As an affiliate of The Hill Center in Durham, NC, HillSprings Academy follows an instructional philosophy based on the methods of Orton-Gillingham. In reading and written language, students are taught the structure of the language. In all three academic areas (reading, writing, and math), instructors utilize a specific sequence of skills and incorporate precision teaching techniques that include charting and graphing student progress. Using placement assessments developed at The Hill Center, an individualized instructional plan is created for each student. Progress is continually monitored as students work toward mastery of skills.
Reading instruction relies on systematic phonics for decoding and emphasizes phonological awareness, word attack, vocabulary development, fluency, oral and silent reading, and reading comprehension. At the middle and upper school levels, there is emphasis on literature, vocabulary, reading for content, analysis, and developing critical thinking skills.
Written language instruction includes spelling, dictation, copying, handwriting, grammar/mechanics, and sentence/paragraph composition. Upper level written language classes continue instruction in spelling, grammar/mechanics and focus on critical writing skills, including research reports.
Mathematics instruction focuses on automatic recall of math facts, developing number concepts, understanding mathematical principles, speed and accuracy in computation, and increasing problem solving skills. In all classes, emphasis is on gaining accuracy in computation and understanding of math concepts.