Our High-Quality Distance Learning Program

Our Distance Learning delivers the full value of a Hillbrook Education.

On March 17, Hillbrook began its distance learning continuity plan in response to the county-wide order to shelter in place implemented by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

Staring September 23, families can choose to return to either full in-person learning or continue in our distance learning program for the 2020-21 school year. See how we are safeguarding our students' and community's health and safety here

Learn how the hallmarks of a Hillbrook educationchoice, engagement, and genuine connection—lay the foundation for a robust distance learning experience that is keeping children engaged with their academic growth, their peers, their school community, and Hillbrook School's mission and vision. 

At Hillbrook School, one of our three key priorities is to adjust to the evolving pandemic situation and the unique needs and challenges each of our families face as a result. We designed our remote learning program to do just that. Preparing your child to return to in-person learning and supporting our families in remote learning is on the top of our list and will definitely take cooperation on either side to make this work.

If You're Headed Back To Campus

We have designed a program that meets each student and each family where they are.
“More than ever, families need to make decisions that are right for their children and we will do our best to support and offer programming that you and your family can access. This is definitely not a one size fits all moment...As you endeavor to be with your children, we will continue to strive to be with you and with them with the same care and excellence that you have come to expect from Hillbrook.” - Colleen Schilly, Associate Head of School
We have designed schedules for the Lower School and Middle School that are built around the stable cohort model. The following section includes a more detailed description of the two schedules.

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  • Learning in Hillbrook's Lower School

    Children who are participating in the distance learning program follow a very similar schedule to the schedule being followed by children on campus, allowing for synchronous learning opportunities throughout the day.

    In general, each instructional block begins with a mini-lesson, guiding question, explanation, or review of content. This sets up children to do independent work and exploration for the next portion of time while the teacher may check in with small groups or individual students. The teacher may pull the group back together periodically with a chime, and/or at the end of the block to wrap-up and reflect. This structure provides synchronous learning opportunities for the remote learner while minimizing the need for them to engage fully in a live meeting for 45 minutes. In general, the goal is for remote learners to engage at the beginning of the block to help guide their independent time and then at the middle and/or end of the block for reflection, sharing, and feedback.

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  • Learning in Hillbrook's Middle School

    The Middle School experience balances in-person learning with virtual learning, recognizing the need to minimize the number of adults who are interacting with each stable group.

    Students who are participating in the distance learning program follow a very similar schedule to the schedule being followed by children on campus, allowing for synchronous learning opportunities throughout the day. Students in our distance learning program and students learning in person all participate in some virtual learning during the day. Students have a consistent synchronous schedule and also have the opportunity during periods to balance being on-screen and working independently. 

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  • 5th Grade

    Each day, students have one or two periods of math/science and one or two periods of English/history. World Language/Academic Prep is taught for four periods per week, electives are taught four periods per week, and PE is taught four periods per week.
  • 6th & 7th Grade

    Core classes - Math, English, Science, History, and World Language/Academic Prep - meet four out of five days each week, and a teacher provides support and guidance during each virtual class. Students also have Physical Education and Electives four days per week and Reach Beyond Block each Tuesday afternoon.
    Students rotate through a set of arts/enrichment offerings over the course of the year, taught by our electives teachers. These classes rotate approximately by quarter, so students will experience a range of enrichment throughout the year.
  • 8th Grade

    Each day, students have a double period with a cohort teacher in science, English, history, or Social Impact & Leadership, and then virtual classes for math and world language/Academic Prep. Virtual classes in Math and World Language/AP are facilitated in person by the students’ cohort teacher so that students have access to a teacher throughout their classes to help offer support, feedback, and materials. Cohort teachers, along with module classes, rotate every two weeks over the course of the year. This schedule allows students to take a deeper dive into their core subjects while maintaining the need for daily coursework in skill-based classes like math and world language.

    Students also have Physical Education five days per week and arts/enrichment five days per week, with Reach Beyond Block content and skills integrated into their Social Impact & Leadership module course. Finally, once per week, eighth-graders have High School Decisions or Study Hall. Students rotate through a set of arts/enrichment offerings over the course of the year, taught by our electives teachers. In order to preserve the stability of cohorts, these classes rotate approximately by quarter, so that students experience a range of arts/enrichment over the course of the year.

