“Skins and Skulls”

As part of their recent study of mammals in their science classes, last Friday, September 1st, our third graders enjoyed Skins & Skulls, a presentation featuring animal hides, skulls, and various facts about mammals. Special thanks to Hillcrest patron Rachel Davidson for facilitating this fun learning event!

Important: Upcoming Testing for 10th, 11th, 12th Graders

Parents, in an effort to ensure that our students are well prepared to enter college, the Upper School requires the following achievement / college entrance exams for our 10th through 12th grade students:

Seniors will take the ACT here at Hillcrest on Tuesday, October 3rd.  The cost of this test is $46.00, due by Friday, September 29th.

Juniors will also take the ACT on October 3rd, and they will take the PSAT here at HCS on the following Wednesday, October 11th.  The cost of these two tests is $62.00 ($46.00 for the ACT and $16.00 for the PSAT).  Again, these fees are due by Friday, September 29th.

Sophomores will take the PSAT along with the junior class on October 11th.  The cost for them is $16.00, also due by Friday, September 29th.

Checks should be made out to Hillcrest Christian School — please put your child’s grade and which test(s) they will be taking in the memo line — and should be brought to the school counselor, Mr. Ritter.

Study Skills for School Success

Middle School students grow accustomed to hearing these words from their teachers: “Don’t forget to study for your test tomorrow,” but many of them don’t truly know how to study.  This is the reason Hillcrest’s 7th graders are required to take a semester of Study Skills.

In middle school, students are expected to do their work more independently than they may have during their elementary-school years; this requires analytical skills your child may not have developed yet, such as getting organized, taking good notes, and making plans before actually sitting down to study.  Furthermore, as children become more independent, they are less likely to ask parents for advice or help.  Often they will have to go through some trial and error to come up with the methods most compatible with their individual learning styles.  Study Skills is a class designed specifically to help 7th graders discover those methods and to help them succeed in junior high, high school, and beyond.

Below are pictures of Mrs. McCrory’s students working in groups to create posters of the study strategies they have recently learned and will soon be putting into practice.

Why Summer Reading?

Parents, you have very likely been subjected in recent days to your children’s complaints about summer reading and the tests which accompany those assignments.  It is even possible that you yourself have thought, “We didn’t have to do that when I was in school; why do my children have to do it?”

First, the practice of summer reading helps to prevent the “summer slide” — a decline in the knowledge and abilities which students are expected to recall and use when they return to school.  Next, summer reading — any independent reading, actually — promotes self-sufficience and critical thinking; Hillcrest is preparing students not only for success in college, but for accomplishment in the work force as well. Consider the following: Anyone who has ever worked for someone else knows that if your boss always has to tell you what to do and how to do it, he or she does not really need you and will soon find someone else who can and will do the job.  The most important reason for summer reading, however, is this: The only way to improve at any skill is to practice it regularly.  Teachers are often told, “I read it, but I didn’t understand it.”  Just as one would not expect automatically to be an expert when playing a sport or an instrument, students should not assume that simply being able to read means that they will instantly be good at it; therefore, in order to improve reading comprehension, students must practice reading on their own and must do so consistently.

English 11 students testing on summer reading, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So, while these explanations probably won’t completely stop your children’s flow of complaints about summer reading, maybe parents can use them to silence the moaning and groaning for a few brief moments.

New Upper School Faculty

Hillcrest is proud to welcome 4 new, yet highly experienced, teachers to our Upper School faculty this year.  From left to right: Clark Russell – Chemistry and Earth Science, Patsy Wilkinson – English and Creative Writing, Libby Berrong – Social Studies, and Wyck Neely – Biology and Anatomy & Physiology. We’re so glad all of you have become part of the Cougar family!

The Upper School is also pleased to have a long-time and well-loved faculty member join us “up the hill” this year; Stephanie McCrory has moved from teaching kindergarten to instructing a few junior high courses.