Share |

HILL For Literacy, Inc.

 800 W. Cummings Park, Suite 3375
 Woburn, MA 01801
[P] (508) 353-0831
[F] (888) 860-0190
MarcyKate Connolly
Facebook Twitter
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 27-2366861

LAST UPDATED: 01/28/2019
Organization DBA The HILL, HILL
Former Names Hanson Initiative for Language & Literacy (2009)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

To help schools achieve high literacy rates, particularly amongst high-risk, low-income and English language learners, by developing teacher skills, data collection and analysis, and internal leadership processes that drive long-lasting, whole-school change.

Mission Statement

To help schools achieve high literacy rates, particularly amongst high-risk, low-income and English language learners, by developing teacher skills, data collection and analysis, and internal leadership processes that drive long-lasting, whole-school change.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2012 to June 30, 2013
Projected Income $800,000.00
Projected Expense $750,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • 1. HILL Literacy Reform
  • 2. HILL Online Data Management Application
  • 3. Regional Centers of Excellence Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

To help schools achieve high literacy rates, particularly amongst high-risk, low-income and English language learners, by developing teacher skills, data collection and analysis, and internal leadership processes that drive long-lasting, whole-school change.

Background Statement

          HILL guides educators and administrators at all levels through the complex and evolving process of creating schools which annually excel in language and literacy achievement, particularly amongst high-risk, low-income and English language learner students. HILL has 12 years of expertise in leading school turnaround at the district and state levels. In 2003, the MA Dept. of Education chose HILL as its professional development provider for its Reading First initiative, which was conducted in 42 districts and served 50,000 students. As a result of HILL’s rigorous instruction, MA was the only state that was honored by the U.S. Dept. of Education for outstanding achievement, and received an additional $3.M in funding.
          HILL has since worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of educators, averaging 50-100% improvements in literacy rates. These results are impressive and lasting: Carver, MA high school students who learned to read as HILL 3rd graders scored 98% language arts proficiency – the best in the state - on their 2012 Comprehensive Assessment tests. For the last eight years in Chelsea, MA, where at least 40% of students begin each school year at high risk; this number has been reduced to less than 10% by the end of the year. In 2013, Chelsea was recognized as the nation’s top small district in AP placement. And in Cumberland, RI, a failing school with high poverty and little direction now achieves turnaround success scores of 80% or greater in literacy proficiency year after year.
          How has HILL achieved such success where so many others have failed? HILL has perfected a model of delivery that builds buy-in, develops leaders, implements a Data Meeting process for collecting and evaluating student data, and teaches teachers how to properly implement multi-tiered, evidence based instruction. Additionally, HILL’s training is expertly tailored to fit each district’s literacy needs. HILL's guiding principle is that expertise belongs in the classroom. HILL's role as a partner is to leave best practices and the latest knowledge in the hands of the administrators and teachers who will apply it throughout the school, and pass it on. This “train-the-trainer” model allows for consistent program delivery during curriculum changes, budget cuts, and staff turnover. As a result, HILL achieves and sustains turnaround results without the dramatic, sweeping layoffs and management overhauls that have come to characterize the school reform process.

Impact Statement

1. Long-term Sustainability: Carver, MA students who learned to read as HILL 3rd graders, now in high school, scored 98% MCAS language arts proficiency- the best in the state- in 2012. Chelsea, MA demonstrated its 8th continuous year of turning around incoming high risk students, achieving 90% reading at grade level by the end of their first year. This carries through to high school: Chelsea was recognized in 2013 as the nation’s top small district in AP placement.   

2. Demonstrated School Turnaround w/out Turnover: HILL projects have all of the elements for school turnaround: culture change, leadership development, teacher buy-in, and research-proven methodology. B.F. Norton (RI) was a failing school with high poverty rates and reading scores below 40% proficiency. In 3 years, B.F. Norton achieved 80% reading proficiency, and the entire district achieved top RI NECAP scores in 2012.

3. Regional Replication: HILL partnered with the Carver School District to create the regional Makepeace Literacy Leadership Center, providing mentoring and training for over 20 districts in southeast MA; and inspiring 3 new district-wide literacy reform projects.

4. Research: HILL expanded its national research programs in partnership with University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching & Learning (CTL); presented the Leadership Strand at CTL’s 4th Annual Research to Practice Conference, 2012; and began delivering the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative with researchers from UCONN: Drs. George Sugai and Michael Coyne.

