Hillcrest High School Named 2020 CLAS Banner School
May 5, 2021
Hillcrest High School has been selected as a 2020 CLAS Banner School, by the Council of Leaders in Alabama Schools. This program recognizes schools or initiatives that serve as outstanding educational models for other schools in Alabama. Hillcrest was selected for its Character Education program, in which students are the leaders of the program. Only eight schools in Alabama were chosen as Banner Schools this year, selected from 31 schools named 2020 CLAS Schools of Distinction.
In the summer of 2015, a group of students, parents, teachers, and administrators created the Hillcrest High School Code of Academic Honor and Integrity. This effort laid the cornerstone of Hillcrest High's Character Education Program, with lessons created, written, and presented by teachers. The program was beneficial, but when students became the leaders of the program in the 2019-2020 school year, it set off a positive, transformative shift in school culture.
Within a 25-minute time period every Wednesday, all 1300+ Hillcrest High students received the same Character Education presentation, created by students for students.
"The students’ authorship of the lessons was unique, daring, and frequently personal," Hillcrest High School Assistant Principal Mrs. Cheryl Morrow said.
"The authors trusted that the lessons were presented by their peers with a spirit and belief that character can be developed."
School administrators attribute improvements in overall behavior, school culture, and academic excellence to the character education program. Over the past three years, Hillcrest made significant gains in its overall state accountabiity score. Administrators believe this reflects the connection between positive school culture and academics.
“The CLAS Schools of Distinction provide excellent examples of the significant learning opportunities taking place in public education in Alabama," Dr. Vic Wilson, Executive Director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, said.
"The stakeholders at every School of Distinction are to be commended for striving for excellence daily."