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Hill City Elementary School                                   

The Ranger Roundup

 August 24, 2019


Grilling on the Green and Open House was a huge hit!  Thank you to Darla Houser (PIPTO) and two of our school board members, Mr. Krull and Mr. Stam, for serving food and Mr. Gardner and Mr. King for grilling!  We couldn't have done this without you!  It was so wonderful to meet everyone and see the outstanding involvement of our families with our school!

The first day jitters have come and gone, and we are in full swing here at the elementary!  Thank you all for being flexible and such a big part of your child's education; parental involvement is one key factor for educational success!  Just a reminder…if you have not done so yet, please remember to update your parent portal so we have current phone numbers.  Give Mrs. Shelbie a call if you have forgot your username/password to access the parent portal. 

The Hill City Football Team is offering an online store for you to purchase Ranger Apparel.  Please visit https://ajscreening.itemorder.com and use the sale code:  gahrb , orders will close August 30th.  Information regarding K-5 Lil Rangers football will be sent home this week.  Please check the school website for dates.  The volleyball team also has apparel for sale.  Please visit https://hiillcityvb2019.itemorder.com , orders close August 26th

One of the procedures we would like to improve this year is having students stay outside before school, until the bell rings.  This gives them the chance to play with their friends, get their wiggles out, and build their conversational skills.  Once their bell rings, then they line up with their backpacks and head to their lockers to put their items away.  Please keep in mind there is no recess supervision until 7:45am. 

Breakfast is served in the classrooms for $1.90 or your child can bring a healthy alternative from home if they have not had breakfast yet.  Roxann also has the free/reduced applications on the school website ( Click Here ) or feel free to stop into the office and pick one up if you have not filled one out yet.  Each classroom has an afternoon milk/snack break; feel free to send a healthy snack with your child as well. 

Next week is a short week again as we have August 30th and September 2nd off to celebrate Labor Day.  We will begin our NWEA (Northwest Education Association) testing next week.  This test is standards based and will provide our teachers benchmark data for each student.  Our teachers will use that data to tailor their instruction to the student’s current levels.  This individualized approach and very favorable class sizes have helped Hill City Elementary become one of the best around!  Parents and students will also get information from the NWEA testing as well.  We will administer the assessment 3 times this year.

Please remember to “like” our Facebook page (HillCityElementarySchool) and visit our school website often https://es.hillcity.k12.sd.us/ .  Stop in and visit, I’d love to hear ideas on how we can make our magnificent school even better!


With Ranger Pride,


Samantha Weaver

Hill City Elementary Principal


La Escuela Primaria de Hill City                               

 El Resumen Ranger

 Agosto 24, 2019


¡Asar a la parrilla en lo verde y la Casa Abierta para Todos fue un enorme éxito!  ¡Gracias a Darla Houser (PIPTO) y dos de nuestros miembros de la junta de educación, el Sr. Krull y Sr. Stam, para servir comida y el Sr. Gardner y el Sr. King para asar a la parrilla!  ¡No pudimos haber hecho esto sin usted!  ¡Fue tan maravilloso de conocer a todos y ver el involucramiento sobresaliente de nuestras familias con nuestra escuela!

¡El nerviosismo del primer día ha venido y ha ido, y estamos en plena actividad aquí en la primaria!  Gracias a todos para ser flexible y una parte tan grande de la educación de su niño; ¡El involucramiento parental es un factor clave para el éxito educativo!  Simplemente un recordatorio … si usted aún no ha hecho eso, por favor acuérdese de actualizar su portal padre así es que tenemos números actuales de teléfono.  Llame por teléfono a Mrs. Shelbie si usted se olvidó su nombre de usuario/contraseña para ganar acceso al portal padre. 

El Equipo de Fútbol de Hill City está ofreciendo una tienda en línea para usted para comprar ropa Ranger.  Por favor visite https://ajscreening.itemorder.com y use el código de venta:  gahrb, órdenes cerrará el 30 de agosto.  La información estimando fútbol K-5 Lil Rangers será enviada a casa esta semana.  Por favor revise el sitio Web escolar en busca de fechas.

Uno de los métodos que nos gustaría mejorar este año esté que los estudiantes se quedan afuera antes de escuela, hasta que la campana timbra.  Esto les da la oportunidad para jugar con sus amigos, sacar sus contoneos, y construir sus habilidades conversacionales.  Una vez que su campana timbre, entonces se ponen en fila con sus mochilas y van a sus casilleros para guardar sus artículos.  Por favor tenga presente no hay supervisión de recreo hasta las 7:45am. 

El desayuno está servido en las aulas para $1.90 o su niño puede traer una alternativa sana de casa si aún no han comido desayuno.  Roxann también tiene las aplicaciones de precios gratis/reducidoss en el sitio Web escolar (Da Clic en https://www.hillcity.k12.sd.us/apps/pages/index.jsp?) o se siente en libertad para venir a la oficina y escoger una si usted aún no ha llenado una.  Cada aula tiene una suspensión de leche /bocadillo de la tarde; siéntase en libertad para enviar un bocadillo sano con su niño también. 

