Annual Report SY17-18

Download PDF


Schools Served

Teachers Trained

Children Reached


Dear Colleagues,

This past school year has been an excellent one for HILL for Literacy, full of growth and exciting new endeavors.

During SY17-18, we expanded our work with two statewide projects, the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) and Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports Academies (MTSS), allowing us to reach more schools with our evidence-based practices. We’ve also launched two promising new projects: 1) the development of the MTSS Blue Print in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Novak Consulting, and the University of Connecticut; and 2) a joint partnership between the HILL, Literacy How, and Middletown Public Schools in Connecticut to support the 8 elementary schools in their district.

We’ve been hard at work developing online e-learnings to support the delivery of our current projects in our schools and expansion to other states. These e-learnings will streamline our delivery methods, so we can focus on where support is truly needed.  We’re also very excited about our latest project, currently in the beginning stages: the development of an online application to support our data meeting process which will help ensure sustainability of the HILL model at our partner schools. This web-based tool will provide schools with real-time data, enabling us to give them the targeted support they need when they need it.

On the operations side of the HILL, we brought on a new Business Director, Chris Moore, to focus on standardizing our business practices, developing and measuring KPIs, and building our board. Looking forward to SY18-19, our plans include:

  • The development of an online application to support our data meeting process
  • Completing development of our e-learning modules and deploying them in schools
  • Recruiting new members for our board of directors
  • Potentially expanding our statewide work into Rhode Island

Our organization’s ability to continue operations is due in part to the generous donations of community members and foundations. We don’t take the challenge of teaching kids to read lightly: according the latest NAEP results, 64% of 4th graders fail to read at grade level each year and we know that we can help them. Your support can have a tangible, meaningful impact on the lives of children in HILL schools. Donations can be made online or by contacting the HILL office at 1-888-860-0190.

Best Wishes,

Darci Burns, Ph.D.
Executive Director


HILL for Literacy works in three main program areas: directly with a school or district (School Direct), or one of our statewide training projects—the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) and the Massachusetts Tiered System of Support Tiered Literacy Academy (MTSS).

The charts below illustrate the steady growth of each area in number of engaged schools over the last three years.





Decades of education research has shown that almost every child can learn to read by the beginning of fourth grade, if their teachers receive both skills training and consistent district policies of support. For the last seventeen years, HILL for Literacy has helped schools reach this goal. Our methods, informed by evidence-based reading research and our work in schools, are designed to help schools improve literacy outcomes for all students and sustain those improvements over time.

The HILL guides schools and districts through long-term change processes with five critical elements.


In order to gauge effectiveness using leading indicators of success, we’ve measured the percentage of students in HILL schools in grades K-3 making brisk progress up the continuum of nine sequential foundational skills necessary for reading. The earlier students acquire these foundational skills (ie: kindergarten and first grade), the fewer skills they have left to acquire in the later grades. This means the ideal trend we want to see is a spike in the beginning with lower percentages later on, as illustrated in the chart to the right.

These schools are evaluated using the HILL’s proprietary method of grouping students according to skill level to enable targeted intervention for every student.

Overall, schools using the HILL solution saw the trend above in percentage of students in grades K-3 moving up 2+ levels in School Year 17-18


from FY2016-17 financial audit



For more about the administrative side of the HILL, please see the links below.


A.D. Makepeace Company
Center on Teaching and Learning, University of Oregon
Center for Behavioral Education & Research, University of Connecticut
Commonwealth Learning Online Institute
Connecticut State Department of Education
Keys to Literacy
Literacy How
Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
Professional Training Institute
Public Consulting Group
The Reading Institute

Our Supporters

For a complete list of HILL Supporters, please click the link below.

Our Schools

For a complete list of HILL Schools, please click the link below.

Interested? Contact Us for a Consultation.

888.860.0190 |

How Can I Help My Community?

We don’t take the challenge of teaching kids to read lightly: according the 2013 NAEP results, 66% of 4th graders fail to read at grade level each year and we know that we can help them. How? Working with leadership-oriented principals and superintendents, and supported by the highest-quality literacy professionals in the nation, HILL for Literacy helps schools transform into efficient, systemic platforms for literacy excellence. Contact us to find out how we can help your school or district today, or click below to learn more about how you can support our programs in your community!