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Learning and Teaching

Hilltop Heritage Elementary School students engage in a minimum 90-minute literacy block and 75-minute mathematics block daily using a workshop model. The workshop approach to learning and teaching has four main components including an opening, mini-lesson, work time, and debriefing. The work time is the longest part in which students have an opportunity to explore what has just been taught on an individual level. It also includes one-on-one teacher-student conferencing in which teachers meet with students individually on a regular basis to assess their learning, an effort that helps inform next steps in instruction. 
 
Students also engage with content in social studies, science, physical education, music, library, and art. “Specialists” classes include physical education and music which students receive two times per week and library which students receive one time per week. Social studies, science, and art content is taught by students’ grade level teacher.
 

Curriculum

Reading and Writing 

  • Our literacy curriculum at Hilltop Heritage Elementary includes Lucy Calkins Units of Study, Calkins phonics program, and Heggerty Phonemic Awareness. Our approach to learning is a pedagogical one focused on responsive instructional practice with the support of multiple curricula as one curriculum will not meet the needs of all students in any content area. 
  • Our curriculum of choice is Units of Study because it promotes authentic reading and writing and we have seen consistent results using the Workshop model in both areas. To meet the needs of our early readers, we have made many additions and accommodations including the Calkins phonics program as well as the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness lessons which we use daily in both kindergarten and first grade. We also use multiple sets of decodable readers by both Heggerty and other publishers and we monitor our students’ progress to ensure timely responsiveness to their individual needs. 
  • Additionally, we teach explicit phonemic awareness and phonics daily in addition to reading and writing Workshop as we understand that students who receive explicit phonics instruction are better able to read independently. Finally, we are always looking for opportunities to improve our instruction, which improves opportunities for all of our students. 

Mathematics 

  • Our mathematics curriculum at Hilltop Heritage is Kendall Hunt’s Illustrative Math. As with literacy, our approach to mathematical learning is focused on responsive instruction and our reason for this choice of curriculum is that it builds students’ conceptual understanding, offering multiple entry points for learners along a trajectory. As  articulated in IM’s Vision:  
    • IM K–12 Math is a problem-based core curriculum built on the principle that all students are capable learners of grade-level mathematics. Students learn math by doing math. They are encouraged to use their current understanding of math, their lived experiences, and the world around them as resources for problem solving. By starting with what students already know, teachers invite all students to contribute to mathematical learning, centering student thinking, and being responsive as students develop conceptual understanding.

Social/Emotional/Behavioral 

  • Positive Discipline  
  • Second Step 
     

Support for Struggling Learners

Hilltop Heritage Elementary School utilizes a Multi-Tiered System of Support to address the learning and social/
emotional/behavioral needs of all students. The primary focus of all learning and teaching is on Tier I, that is, a focus on strong core instruction in order to meet the learning needs of all  students. (All students are Tier I students first.) This involves using research-based curriculum and instruction to teach all students and regularly using data and progress monitoring to inform decisions. 
 
The three tiers include: 
Tier 1—Instruction for All Students  

  • Assessed periodically in reading (BAS) and mathematics (classroom-based assessments & CGI) 
  • For social/emotional/behavioral needs, all students engage in core curriculum including Positive Discipline (primary) and Second Step (supplemental). School-wide student behavioral data is reviewed monthly to monitor progress and inform necessary changes to systems across the building.   

Tier 2—Instruction for Small Groups of Students  

  • Targeted instruction in reading (Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention [LLI]) and mathematics (differentiated support during workshop) 
  • Assessed regularly in reading, mathematics and other areas to monitor progress and ensure responsive instruction 
  • To address the social/emotional/behavioral needs at the Tier 2 level, individual plans are created for students in collaboration with the students’ families.  
    • Student behavioral data is analyzed on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis to monitor progress and inform programming decisions for the student.  

Tier 3—Instruction for Individual Students  

  • Individualized plans for students 
  • Assessed regularly in reading, mathematics, and other areas to monitor progress and ensure responsive instruction and ongoing validity of plan 
  • To address the social/emotional/behavioral needs at the Tier 3 level, individual plans are created for students in collaboration with the students’ families.  
    • Student behavioral data is analyzed on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis to monitor progress and inform programming decisions for the student. 

 *Multilingual learners and students with IEPs are supported throughout these Tiers.