Hillside Elementary School at Tesoro Viejo completes successful inaugural year
The end of the school year brings smiles to the faces of students and teachers. But, the smiles at Hillside Elementary School mean so much more this year.
Completing its inaugural school year, Hillside Elementary is located in Tesoro Viejo — Madera County’s newest, award-winning master-planned community.
“It was such a positive experience,” says Alden Washam whose fourthgrade son attended Hillside Elementary School’s inaugural school year. “The support we got from all the teachers and the principal was amazing.”
The successful first school year was celebrated with a kindergarten graduation and an eighth-grade promotion ceremony. Hillside Elementary School opened last August for the 2018-2019 school year in Hillside Village, Tesoro Viejo’s first residential village. The school serves students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade with an onsite preschool.
“My son absolutely loved preschool,” says Sydney Dehlan who is one of the first residents to move into Tesoro Viejo. “I expect a smooth transition into kindergarten next year, particularly since he can walk to school.”
Built as a true neighborhood school, Hillside Elementary School is part
of the Chawanakee Unified School District. Because of the natural beauty of Tesoro Viejo landscape, students spent a lot of time outside learning — something that Hillside Elementary School Principal Jared Pierce is proud of.
“Our students’ learning is not confined by the classroom,” Pierce says. “I often said to a group of students, ‘let’s go for a walk.’ ”
There’s nothing traditional about Hillside Elementary School, as the inaugural staff was challenged to create an educational environment that engaged and inspired students to dig deeper and be active participants in their own learning.
“They have built such a great foundation,” Washam says. “This is really a family where the older kids look out for the younger kids.”
Setting a strong foundation and creating a culture where students take charge of their own positive behavior was something that was a top priority for the school, says Pierce.
“We focus how we want students to behave and let them take charge of their own behavior,” Pierce says. “We hold them accountable so that they are in tune with their environment and can manage themselves and the group — skills we want them to have as adults.”
Hillside Elementary School is at the center of Hillside Village. The community has an amphitheater, which is home to Live on the Lawn, an outdoor concert series; a resortstyle clubhouse called The Ranch House with pools, splash pads and cabanas; two neighborhood parks; in addition to miles of trails and preserved open spaces.
Opening this fall, the Ranch House has been designed for flexible gathering spaces including a barbecue pavilion with event lawn, fire-pit conversation areas, an outdoor living room with fireplace and surrounding mountain views. Indoors, the clubhouse will feature a multipurpose room with adjacent prep kitchen ideal for family celebrations and private occasions, a Club Room with televisions, plus a flex-space room for meetings, classes and events.
For Hillside Elementary School parents like Washam, AXIS — the neighborhood coffee bar and eatery — is an added bonus.
“We love AXIS,” Washam says. “When my husband drops off my son, he likes to go early so he can get a coffee and a pastry.”
Model homes at Tesoro Viejo are now open, featuring three new neighborhoods by two legendary builders, McCaffrey Homes with its Altura and Oaks neighborhoods and D.R. Horton with The Bluffs. Interested home shoppers are invited to tour the nine professionally decorated models homes that are open daily. Plus K. Hovanian Homes will be unveiling its Vista Bella neighborhood this summer with four new floor plans.
The state-of-the-art welcome center, The Hub, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can view the amenities within Hillside Village, including the Ranch House — the resort-style clubhouse and recreation center — Harvest and Cordon parks, amphitheater, preserved open space and trails.
Tesoro Viejo is located east of Highway 41, just north of River Park. For more information, visit www.tesoroviejo.com.
Hillside Elementary School kindergarten teacher Brooklyn Fuson celebrates with one of her students. The school opened in August 2018 and serves students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade.
Chawanakee Unified Superintendent Darren Sylvia congratulations a member of the first-ever eighth-grade class at Hillside Elementary School. The eighth-grade class was celebrated with a promotion ceremony.