La semana próxima es una semana breve otra vez mientras no tenemos clases el 30 de agosto y el 2 de septiembre para el Día del Trabajo.  Por favor acuérdese de “gustarle” nuestra página del Facebook (HillCityElementarySchool) y visite nuestro sitio Web escolar a menudo https://es.hillcity.k12.sd.us.  ¡Entre de visita y haga una visita, me gustaría oír ideas en cómo podemos hacer nuestra escuela magnífica aun mejor!


Con Orgullo Ranger,


Samantha Weaver, directora de la primaria


Hill City Elementary School                     

   The Ranger Roundup

        August 14, 2019



Dear Hill City Elementary Families,


Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!  We all are very excited to have your child(ren) part of the Hill City Elementary School!  It is exciting to see new and returning students coming in to register and update information.  The hallways are beginning to buzz with chatter, teachers have been in working diligently getting their rooms ready for open house and kindergarten orientation.  Before we know it the first day of school, August 21st, will be here! 


Today, as I’m typing this, a friendly game of soccer is being played on “the green.”  Several students pop their head in my open window to say hi and giggle.  This makes my day, as the new principal; knowing students are SO excited to begin school, see their classmates and teachers!  In the short time I have been here, it’s easy to see that we truly have the best students, staff, families, and community! 


I am the new elementary principal as Mr. Gardner is now our superintendent…exciting changes for our district!  My family and I live north of Hot Springs and are currently looking for land in the area.  I have taught elementary for 11 years, special education for 6 years, and most recently administration as a curriculum director and literacy coach.  I look forward to working alongside you, please stop in and visit!  I believe communication is the key, so I will be sending out The Ranger Roundup every couple of weeks to keep you up to date with news and events happening in the elementary.  I’ll also be introducing our new teachers and staff as the year progresses.


Upcoming Events:

August 15th:  Kindergarten Orientation 8:00-9:00, Kindergarten Classrooms

August 19th:  Grilling on the Green 5:30-7:00; join us on the green for hot dogs, chips, water, and visiting!

August 19th:  Open House 6:00-7:00; visit your child’s classroom and meet the teacher!

August 21st:  1st Day of School!  8:05am-3:05pm. Please communicate with your child’s teacher where your child should go after school (boys and girls club, bus, walk home, car ride, etc.).

August 22nd:  Substitute Orientation 9:30 in the high school theater.  If you’ve thought about being a substitute, please come!

August 30th -September 2nd:  No School, Labor Day Weekend


Please follow us on Facebook!  Search:  HillCityElementarySchool (caps/spaces just as shown). 

Also, our school website will give the latest information:  https://www.hillcity.k12.sd.us/


A few things to keep in mind:

  • The school supply list is on the website.
  • Feel free to send a water bottle with your child.
  • Lunch money can be paid in the office with Mrs. Shelbie.
  • Thank you for updating your contact info!
  • Bus info/changes: 574-2249
  • We have THE BEST parent group…PIPTO!


I think that about wraps it up, for now.  I want to thank you all for such a warm welcome into the district!  I am truly excited about being here and continuing to have your kiddos as the focus of our school!  Please stop in, my door is always open, or feel free to email Samantha.weaver@k12.sd.us or call 574-3013. 


With Ranger Pride,


Samantha Weaver, Elementary Principal







                Greetings!  Our school completed the state mandated testing last week, which is a huge relief.  It also means that the end of the school year is quickly approaching.  We will administer our district level testing called the NWEA test, but it feels really good to be done with the state required testing.

                The month of May goes very quick in education.  We pack a lot of activities into the final month of the school year.  I encourage all of our students to continue to finish strong.  My dad used to talk about the importance of having good study habits.  Those habits are important as the weather warms up (I promise it will warm up at some point).

                Finally, we have had a great school year and still have a month to go.  It has been a blessing to work in a great school with supportive parents, outstanding faculty, and intelligent students.  Let’s finish strong and continue to be on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUACATION FOR OUR KIDS!




April 30th – Elementary Concert in Gins @ 6:30 – Students should arrive between 6:00 and 6:15


May 1st – Kindergarten Orientation for any students entering Kindergarten next year.  8:30-11:25 AM


May 2nd – Mason’s ID – Elementary Commons – 1:00-3:00 (students must have permission slip.  Was sent home Friday or can be found on School Website).


May 6th-8th – NWEA Testing


May 22nd – Awards @ 9:00 AM in Theater- Sack Lunch – Track and Field in Gym 12:20-2:30


May 23rd – Kindergarten graduation @ 9:00 in Theater

May 23rd – LAST DAY OF SCHOOL 11:30 Dismissal 



Blake Gardner

Hill City Elementary Principal








                ¡Saludos!  Nuestra escuela completó la prueba promulgada estatal la semana pasada, que es un enorme alivio.  También quiere decir que el fin del año escolar rápidamente está acercándose.  Administraremos nuestra prueba del distrito que se llama la prueba NWEA, pero se siente realmente bien terminar con la prueba estatal.

