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.


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.

Quaint Oak Bank Donates $25,000

Quaint Oak Bank donated $25,000 in scholarship money to The Hillside School to help support education in their local communities. These contributions were made through the Pennsylvania Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program and the Pennsylvania Education Improvement Tax Credit Program.  “I am proud to be a part of an organization that not only appreciates and understands the value of education but is also willing to support educators in providing specialized learning opportunities for the children in our communities,” expressed Jacqueline Cercone, Allentown Branch Manager. Southampton Branch Manager, Louise Abele stated, “Education is the cornerstone of our society and we at Quaint Oak are proud to do our part in contributing to the success of our community.” For more information about Quaint Oak Bank and what they are doing for the community, please visit their website (www.quaintoak.com/community/).

Landis Family Charity Foundation Donates $40,000

The Landis Family Charity Foundation presented a check for $40,000 to The Hillside School, during The Landis Cup Million Dollar Charity Shootout on Veteran’s Day.  The Landis Family Charity Foundation challenged The Hillside School with a 2:1 financial match with proceeds raised by the school benefitting Canine Companions for Independence.  Hillside met the $20,000 match by hosting fundraisers such as a Carnival, Coin Competitions among students, a Pasta Fundraiser, Canvas Events, selling Kidstuff Books, holding a raffle on a donated piece of jewelry from Feldman Design Jewelers, and generous donors.




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