1. Prototype the Data Meeting Application: Will accelerate the most critical aspect of evaluating student data and prescribing instructional choices.

2. Staff One Full-time Master Facilitator to target high-risk schools and create a peer network in Middlesex County and contiguous districts.

3. Capacity Building: Enhance board, management, and administrative staff through professional development and new hires to support growth.

Needs Statement

1. Build Organizational Capacity to Support Growth ($25-$100K): Hire Operations Manager and/or consultants to analyze systems, efficiencies, and management skills leading to a strategic plan.

2. Staff One New Marketing & Outreach Coordinator ($50-$75K/yr): HILL clients are currently obtained through word-of-mouth referrals, and all relationship management and outreach activities are performed collectively by program staff.

3. Regional Literacy Excellence Support ($75-100K/yr for up to 3 years): Fund a Master HILL facilitator to develop a literacy excellence program in high-risk districts. Builds regional expertise by inspiring new projects and creating a peer network that ripples out through neighboring districts. This position will become financially self-sustaining after 1-2 years. 

4. Data Management App: Prototype ($50K); Full Project ($350K): This application will guide school reform projects by automating analysis and providing invaluable real time reporting. It helps with consistency and fidelity to the model while significantly reducing delivery costs and eliminating major barriers to school participation.

5. Diversify and Expand HILL’s Board by recruiting new members with experience in finance, web technology, individual fundraising, and scaling or franchising.

CEO Statement

Executive Director, Dr. Darci Burns, PhD: The HILL Model was developed over a decade ago by our founding faculty and national literacy researchers, who were frustrated that their research findings were not being incorporated into the literacy instruction delivered in schools at the time. Faculty realized that for change to occur, professional development needed to be embedded in the everyday work of teachers and administrators over a period of time. From our experience, we knew schools needed a systematic process to overcome resistance and distractions and to acquire deep knowledge about what works. As we perfected the process in school after school, we developed a set of protocols and trainings that we documented in our book: Leading Literacy Change: Strategies and Tools for Administrators, Teachers and Coaches. Since then, we have helped hundreds of schools and assembled a small group of experts to lead these projects.

We have a unique position as outside facilitators. Our perspectives help us see the real day-to-day challenges of a school system as well as how to work through them to accomplish change. We also bring credibility as experts, which is only helpful if you know how to first build relationships. The result is we can drive a long-term project that the school might never accomplish alone. It is the school’s action plan, but we help them write it, execute it, evaluate it and make changes. We train the trainers and the leaders so they will continue to train and support their own team.

We have obtained national recognition. My doctoral research at University of Oregon, the leading researchers on school systems, brought projects and a new research partnership to HILL, which not only helps to further ground HILL’s work, but also makes us part of improving the knowledge base of successful practice.

We are an exceptionally focused organization. Every project is comprehensively planned for the entire year. This allows us to be efficient and keep the costs down. But more importantly, we strive to be consistent in our delivery, measure our own efforts and successes, and adjust where needed.

I am proud of our team, and they have all learned a great deal. I would like for them to grow personally, taking the time to train new staff and lead new projects. Additional funding for our Master Facilitators will allow them to build their skills while increasing HILL's capacity. Further, we need support to develop our technology tools and publish our results. We can lead by example, and help others become literacy leaders as well.

Board Chair Statement

Chuck Holland, Advisor and Board Chair 10 years/ Business Director 3 years: I began advising the HILL around 2001 because of my interest in Social Enterprise. I have also worked with dozens of organizations attempting to create business with a social purpose, but HILL has become the most successful. Since 2004, HILL has supported itself with product revenues and maintained a sustainable business model. I am pleased that they do not require additional charity to maintain their current operations. Some of the larger projects are funded by research and foundation grants like Reading First, but all exist because the schools see the value. I believe it is time for HILL to seek capacity building funds to strengthen the organization and enable them to hire additional staff to take on new, sustainable, self-funding projects while raising HILL’s level of impact in the state. 

Over the years, I learned that literacy is a core issue. Many of the social problems that concern me are symptoms of the fact that many children do not learn to read, become frustrated, and drop off the success trajectory. This creates a cycle of poverty that we cannot afford.

