The HillTop Times

April 2023

"We Believe...Success for ALL!"

From Principal Adams

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We are excited to continue engaging our students in this new month. Several important events and activities have been planned to include students showcasing their musical gifts as part of the Lower Richland cluster orchestra concert, displaying athleticism at school and community field day events, and learning about different careers from local businesses. Our Eagles will also engage in discussions with staff from colleges, universities, military branches, and various trades to build upon their excitement for what they want to be when they are older.

Daily, on-time attendance is critical for Eagles so they can experience these events. Most importantly, our Eagles must receive instruction so they are able to successfully prepare for their upcoming grade level and end of year assessments. In the spirit of transparency, I want to share that our chronic absenteeism rate has increased from 17% to 24% since the beginning of the school year. It will take all of us working together to ensure improvement in this area. In the event of an absence, please use the link below to turn in parent notes/excuses at

Lastly, the South Carolina State Department of Education (SCDE) is utilizing a Climate Survey for accountability/report cards this year as in the past. The delivery model for the survey is the same as last year, with parents completing the survey in the PowerSchool Parent Portal. If you do not currently have a Parent Portal account, please contact the front office at 803-783-5545 for assistance with setting up an account. The Climate Survey closes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023. If you, as a parent/guardian, cannot gain access to the survey in Parent Portal, please click on the following link and complete the form at

If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions please contact me at the school at 803-783-5545.

  • Tuesday, April 4th - Lower Richland Cluster Orchestra Concern, 6:00 p.m. at Southeast MS
  • Thursday, April 6th - Family Night for Multilingual Families, 5:00 p.m. in the Library
  • Saturday, April 8th - HHES Reading Night at Columbia Fireflies Stadium, 6:05 p.m.
  • Monday, April 10th - Deadline for online Yearbook sale
  • Monday, April 10th-14th - Spring Break
  • Friday, April 14th - Parent Climate Survey closes
  • Tuesday, April 18th - Interim Reports go home
  • Wednesday, April 19th - HHES Career Fair
  • Friday, April 21st - HHES Field Day
  • Saturday, April 22nd - Lower Richland Alumni Field Day at Lower Richland HS and the Gadsden Farm Festival at Gadsden Park Community Center
  • Friday, April 28th - Early Release for Students (Teacher Professional Development Day)
  • Saturday, April 29th - Lower Richland Sweet Potato Festival at Hopkins Park and 6th Annual Early Learners Conference at Keenan HS

Below is a list of the actual state tests for students in grades 3-5 in May. Please plan ahead to ensure your child(ren) are not absent on these dates:

Writing - May 2

Reading - May 3

Math - May 9

Science - May 11 (grade 4 only)

Class Placement Requests

You are invited to provide input into the type of classroom in which your child is placed as we begin planning for the 2023-2024 school year. If you would like to do so, please send me an email that describes:

  • your child’s learning style,
  • the type of classroom where you think your child will be most successful, and
  • the type of teaching style most suitable for your child

It is helpful for us to know from your perspective if your child needs a very structured environment or a teacher with a higher tolerance for movement and/or noise. If your child is shy, outgoing, anxious, or struggling in a subject – that is information that is important to us also as we work to make the best grouping possible. When we place children into classes, we examine their achievement, ability, and temperament, and then we work to make the best fit with an upcoming teacher. We consider the current teacher’s success with a child, and I review the parent’s input. Please note that you providing the name of a specific teacher will be considered but may not be granted, even if you have some experience with a teacher through an older sibling or a friend’s child. Each child is different, and each teacher/student relationship is different. Further, there is always the possibility that teachers will change positions or grade levels before we return to school.

Many hours and many discussions are put into creating well-balanced homerooms for the upcoming school year. Emails requesting types of teachers and sharing characteristics about your child will be accepted up until the close of business on Friday, May 5, 2023. We will not be able to consider parent input after that date. Once the school year begins, we will not switch classes. Please email your requests directly to me at I will keep any information you share confidential. Thank you in advance for your input and partnership!

Affordable Connectivity Program

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Richland One is a Community Eligibility Provision district, which means ALL students qualify to eat school meals at no cost regardless of their household income. That also means all of our students qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)! Through the program, families can receive a discount of up to $30 per month for internet service through participating providers. Since some providers have internet service plans as low as $30 a month or less, your internet service could be free with the ACP discount. This is not a Richland One program, but we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to get affordable internet service. To apply, go to If you have any questions about the program or if you need assistance, call the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.

