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Supt's On! School District News and Notes!

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Hill City School District and thank you for checking out Supt's On! A feature of my webpage offering news and notes about the great things happening here at Hill City School District! Thank you for visiting this site, and I hope to provide you with meaningful updates and information throughout the course of the 2018-2019 school year.

Recent Posts

Dash to the End of the 18-19 School Year!

Despite the long winter, we are fast approaching the end of the 2018-2019 school year! Preparation for next year is already underway! The board of education recently adopted the basic calendar structures for school year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Please see the RECENT NEWS section of our website to view those. Significant dates have already been posted on our website for the 2019-2020 school year. Activities and events for next year will be posted by May 30th. A paper copy of the calendar will also be generated and will be ready for pick up after May 30th. We want to remind everyone that activity dates and times are subject to change!
Students and faculty grades 3-11 will be taking state required Smarter Balanced assessments this month. Other assessment dates are noted on our school calendar. You may also view our assessment process on our district website. Thank you for helping students do their very best on these important assessments of academic progress!
Thank you very much for making Hill City School District a great place to Learn and Grow! GO Rangers!

HCSD Winter Activities and Academics: Ranger Pride!

My best as you celebrate the season with family and friends! It's an exciting time as we near the start of 2019! Hill City School District winter academics and activities truly capture Ranger Pride and our organizational commitment focused on "Instilling Excellence and Pride!"
Our faculty are exemplary educators in every aspect! Their dedication as professional educators is evident in our top tier ACT scores, positive performance on the state School Performance Index (SPI) at all building levels, strong student participation rates in co-curricular activities, innovative classroom instructional practices, after school enrichment programming, and their powerful presence through their service on building level leadership teams and our district strategic planning committee! They truly shape the future in all aspects of a meaningful, personalized, and inspirational curriculum for our students!
Our leadership teams will begin focusing on the 2019-2020 school year starting with our January board meeting! Future district budgets, two-year academic calendars, capital outlay projects, technology acquisition, re-branding opportunities, graduation policy revision, as well as building level and district level strategic plans will be reviewed and approved prior to April 2019! A very busy time, but how exciting to plan for the future! We look forward to your continued participation through attendance at school board meetings, responses to surveys, and at other engagement opportunities as we create exemplary educational opportunities for our students now and into the future! 
Thank you for making Hill City School District a GREAT place to LEARN and GROW! Go Rangers!!

Ranger Pride Everywhere this Fall!

Time sure does fly by as we close the first quarter of school! Ranger Pride is evident everywhere in our academic and co-curricular programs! I want to thank everyone for making the first nine weeks a positive experience for our students! Instilling Excellence and Pride is our motto and artifacts of excellence in education are found throughout the district in our innovative classrooms and through exceptional experiences for students in our co-curricular activities!
Students have been busy at the elementary school this week with Red Ribbon week activities. Hats off to Mrs. Weron and her helpers for promoting drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention awareness activities and events each day to our elementary students!
We are excited to have U.S. Senator. John Thune present on Monday, October 29th to speak with our middle school and high school students about civic leadership. Thank you Senator Thune and staff for your work with our students locally and your advocacy for federal programs benefiting Hill City School District students!
I am so proud of our students, coaches, and advisers for their hard work and dedication during the Fall activities season! Hill City School District students represent our schools with honor, integrity, and excellence in all events and activities! We look forward to Winter activities starting soon!
My sincere thanks to all who took the Stakeholder survey! The district Strategic Planning and Accreditation Committee and school board members are currently reviewing the data. Information will be used to build new Core Values and Initiatives and to move us toward another five Year System Wide  AdvancED accreditation cycle. Survey data will be publicly presented at an upcoming board meeting.The district's new Vision and Mission statement will also be rolled out soon!
Thank you for making Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow through your strong support of HCSD academics and activities! Please feel free to contact me anytime at 605.574.3030 or via email at mike.hanson@k12.sd.us! GO RANGERS!

2018-2019 School Year Up and Running!

