Award Year: 2021

Hills Elementary School

301 Main Street
Hills, IA, 52235-0218

(319) 688-1105

Ms Lisa Tebockhorst, Principal at time of Nomination

Mrs. Reagan Boeset, Current Principal

Title I School

Iowa City Community School District

School Website

School FaceBook


The mission of Hills Elementary School is a commitment to serving the whole child. We acknowledge that each student's physical, emotional, social well-being, and creativity are integral to their learning and their academic experiences. The needs of all learners are accepted, fostered, and challenged. We strive to foster lifelong learning in a safe and nurturing environment. We believe that high expectations inspire lifelong learning for successful students. Our mascot is Bolt who represents our learning community as the "Lightning Bolts" who are struck with pride!

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 9%
  • White: 40%
  • Hispanic: 42%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Two or more races: 8%
Hills Elementary School Students and Staff

Hills Elementary School Students and Staff

Hills is intentionally focused on the quality of the instruction students receive. This was paramount to our work. As a team, we felt the high degree of urgency necessary in accelerating our students' achievement. We knew the approach would require stamina, thus we laid out a multi-year plan to promote and support teacher growth, individualize instruction based on need, and build collective efficacy within all members of the team. Beginning with time audits of our literacy and math instructional minutes to give us a current reality, we set to work on the professional development of our teachers.

Hills staff has become highly skilled at using Explicit Direction Instruction (EDI) across core content areas, whole class intervention, and vocabulary instruction. EDI has allowed teachers to carefully refine and scaffold their instruction to ensure that all students grasp core national standards. Hills ILT has also invested energy and time into empowering one another as professionals by implementing #ReflectithMe cycles. The work that was focused on our staff has created a space where we value the conversation surrounding reflection and growth. More recent focuses (and layers) to our work have been increasing our understanding of, and time spent on, student social-emotional well being. Our core belief that the whole child deserves to be seen, heard, challenged, and supported, drives the implementing of morning meetings, infusing our lessons with a lens of equity, and improving the building-wide PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) work. The work continues.