decision makers, students help each other and build trust. Hillcrest Hawk values guide everyday practices: Have Respect, Act Responsibly, Work Together, Kindness Counts, and Soar to Success!