On April 27, 2019, Hillside hosted its Colloquium on Effective Writing Instruction for parents, members of the community and our Middle States Association (MSA) representatives. After years of preparation and hard work, we are happy to report that Hillside exceeded protocol requirements and effectively introduced a new writing culture throughout the school community. According to Dr. Glen Mort, MSA Observer, “It is clear that The Hillside School has transformed the learning environment within all grades throughout the school,” and as evidenced through feedback, “Students shared that writing is now easier, more organized, less stressful and very helpful.”
The colloquium provided Hillside with a platform to share and celebrate the success of its recently implemented school-wide writing initiatives, specifically Dr. Bonnie Singer’s EmPOWERTM Writing Method which is comprised of a complete literacy “toolkit” that enables teachers to provide differentiated writing techniques and strategies to their students. As Singer stated, “The goal is not to teach EmPOWERTM, the goal is to use EmPOWERTM to teach”. After three years of assessment, it’s clear that these new writing initiatives have universally impacted the school and its students for the better. There were a number of takeaways from the event, but two key insights were the focus on executive skills and how they are supported in this writing process and the emphasis on collaboration and teamwork – the faculty, administration, parents, students and Dr. Bonnie Singer all worked together to achieve their goal and it would not have been possible without everyone being on board and understanding the value of each other to get it done.
Hillside is extremely proud to continue to be recognized as part of Middle State’s Sustaining Excellence protocol and we are grateful to our administration, faculty and staff for their continued commitment to elevating our learning environment and finding the most effective teaching methods for our students. We look forward to our continued partnership with Dr. Singer and her ongoing professional development and can’t wait to see where the next three years takes us!