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About Hillside Academy

2 kids outdoors

Our mission

Hillside Academy in Boise, Idaho, is an independently owned private school providing a safe place for students to advance in life and education. Founded by Barbara Brown, Hillside Academy has been the learning center for children from all academic achievements, including those with learning disabilities. She recognized the need for a more individualized learning curriculum while working with her son to excel in private school. Barbara noticed how well he thrived when he was given more one on one attention and the ability to learn at his own pace. Through this experience she was able to create a learning environment where children can learn at their pace, which lead to the founding of Hillside Academy. With the help of three amazing teachers, her curriculum has proven to help children unveil their capabilities and maximize their potential.

At Hillside Academy we encourage parents to be proactive in their child’s education and offer opinions to better their learning environment, both academically and socially. We offer an active and cordial learning curriculum for 3 year old’s, kindergarten, and first grade students.

We believe children have the potential and ability for success, our job is to provide the opportunities and support to help them achieve it. Our school challenges students to meet their potential by surrounding them with an inventive and encouraging environment. This allows children to develop social skills, such as empathy and self worth, while teaching them responsibility, self discipline and respect for others.

We accept the challenge of finding your child’s best learning strategy, and applying that to our teaching methods. Our hope is to provide a quality education for our students while building and earning their trust. Our success is measured by whether, in partnership with parents, we’ve made the most of an individual’s potential based on their strengths and gifts.

Download our student handbook here:

kids outdoors with teacher

Advantages of Hillside Academy vs. public school.

  • Smaller classes for individualized learning (6:1 student to teacher ratio)
  • Flexible curriculum and student placement
  • Emphasis on interests and strengths
  • Safer environment
  • Curriculum design based on your child
  • Your child is not reduced to a test score
  • More opportunity for creativity
  • High expectation for kind and respectful behavior
  • Protective of a child’s dignity
  • Exciting hands-on, multi-sensory learning opportunities
  • Frequent, detailed parent communication
  • Encouraging of parent involvement and participation
Class size and structure.

We maintain a student-teacher ration of 6:1, this allows for each student to be addressed individually. Students are grouped in multi-age dyads and have the same teachers by subject. Multi-age grouping allows for greater emotional, intellectual and physical development among the students, allowing opportunities for students to find commonalities and academic challenge. Cross grade dyads encourage cooperative learning and a spirit of community. Parent specialists from their field of expertise support the entire teacher team. The entire staff meets weekly to plan curricula and tailor instruction. This improves creativity and problem solving in ways teachers cannot do when they work in isolation with large classes. It allows us to understand our students as learners at all levels, reviewing research, sharing talents, ideas, methods and strategies to support each individual student.


Flexible Learning Timetables: Education at Hillside Academy is not bound to a rigid timetable. Teacher teams incorporate flexibility per-student into the curriculum. If it takes longer to complete a topic or project, and if a student’s interest and level of engagement suggest a need for deeper exploration, we allow ourselves the time needed. As a result, the day flows with time on tasks and subject areas relate to one another naturally. While our days are very structured and disciplined, they also allow for flexibility and time for completion of an idea, thought, or project.

Authentic Assessment: Letter grades are not given to students, instead teachers write narratives that describe each learner’s academic, social, emotional, and physical needs. Goals are assessed and new goals are established for further learning. Evaluations are given to parents twice a year and are derived from ongoing, continuous observations and assessments relative to grade level expectations.
Portfolio Documentation: The curriculum is designed for the individual student so that it is meaningful and challenging. Documentation of each student’s progress in yearly portfolios enables teachers to plan a responsive curriculum. This is not done to compare children, determine placement or inclusion in a program, or to label. It is done to understand and represent individual progress effectively to parents – your child’s interest, capability, progress, strengths, type of intelligence and way of learning.