Hello! On behalf of the Hill City School District board of education and our talented and gifted professional employees, welcome to Hill City School District for a great year of learning and activities enriching all students along their educational journey! Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow with you this school year!
During teacher in-service, I highlighted three leadership goals I'll be focusing on this school year.
  • The first is school safety and security. We are dedicated to enhancing our security protocols every year. District employees and students will receive training this year in the ALICE framework. Through a strong partnership with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office; we look forward toward implementation of this framework throughout the school year. The board of education will act at September 10th's board meeting to approach Pennington County for a School Resource Office in our district. If you see something, say something! Project Stand Up for School Safety is a new anonymous method to report suspicious behavior or threats or violence. Text "SAFE" to 82257 and district officials will receive the information and work cooperatively with law enforcement to investigate information provided through this reporting system. Please feel free to contact any administrator regarding information you feel may be threatening in nature.
  • I am pleased to work with our new Strategic Planning and Accreditation Committee to develop a new Purpose Statement, Vision and Mission statements, Core Values, and Initiatives! The committee is made up of parents, faculty members, board members, and administrators. We are excited to redefine, re-engage, and re-energize leadership opportunities through this process! Engaging all stakeholders in this process is very important, and we look forward to receiving your feedback as the committee moves deeper into this leadership activity!
  • Celebrating, Supporting, and Sustaining Innovation! Our faculty are dedicated toward excellence and equity of instruction and opportunities to improve student success! Innovative instructional practices in inside and outside the classroom promote and encourage the development of college and career ready students.
Stay tuned as we highlight instructional practices and activities this year promoting student engagement at all levels throughout the district!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve your children each day! Please be sure to contact me anytime as we work together to provide the best educational experiences for our students along their educational journey!

Exciting Enrichment Activities Summer 2018!!

As we close the 2017-2018 school year, we prepare for exciting summer enrichment activities promoting active student engagement in academics, technology, and activities! Information has been sent home with elementary school students. Our school district website is populated with event dates and times! 
We are very grateful to many teachers for providing summer enrichment activities students may enjoy the month of June. Our elementary program celebrates "All About Science!" Integrating literacy and mathematics instruction in a science framework anchors our Kindergarten through Fifth grade summer enrichment program.  Students enrolled in grades K-8 will also enjoy technology opportunities this summer as Elementary Tech Camp and Middle School Coding Camp are offered once again! 
Our Food Service Department "knocks it out of the park" offering their annual Free Summer Lunch program! Thank you so much, Mrs. DuBois, for promoting this meaningful program for children ages 0 to 18!
My thanks to you all for making the 2017-2018 school year rich in student experiences! Our community of learners thanks each and every one of you too for your tremendous support of student academics and activities!
2018-2019 is just around the corner so be sure to check out our district and building level calendars already populated with activities and events! Thank you for making Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow!
Have a restful, relaxing, and wonderful summer, everyone! 

Teacher Appreciation Week May 7th-11th!

May 7th through May 11th is National Teacher Appreciation Week! Hill City School District is grateful for the incredible opportunities our faculty of professional educators provide to our students each day. Through innovative instructional practices in the classroom to coaching and advising extracurricular opportunities, our teachers promote Excellence and Pride for all students along their educational journey. Hill City School District students have shown strong achievement at every grade level on academic assessments and extraordinary talent in the arts and athletics because of the professional dedication and genuine care and concern our teachers show for every student, every day. Thank you for making Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow for every member of our school community!

Blizzard of Activities on Journey to End of Year!

Winter is certainly hanging on through the end of the school year! That doesn't dampen our spirits as we enjoy many activities and events headed toward the last day of school next month! I want to thank everyone for making Hill City School District a GREAT place to learn and grow! Challenges lead to opportunities and our organizational commitment to excellence in education continues at every level. Thank you for being our partners ensuring our students have the highest quality educational experiences along their path toward career and college readiness!
As we move toward the end of the school year, our students will be involved in many activities and events. Please be sure to check out our District and Building level calendars for updated events and times. Push messages from our Infinite Campus student management system are also sent out every other week. You should see an email with "HCSD" in the subject line. If your email has changed, please be sure to log into Infinite Campus or call your child's building secretary to update your information. 
Our 2018-2019 school calendar is being updated with events and activities. The District Calendar provides you with benchmark events such as school start and end dates, PIPTO activities, school board meetings, arts events, school pictures, parent/teacher conferences, and holiday breaks. The high school, middle school, and elementary school will continue to add events and activities specific to their building levels. A complete 2018-2019 school calendar with activities and events will be ready on or around May 30th. After May 30th, calendars may be printed off one month at a time, or please feel free to stop by any building in the district where a complimentary 2018-2019 school calendar will be printed for you. Just a reminder that activities and dates printed on the calendar are subject to change!
Please feel free to contact me or any building level administrator with questions, comments, and suggestions. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve your child and value strong relationships "Instilling Excellence and Pride" each and every day!

Exciting Events kick off Spring!

