The Latest

Giving Back

Hillsides Education Center Starts School Year with Full Classrooms

Continues Successful GROWTH and Reading Rocks! Programs

Published on Thursday, August 27, 2015 | 2:53 pm
HEC teachers are ready for another school year. With its recent accreditation, a full student body, and its effective Reading Rocks! Program and social-emotional GROWTH program, the school is on track for a successful year.

Hillsides Education Center (HEC) for special needs children has begun the school year with full classrooms of 84 children. This fresh start also brings 20 new students to campus.

“We’re excited about this school year,” said the school’s director Ryan Eisenberg. “Usually we start out with around 70 students and build during the year. It’s wonderful to see so many new faces on campus and to start the school year with full classes.”

One continuing program the school is especially proud of is its social-emotional program, GROWTH, which stands for generous, respectful, optimistic, willing, tenacious, and honest. Now in its second year, GROWTH encourages children to set goals, complete tasks, grow their social-emotional intelligence, and create habits of self-reflection to help them reach success inside and outside the classroom.

The recently introduced common core state standards, which schools must meet, has a social-emotional learning curriculum embedded in the standards, said Eisenberg. “Because all of our teachers have already been trained in GROWTH, we are ahead of the game.”

In addition, this school year will mark the third year of the school’s highly successful Reading Rocks! Program, which provides intensive, individualized targeted reading intervention for 30 percent of the students. During the 2014-2015 school year, 27 of 36 students in the program improved by one grade level and nine students by two grade levels. The program has trained 24 reading coaches, some of them fellow students.

In June, HEC was honored to receive accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC). The accreditation is the result of a four-year process during which the Education Center established a WASC leadership team to ensure that the school met certain goals and criteria. HEC received a six-year accreditation – the longest time frame available.

HEC is a non-public therapeutic residential and day school in Pasadena offering individualized education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade with social-emotional, learning and/or behavioral challenges. The school is dedicated to enriching students through academic, social, and emotional growth, enabling students to create lasting change.

HEC is one of four core programs of Hillsides. Hillsides provides quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where young people can thrive. Headquarted in Pasadena, the agency serves more than 6,200 children and families in Los Angeles County, including Pomona, Baldwin Park, South Pasadena, and Echo Park. For more information on HEC, please visit For more information on Hillsides, please visit



Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.

Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *