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1/11/2021 Monday Message from Dr. Hart-Olivis

Good evening Hillandale Families,

This is Principal Hart-Olivis with this week’s Monday Message.

The information all of us were looking forward to finding out was officially shared at the Durham Public Schools Board of Education meeting last Thursday.  During a special called meeting, members of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to remain in Plan C, virtual learning, for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

While so many of us are looking forward to being able to spend time in person with our students and help them learn face-to-face, this board decision will give us an opportunity for students to stay with their current teachers and keep students and staff safe as Durham County works to gain a tighter control on the COVID-19 pandemic. Hillandale Family, it is important to us that we hear from you the ways we can continually improve Hillandale online.  Many of the improvements we’ve seen since the beginning of virtual learning come from the conversations we have directly with you.  While we won’t be able to replicate the in-person experience, we can work to ensure that each of our students has a program that can fit their needs and keep them learning.  This year will not be the same as every year.  It has not been the same as every year. That gives us an opportunity to improve in a way that we’ve never improved and for students to learn in a way they’ve never learned. Let’s do it together and prepare our students for next year in ways that bring us all a sense of understanding of what our students can truly do.  

With nearly a whole semester of learning behind us, it is time we check in with our Hillandale students in their progress by taking the Reading & Math i-Ready Diagnostics. These reading and math diagnostics will help teachers plan for your child's learning path. They are not to be used as a grade. It is incredibly important that students make every attempt to complete the diagnostics without adult academic support. Some students will be granted their specified accommodations as per their Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan. You are welcome to support your child with technical troubleshooting, but please encourage your child and allow them to ‘choose the best answer’ if stuck on a question. Review the information at this LINK to support you and your child through this experience. For more information about i-Ready visit  The classroom teacher will provide instructions for how to login to and navigate iReady. Your child will also receive feedback upon the completion of the diagnostics. 

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s teacher, Assistant Principal, Michael Bloom, or Instructional Coach, Signe Coffey

Finally, Hillandale Family, I would be remiss if I did not mention to you the importance of our mutual understanding of our learners as the future adults and citizens in our society.  Today’s Hillandale students are our future leaders; the adults who will serve our community as professionals, problem-solvers, and decision-makers.  Our children will have this year as a memory that shapes who they will become.  Our primary goal in our school improvement plan focuses on the emotional well-being of our students, which connects to their mindset as they approach academic success.  Just like in the school building, your child’s safety, emotionally as well as physically, is our first priority.  If you haven’t already, please tell your child, our student, that we’re proud of their resilience this year and will continue to work to finish the year off strong.  Our children are watching, so during this time of anxiety, and even anger in some places, they need to see us model how to process what is happening.  

Stay up to date about what’s happening at Hillandale on our school website,, and on Twitter and Instagram @HillandalePOWER.

As always, thank you for your support, your partnership, and most of all, for being part of The Hillandale Family.

Have a wonderful week!