Hillsides Education Center Introduces Social-Emotional Skills Development Program for 2014-2015 School Year
The staff at Hillsides Education Center are looking forward to a successful 2014-2015 school year.

What does GROWTH stand for?

Hillsides Education Center (HEC) may have just started the new school year, but third grader Pablo*, 9, already knows the answer. “Generous, Respectful, Optimistic, Willing, Tenacious, and Honest,” he rattled off when asked.

GROWTH is a new program HEC is launching for the 2014-2015 academic year that teaches students how to improve in four skill areas: tenacity, problem-solving, social awareness, and personal awareness. Students will be encouraged to set goals, complete tasks, grow their social-emotional intelligence, and create habits of self-reflection to help them reach success inside and outside the classroom.

“Academic-based skills such as reading, writing, and math are very important, but so are social-emotional skills,” said HEC Director Ryan Eisenberg. “It is our job as educators to create students who are generous, respectful, optimistic, willing to try, tenacious, and honest with themselves and others.”

During the first month of school, students will receive an orientation to become familiar with the GROWTH concepts. They will then be given individual plans based on their skill area needs. Their goals will be posted and integrated into the school day. As students make progress on their goals, they will be rewarded with privileges, such as an overnight trip or a celebratory dinner with staff.

But the pay-off is even greater, said Eisenberg. “While we link privileges to GROWTH, the focus is more on students internalizing the importance of personal development.HEC believes in creating lasting change, and we think the GROWTH system will have a lifelong benefit to our students.” 

Also new at HEC this school year is a graphic design class. Students will be instructed on media design, T-shirt design, and animation projects. The school’s reading intervention program, Reading Rocks, is also being updated for the academic year with a software component that will more directly link the program with classroom lessons. Now in its second year, the reading program has been very successful. Out of 19 students participating in the program last year, four improved their reading by one grade level and five students by two grade levels. This year, HEC expects some 30 students will take advantage of the program.

HEC is a K-12 therapeutic residential and day school that offers individualized education for students with social-emotional, learning, and/or behavioral challenges.  HEC is one of four core programs of Hillsides. Hillsides, headquartered in Pasadena, is a premier provider dedicated to improving the well-being and functioning of children, youth, and families in need throughout Los Angeles County. For more information on HEC or Hillsides, please visit or



*Last name omitted in order to protect the privacy of the student. 

CONTACT:  Alison Bell

Office: (323) 543-2800 ext. 226
Cell: (626) 390-1640

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