News and Information

March 2012

This month we wrap up work on this grant. We present evaluation results on March 29, at 4:00 at the Watson School of Education on the campus of UNCW.  The public is welcome to attend. 

Our presentation can be viewed by clicking on the link below. 

BCS Robertson Celebration 2012

January 2012

UNCW presented evaluation results to date at the quarterly Partners' meeting.  Overall results show gains in reading based on End-of-Grade scores and Woodcock Johnson III testing.  Final evaluation results, including a cohort comparison group study, will be available soon. 

December 2011

Area teachers and administrators used over 900 scholarships for Hill online courses.  The Hill Center Regional Education Model provided funding for 1,000 scholarships. Most teachers who signed up for courses work in New Hanover, Brunswick and Onslow counties. Charter schools also participated in the online courses. 

October 2011

More than 740 scholarships for online courses have been used to date out of 1,000 that are funded through the grant.  Brunswick County will begin training a group of teachers to use the HillMath program at the end of the month.  All of these teachers will have completed two of the four online courses. 

Spring Partners' Meeting:  June 1, 2011 - Town Creek Elementary School

Representatives from Brunswick County Schools, UNCW and The Hill Center met to discuss the final steps of completing the Robertson Foundation Grant that funded the Hill Center Regional Education Model. Below are some key topics discussed:

-Of the 1,000 scholarships for online courses funded, 620 have been used. 

-There may be many ways to evaluate the HillRAP program by looking at results across districts

-The UNCW research team will be finalizing the year two and cumulative evaluation of Brunswick County HillRAP in the next few months. 

-Brunswick County HillRAP teachers completed all required observations and many attended additional training sessions. 

Summer Leadership Institute 2011- June 22

The Watson School of Education at UNC-Wilmington was packed with school and district administrators, counselors, teachers and others who wanted to learn and share more about meeting the needs of special education students.  Participants came from numerous partnership districts.  Below, participants struggle with the task of writing several tasks on a card on their foreheads to represent the challenges of many diverse learners in our schools. 





Summer Graduate Course-Intenstive Remediation for Struggling Learners

Several area educators recently completed the one-week, graduate course on reading remediation presented by The Hill Center staff. Participants included teachers and administrators from public and private sectors, and several counties were represented.

"I would also like to thank everyone for a wonderful week of                 professional collaboration." 

"Thank you for a professionally engaging week and for sharing  your stories.  Emily was absolutely right when she promised  we  would have a "ton of resources" to take back to our schools."

"Thank you so much for the opportunity this week at UNCW. I learned so much and had a blast!"

"I enjoyed meeting each of you and the professional collaboration.  Thank you for alll of the wonderful insight and ideas and lessons."


Spring 2011 HillRAP Post Testing

The UNCW testing team visited 17 Brunswick County Schools in May to assess the reading achievement levels of over 160 students.  These students have had two consecutive years of HillRAP.



Fall 2010 Partners' Meeting- Southport- November 19, 2010

Representatives from the Hill Center, UNCW and Brunswick County Schools met in November.  Agenda items included:  evaluation results, online course registration figures, summer course and leadership details, HillRAP group updates and teacher observations. 



Summer Graduate Course (EDN 595) and Summer Leadership Institute

In December 2010, teachers/administrators are invited to apply for the Hill Center graduate summer course Intensive Remediation for Struggling Readers. 

The course is FREE, paid for by the Hill Center Regional Education Model.  Participants who successfully complete the course will earn 3 graduate credits.  The class will meet from 8:00-4:00 during the week of June 20-24. Students will also get to participate in the one-day Summer Leadership Institute as part of the course. 

School and district leaders and administrators are invited to register for the Hill Center Summer Leadership Institute. It will be held Wednesday, June 22, at the Watson School of Education on the campus of UNCW.  This event is FREE to all participants.  Lunch will be provided. Click here to register.

