Stories From Hillsdale
Hillsdale Library Makeover
The library at Hillsdale Elementary School recently received a makeover to better support the six C's of education - communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, confidence, and content. The library now consists of four zones: The Play Zone, The Quiet Zone, The Makerspace Zone, and the Instructional Zone.
Hillsdale's PTO raised over $13,000 to purchase new flexible seating, which encourages student collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. New tables with whiteboard tops that students can write on were also part of the makeover.
"It gives them that mobility to be creative," said Christine Roberts, Hillsdale's librarian. "The workforce that our students will go into is not the workforce that I went into 36 years ago. The workforce that they will go into is going to be collaborative. They're going to need to be able to communicate and move around. We are preparing them for the workforce.”
The new library is very different from the libraries of old.
"When I started in 1984, the kids came for 25 minutes, and they checked out a book. It was a silent environment. Now, this library is never quiet. There is always something going on. The kids only have to be quiet in The Quiet Zone," said Mrs. Roberts.
In addition to the flexible seating, the district added new cabinets and a circulation desk as finishing touches.
Students, parents, and members of the district's administration team celebrated Hillsdale's new library with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 20.
WCASD Board of Directors Approves New Principal for Hillsdale
The West Chester Area School District Board of Directors approved the hiring of Paige Merten as the new principal of Hillsdale Elementary School at the June board meeting.
Merten replaces Julianne Pecorella who retired at the end of the 2018-19 school year after serving as principal of Hillsdale for the last ten years.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such persevering students, an extremely dedicated staff, and a supportive school community. I feel very fortunate to be part of this school and to support the students and families," says Merten.
Merten has been in education for more than 25 years. She has been with the West Chester Area School District for the last 16 years, serving most recently as an assistant principal at Stetson Middle School. Merten was also an assistant principal at Fugett Middle School, interim principal at Fern Hill Elementary School, instructional coach at Exton Elementary School, and math resource teacher at Starkweather Elementary School.
"Mrs. Merten has served the district in many capacities, which will greatly benefit the students and staff at Hillsdale. She is a dedicated professional with a solid belief that student success is based on a collaborative relationship between families and schools. She is a thorough, approachable, clear communicator who will be an outstanding leader at Hillsdale," says Dr. Tammi Florio, Director of Elementary Education.
Merten and her husband have lived in the West Chester area for over 15 years. Her son recently graduated from East High School and will attend the University of South Carolina this fall. Her daughter is a junior at East High School. In her free time, she enjoys walking, reading, and practicing yoga.
Merten officially begins her new position on Monday, August 5th.
Hillsdale Holds Patriot Day Ceremony
Principal Julianne Pecorella leads the Patriot Day ceremony at Hillsdale Elementary School
A moment of silence was held across the West Chester Area School District on the 17th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Hillsdale Elementary School held their annual Patriot Day ceremony. A special thanks to Hillsdale's Boy Scout Pack 110 Chester County Council and Pack leader Josh Comolli for raising the American Flag.
Comolli, whose son is in 4th grade at Hillsdale, is a fixture at the ceremony every year.
"It's a great opportunity for students to respect the day and honor the people and heroes that died that day," said Comolli. "They weren't even alive when it happened. I remember the first year that I did this. I was nervous the night before because I didn't know what to say to them. They knew more about that day then I thought they would."
Patriot Day was established on September 4, 2002, by President George W. Bush.
Hillsdale's Boy Scout Pack 110 and Pack leader Josh Comolli
Hillsdale Teacher Named Citadel Heart of Learning Finalist
WCASD School Board members Dr. Karen Herrmann (left), VP Sue Tiernan, Hillsdale Principal Julianne Pecorella, Mary Daniels, Rep. Carolyn Comitta, Superintendent Dr. Jim Scanlon
Congratulations to Hillsdale Elementary School teacher Mary Daniels on being named a finalist for the Citadel Heart of Learning Award. Daniels is one of 15 Chester County teachers nominated for the award. The unsuspecting Daniels recently received a visit at Hillsdale from Citadel representatives notifying her that she was a district winner. She received $500 to spend on materials for her classroom.
An awards ceremony honoring all of the winners was held at the Desmond Hotel on May 8.
This year marks the 17th annual Citadel Heart of Learning Award program, established by Citadel and the Chester County Intermediate Unit to honor, recognize, and thank outstanding teachers in Chester County. This year, Citadel received more than 2,300 nominations for more than 1,100 teachers.