Testimonials for Hillandale

What's good at Hillandale

[NOTE: This article was originally published on the Durham Association of Educators’s blog. Click HERE to read it in its entirety with its accompanying photographs.]

The purpose this blog, and the 60 schools in 60 days journey that I am on, is to tell the story of all of the amazing and brilliant and exciting things that are happening in Durham’s public schools every day. Readers, I hope, understand that this task, in the midst of an unrelenting assault on our schools by corporate reformers, is inherently political. They say our schools are failing; we say that the privatizers are failing our young people and our future by failing our public schools. It’s pretty straightforward. And though it feels pretty uncontroversial from where I sit, some would take exception. That said, I’m starting today’s post with an assertion that also feels like common sense, but is actually quite contested, especially by those who want to privatize our schools.

Veteran teachers, and the stability that they provide, are an essential element to a successful school. No place I’ve seen yet proves that like Hillandale Elementary, and I’m thrilled to get to share the stories of the hardworking educators that Mr. Cason and I saw today.

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Parent Lynette C.'s story

My family moved to Durham one year before my daughter was to start kindergarten. The timing gave me ample opportunity to obsess about the best school for my children to attend. I visited private schools, charter schools, magnet schools and a year round school. I spoke with parents, principals, teachers and did all the web searching I could do. After all that, I chose to send my children to our local, traditional school, Hillandale Elementary, and I don’t regret that decision. No school is perfect, and I could see varying advantages and disadvantages of every school I visited. That said, once I weighed pros and cons (and reweighed them multiple times; did I mention I had a year?), my husband and I decided that Hillandale was our first choice.

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Story from parent Michelle Jackson

The best thing about Hillandale is the principal, Mrs. Bates. She is everywhere. Mrs. Bates insists on being involved in every aspect of her school. She solves issues and problems immediately. So many people tell me what I already know about her, and that’s that she is so nice. The staff and students love her. If she doesn’t know who you are, she will get to know you. When we first came to the school she helped us with our son who had been ill at the time and was coming out of the hospital. She took the time to take care of an issue for me right there in her office, and told me to worry no more. She is on every scene. And the most awesome thing she does is carpool every day including directing to busy traffic on Hillandale Rd. when traffic is backed up. With a smile! Wow! And the teachers and staff are all so very loveable. Our experience at Hillandale is great. I look forward seeing everyone everyday. The worst thing about the school is that it stops at the 5th grade.

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Story from parent Jill French

I can’t speak highly enough of Hillandale Elementary School. Our oldest child has attended Hillandale for 2 years and has flourished both academically and socially. His teachers have been approachable and very available with any questions I’ve had. They’ve also understood his personality and learning style and have encouraged him accordingly. Our youngest child entered Hillandale shortly after she was adopted from another culture. Needless to say, her transition to school in America has been challenging; every aspect of her young life changed overnight. The faculty and staff at Hillandale have worked above and beyond what I could have ever imagined a school could ever do in helping her adapt, learn and thrive.

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Parent Chrissy's story

My daughter broke her leg at the end of January. I emailed the principal right away to let her know. She responded quickly letting me know that they would help in anyway they could. She set up a meeting with myself, my daughter, her teachers and the physical therapist. The therapist was able to help the teachers learn how to transfer her from her wheelchair to the bathroom. Her teachers were incredible. They were so willing to help her over the next 4 months. They always gave her encouragement and a smile, and never complained. It was tough for her to be sitting while all her classmates were able to get around. Her teachers always made sure they included her and went out of their way for her. The principal and front office staff always made her feel special too. She would “help out” in the front office while waiting for me to arrive at the end of the day. Not only did she grow and heal with all of the support she was given, she flourished as a learner as well. I could not have asked to be at a better school. Thank you Hillandale!

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