Raising The Bar: The Hillside School

Accreditation has always been important to The Hillside School, an independent K-8 school founded 34 years ago to help children with language-based learning disabilities reach their full potential.
“We’ve always been accredited through Middle States,” said Donna Henry, Head of School. “It’s something we take seriously and work diligently to accomplish.”
Recently, the school achieved reaccreditation through the Sustaining Excellence protocol, which Henry said was a perfect fit for Hillside because of its focus on action research. Hillside’s research is focusing on effective writing instruction for students with language-based learning disabilities.
Additionally, the colloquium component required under Sustaining Excellence fit with the school’s goals.
“One of our goals is not only to be a leader in the field of learning disabilities, but to also educate the broader community about them,” Henry said.
Students attending Hillside, located in Lower Macungie, Pa., come from over 20 school districts and nine counties. While bright and creative, Hillside student may experience a range of language-based disabilities.
“Hillside students are intelligent children who learn differently than their peers and therefore need a different approach to match their learning style,” Henry said.
Hillside provides students differentiated and explicit, multi-sensory programs delivered in a small group setting of eight students per class. Students acquire the ability to understand their own unique learning needs and are challenged to learn “how to learn.”
An emphasis on demystifying individual learning profiles and securing the tools and strategies essential for success as life-long learners are key to the Hillside mission.
“When we see students finally feel the joy in learning, that’s the best,” Henry said.

The Hillside School Awarded Reaccreditation from Middle States Association

The Hillside School is proud to announce that the School has been awarded reaccreditation for grades K-8 from The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The School is among the 100 schools and school systems in 11 states and Puerto Rico and seven countries that have earned accreditation or reaccreditation, the gold standard for measuring and advancing school improvement.

Hillside is an independent school for bright children who also have language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. As the only school of its kind in the greater Lehigh Valley, its students come from nine counties and more than 20 school districts. “Our goal is to provide our students with a high-quality educational experience and to prepare them for success in school and throughout life,” said Donna Henry, Head of School.

Accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards.

The 12 Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.

Mrs. Henry further explained that the accreditation process began over a year ago with a self-study that required input from school leaders, teachers, and parents. Following the self-study, two Accreditation Officers from Middle States conducted an on-site visit to examine school operations and interview stakeholders.

The Hillside School was invited to participate in MSA’s Sustaining Excellence Protocol which requires it to conduct primary research and host a colloquium for the surrounding school community at large. The colloquium titled “Effective Writing Instruction” is slated for spring 2019.  It will allow Hillside to share results of its research and corresponding program development.



Thank you for your interest in The Hillside School!

We look forward to working with your family as you consider the many educational options available to your child. Our program creates a positive learning environment for students who struggle with language, math and writing. We look forward to providing you with a tour of our school.

Who We Serve

Our student population struggles to learn in a traditional school environment. They have an average to above average cognitive ability, yet display weaknesses in one or more of the following areas:

  • Language processing
  • Weaknesses in spelling, reading, writing and math
  • Executive (dis)functioning
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Attention issues such as ADD/ADHD

The Application Process


Donna Henry, Healthcare Professional of the Year




Congratulations to our Head of School, Donna Henry, who was a Finalist for Lehigh Valley Business Health Care Professional of the Year! Thank you for all you do for students with learning disabilities!! 

The Hillside School Honors Service Award Winners

Service Award Winners - Marilyn Marles and Gretchen KrasleyThe Hillside School celebrated their donors, volunteers, and community partners on Wednesday, February 25th at The Hillside School.  Two Service Award winners were announced during the evening, Marilyn Marles, founder of the Marles Group, and Gretchen Krasley, retired educator.




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