End-of-Grade Score Reports: Pre- and Post- Hill Reading Achievement Program Implementation

HillRAP students experienced growth in Reading Comprehension scores in the 2009-2010 school year. The following link includes overall and disaggregated student results.   

Click Here to view more details about EOG results for year one. 

Email Emily Grace, Project Coordinator, at gracee@uncw.edu for more information. 

Brunswick County Leadership Council Meeting-Shallotte Middle School

District adminstrators listened to Dr. Walser (UNCW) as she presented year one results from the Woodcock Johnson III pre and posttests.  Overall, students who participated in the Hill Reading Achievement Program (HillRAP) increased scores on all four tests of measure for reading.  Students were tested on phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, reading fluency and letter-word identification. 

Click on this link to view the presentation:

Year One Woodcock Johnson III Evaluation Results BCS


Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden attended the presentation. Attendees also included Katherine Mabe (Brunswick County HillRAP Coordinator), Shary Maskel and Jeanne Huntley (Hill Center), Emily Grace and Tamara Walser (UNCW). 


Hill Center Evaluators Present at CREATE Conference- Williamsburg, VA

Emily Grace (current Hill grant Project Coordinator), Dawn Hodges (former Project Coordinator), and Dr. Tamara Walser (UNCW) presented at the CREATE Conference on October 8, 2010.  CREATE is the Consortium for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation.  The title of their presentation was "The Role of Program Evaluation in Replicating an Educational Model." The information was based on Hill replication models from Cateret and Brunswick Counties. 

2010 Leadership Institute- UNCW

School and district administrators attended this year's Leadership Institute on July 14 at the Watson School of Education.  Participants came from Sampson, Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, Carteret, Duplin, Jones County school districts. Topics included understanding students with learning differences, neuroscience and reading research, collaborating and culture building, special education law, accountability and special education and connections to 21st Century Standards for School Executives. 

Guest panelists joined the group in the afternoon session for interactive applications of the concepts.

2010 Hill Center Graduate Course- EDN595 Intensive Remediation for Struggling Learners

This course provided an in-depth view and classroom applications of the research releated to evidence based instruction in reading and written language.  This year's group consisted of educators in elementary, middle and high school levels across various subject areas. After completing a 10-hour online module, participants attended this one-week course, which was held at the UNCW Watson School of Education.  Successful completion of the course earned participants 3 graduate credit hours. 

Comments by Teachers in year one of the program 2009-2010

I would like to say that this program is a godsend. The kids literally RUN to my room for their HillRAP. They feel as if they are the chosen few. With the oral drill, they love the expectation of answering in complete sentences instead of being allowed to use elem. gibberish. They love the competition of timed fluency, always striving to do better. The stories are interesting and the follow-up activities using all modalities make it even more exciting. For ex. they are looking forward to making their OWN garden mural. As for me, I would love to use this program with all of my children. Children need and love the structure and the expected. They don't like the unknown. Also, the fast pace doesn't allow for boredom or down time, pitfalls of education.
As for professional growth, it has helped me tremendously with organization and data keeping.
Long live the HILL!!
Rea Ehling, Southport Elementary

Several students approached me to inform me that Hill Rap is helping them. One in particular is an ESL fifth grade student. About a month ago, he told me that the "rules" were helping him in class and that his teacher told him that she could see an improvement in his ability. This student really struggles in class and is making progress and feeling good about it. I have seen a difference in his fluency as well. This has in turn affected his comprehension. I really enjoy teaching Hill Rap. I am currently working on my M.E.D in Reading and many of my papers have gone right along with the methodology of Hill Rap and proven research. I think this is a great program that will make a huge difference in our students reading ability and teacher's ability to teach reading! I have learned a lot from this program!
Erika Currin, Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary and Waccamaw School

My students love coming to HillRAP because they receive individualized instruction and support in an environment that is safe and nurturing. They literally chart and SEE their progress on a daily basis as they master word lists and graph their fluency rate, all kept in a personal notebook, giving them ownership of the process.
Dave Morris, Union Elementary