                El mes de mayo va rapidísimo en la educación.  Apretamos una buena cantidad de actividades en el mes final del año escolar.  Aliento a todos nuestros estudiantes a continuar terminando fuertemente.  Mi papá solió hablar de la importancia de tener bien hábitos de estudio.  Esos hábitos son importantes como el clima se calienta (prometo que se calentará en algún tiempo).

                Finalmente, hemos tenido un gran año escolar y todavía tenemos un mes para ir.  Ha sido una bendición trabajar en una gran escuela con padres solidarios, la facultad sobresaliente, y los estudiantes inteligentes.  Terminemos fuertemente y sigamos en el mismo equipo con la misma meta: ¡LA MEJOR EDUACACIÓN PARA NUESTROS NIÑOS!




Abril 30 – El Concierto en el Gimnasio Gins @ 6:30 – Los estudiantes debería llegar entre las 6:00 y 6:15


Mayo 1 –Orientación de Kinder para cualquier estudiantes entrando el Kinder el próximo año. 8:30-11:25 AM


Mayo 2 – Mason’s ID – Área común de la Primaria – 1:00-3:00 (estudiantes tienen que tener los boletos de permiso.  Se envió a casa el viernes o se puede encontrarlo en el sitio Web escolar).


Mayo 6-8 – Pruebas NWEA


Mayo 22 – Premios @ 9:00 AM en el Teatro- Trae un lonche – Día de Atletismo en el Gimnasio 12:20-2:30


Mayo 23 – Graduación de Kinder @ 9:00 en el Teatro

Mayo 23 – ÚLTIMO DÍA DE CLASES 11:30 salida



Blake Gardner

Hill City Elementary Principal



MARCH 26th, 2019




3rd Quarter Review


            We are down to our last 9 weeks of school and at some point, it will start to feel like Spring!  We continued to rock as a district in the 3rd quarter of school and I am excited for the final quarter of school.  I have loved watching the progress we continue to make as a school.  Our teachers continue to work hard and deliver great instruction.  Our students never cease to amaze me, and I have loved watching them learn and grow.  Our parents have been supportive and active in ensuring that we continue to be the best school that we can be.  It is truly a blessing to be part of a wonderful system!

            One request that I have for our students is that they go to the playground before school.  We have supervision on the playground prior to school and our teachers use the time before school for meetings and to prepare.  This is also a wonderful time to meet with the teachers if you have any questions or concerns.

            Ultimately, thank you for a wonderful 3 quarters of school.  Let’s continue to work together for one common goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS! 

Make today your masterpiece!


Blake Gardner

Attached to email: Jump Rope for Heart Info


“Advanced Ed” Accreditation

Our school completed a 5-year accreditation review in March.  Advanced-Ed is an external review company that brings in a team to observe the systems in our school.  They observed many things and will ultimately provide our school with a full review in 30-45 days. 

Before they left they gave us a debriefing about the interviews, focus groups, strategic plans, and over 26 classrooms they visited.  They stated that we have developed very positive relationships with our students, parents, and the community.  They compared us to a “family,” where everyone cares and is cared for.  The Advanced Ed team commented on our fantastic facilities, that our classroom designs were effective, and the atmosphere of the school was quite positive. They stated that students don’t fall through the cracks here. 

I have always known we have an AWESOME school system…But it’s really nice to have an external team confirm what I thought!


Parent Teacher Conference

Hill City hosted Parent Teacher Conferences as a parent engagement activity.  Communication is a critical factor in student achievement and we want to make sure our lines of communication are open.  Parent Teacher conferences are just one vehicle that we use for communication.  Newsletters, the parent portal, email, website, and social media are other modes that we use (I apologize for no recent posts on the Facebook page…I gave up social media for lent).


Dr. Seuss Reading Carnival

Have I mentioned how awesome our PIPTO group is?  PIPTO sponsored a Dr. Seuss reading carnival with games, activities, movies, and some of the best popcorn in the Black Hills.  Thank you to all the volunteers that made the carnival a success. 


Book Fair

The book fair operated in conjunction with the Dr. Seuss reading carnival and parent teacher conferences.  Thank you to all of the volunteers but especially Rachelle Winter and Grandma Pat.  The purpose of the book fair is twofold.  First, it is an opportunity to get books in the hands of our students.  Research shows that students who read just 20 minutes a day will typically score in the top 90% on standardized exams!  Secondly, the book fair is a quasi-fundraiser to purchase supplies and books for the library.  Thank you again to everyone who participated.


Science Fair

PIPTO strikes again!  We had over 100 science fair exhibits this year, which is a record.  After 10 years, the science fair continues to get bigger and better.  Thank you to all who participated, judged, and organized this awesome event.


Kindergarten Screening

As we close out this school year, we are beginning to look ahead.  An exciting event in our school is the kindergarten screening.  We screened 35 students that will be candidates for kindergarten next year.  These students completed a cognitive, speech, gross motor, fine motor, and health screening.  Thank you to everyone who participated and especially Mrs. Kalkofen, Mrs. McKee, Ms. Dressler, and Mrs. Gettinger.



After School Academy

In the third quarter we completed a STEM academy.  STEM is an educational term for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.’  We had about 1/3 of our students participate and I would like to thank the teachers for providing the after-school instruction.  Our kids had an opportunity to create experiments and work with hands on activities!


