(PASADENA, Calif.) March 8, 2022—Hillsides’ board of directors announces that Hillsides Education Center (HEC) will close its doors on May 31 due to the financial challenges that school districts have experienced as a result of the pandemic and directly impacted the school’s enrollment.
Forty years ago, Hillsides leadership seized an opportunity to improve the quality of lives for children who had socio-emotional, learning, and/or behavioral challenges. Providing a wide range of services to dramatically improve students’ social skills and allow them to achieve new levels of academic success, HEC, a non-public school in Pasadena, offered specialized instruction for students experiencing difficulties in a lesser restrictive environment.
“In these four decades, we have been privileged to create lasting changes in the lives of the students who have not lost sight of their goal to graduate from high school. Many students have returned to see their teachers and other Hillsides staff,” said Hillsides CEO Stacey Roth. “We have seen the heartfelt commitment our HEC faculty and staff have made in these 40 years and are truly grateful for their dedication and service.”
“In recent years, we have experienced barriers to HEC’s sustainability and with a heavy heart, we made this difficult decision to close,” said Roth, who with HEC administrators, has seen the changing educational landscape for students requiring individualized education plans at a day school or coupled with a therapeutic residential program. The cost of educating a student has far outpaced the increases in the daily rate over time.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the educational landscape with decreased enrollment across school districts in California. According to Roth, the impact of funding cuts to the school districts directly affects the decline in student referrals HEC receives.
The California Department of Education in a press release on January 26, 2022 reported that the State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced an initiative to help address increasing mental health challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. One aspect of this initiative means providing the school districts with 10,000 mental health clinicians, eliminating the need for HEC’s in-district mental health support.
Currently, HEC has 41 students whose parents have been notified to ensure a seamless transition to their home school or other non-public school of choice. About 20 HEC faculty and staff have been notified and received a list of open positions within the organization if they wish to apply.
Hillsides Leadership will launch several new programs on its 17-acre campus in Pasadena. Collectively, these programs will be referred to as HillsidesCares and will include residential treatment, a partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient program for children and youth experiencing mental health challenges and co-occurring disorders. These new programs, intended for families with health insurance, will allow the organization to continue fulfilling its mission, while augmenting Hillsides’ existing array of outpatient programs located throughout the County. The HillsidesCares program officially launched in December.
Founded nearly 110 years ago, Hillsides will continue to serve more than 14,000 children, young adults, and families through these new and innovative programs.
“Hillsides mission remains dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy,” said Hillsides Board Chair Deborah Booth. “As we evolve with the changing times, we continue to envision a world in which children and young adults, families, and communities are able to heal, grow, and thrive.”
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Hillsides is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves almost 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout nine sites in four counties. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Hillsides has been a designated Trauma Informed Care Agency by the National Council for Behavioral Health. To learn more about HillsidesCares, please visit www.HillsidesCares.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.
Photo caption: After 40 years of improving the quality of lives for children who had socio-emotional, learning, and/or behavioral challenges, Hillsides Education Center will close its doors on May 31, 2022.
Photo courtesy: Hillsides
Marisol Barrios Perez, MSPA, APR
Mission Driven PR