Months before the Grand Opening of Tesoro Viejo, a group of kids became the first to call the community home. Or rather, the first to call Hillside School, located in Hillside Village at Tesoro Viejo, their home-away-from-home. Hillside School welcomed its first class in August 2018. Go Bobcats!
Serving students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, Hillside School is part of the Chawanakee Unified School District and an integral part of the neighborhood scene on Tesoro Viejo’s horizon. Hillside School will be walkable from every home within Hillside Village, and is also just a meander away from Town Center. After school, expect to see families lining up in Town Center for iced mochas and other treats at AXIS Coffee Bar & Eatery.
School days at Hillside are dedicated to a rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum, plus a college and career exploration program that gives students an opportunity—even while they’re still just in elementary school—to learn about careers in the medical field and biotechnologies. Talk about being prepared! The school’s setting is appropriately state-of-the-art, will include a library and media center, music room, outdoor learning spaces, and a media-production room equipped with a green screen. But don’t worry, to ensure active, growing kids get all their wiggles out, there’s a brand new gymnasium and athletic facilities, too.
Jared Pierce, Hillside School’s founding principal, thinks the school’s setting amidst the rolling landscape of Tesoro Viejo will help kids connect to the great outdoors. “The natural resources here present a unique opportunity for our students,” said Pierce. “When they’re utilizing the ‘outdoor classroom’ concept, students can get outside the classroom and learn by doing.”
That kind of hands-on, project-based learning is essential for deepening mastery of new concepts and skills, and is the natural corollary to the dual-platform technology program award-winning Chawanakee Unified has been pioneering around the district. Hillside students and classrooms will be equipped with iPads, Chromebooks and MacBook Air computers. In coming years, when an education center opens with a second elementary school and the future Rio Mesa High School at Tesoro Viejo, it too will expose students to state-of-the-art technology, curriculum and resources on the one hand, and an immersive ‘natural laboratory’ on the other.
“Every time I walk this site, I look around in awe of the natural beauty of Tesoro Viejo,” says Principal Pierce. “It will be unlike any other neighborhood setting in the Central Valley and Hillside School is at the heart of it.”