Unsung Hero’s

We have so many unsung hero’s in our school district that deserve credit.  I want to take a moment to thank our para professionals for their outstanding work.  They provide recess duty, crossing guard, individual instruction, and often are required to be flexible and just go with the flow!  Thank you to our awesome paraprofessionals.




The Hill City Elementary School Yearbook order deadline is April 1st.

Yearbooks are for purchase online @ treering.com/1015373668922477

The cost is $11.00



April 9th -12th : SBAC TESTING



April 15th : PIPTO MATH NIGHT 5:30-7:00 Elementary


April 16th

Spring Pictures in elementary commons


April 18th

Marcia Benning Maturation (5th boys/4th girls) 8:45 AM


April 19th – APRIL 22nd: NO SCHOOL


April 25th-26th: 5 Grade Science Assessment


April 26th: Tornado Drill in the afternoon


April 30th – Elementary Music Concert 6:30


May 6th- 7th: NWEA Spring Benchmark


May 22nd

Awards in morning

Sacked Lunch

Track and Field afternoon – In Gins/BBG as football field will be under construction


May 23rd


Kindergarten Graduation





Repaso de 3er. Cuarto

                Sόlo nos quedan 9 semanas de escuela y en algún punto, se sentirá como la Primavera!  Continuamos con gusto como un distrito en el 3er. cuarto de escuela y estoy emocionado por el último cuarto escolar.  Me ha encantado mirar el progreso que continuamos teniendo como una escuela.  Nuestros maestros continúan trabajando duro y dan gran instrucción.  Nuestros estudiantes nunca paran de sorprenderme, y me gusta mirarlos aprender y crecer.  Nuestros padres han apoyado mucho y han estado activos en asegurar que continuemos de ser la mejor escuela que podemos ser.  Es verdaderamente una bendición de ser parte de un maravilloso sistema!

                Una cosa que les pido a nuestros estudiantes es que ellos vallan al patio de recreo antes de la escuela.  Tenemos supervisiόn en el patio de recreo antes de la escuela y nuestros maestros usan el tiempo antes de la escuela para reuniones y preparación.  Este también es un tiempo maravilloso de reunirse con los maestros si usted tiene alguna pregunta o preocupación.

                Y por último, gracias por los 3 grandes cuartos de escuela.  Sigamos continuando en trabajar juntos por una meta común:  LA MEJOR EDUCACION PARA NUESTROS HIJOS!

Haga de hoy su obra maestra!


Blake Gardner

Adjunto al correo electrónico:  Informaciόn de Jump Rope for Heart, información del libro del año, información de eventos que vienen.

Acreditacin “Ed Avanzada”

                Nuestra escuela completó un repaso de acreditación de 5 años en marzo.  Educaciόn Avanzada es una compañía de repaso externo que trae un grupo para observar el sistema en nuestra escuela.  Ellos observan muchas cosas y finalmente proveer a nuestra escuela con un repaso entero en 30-45 días. 

                Antes de marcharse nos dieron un interrogatorio acerca de las entrevistas, grupos de enfoque, estrategias de planes, y mas de 26 aulas que visitaron.  Ellos dijeron que hemos desarrollado relaciones muy positivas con nuestros estudiantes, padres, y la comunidad.  Nos compararon como una “familia,” donde a todos nos importa y somos cuidados.  El grupo de educación avanzada comentó de nuestras fantásticas facilidades, que los diseños de las aulas eran efectivos, y que la atmόsfera de la escuela era muy positiva.  Ellos dijeron que aquí los estudiantes no se quedan atrás.

                Siempre he sabido que tenemos un sistema de escuela MARAVILLOSO…Pero es muy agradable de que un grupo externo confirmé lo que pensé!

Conferencias de Padres y Maestros

Hill City tuvo las Conferencias de Padres y Maestros como una actividad de encuentro de padres.  La comunicación es un factor crítico en el éxito del estudiante y queremos asegurarnos nuestras líneas de comunicación estén abiertas.  Las conferencias de padres y maestros son solo un vehículo que usamos y son otros modos que usamos (me disculpo por no compartir nada recientemente en Facebook…No estaré en los medios sociales por la cuaresma).

Carnaval de Lectura del Dr.  Seuss

He mencionado que tan espectacular el grupo de PIPTO es?  PIPTO patrocinó el carnaval de lectura del Dr. Seuss con juegos, actividades, películas, y las mejores palomitas de maíz en las Black Hills.  Gracias a todos los voluntarios que hicieron el carnaval un éxito.

Feria de Libros

La feria de libros operada en conjunción con el carnaval de lectura del Dr. Seuss y las conferencias de padres y maestros.  Gracias a todos los voluntarios pero especialmente a Rachelle Winter y la abuela Pat.  El propósito de la feria de libros es de dos filos.  Primero, es una oportunidad de poner libros en las manos de nuestros estudiantes.  Las investigaciones enseñan que los estudiantes que leer solo 20 minutos al día típicamente califican el 90% en los exámenes estandarizados!  Segundo, la feria del libro es un levantamiento de fondos para comprar provisiones y libros para la biblioteca.  Gracias de nuevo a todos los que participaron.

