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Archive for Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Hillcrest School

June 29, 2004

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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.

Built in 1954, Hillcrest 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.

The school had an enrollment of 369 in fall 2003.

The Kansas State Board of Education Report Card reports socioeconomic information about each school in the state. It shows that, at Hillcrest, 42.67 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.

Here's the building's ethnicity breakdown: white, 52.27 percent; African American, 7.2 percent; Hispanic, 11.2 percent; other, 29.33 percent.

According to the state's latest Report Card for Hillcrest, fifth-grade students showed a increase in reading and fourth-graders declined in math scores over the previous year. However, Hillcrest students scored higher than their peers in the district and across the state in both reading and math.

The number of the school's fifth-graders who were "proficient," "advanced," or "exemplary" in reading went from 83.6 percent to 93.1 percent on the state test, giving the school a "Standard of Excellence" rating by the state.

The Lawrence district's overall reading score for fifth-graders, showed that 74.2 percent were either proficent, advanced or exemplary in reading. The overall state score was 68.7 percent for those categories.

Hillcrest's fourth-graders tested in math showed a decline from 81.4 percent to 80 percent between 2002 and 2003 for students scoring either proficient, advanced or exemplary.

That compared with 73.3 percent for the entire districts and 73.5 percent for the state.

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 8:35 a.m. and an after-school care program that runs from 3:45 p.m. 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.

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