I have become a huge admirer of educators. I see every day just how hard they work and how much they care. Even teachers who resist change or have strong beliefs in curriculum that HILL does not recommend, will change their attitude and try something new when they see good results. And the more I learn about teaching literacy effectively, the more I understand that it really IS “Rocket Science” as our board member Louisa Motes famously penned. 

I have developed immense respect for the HILL facilitators who bring not only the knowledge, but also the skills to lead a strategic project of school change, coaching principals and teachers alike. They deal with complicated schedules that limit teacher time, difficult personalities that must be blended, and personnel change over a 3-5 year project – all the while keeping the project right on track.

I am also amazed at the leverage of HILL’s work. Many fine programs spend thousands of dollars per child to make a measurable difference. HILL’s work is comparable to school turn around organizations that spend up to a $1M per school, while HILL works with a district of schools for $100K. HILL’s work costs around $100 per child, and the results in increased literacy rates and higher standard test scores are unprecedented and sustained.

HILL is working directly in our schools on the most primary issue that schools need to address. HILL achieves the turnaround goals outlined by the US Institute of Education Sciences (IES) research by focusing everyone on literacy. Teachers and administrators working together as a team, measuring and learning what works, create a significant culture change, especially when they begin to see critical success. 

It has become my highest goal to help get this model to every one of the nations 15,000 failing schools. We must start by building the capacity of the organization and showcasing our success thus far. HILL needs to develop support tools and streamline systems. They also need to prepare management and governance for growth. I look forward to working with new advisors and partners who can share this vision. 

Geographic Area Served


HILL has perfected its remote/long-distance partnership methodology and is therefore not restricted by geography. Recent partnerships have been located throughout MA, in Acushnet, Ayer/Shirley, Belchertown, Bridgewater/Raynham, Cambridge, Carver, Chelsea, Dedham, Edgartown, Greenfield, Holbrook, Quincy, Saugus and Weymouth. HILL also has ongoing partnerships in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Arizona.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Remedial Reading & Encouragement
  2. Youth Development -
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



1. HILL Literacy Reform

Forty years of research shows that we can teach every child to read by the end of third grade, IF teachers receive both skills training and consistent district policies of support. For 12 years, HILL has helped schools reach this goal. HILL’s proven school-change methodology delivers effective teacher training in research-based methods of assessment and intervention by focusing on leadership coaching and district procedures that develop a sustainable culture of literacy excellence. This multi-year, step-by-step process guides schools through a Literacy Audit that builds buy-in, and annual Strategic Planning followed by implementation. Educators are trained in Research-Based Multi-Tiered Support Systems (MTSS). Leaders are trained to lead the Essential Data Meeting Process to help teachers analyze student data and make instructional choices to deliver what every child needs every day. HILL currently engages about 30 schools/year.

Budget  $750,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

The first effect of the HILL project is cultural: an internal focus and alignment around literacy. Administrators and teachers become aligned, and the school begins to understand its own resources and effectiveness. Second, the school will record and analyze student data in an effective and transparent manner. Many schools will see improvements in reading rates the first year. The school will have an annual literacy plan that schedules data meetings and professional development. As the data becomes clear, initial resisters begin to adopt change in the second year, and may eventually become outspoken champions of the new practices. In following years, each teacher will begin to see year-after-year reading improvements in their classroom.

Program Long-Term Success 

Sustainability of literacy excellence is the district’s long-term outcome from a HILL engagement. Following the HILL school change model, schools build the internal expertise and a strong culture of using data to drive their literacy instruction. Data analysis, professional development, multi-tiered instruction, and principal walkthroughs become standard procedures; and significantly more children learn to read. Transparency of program assessment leads to continual improvements. Special education costs go down, as more children are successfully instructed in the classroom during their early years. With success in literacy outcomes, graduation rates go up and more at-risk students exit from poverty to become successful and productive citizens.

Program Success Monitored By 

Each HILL project is an exercise in evaluation. HILL measures teacher skills, principal leadership, data meeting implementation, and student assessments several times a year. Results are published each year and analyzed for the next strategic plan. Student data such as the DIBELS scoring system will be the early indicators, comprehension results and statewide tests such as MCAS and NECAP will be the long-term measures. 

Examples of Program Success 

The Carver School district tracked MCAS scores for the same children over 7 years, from early exposure in elementary school to high school. With 40% initially at risk, Carver saw steady dramatic improvements until they reached 98% of students attaining proficiency in 10th grade. In 2013, Carver achieved the highest MCAS scores in the state! Chelsea has continued its focus on early literacy for 8 years. Using the DIBELS scores, they demonstrate success each year, taking the at risk population totaling up to 50% of new students to below 10% at risk by the end of the year. Chelsea’s trajectory shows that they continue to get better each year. Cumberland, RI’s B.F. Norton school was a failing school with high poverty rates and under 40% proficiency in reading. In 3 years, B.F. Norton had 80% of their students scoring in the proficient range for literacy. In fact, the entire district is demonstrating the state’s highest NECAP scores!

2. HILL Online Data Management Application

HILL is putting the HILL model, its protocols, training courses, material and tools online to improve efficiency in all HILL projects. These tools can improve efficiency and quality of delivery, increase sustainability of literacy programs in HILL schools, and build a sustainable revenue source for HILL programs. A data management application will guide the strategic literacy project and provide real time analysis and reporting. It allows educators to track progress, review training, and guide the initiative, and helps principals assess progress and lead teachers to improve their literacy skills. Additionally, HILL Online has the potential for national adoption by schools, local literacy providers, and school turnaround projects.

Budget  $975,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Delivery
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

Prototypes of HILL Online can be available 6 months after initial funding. Existing HILL schools are signed up to implement and pilot. Literacy leaders will find the project easier to manage. Teachers can find trainings online to reinforce what they have learned. Administrators will save time entering less data and scheduling meetings. More importantly, the HILL will have a tool to guide new projects nationwide, ensuring quality and consistency. These tools are critical to replicating the HILL programs with fidelity. 

Program Long-Term Success 

HILL Online has the potential to accelerate literacy change projects nationwide. It can operate as a social enterprise, receiving subscription fees leading to sustainability of the program. School turnaround projects and hundreds of professional development providers nationwide could adopt the platform to complement their training efforts. Too often, their work disappears after the engagement, as administrators and teachers get distracted with other initiatives. With HILL Online, the initiative continues every year, and the providers return for additional training. HILL Online will significantly reduce the costs of a literacy change initiative, making it affordable and accessible to all schools.     

Program Success Monitored By 

A pilot test of HILL Online will be conducted with existing HILL schools to help determine feasibility of the product and identify specific product priorities. HILL will use design experiment methodology for all phases of the project. The HILL Online application will collect implementation fidelity data during use. Evaluators will also collect data from focus group reviews, observations of data meetings, and surveys. When nearing completion, a research project is envisioned to access the impact of these online tools. 

Examples of Program Success 

HILL’s pioneering of online tools has improved both efficiency and effectiveness. We use webinars, online data sharing and training videos. HILL has demonstrated long distance training utilizing these tools. The ConVal NH school district completed its whole school change with the HILL Master Facilitator working from Arizona, 2,000 miles away. Onsite visits were limited to once a month, but meetings were continuous using online tools. HILL currently spends many hours generating data reports for each school. Schools find these reports very valuable, but the outdated data entry mechanisms cumbersome.

3. Regional Centers of Excellence Program

This program helps HILL grow by replicating its success in regional centers with dedicated local staff. Local and nationally respected literacy experts are eager to deliver the HILL model in their region, but they will need support, tools and training. HILL is productizing services and streamlining delivery processes to support replication. This includes formalizing a training and certification program; developing online tools; and developing centralized marketing and support services. With these services in place, HILL can multiply impact without stressing the organization. Three replication centers are up and running and three more are in development to provide national coverage.

Budget  $6,000,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Curriculum Development
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

The immediate impact of funding the Center of Excellence program will be to organize our existing projects into regional centers and strengthen the management and coordination among the managers. The existing Makepeace Literacy Leadership Center partnership has added 3 new district projects which can support permanent staff and achieve sustainability as a region. The Boston/Middlesex region can build on local successes and expand with the addition of dedicated resources. The Connecticut K-3 Literacy project with UCONN will hire its permanent director and serve more local schools. The Arizona Regional HILL project led by HILL founder, Dr. Sandra Jones, will lead and test the product development and the rollout of outreach-training programs which can bring new business to each center.