Feria de Ciencia

PIPTO le pegó de nuevo!  Este año tuvimos más de 100 exhibiciones de ciencia, el cual es un récord.  Después de 10 años, la feria de ciencia continúa siendo más grande y mejor.  Gracias a todos los que participaron, juzgaron, y organizaron este maravilloso evento.

Pruebas para el Kínder

Conforme cerramos este año escolar, estamos comenzando a mirar adelante.  Un evento emocionante en nuestra escuela son las evaluaciones del kínder.  Evaluamos 35 estudiantes que serán candidatos para el kínder para el próximo año.  Estos estudiantes completaron las pruebas cognitivas, lenguaje, movimientos gruesos, movimientos finos y de salud.  Gracias a todos los que participaron y especialmente a la Sra. Kalkofen, Mrs. McKee, Ms. Dressler, y Mrs. Gettinger.

Academia Después de la Escuela

En el tercer cuarto completamos la academia STEM.  STEM es un término educacional ‘Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería, y Matemáticas.’  Tuvimos cerca de 1/3 de nuestros estudiantes que participaron y me gustaría darles las gracias a los maestros por proveer la instrucción de después de la escuela.  Nuestros estudiantes tuvieron la oportunidad de crear experimentos y trabajar con las manos en actividades!

Héroes no Celebrados

Tenemos muchos héroes no celebrados en nuestro distrito escolar que merecen crédito.  Quiero tomar un momento para darles las gracias a nuestros ayudantes por su estupendo trabajo!  Ellos proveen asistencia en el recreo, cruzar peatones, instrucción individual, y muy seguido son requeridos de ser flexibles e ir con la corriente!  Gracias a nuestros excelentes ayudantes.


                                                                    EVENTOS PROXIMOS

Fecha de vencimiento para ordenar el libro del año de la primaria es Abril 1. Los libros se pueden ordenar en línea @ treering.com/1015373668922477.  El costo es $11.00


Abril 9 – 12:  PRUEBAS SBAC


Abril 15:  NOCHE DE MATEMATICAS DE PIPTO EN LA Primaria 5:30-7:00


Abril 16:  Fotos de la primavera en el área común de la primaria.


Abril 18:  Maduraciόn con Marcia Benning (5to. Niños/4to. Niñas) 8:45 am.


Abril 19 – Abril 22:  NO ESCUELA


Abril 25 – 26:  Evaluaciones de Ciencia de 5to. Grado.


Abril 26:  Simulacro de tornado en la tarde


Abril 30 – Concierto de música de la primaria 6:30


Mayo 6 – 7:  Pruebas de la primavera NWEA


Mayo 22:  Premios en la mañana, traer lonche de la casa.

Día de Atletismo en la tarde – En el gimnasio Gins ya que el campo de futbol estará en construcción.

Mayo 23:  ÚLTIMO DIA DE ESCUELA, Graduaciόn del Kínder. 

FEBRUARY 14th, 2019




February 14th, 2019


            Greetings!  We have many upcoming events and projects going on in our elementary school.  It is a very exciting time.  Of course, in the near future we have Valentine’s day and then a 4 day weekend, so that’s why our kids are excited!  As one student told me when we got out of school early last week, “THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!”.

            Just a reminder that my door is always open.  February always seems to be a tough month in education because of the cabin fever and the February blues. Therefore, I encourage everyone to go above and beyond to be positive and encourage one another.  We have a great school, great kids, awesome teachers, and supportive parents.  We are all on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!



Feb 15/Feb 18 – NO SCHOOL


Feb 26-March 6th – Book Fair


March 1st – Dr. Seuss Reading Carnival


March 4th – Parent Teacher Conferences – By Appointment in Elementary


March 7th-8th – SCIENCE FAIR


March 12-13th – KINDERGARTEN SCREENING – By Appointment



~Thank you to cheer coach Rudi McDaniel’s and the high school cheerleaders for putting on the cheer camp.  Our little Rangers performed at halftime of the girls basketball game against Custer.


~Thank you to Alexa Voorhees, Jim Peterson, and June Johnson for sponsoring a coat drive for our Hill City kids.  Thank you to everyone who contributed, we had some very happy kids!


~Thank you to Strider Bike for donating 18 bikes to the Hill City Elementary School physical education department.  A special thank you to Todd/Tessa Grabow, Brian/Melissa Rupert, and Jason/Stacia Peters for organizing everything and purchasing the curriculum associated with the program.  AWESOME!


~Thank you to Dan and Sue Welsch who donated to our book fair.  Dan and Sue live in Minnesota but visit Hill City and love the area.  They are huge supporters of education, especially reading.  They donated enough money that every student will receive a book in the upcoming book fair!!!


~Thank you to Carmen Ronish for organizing the Color Cycle program that will recycle colored markers.  Carmen and Cory created a drop box for the markers/crayons.


~Thank you to everyone who is making the after-school academy a success.  The focus is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  There is also an algebra academy portion for the older kids.  Thank you to the 55 kids and Mrs. Clapper, Mrs. O’Brien, Mr. O’Brien, Mrs. VanNess, and Ms. Henderson for your awesome work!


~I could spend the entire day writing THANK YOU’s for all the people that make our school the best around.  I am sincerely blessed to work in a school with such amazing people, supportive parents, and awesome kids!











            A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate in the event of a violent intruder into the Hill City School District.  Our staff completed an online training in the fall and then completed a live training by certified trainers on January 21st.  We will occasionally be practicing skills such as an enhanced lockdown.  These will ALWAYS be announced as drills, we do not want to surprise or frighten anyone.  Additionally, our teachers have read I’m not scared, I’m prepared by Julia Cook with our students.


            I’m not scared, I’m prepared outlines 10 concepts for ALICE in the elementary:

  1.      Children should be taught to follow direction the first time they are given in an emergency. We don’t want teachers to give directions to Evacuate or Lockdown and have students standing around asking, “but why?”
  2.       Students should be trained to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN to announcements.
  3.      In a lockdown, be quiet, listen to directions, stay out of the line of sight from the door, but do not hide in a closet. Be ready to move or evacuate.
  4.      In a counter situation when the secured location has been breached and an evacuation is not possible, the best line of defense is to have kids up, moving, making noise, gaining distance, and throwing items at the intruder.
  5.     Evacuation is ALWAYS the best defense, if the information indicates it is safe to do so. Students and staff will know where the reunification point is.
  6.     Upper elementary students have more developed critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They will have a more active role in ALICE than lower elementary.
  7.      We teach all aspects of ALICE except SWARM.
  8.       Special needs students are planned for ahead of time, given their individual situations.
  9.       Education and empowerment are the keys to preparation and relieving fear.
  10.       Kids are taught in realistic terms what to do in case of danger. ALICE is much like a fire drill or a tornado drill.  Its purpose is to prepare students for life inside and out of the classroom.  The ALICE concepts are the same at school, home, the mall, the afterschool program, restaurants, church, or any other place the child goes.  We are teaching a life skill.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with the ALICE implementation in the school.  I personally hate the fact that we must think about this, but it is important to be proactive with an options-based plan.  I am proud of the preventative measures our school has taken with buzz doors, security cameras, and ALICE training.  We will have a parent night in the next few weeks to explain the ALICE protocol in more detail. Stay tuned for the dates.


Blake Gardner

Hill City Elementary School Principal








                A.L.I.C.E. Significa Alert (alertar), Lockdown (cierre), Inform (informar), Counter (oponerse), y Evacuate (evacuar) en el evento de un intruso violento en el Distrito Escolar de Hill City.  Nuestro personal completó un entrenamiento en línea en el otoño y enseguida completó un entrenamiento en vivo por entrenadores certificados el 21 de enero.  Ocasionalmente estaremos practicando habilidades como un encierro mejorado.  Estos SIEMPRE serán anunciados como simulacros, no queremos sorprender o asustar a nadie.  Adicionalmente, nuestros maestros han leído “No tengo miedo, estoy preparado” por Julia Cook a nuestros estudiantes.

                “No tengo miedo, estoy preparado” ilustra 10 conceptos para ALICE en la primaria:

  1. Se les tiene que enseñar a los niños a seguir direcciones en una emergencia en la primera vez que se les haya dado. No queremos que los maestros den direcciones de Evacuar o Encerrarse y tener estudiantes quedándose parados preguntando, “¿pero por qué?”
  2. Se debe de entrenar a los estudiantes a PARAR, MIRAR, y ESCUCHAR los anuncios.
  3. En un encierro, estar callados, escuchar por direcciones, permanecer fuera de la vista de la puerta, pero no esconderse en un closet. Estar listos para moverse o evacuar.
  4. En una situación de oponerse cuando la localidad asegurada haya sido traspasada y una evacuación no sea posible, la mejor línea de defensa es tener los niños parados, moverse, hacer ruido, ganar distancia, y arrojar cosas al intruso.
  5. Evacuar es SIEMPRE la mejor defensa, si la información indica que es seguro de hacerlo. Los estudiantes y el personal sabrán donde esta el punto de reunificación. 
  6. Los estudiantes de grados mayores tienen un mayor pensamiento crucial desarrollado y habilidades de resolver problemas. Ellos tendrán un papel mas activo en ALICE que los estudiantes de menor grado. 
  7. Les enseñamos todos los aspectos de ALICE excepto SWARM (atacar en grupo).
  8. Los estudiantes de necesidades especiales son planeados por adelantado, dado a sus situaciones individuales.
  9. La educación y apoderamiento son la clave para la preparación y el alivio del temor.
  10. Se les enseña a los estudiantes en términos realísticos que hacer en caso de peligro. ALICE es más como un simulacro de fuego o tornado.  Su propósito es de preparar a los estudiantes en el aula y fuera del aula.  Los conceptos de ALICE son iguales en la escuela, casa, el mall, programa de la tarde, restaurantes, iglesia, o cualquier otro lugar al que el niño vaya.  Estamos enseñando una habilidad de vida.


              Gracias por su entendimiento y cooperación con la implementación de ALICE en la escuela.  Yo personalmente odio la verdad de que debemos pensar acerca de esto, pero es importante de ser proactivo con un plan de opciones basados.  Estoy orgulloso de las medidas preventivas que nuestra escuela ha tomado con puertas de timbre, cámaras de seguridad, y el entrenamiento ALICE.  En las próximas semanas tendremos una noche para el padre para explicar las reglas de ALICE en mas detalles.        

Blake Gardner

November 29th, 2018
                                                                       “Instilling Excellence and Pride”


     Greetings! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. We are now just three weeks from Christmas break, but it is important to finish the remainder of our schedule on a positive note. Speaking of positive notes, the elementary music concert is at 6:30 on Monday, December 3rd. Students are asked to arrive between 6:00-6:15.
     In the classroom, we still have a bunch of AWESOME stuff going on. We have after school academy on Tuesdays and Thursdays, our IT time concept is ‘Operations and Algebraic Thinking’, our classrooms use the workshop model (individualized instruction in small groups), and we just have some amazing people and programs in our district.
     Finally, I know Thanksgiving is behind us, but I am very thankful to work in this school. We have intelligent students, amazing teachers, and supportive parents. We are all on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS! Make today your masterpiece!

Blake Gardner -- Elementary Principal – Gardner@K12.SD.US


Monday, December 3rd – Music Concert in Gins Gym @ 6:30 ~Students should arrive between 6:00 – 6:15

Week of December 10th – NWEA MAP Growth Winter Benchmark In individual classrooms

Tuesday, December 11th – PIPTO Meeting 3:15 in elementary commons

Tuesday, December 18th – Last day of after school academy

Thursday, December 20th – Wednesday, January 2nd; NO SCHOOL!!!!!

Thursday, January 3rd – 1st day back to school!!!!
HILL CITY ELEMENTARY “Inculcando Excelencia y Orgullo”


¡Saludos! Espero que todos tuvieran un descanso maravilloso de Día de Acción de Gracias. Somos ahora simplemente tres semanas del descanso de Navidad, pero es importante acabar el resto de nuestro horario en una nota positiva. Hablando de notas positivas, el concierto de música de la primaria está a las 6:30 el lunes, el 3 de diciembre. Los estudiantes reciben instrucciones de llegar entre 6:00-6:15.
En el aula, todavía tenemos un montón de cosas ESTUPENDAS pasando. Tenemos la academia escolar después de clases los martes y jueves, nuestro concepto del tiempo IT es 'Operaciones y Pensar Algebraico', nuestras aulas usan el modelo del taller (la enseñanza individualizada en grupitos), y nosotros simplemente tenemos algunos programas y personas sorprendentes en nuestro distrito.
Finalmente, sé que el Día de Acción de Gracias está detrás de nosotros, pero estoy muy agradecido para trabajar en esta escuela. Tenemos estudiantes inteligentes, maestros sorprendentes, y los padres solidarios. Somos todos en el mismo equipo con la misma meta: ¡LA MEJOR EDUCACIÓN PARA NUESTROS NIÑOS!
¡Haga hoy su obra maestra!

Blake Gardner – Director de la Primaria – Gardner@K12.SD.US


lunes, dic. 3 – Concierto de Música en el Gimnasio Gins @ 6:30 ~Los estudiantes deberían llegar entre las 6:00 – 6:15

La semana de dic. 10 – NWEA MAP marca de crecimiento en las aulas.

martes, dic. 11 – PIPTO Reunión 3:15 en la primaria

martes, dic. 18 – Último día de la academia después de clases

jueves, dic. 20 – miércoles, enero 2; NO ESCUELA!!!!!

jueves, enero 3 – Primer día de regreso a clases!!!!
October 30th, 2018







                Welcome to the second quarter, meaning that we are 9 weeks into the 2018-19 school year.  It has been a wonderful start to the school year.  We have started an intervention time, completed early childhood screenings, crafted vision/mission statements, and will soon be starting afterschool academies.  I love observing our teachers and students.  We had fire prevention for kindergarten through third grade and United States senator John Thune on campus yesterday.  The elementary school is a busy place, but it has been a great experience that will benefit our kids.

                Report cards will be going home Friday with your kids, so please make sure you check for them.  Our grades are standards based, which means it is a snap shot of where your child is right now in comparison to standards for their grade level.  As a middle school/high school guy; I am still learning the nuances of SBRC, but I assure you that research supports the merit behind this process.

                Finally, I want to thank everyone for a great first quarter of school.  I can’t believe how fast it went.  We are blessed to have intelligent students, awesome staff, and supportive parents.  I love working together with all of you for one common goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!  My door is always open if you have any questions or concerns!



Blake Gardner – Blake.Gardner@K12.SD.US – 605-574-3013



November 3rd – Report Cards go home

November 8th – Veteran’s Day Assembly

November 13th – PIPTO Meeting

November 16th – Picture Retakes

November 21st-23rd – No School

November 26th-29th – Dakota Smiles Van on Campus

OCTOBER 5th, 2018




            Happy Homecoming Friday!  The pep rally starts at 12:30 in the Bob Burden Gymnasium today.  The carnival will follow at approximately 1:30 PM.  The culminating event for today is the football game against Lower Brule tonight at Ranger Field!  Go RANGERS!