Our Spring semester is up and running with continued focus on exemplary academic and co-curricular opportunities for our students! My thanks to the faculty, club advisers, and coaches for your outstanding professionalism and commitment to our students each and every day!
We are blessed to have many in our community work with students in the classroom and at special events! PIPTO organizers and volunteers continue their wonderful service to our district building the academic success of our students through the recent Dr. Seuss carnival and 9th Annual PIPTO Science Fair. Each event was amazing and attendance was record breaking! Thank you PIPTO for your servant leadership helping our students learn and grow! 
We are also grateful to the 25 businesses who attended our job fair. What a great opportunity for our students ready to enter the workforce this summer!
We look forward to seeing you all at Parent Teacher Conferences this Monday, March 12th! PIPTO has its next meeting at the elementary commons at 3:15 p.m. on March 13th. The Hill City School Board also meets March 13th at 6:00 p.m. at the high school in room 202. Our agenda is available on the district website. Thank you for your attendance at our events, meetings, and contests!
Please be sure to contact me anytime via phone at 574-3030 or email at mike.hanson@k12.sd.us. GO RANGERS!

First Semester Flying By!

Hard to believe we are nearing the end of November already! Busy schedules have kept us all engaged in school activities!

At the elementary school, Standards Based Report cards and an innovative Kindergarten - First Grade setting have been implemented. Teachers have designed daily schedules that promote independent, small group, and large group learning opportunities in mathematics and literacy.  Our middle school Ranger Time has renewed focus on improving student skills sets in the core academic offerings while improving technology skills by introducing additional coding opportunities. High School students are enrolling in more dual credit courses offered through South Dakota's university and technical schools, and online high school courses offered through the South Dakota Virtual High School. Our Hill City High School faculty provide exemplary core academic and college level coursework delivered right on campus! Our amazing fine arts and co-curricular programs anchor our commitment to a well-rounded education for students at all levels. 

It's impressive to see examples of academic and co-curricular activities engaging our students outside of the traditional methods of instruction we as adults experienced as students! It's a start, but we are not done! My leadership goal is to expand the current artifacts defining the new educational space and systemically deliver more opportunities to ALL students at EVERY grade level to personalize their learning experience. We look forward to engaging all stakeholders this year and beyond examining and re-designing our educational programming to mirror the ever changing and global world experienced by our students.

My sincere thanks to faculty, administration, families, PIPTO members, and especially our AMAZING students for making Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow!

2017-2018 Ready to Begin!

We are getting closer to the BIG DAY with the new school year officially starting on Monday, August 28th! Be sure to view our district calendar as we have many activities the week of August 21! Open house opportunities are set for August 24th for both the elementary and middle school. Celebrate the dedication of the new elementary playground synthetic lawn on August 24th at 5:30 p.m. at the playground! Our sincere thanks to all who made this wonderful project a reality for our elementary students to enjoy!
Sixth through twelfth grade students may check out their PC's this week. Please start this process with the middle school or high school secretary as payment and paperwork must be completed with them prior to picking up your PC.
A reminder to update your Infinite Campus contact information if phone numbers or email addresses have changed. You can do this remotely through the website or by calling your child's building secretary.
Our district website is the best place to go to and learn more about events, activities, and news!  Download our school district app for push notifications and a direct link to our full website! Instructions for your Android and Apple devices are on the main page of our district section.
Feel free to contact me or our building principals with questions!  GO RANGERS!

August 28th First Day of 2017-2018 School Year!

The end of summer is fast approaching! Hill City School District students had some great summer enrichment opportunities planned by wonderful faculty members! We look forward to seeing you all in August for many events preparing us for the first day of school, Monday, August 28th! Our school website is updated with 2017-2018 school year information. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. We look forward to serving your family during the 2017-2018 school year! Thank you so much for your partnership making the Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow!

It has been nice to see milder weather recently! Just a reminder to log into your Infinite Campus portal to update any phone numbers or email addresses to receive district information if the weather turns on us again! I also like to send out emails with district information through IC Messenger. The Infinite Campus app and Hill City School District app are great ways to receive real-time student information including grades, attendance, food service, as well as activities and events. An Infinite Campus portal link is also located on our district website.

Hill City PIPTO continues to plan exciting events during the school year! The elementary school Dr. Seuss Carnival is set for February 24th and be sure to have your child register for the 8th Annual Hill City All Schools Science Fair held March 8th and March 9th. We are so grateful to PIPTO members and volunteers who organize amazing opportunities to engage families with activities that make our school district a great place to learn and grow!