Program Long-Term Success 

The Center of Excellence Program, with the help of HILL Online tools, will place HILL staff within reach of any school in the state and eventually the nation, providing capacity to take on any project. Each center will be self-sustaining using the HILL consultation model. These centers will attract and build a national network of Literacy Leaders trained and certified to implement school change. As this network grows to support peers in schools nationwide with advice and resources, it will also develop a national market for HILL Online products. With significant projects and penetration in each region of the country, the HILL can accomplish the ultimate goal: to reach a tipping point of awareness such that all schools will need to use research-based practices, and learn to teach all children to read.

Program Success Monitored By 

Quality control is essential to successful replication and scale. To assure fidelity of delivery, consistency and continual improvement, the HILL has plans for training, guidance and accountability. HILL Online will provide the blueprint for each facilitator, with training materials, and the Data Management Application will guide the process, step by step. The App will also monitor each project, delivering data to headquarters that indicates program progress and effectiveness. Finally, a training and certification program will assure Facilitators are trained; and monitor their delivery with onsite visits, client reviews and planning sessions, reporting back to management and funders.

Examples of Program Success 

HILL has demonstrated many of the elements of replication. HILL partnered with the Carver School District to create the regional Makepeace Literacy Leadership Center, to support over 20 districts in southeast Massachusetts. The Makepeace region is becoming the first sustainable Center of Excellence, supporting three new district projects. Carver’s impressive MCAS results and enthusiasm will serve to inspire other districts for years. 

HILL demonstrated scale when it trained 12 facilitators for the MA Reading First Project. 120 schools were trained, and 40,000 children were involved. The project demonstrated rapid improvements across the board and greater results in schools whose leaders were faithful to the program.   Massachusetts’ Reading First implementation is a major reason for its national leadership and excellent literacy results. Success of this large project in training new leaders supports the replication model of scale.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

President and Founder, Sandra Jones, PhD: HILL for Literacy is a successful, sustainable social enterprise. Recently we have seen our early work demonstrate sustained change many years later, resulting in new successes all the way to high school. Founded in 2001 with a $400K gift from a CEO diagnosed with dyslexia, we immediately set out to show that schools could dramatically change their literacy programs and teach every child. We also set out to run HILL like a business, and since our fourth year, our fee for service model has supported us. We developed and perfected our delivery model and tested it with wide variations of schools, urban and rural, public and charter.

However, we still have a national literacy crisis. Nationwide, we have 14,000 failing schools, and many more struggling to improve. There are examples of excellent schools, but replication and sustainability have not been consistently attained. Huge funds from the USDOE, state DOEs and national funders are supporting school turnaround projects, and Race to the Top projects. Yet, all of these projects, regardless of scope, must address literacy if they are to succeed. At HILL, we feel an urgency to spread the message that the literacy crisis can be addressed in all schools.

HILL is poised for growth. We have demonstrated transference by training others who then succeeded to lead their own projects. We have demonstrated distance training, at 2,000 miles, using online tools to keep in touch and minimize the time on site. We have trained groups of facilitators for large statewide rollouts. It is time to take what we have learned and bring it to scale. The keys to success will be 1) training talented facilitators, 2) showcasing exemplar projects, 3) developing a support network, 4) managing quality control and 5) producing online tools.

The HILL seeks capacity development funds to create sustainable replications and social enterprise. Our plan is to create replications in 6 regions with access and capacity to address projects nationwide. We have 3 sites now, and additional nationally recognized literacy experts are ready to join. The goal of each HILL site is sustainability. Secondly, we are developing a suite of online products that will guide our projects and provide feedback and monitoring to aid in quality control. Ultimately, these online products will be available to thousands of literacy professionals nationwide to guide their own projects. 


CEO/Executive Director Dr. Darci Burns Ph.D.
CEO Term Start July 2004
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Bachelor of Arts: Eastern Illinois University, Illinois; Elementary Education, 1985-1989

Master of Science: Simmons College; Boston, Massachusetts; Special Education, 2000-2002

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): University of Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Special Education, 2008-2011

State of Illinois, Elementary Education, Grades K-8

State of Florida, Elementary Education, Grades K-8

State of Massachusetts, Elementary Education and Reading Specialist, Grades K-8

Executive Director: HILL for Literacy, Woburn, Massachusetts; August 2010 – Present
Dr. Burns directs a team of master facilitators engaged in long term school reform projects; trains new facilitators, manages national research projects for the University of Oregon, and directs a new K-3 Literacy Initiative for the state of Connecticut.