HillRAP Reading works! I have teacher's who have come to me and wanted to know how it works. They are able to tell a difference in the student's work, especially oral questioning. They are willing to answer questions with confidence in class. Classroom teachers want to come in and observe what is going on because the students are going back and telling them that they like what they are doing in my class. That in turn, makes me more confident in what I am doing and willing to let them come in to listen. I am more organized than ever. There is still a lot to learn but with help of the supportive Hill Center staff and my supervisor I am well on the way to a wonderful year.
Mary Helen Hinson, Shallotte Middle

As a middle school HillRAP instructor, the most important result of this program to me is the increased self-esteem and self-confidence my students exhibit as a side effect of their improved reading and comprehension skills. After years of not being good readers, they are starting to believe that they can be successful! They take this program very seriously, especially my eighth graders, and seem to see it as one last chance to learn to read better. Thanks for a chance to express my appreciation for this program.
Charlene Ward , South Brunswick Middle

I have seen the confidence of students improve and thus their performance in their classrooms improve. One 4th grade teacher commented that a HillRAP students' fluency had improved a lot. Also, as a HillRAP teacher, I am now ready to be a winner on Wheel of Fortune!! I think I am more capable of figuring out those letter combinations!
Ramona Parker, Supply Elementary

The opportunity to work in a 4:1 ratio with students who have shown little response to other methods of teacher reading is amazing. The little successes that I see daily and the long-term changes in their reading ability has been very validating. These students are excited to come to reading class and think that reading is fun, they want to keep reading more and push themselves to higher levels. This program also makes me more reflective in my teaching practices as I am constantly looking at what skills students have opportunities to grow in and where they are mastered. It's a way of thinking that makes every day rewarding.
Lindy Hilton, Jessie Mae Monroe

I am using HillRAP as a reading intervention for some of my EC students. I was considering discontinuing due to several scheduling conflicts and I didn't know if it was benefitting the student. The very next morning his regular ed teacher came to me and said that she was amazed at the progress he has made! She stated "he actually read on grade level...I didn't think he would ever do that." I decided that the group should remain....it was great getting a fresh dose of motivation!
Ashley Mintz, Town Creek

Most of us know that young children come to school with a variety of experiences and with unique developmental levels. When those essential aspects of reading are presented in the school setting, some children are simply not neurologically or developmentally ready to acquire those basic skills necessary to become proficient readers. The beauty of HillRAP is that those essential aspects of reading are presented to students in a wonderfully organized system at a time when they are better able to assimilate and utilize the concepts.
I have been impressed with the progress of my former Exceptional Children students, who seemed to be exclusively "whole word" learners, as they have become more and more proficient with phonemic awareness and phonics skills. My two English as a Second Language students, who have often missed those beginning instructional pieces, exhibit more confidence as they experience success in a classroom situation with peers, perhaps the first time. But maybe the most noteworthy are those students who have not been behavior problems or received special services. When I input the Skill Tracking information for individual students, I am reminded of how far these students have come since the beginning assessments in August.
During the very first week of the program, one of my students said to me, "This is my very last chance to make it." When I think about it,that is what HillRAP is all about-providing students the opportunity to succeed.
Toni O’Keefe, Southport Elementary

I am seeing a growth in confidence with my students in HillRAP. They are gaining more confidence using the rules and vocabulary we have worked on in class. One student said he used the word "austere" in another class and his teacher rewarded him for using such a great word!!!!!!! Of course, using all of this knowledge in daily life is the goal!
These students are also enjoying the small class size - they get lots of individual attention. The repetitive nature of the class is good - the students know what to expect each day. And they continue to work on skills until they master them. Since the components of the class are based on assessments, the students are working on the correct level and practicing skills that they need to work on. Therefore, they are having more success and making more progress.
Ruth Thompson, Leland Middle School