Looking for a school in Lawrence that serves as a melting pot of cultures?
Check out Hillcrest School, 1045 Hilltop Dr., which is in central Lawrence, just west of Kansas University's campus.
The school was given its name because it sits atop a hill on a seven-acre site.
The school, built in 1954, is unique among local public schools because of its international population. Students from more than 45 countries attend there while many of their parents study at KU.
About 54 percent of Hillcrest's students are part of the English as a Second Language, or ESL, program. All elementary-age children in the district requiring ESL instruction are transferred to Hillcrest.
Hillcrest had an enrollment of 417 in November 2004 in kindergarten through grade six.
The Kansas State Board of Education Report Card reports socioeconomic information about each school in the state. It shows that at Hillcrest, 45.36 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.
Here's the building's ethnicity breakdown: white, 45.36 percent; African American, 6.1 percent; Hispanic, 15.92 percent; other, 32.63 percent.
Reading and Math
According to the state's latest Report Card for Hillcrest, fifth-grade students showed a decrease in reading and fourth-graders increased in math scores over the previous year. Hillcrest students scored lower than their peers in the district in reading and higher in math on the state assessments.
The number of the school's fifth-graders who were "proficient," "advanced," or "exemplary" in reading went from 92.5 percent to 70.7 percent on the state test.
The Lawrence district's overall reading score for fifth-graders showed that 74.8 percent were either proficent, advanced or exemplary in reading. The overall state score was 72.1 percent for those categories.
Hillcrest's fourth-graders tested in math showed an increase from 80 percent to 98 percent between 2003 and 2004 for students scoring either proficient, advanced or exemplary.
That compared with 81.0 percent for the entire districts and 80.3 percent for the state.
Hours and staff
The school's hours are 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The school has a before-school program that runs from 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. and an after-school care program that runs from dismissal to 6 p.m. through the Hilltop Child Development Center, 864-4940.
The school's staff includes a total of 49 teachers and support staff.
In May, Paula Barr, an English as a Second Language teacher at Hillcrest School, received the annual Bobs' Award, a local excellence in teaching award, which includes $10,000.
Barr has taught at Hillcrest six years. She previously taught three years at Kennedy School and at the Shawnee Mission school district.
In 1996, Helen Tuley, who is now retired, was named Teacher of the Year.
Hillcrest's principal is Tammy Becker, who has been at the school since July 2001.
To arrange a visit, call 785-832-5720.