Planning for the 2017-2018 school year is well underway! An important artifact to all school districts is the school calendar. The board of education will be taking action on a two-year calendar cycle at the March 20th meeting. We would like your feedback on the two calendar options being reviewed so please be sure to click on the link to the proposed calendars in the RECENT NEWS section of our website. Our philosophy of year round educational opportunities continues as we are actively planning Summer 2017 activities for students in all grade levels. More information will be sent out to families in the coming months. An exciting time as we plan and prepare for next school year!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve your family!

It’s exciting to have the second half of our school year well underway! We’re very proud of new after school programs at the elementary school this year with the recently completed Kindergarten Academy and a new 5th grade Algebra Academy set to begin soon.  The high school and middle school are finding great success with student achievement data captured through the NWEA - Measure of Academic Progress (MAP). This formative assessment platform provides our faculty with powerful student information assisting them in the development of meaningful classroom lesson plans.

Our organizational focus now turns toward planning the 2017-2018 academic year. Central office administration and building administrators are working with faculty on topics that include curriculum review, budget requests, as well as summer program opportunities. Please be sure to check our website for information. You will also receive district emails with links to 2017-2018 programs and calendars.

Our partnership with parents and guardians is vital to student success! Please be sure to visit with your child’s building level principal and teachers throughout this semester! Although we have many ways to deliver student information electronically, we value time in person with you to discuss your child’s progress.  Thank you for making Hill City School District a great place to learn and grow!

Winter Weather Preparedness!

It's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas with this fantastic Fall weather we have been experiencing! But we should be ready when the snow and cold weather do set in sometime this year! 
The South Dakota Department of Education provided school administrators with the following message. Winter weather preparedness. The Department of Public Safety has asked us to share resources related to winter weather preparedness – one of which is the annual Winter Weather Preparedness Guide. In addition, DPS  has created a downloadable winter storm preparedness book featuring the mascot, Tommy the Turtle. Hill City School District also wants to remind everyone to be prepared and wear/pack appropriate cold weather clothing for travel to and from school and as students transition among buildings throughout the day!
The decision to call off or adjust the school day due to weather is an important decision for school superintendents. Consulting with our bus shop manager, district maintenance supervisor as well as state and county highway department officials begins very early in the morning or possibly the night before when potentially poor weather is forecast to come our way.  We are so lucky to have many dedicated professionals in our area working hard to keep our roads safe for school, economic activity, and winter recreational activities! I'm honored to work with all of them, day or night,  to make the best decision possible regarding travel to and from school. 
When potentially poor weather is forecast to impact our area and I've made the decision to adjust the school schedule for the day, you'll receive word via Infinite Campus Messenger - voice, text, and email. In terms of late start or school cancellation, I will make that determination and send notification to you no later than 5:45 a.m.- frequently you'll hear my voice as your wake up call around 5:15 a.m.-5:30 a.m.! Information regarding no school, late starts, and early dismissals will also be posted on our school district website, school app, and through media outlets that include KOTA, KELO, KEVN. 
Let's enjoy this fantastic weather right now but take some time to think about and prepare for Winter Weather around the corner! Thank you so much!

Safe Schools Week: Oct 16 - Oct 22

Each and every day our faculty and administration are dedicated to providing the best educational climate and culture for our students. Building a positive culture for learning requires many attributes that include: professional and highly skilled cadre of faculty members, meaningful curricular and co-curricular opportunities at all levels, well maintained buildings, as well as safety and security protocols.

October 16th- 22nd is America’s Safe Schools Week. Our board of education, administration, and faculty take the responsibility for school safety very seriously. We have board policy and building level procedures in place focused on response measures to several safety issues that we hope may never occur. Our teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators take great care to provide optimal supervision of students during the day. We practice fire drills as well as lock down drills multiple times during the school year. Access to our facilities during the day is controlled via video/audio door entry systems. The district also maintains strong relationships with local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders. We are very grateful for the incredible women and men who serve our community in their roles as First Responders!

One of the best methods to promote a safe environment for our students is simple – If you see something or hear something -- SAY something. Teachers and administrators will immediately follow up on any threatening statement or action with an appropriate level of response that may include assistance from law enforcement personnel.

By working together, we can recognize each and every week as a Safe Schools Week in Hill City School District. If you have any questions or concerns regarding school safety, please feel free to contact me or any building administrator. Thank you so much for all you do making our district a great place to learn and grow!