Elaine Hill lays a solid foundation for her fourth graders, setting them up for success. Hill is a founding member of the Academic Academy, a school-within-a-school for fourth through eighth grades housed within Michael F. Wallace Middle School in Waterbury, Connecticut. A full-day challenging program for excelling students founded in 2019, the Academy includes an after-school program that keeps most of Hill’s students with her until 4:50 p.m. four days a week — wraparound time that has been critically important as the school recovers from pandemic learning disruptions. Hill holds high expectations and advocates for all students. Her students fashion communication devices during STEM lessons and exchange letters with students in Texas through a pen pal program, offering opportunities to experience the world beyond their backyards. Hill’s students show notable achievement and growth. In 2021-22, 94% of students read on or above grade level by midyear; in math, students on or above grade level rose from 29% at the beginning of the year to 53% at midyear. On the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Hill’s students scored among the highest in the district.
Hill’s innovative weekly student mentoring program has been highlighted on local news programs, showcasing her seventh and eighth graders’ work with fourth and fifth graders on projects like building LEGO robots. After Hill’s class discussed the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and watched videos of his speeches, students wrote essays about the civil rights hero, with one earning top honors in an essay contest sponsored by Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. After Hill’s class discussed the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and watched videos of his speeches, students wrote essays about the civil rights hero, with one earning top honors in an essay contest sponsored by Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
Hill places a priority on building community among students and with families. During the pandemic, she found unique ways to include families in their children’s learning at home. Hill uses technology so parents can join the classroom virtually when students present projects and is a frequent contributor to Parent Square, the school’s home on social media. Former students often stop by Hill’s classroom to thank her for her ongoing encouragement and support.
Hill earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and social science from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2017 and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Saint Joseph in 2020.
"It's important to recognize educators because we're doing work that helps the whole community."— Elaine Hill at her Milken..." (read more)
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