West Hill School, located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, is comprised of approximately 740 students in grades PK-5. Kindergarten students participate in a full-day program and we offer a Bright Beginnings program for pre-school students.
The Rocky Hill Board of Education has a adopted a standards based report card at the elementary level. It assesses students on specific learning targets. This provides the teachers, parents, and students with detailed information regarding the children's progress throughout the year. The school district is committed to understanding how our students learn and how we can best help them grow.
West Hill prides itself on being child-centered and continues to strive to meet the needs of every student through the use of differentiation instruction. We extend learning by providing enrichment opportunities before, during, and after school. Examples of these activities include programs such as Band, Chorus, Math and Science Clubs, Student Council, Mad Science, Lego Club, Boys and Girls Intramurals, and the Invention Convention. Furthermore, fifth grade students participate in an annual four day, three night trip to Nature’s Classroom. We also offer adaptive physical education classes for students with special needs, Unified Sports, and most recently we started a drama club, Curtain Call Collaborators, for students with special needs and their non-disabled peers.
Additionally, students are supported by reading and math specialists, an EL program, a school psychologist, social worker, occupational therapists, physical therapists, special education teachers, a speech and language pathologist, a certified library/media specialist and various tutors and paraeducators.
Teachers employ a collaborative approach to serving at-risk students and/or students with special needs and our SRBI program has been quite successful in reducing the number of students performing below grade-level expectations. The school practices "Bucket Filling" and the 7 Habits of Happy Kids to promote character building in our school. Staff members have been trained to implement Positive Behavior Intervention and Support, which focuses on school climate and building a caring community. Students caught doing something positive in the school are provided with a YES ticket. Each week, the name of one student from each classroom is selected to receive a free book of their choice, courtesy of our PTO. The number of YES tickets are counted weekly. If the school accumulates enough YES tickets in a given month, the entire school celebrates with a Spirit Day. YES tickets are an acronym for our three school rules – respect Yourself, respect Everyone and respect the School.
Our School Improvement Plan (SIP) focuses on improving student achievement in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. We also have goals related to improving school climate, promoting physical education and integrating technology throughout instruction. To that end, SMART Boards and Netbooks are used in third, fourth and fifth grade classes and students in grades K-5 have access to iPads. Ongoing professional development in the area of technology is offered to staff in order to assist them in identifying ways to best integrate technology with instruction practices.
Teachers participate in vertical and horizontal team meetings in order to analyze student achievement and plan for future instruction. Horizontal, or grade-level teams, meet two to three times per week to conduct data teams and collaboratively plan instruction. Students are given common formative and summative assessments to monitor progress and teachers utilize Marzano’s Effective Teaching Strategies to enhance teaching. Vertical data teams meet monthly with the principal in order to share information across the school. The PBIS and SRBI committees also meet monthly to monitor the school’s progress as it relates to our SIP.
There are a variety of opportunities that allow for parents and staff to communicate what is happening in the school or with their child. A Meet and Greet session in August allows families an opportunity to meet the teacher and school staff prior to the start of the new year, while parent-teacher conferences and Open House provide parents with a similar opportunity, but with an added emphasis on the curriculum. Math/Literacy Family Nights, Family Fun Nights, and other PTO functions provide additional opportunities for communication between home and school. Teachers and administration can be contacted through e-mail, by phone, or by setting up appointments to discuss children and their progress. Special parent programs are offered before and/or after school by our social worker. Such programs include, or have included, Internet Safety, How to Help Your Child with Homework, Dealing with an Anxious Child and Sibling Rivalry. We currently offer parent programs on our latest initiative - The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.
West Hill School is proud of its tradition of excellence. Students achieve at high levels and our community is extremely supportive of our endeavors. As a result of the strong partnership between parents and staff, the percentage of students who perform at goal on the Connecticut Mastery Tests (and now Smarter Balanced assessment) continues to increase in the areas of reading, writing, science and mathematics. We are so very proud to have such a wonderful and caring school community!