    Social Impact & Leadership is a new course created for 8th graders to engage deeply in the study of social entrepreneurship and leadership. It is taught by the new Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship Associate Director Matt Callahan. The program creates a space for our 8th grade Capstone Project, providing a rigorous, interdisciplinary, active learning experience that serves as a powerful culminating experience for 8th graders.

If You're Still At Home: Remote Learning Tips for Parents

If you are anxious about successfully navigating distance learning, know that we have the right tools and structure to facilitate a successful year. Also, remember that you are not alone, and many parts of the country are in the same position with changes occurring frequently. Here are some tips just for you to help ensure a positive learning experience:
  1. Remember You are Not the Teacher
Take a moment to exhale! It is helpful to create and maintain a consistent structure, schedule, and environment that best meet your child where they are educationally and developmentally.Breaking up Younger elementary school students have shorter attention spans and require more oversight and support than upper elementary and middle school students. All students need eLearning breaks, but older students should be able to work with some degree of autonomy and only receive help when they ask for it.  
  1. Create a Conducive Learning Environment
Designate a specific area from which the student will do their schoolwork every day, and involve your child in the process of designing a space . Giving them ownership of this process encourages creativity, independence, and instills accountability. This will also give you insight into how your child learns best. At Hillbrook, we know that flexible learning spaces maximize student learning and engagement and so our classrooms are equipped with wiggle stools, floor cushions, and whiteboard tables that  flip and are on wheels so that students and teachers can adapt the space for the learning that is happening and to meet the needs of the child. Learning through a screen is hard work - and children and doing a phenomenal job adapting. Consider adding a potted plant, a tabletop rock garden or fountain, a squishy or a fidget cube to help redirect, calm, and refocus your child. Finally, consider giving your child space to do independent work but also find a spot where you can still be easily available in case they have questions or need support throughout the day.
  1. Maintain Your Home Routines
Consistency is key. Whatever your routine is for a typical work-school week should be maintained as much as possible. This includes bedtimes and morning routines. Getting dressed as if your student was going to school can help them plan for a learning mindset. Many schools, including Hillbrook, are asking children to dress in their uniforms whether they are attending learning on campus or virtually. Consistent expectations help establish routines that provide students with a sense of predictability and comfort. Shared expectations for on-campus and off-campus learning promotes a sense of equity and consistency. We are happy to work with you/your child if uniform wear, particularly for distance learning, is a struggle

Finally, continue to read with younger students and to coach older students to dedicate time to reading each day (children should engage in at least 20 minutes of independent reading time a day). 
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is being felt throughout the world and certainly within our communities. In a time of uncertainty, Hillbrook is committed to supporting our families and the community that we all love and cherish. Click here to learn how we are actively Supporting Our People in the year ahead.
Here's a glimpse at how we are staying connected with our families:

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Hillbrook Reaches Out
“In this unprecedented remote learning environment, structures to help students feel connected locally and globally are critical." - Annie Makela, Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship
"At this particular time in our nation's history, the Hillbrook ethos of reaching beyond and making a difference has become more important than ever." - Mark Silver, Head of School
Here is what our families are saying:
“[My child] is a person who thrives best when she knows what to expect. This is helping her grow muscles in many ways: faith - in herself, her teachers, her peers- that everyone will rally together and swim in these new waters as best they can; patience- with herself and the process that couldn’t really be contextualized until today; and reflection, which we do and will continue to guide her to unfold. We will talk about the ways in which the sense of community was held strong today, and notice how people come together in the face of hardship. This sense of rallying is an important life noticing - and one with which we can all identify. It’s so empowering.”
“A huge thanks to your team for everything...The kids were so excited to engage with their teachers, friends, other Hillbrook videos, and beyond.  We are all so fortunate to have such an amazing team at Hillbrook.”
An independent Junior Kindergarten -8th grade school in Los Gatos since 1935

300 Marchmont Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-6116 | info@hillbrook.org