Technology Update

We have seen an increase in students having conflict with one another that stems from use of social media chats. This has caused loss of instructional time as staff work to investigate reports of conflict and implement resolution strategies with students. Please assist us with monitoring your child's use of apps and chats, if applicable. We appreciate your support!

Dreambox Challenge

Students are required to complete 5-7 lessons on Dreambox per week to reinforce math skills. We started a monthly challenge last month to encourage student participation. Our March winners are:

Student with the Highest Number of Lessons Per Class:

Cayson Dotson, Karter Howell, Zayelin Hough, Osiris Louis, Kayla Cobb, Amir Walker, Scarlet Parnell, Nilah Valentine, JaQari McNeal, Javell Moore, Dalila Martinez, Dalyn Gamble, Kayden Scott, Glen Gregg, Bryan Maurice-Perez, Elijah Sterling, Zaheerah Williams, Enrique Morales Roblero, Kesaun Walker, Treshaun Horne, Ricardo Alfonzo Yepez, Jose Jimenez, Jared Kelly, and Jaheim Davis

Grade Level with the Highest Number of Lessons Completed:


Class Per Grade Level with the Highest Number of Lessons Completed:

Ms. Soan (K), Ms. Scott-Goode (1st), Ms. Castaneda (2nd), Ms. Ogao-Ogao (3rd), Ms. Dela Cruz (4th), and Ms. Bennett-Lee (5th)

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YEARBOOKS ARE ON SALE NOW! (Deadline April 10th)

If you are interested in purchasing a yearbook for the 2022-2023 school year, please visit:
Yearbook Code: 14991123

Standard (Softcover) Yearbook- $24
Hardback (Upgrade) Yearbook- $28.50

Online Sales Only!
Deadline: April 10, 2023

From the Nurse

We are looking to make personal hygiene kits for our Eagles who need them. Bottled water is to give out to students, as needed, who do not have a water bottle at school to drink water during the school day. Any donations of the following that are received are greatly appreciated:

  1. bottled water
  2. deodorant
  3. toothbrushes & toothpaste
  4. combs/brushes
  5. shampoo/conditioner
  6. lotion
  7. sanitary napkins

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Our Eagles age 10 and older are encouraged to apply to the award-winning Scholastic Kids Press Program by June 1st. Learn more at

Richland County Library Donation Drive

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Donate your gently used books, CDs, DVDs, and records to Richland Library Friends and Foundation. Donations are accepted at the Richland Library Operations Center at 130 Lancewood Road, Columbia, SC. You can drop off items on Wednesday, April 5th from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, April 12th from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00p.m.

Dog Grooming Event

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Students in W.J. Keenan High School’s Animal Science II class will hold a special dog grooming event for the community on Saturday, April 8th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the school (361 Pisgah Church Rd, Columbia, SC 29203). Community members can drop off and pick up their dogs in Keenan’s teacher parking lot. No appointment is necessary. Grooming costs $15. Dogs will receive a bath and blow dry, as well as nail, oral and ear care. Special add-ons, which include a bandana and “doggy cologne,” cost an extra $5. Proceeds from this event will help cover registration fees for students in the Animal Science II class to attend the South Carolina FFA leadership camp this summer. The class will hold a fourth grooming event May 13th.

Free Housing Clinics

Richland One families who are financially struggling and/or facing problems with their homes can receive free help. In partnership with the Columbia Branch of the NAACP, the district will hold five free housing clinics during April and May.

Families can get guidance on habitability issues such as mold and broken fixtures, illegal evictions, utility assistance, public benefits and more.

“These clinics provide a plethora of resources that are available in a one-stop shop. Families are able to take care of their basic needs,” said Deborah Boone, Richland One’s McKinney-Vento/Parents and Students Succeed coordinator.

The free housing clinics will be held on the following dates and times:

Click the date and time of your choice to register for a clinic. For more information, contact Deborah Boone at 803-231-6914 or

6th Annual Early Learners Conference

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The Richland One Department of Early Childhood Education and ThriveRichland present the 6th Annual Early Learners Conference. Registration is now open! You may register by clicking HERE, scanning the QR code on the flyer, or by using the link below. The conference theme is Passport to School Readiness. Parents, grandparents, young children, childcare directors, childcare providers, school leaders, prekindergarten teachers, and prekindergarten instructional assistants are invited to attend. This conference will take place at W. J. Keenan High School in Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Miscellaneous Files and Forms