The Hillsboro School offers a wide array of electives and after-school programs. We support multiple forms or areas of work supporting development in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). We seek to encourage students to develop their interests and potential. If there is a program we do not offer that is of interest to your child, let us know. If we can secure a parent volunteer to coordinate or run the program, we are happy to add to our offerings! All parents and volunteers who work with children complete a background check, as well as anyone driving children off campus.
We do treat physical education different than many schools. The majority of our students are already engaged in physical activities off campus such as archery, disc golf, horseback riding, etc. For those students, we offer early dismissal at 2:15 to allow them time to get to their activities or have down time as they are already completing their physical education needs. If this is an option you wish to consider, you will need to complete an early dismissal/alternative PE form and discuss with our Education Director.
Electives are wide and diverse, including many specializations within the core content areas. Our list of electives that will appear on rotation includes but is not limited to:
- Computer Programming
- Math Applications
- Public Speaking
After School Activities
- Cooking Club
- Cross Country
- Disc Golf, in progress
- Drama Club
- Robotics (Read below sections to learn more)
Robotics and Lego Robotics
The Hillsboro School helps co-host the Central Alabama Regional Qualifier. This is a robotics tournament for teams across Alabama participating in the FIRST Lego League (FLL), and we host any interested area Jr. FLL teams as well. Top teams earn the opportunity to advance to the state championship in Huntsville each year. Our high school FIRST Tech Challenge Team #7022, the Robostangs, helps run and judge the event each year.
Thanks to our parent volunteers, we have teams participating at three levels of FIRST robotics: Jr. FIRST LEGO League (JR. FLL), FIRST LEGO League (FLL), and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). While we are a new school, students on The Hillsboro School robotics teams, along with mentors, have earned a total of 18 regional, state, and international awards and recognitions. In fact, one current team member won the prestigious FTC Dean’s List award at the 2017 World Championship while one of our mentors is another former FTC Dean’s List finalist!
Jr. FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL)
Students in grades 1-3 are able to participate in Jr. FIRST LEGO League robotics. The FIRST robotics challenge every year engages students in a myriad of scientific and robotics challenges. For example, for 2013-2014 the challenge revolved around natural disasters. Students worked in teams to study a problem related to natural disasters, researched a real-world problem, and developed a realistic solution. This would link to their environmental science curriculum at Hillsboro.
Students participating in FIRST LEGO League are also judged on teamwork and spirit of gracious professionalism, as well as on their ability to build and present a related LEGO design with a mechanical moving part. With the wide array of research and teamwork the challenge encourages, we believe all students can and will benefit from and enjoy this learning opportunity.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL)
The FIRST LEGO League, or FLL, is designed to help build kids’ confidence and skill in science and engineering, especially in robotics. Limited to teams of no more than 10 kids ages 9 – 14, team members work on two main tasks each year: a research project and a robotic challenge. Our team, EGGO My LEGO, works with the EV3 LEGO kit, which is the newest iteration of LEGO robot, instead of the Mindstorm. Team members build and program the robot to accomplish as many missions as they can.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) offers a fun opportunity and requires many different skills: design, strategy, problem solving, engineering, grant writing, marketing, outreach, CAD design, etc.! Students build a Technix robot with a Mindstorm control unit to complete new challenge each year. They learn how to create a private network connection between two phones; one at their drive station and one attached to the robot. Team members must program in Java to allow the robot to move both autonomously and be driven by an Xbox-style controller. The team keeps an engineering journal and develops their own website as they strategize and communicate with other teams in the state and around the region. At the competition, they must work with randomly assigned partners to score as many points as possible against another pair of teams. The best teams after five or six such rounds advance to the semifinals where the teams compete in a best 2 out of 3 format from then on.