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1/9/2023 Monday Message from Dr. Hart-Olivis

Good evening Hillandale Families,

This is Dr. Hart-Olivis, proud principal of Hillandale Elementary School with this week’s Monday Message.  You should receive this message in both English and Spanish. 

At Hillandale, it’s important to us that we regularly communicate with you about how you can help boost your child’s achievement at school and how important your support is from home.  Hillandale continues to make strides as we recover from our time away during the pandemic. We’re focusing on ways to help our students learn and grow better than ever.  Every student at Hillandale can learn and grow, and we’re on a team together with you to help our learners achieve.  

At the beginning of this academic year, we discussed ways in which we plan to grow in preparation for assessments this spring.  Third through fifth-grade students in Durham Public Schools participated in CASE 21 assessments in December. I’m so proud to share with you that through the hard work of our students, our teachers, and of course our families, we have seen some fantastic results in several areas:

  • 3rd grade math grew 5 percentage points

  • 3rd grade reading grew 16 percentage points

  • 4th grade reading grew 21 percentage points

  • 5th grade science grew 9 percentage points

We’re moving toward our goals, and we thank you for your support from home.  Keep an eye on things coming from your child’s teacher to accelerate your child’s learning, as well as tips in my Monday Message.

In 2023, we’ve developed a new opportunity to welcome families onto Hillandale’s campus more.  With the goal of ensuring safety for our students, families, and staff, families who desire to do so may park in the front parking lot (the first lot after the carpool lane) and walk their students to the hug zone in the commons at the front of the building.  Please do not park in the lot within the carpool lane or near the exit with wheelchair-accessible spots.  Our space is limited in the parking lot during morning arrival, so it is crucial for families using the hug zone to adhere to the expectations of the carpool lane and parking lot spaces.  We specifically request that you park in the front lot closest to Hillandale Road because we will not stop the flow of the carpool lane traffic during morning arrival.  Families using the crosswalk will walk mindfully of traffic to avoid accidents.  Parents/guardians will not park on Hillandale Road or at the curb or fire lane, and will not interact with other students entering the building.  During this morning intake time, parents may park in the designated area and see their child off to school in the commons area beneath our spacious awning with protection from the elements, where they can “kiss and go” for students to be prepared for the instructional day. 

Students will be allowed to walk independently into the building to collect breakfast, if necessary, and to their classrooms observing STORM behavior before the tardy bell.  Parents/guardians should leave the hug zone by 7:40 am so we can begin our instructional day.  Students must arrive at their classrooms prior to the 7:45 am bell.

At Hillandale, out of respect for our learners and professionals in the classroom, we cannot honor unscheduled visits to classrooms during instruction.  We expect our teachers to teach daily from bell to bell (7:45 am to 2:15 pm), and unexpected visitors can disrupt the learning environment and create a distraction for our students.  While we welcome parent communication and participation, appointments shall be made with staff members in order to protect the instructional day.

Are you interested in volunteering at Hillandale?  We encourage parents to come to the school to volunteer and help with student work.  Students also benefit from seeing their parents for lunch dates!  ALL volunteers working with our students or attending field trips must have a background check completed by DPS.  Volunteer applications can be completed at .

Stay up to date about what’s happening at Hillandale on our school website, and on Twitter and Instagram @HillandalePOWER.  You can also respond to me directly from this email, but your child’s teacher is the best first contact.

At Hillandale we strive for everything we do to be results-focused, data-informed, and student-driven.  We want to empower your child to excel in the academic and social skills required to be a leader in our community.  As always, thank you for your support, your partnership, and most of all, thank you for being part of The Hillandale Family.

At Hillandale we are #HESFullSTEAMahead!