Welcome to Hillcrest Elementary School!!
November 3, 2017
Mr. Spencer Holmgren
I love November! When I was the age that our students are here at school I don’t think that I loved it as much then as I do now though. I think that it is due to the fact that I didn’t really understand how the holiday our nation celebrates related to me personally. I did enjoy the holiday of Thanksgiving, but the whole season of Thanksgiving was lost on me. It wasn’t because I did know the history of Thanksgiving that we are taught in school, it is because I lacked the personal connection.
Not having a personal connection to the things that are taught to us makes it hard for us as students, young or old, to really learn and internalize what is being taught. When I got older I left home and lived in Mexico for a few years. While there we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or other holidays that are unique to the United States. I also found that while people were happy they didn’t have a lot of the opportunities that I had because I was from the United States. This helped drive home the concept of being thankful and grateful for what I have and like the pilgrims I had to leave home and rely on the kindness of others for that to really take root. Hopefully for our students it won’t take them so long to really internalize the meaning of Thanksgiving for them.
While Hillcrest students have great sources of background knowledge and experiences that they bring to school with them it is hard for them to come with an experience for every single thing that we do. One way we as teachers try and build background knowledge in a short amount of time is to share things through technology. We have been wonderfully supported in this through money donated and/or earmarked for technology by our PTA and Community Council. With this money we have bought many different things to equip our classrooms with better technology and we are one of the better equipped schools in the Cache Valley because of this.
We are continuing to explore new technologies to support our students in their learning. Some of these can only be used in school, like Accerated Reader and some can be used in the home, like Elefante Letrado, Reflex Math, Imagine learning, CODE.org and TinkerCad. If you are looking for ways to connect your home to our school day these are some great ways to do so. Of course one of the simplest forms of technology is also a simpler and powerful way to help your student to progress academically. That technology is a good book!
I hope that you are all able to give these different options a look and if you have any questions you let us know.
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Hillcrest Parents, Students and Teachers,
Greetings! I am excited to be the new Principal at Hillcrest Elementary School. I know the Hillcrest Elementary has a wonderful tradition of excellent educators and I am proud to be joining their ranks. Additionally as I have been able to rub shoulders with some of the parents and students in the school I have come to find that Hillcrest has wonderful support in the homes of our students and that our students are motivated kids that have a love for learning. To be able to participate in a community with this caliber of individuals is fantastic.
A little about me as an educator. I began my teaching career during the 2006-2007 year at Woodruff Elementary School after graduating from Utah State University in Elementary Education. I taught at Woodruff for the following 8 years before finishing a masters degree in teacher education and leadership from Utah State University. In the spring of 2014 I was appointed the principal of Woodruff Elementary school where I was until receiving my transfer to Hillcrest Elementary. As a teacher I had a focus on doing what was best for kids, and differentiation of instruction based on student needs. As principal I continued with that vision with my faculty and staff at Woodruff School. As we did this Woodruff was able to attain high levels of academic achievement. At the end of the 2014-15 school year Woodruff received the Title 1 Priority, Focus, Reward for having students that made better than average growth within the academic year. This recognition was only given to 26 schools in the state of Utah and was a wonderful plaudit for the hard work and dedication we did that year. During the past school year, 2015-2016, Woodruff Elementary was one of on 21 schools to receive a STEM School Designation through the office of STEM Utah and the Utah State Office of Education. While we were one of 21 designations we were in the top six schools and received a gold level designation, one of only four schools to receive this level of recognition. As the school principal I was extremely proud to have worked with our community council, teachers, staff and students to receive this designation. My style of instruction will always focus on what is best for kids and will help them to have the world-class education they need in order to have every doorway of life available to them.
A little about me on a personal level. I was raised in Bear River City Utah working on my family farm. I learned the value of hard work and of education from my parents, both of whom encouraged learning at an early age and made certain that I would get a higher education in my life. I served as a missionary for my church at the age of 19 in Mexico where I learned to speak, write and read fluently in Spanish. I married a beautiful woman in 2006 and together we have three sensational kids. My oldest is involved in the DLI Spanish program here in Logan District at Bridger Elementary School and we look forward to our other kids being able to be involved in this program as well. When we aren't in school we love to ski at Beaver Mountain in the winters and we play soccer with Aggies FC and rec leagues during the Spring, Summer and Fall. We are campers and hikers as well, and enjoy being outdoors.
I look forward to getting to know you during my time here at Hillcrest, if you have any questions or concerns about school please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,