            Angie Ross and the Booster Club will have concessions today during the carnival.  They will have hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, drinks, candy, etc.  Prices will range from 50 cents up to $5.00 for a meal.

            Art class is looking for paint shirts for 1st and 2nd grade.  If you have any that you would like to donate you can either take them to the art room for Lori Stewart or drop them off in the elementary office. 

I will be sending out more information about intervention time at a later date, but it is a math enrichment/intervention our 1st through 5th grade students are participating in.  In the first week of school, we administered the NWEA MAP Assessment.  That standardized test produces RIT scores.  An instructional leadership team analyzed the data from that assessment and identified areas of improvement.  Next, the team reviewed individual student scores and divided students into groups based on ability (RIT scores).  Finally, we created boxes with manipulatives and lessons to facilitate hands on lessons three times a week.  It was a challenge to align schedules, but after working on it; our staff collaborated to create an intervention time that takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 2:05-2:35 PM.  Students are grouped based on ability in small groups of 8-12 and complete hands on activities.

Finally, I love the direction our school is headed and I am so proud of our students, staff, and parents for working together with one goal in mind: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!



October 8th – NO School


October 9th – PIPTO MEETING – 7:00 PM in HS Commons


October 15th – Parent Teacher Conferences 4:00-8:00 PM in classroom by appointment


Red Ribbon Week – October 22nd

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2018


It seems like just yesterday we were grilling on the green and doing open house.  Now, we are at the midpoint of the 1st quarter of school!  I love the saying, “You are what you repeatedly do”, therefore, its critical that we continue to have enthusiasm and joy every day.  We have a wonderful staff that makes this school a positive place to be.  We have wonderful kids that light up our school with enthusiasm.  We have wonderful parents that are very supportive of the educational process.  It truly is a blessing to work here.

I would like to remind everyone that Friday is picture day.  Put it on your calendar!  I think we all have those horrific picture day stories, but I can remember one year, I showed up on picture day with a dirty/holey shirt.  I can’t believe my mom let me out of the house in that, I am still terrified of the day that picture will resurface J

Thank you all for a wonderful start to the school year.   The weather is starting to change and soon enough fall will become winter, but it’s important to remember that we are all on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!  (And don’t forget that Friday is picture day).


Things to note:

~Saturday, September 29th – Volunteers wanted to help build a retaining wall at Ranger Field 8:00 AM

~Liberty Fund Raising Pie Sales – Return forms to office by October 10th

~Spirit and Pride Elementary Gear – Packets will be going home today – Return forms October 5th

~October 5th – Pep Rally in Gins @ 12:45 and Carnival @ 1:30

~October 8th – N0 School

~October 9th – PIPTO Meeting in High School Commons at 7:00 PM

~PARENT TEACHER CONFERNCES – OCTOBER 15th – in the elementary


SEPTEMBER 7th, 2018


The 2018-19 school year is off to a great start!  There is a ton of positive momentum carrying over from summer academies, kindergarten camp, and our “grilling on the green” open house night.  I high fived and shook hands with every person that walked through the front door on the first day of school and the energy was contagious!  I have observed so much enthusiasm and positive energy.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun the start of this school year has been.  Thank you to all of our stakeholders for making this first week great!

                In the classrooms, our teachers spent the first day going over routines, procedures, and laying the groundwork for a successful school year.  The other agenda item was NWEA (North West Education Association) testing.  This test is standards based and will provide our teachers with benchmark data for each student.  Our teachers will use that data to tailor their instruction to the student’s current levels.  This individualized approach and very favorable class sizes have helped Hill City Elementary become one of the best around!  Parents and students will also get information from the NWEA testing as well.  We will administer the assessment 3 times this year.

                Finally, I want to thank everyone for a great first week.  My door is always open is you have questions, concerns, or just want to stop in to chat!  We have caring staff, intelligent students, and supportive parents.  We are all on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!!!! I love this school and I love this community!



AUGUST 30th, 2018


The 2018-19 school year is off to a great start!  There is a ton of positive momentum carrying over from summer academies, kindergarten camp, and our “grilling on the green” open house night.  I high fived and shook hands with every person that walked through the front door on the first day of school and the energy was contagious!  I have observed so much enthusiasm and positive energy.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun the start of this school year has been.  Thank you to all of our stakeholders for making this first week great!

                In the classrooms, our teachers spent the first day going over routines, procedures, and laying the groundwork for a successful school year.  The other agenda item was NWEA (North West Education Association) testing.  This test is standards based and will provide our teachers with benchmark data for each student.  Our teachers will use that data to tailor their instruction to the student’s current levels.  This individualized approach and very favorable class sizes have helped Hill City Elementary become one of the best around!  Parents and students will also get information from the NWEA testing as well.  We will administer the assessment 3 times this year.

                Finally, I want to thank everyone for a great first week.  My door is always open is you have questions, concerns, or just want to stop in to chat!  We have caring staff, intelligent students, and supportive parents.  We are all on the same team with the same goal: THE BEST EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS!!!! I love this school and I love this community!