Graduate Student Researcher, Ph.D. candidate: University of Oregon; Center on Teaching and Learning Research Fellowship; September 2008 - August 2010

Senior Facilitator: HILL for Literacy, July 2004 - September 2008
Directed Literacy Reform projects, Co-developed and implemented the HILL model of school change

Regional Professional Development Provider: Massachusetts Reading First Initiative; July 2003 - July 2004

Literacy Specialist, Literacy Coordinator: Boston Public Schools; July 1996 - July 2003
Created the Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program, Boston Partners in Education

Classroom Teacher: Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, Palm Bay, Florida; July 1990 - July 1996


Jones, S., Burns, D., & Pirri, C. (2009) Leading Literacy Change. Sopris West: Longmont, CO.

Vogel, D. The Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program. 2002. On-Line. Internet. 5 April. 2002.                            Available

Numerous:   Articles, Reports, Presentations and Literacy Training products

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Dr. Sandra Jones Ph.D. July 2001 June 2010

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Dr. Darci Burns Ph.D. Executive Director Darci Burns has a PhD from the University of Oregon with a specialization in instructional design, research methodology and English-Language learners. Dr. Burns has consulted with national, state and local agencies on effective reading instruction, leadership practices and assessment. Dr. Burns also served as a Regional Professional Development Provider in six urban school systems for the Massachusetts Reading First Program. She is the author of the Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program (ILTP) manual and co-author of Leading Literacy Change.
Mr. Chuck Holland MSEE Business Director Chuck Holland has been the business advisor for HILL since 2002, and currently is managing the back office and support functions for the business. He serves on the advisory board and develops strategy for funding and sustainability. He is also active on the board of Social Venture Partners Rhode Island; has been a Trustee of the International Yacht Restoration School, and a volunteer boat keeper at the Museum of Yachting in Newport. He was the project champion for the Rhode Island Literacy Partnership which is demonstrating the ability to teach all of our children to read by 3rd grade. Chuck combines his 25 years of high tech business experience with 10 years of intensive non-profit work to deliver imaginative strategic thinking for the emerging field of social enterprise.
Dr. Sandra Jones Ph.D. President Sandra Jones, Ph.D., is the president and co-founder of HILL for Literacy. She has been a school educator for 40 years, serving as a teacher, professional development coordinator, principal, and academic dean. In addition to her operational responsibilities as President of the HILL since 2001, Dr. Jones and her colleagues assist reading specialists, literacy coaches, principals, district administrators including assistant superintendents and superintendents to lead school-wide literacy initiatives throughout the nation. Recognized for her work in the area of leading literacy change, she most recently co-authored (with colleagues Darci Burns and Catherine Pirri) Leading Literacy Change: Strategies and Tools for Administrators, Teachers and Coaches which was published in 2010 by Cambium Learning Sopris West. Dr. Jones and her colleagues have been invited to present at the National Reading First/Literacy Conference for a number of years. Dr. Jones served as the Professional Development Coordinator for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Massachusetts Reading First Plan for six years. She was responsible for training the statewide regional Implementation Facilitators, consulted to the Office of Reading and provided statewide professional development to the 120 Reading First and John Silber schools’ leaders. Dr. Jones was also a member of the Massachusetts Reading Leadership Team and the Statewide Adolescent Task Force. Dr. Jones also partnered with the Rollins Center in Atlanta, Georgia on a statewide PreK literacy initiative rollout.  Before co-founding the HILL, Dr. Jones was the Academic Dean at The Carroll School, a nationally recognized school for children with language-based learning disabilities and the founding Director of The Carroll Center for Teaching and Learning in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Dr. Jones received the Partners in Excellence Award for her work at the HILL and the MGH Institute of Health Professions.


Award Awarding Organization Year
$1.4M Grant Read Right From the Start 2009
$1.3M Grant from an Anonymous Donor Boston Pre-K Expansion Project 2007
$1.4M Grant from the No Child Left Behind Act Chelsea, MA Early Reading First Initiative 2007
$531,000 Early Reading First Grant Boston Public Schools 2004
$11M Grant from No Child Left Behind Act MA Department of Education - Reading First 2003
Awarded to HILL President, Dr. Sandra Jones, Ph.D. Partners in Excellence 2003


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


All HILL projects are collaborations. HILL helps each school build and execute a plan for success, but it is their plan. HILL often calls upon well-known partners to help. Keys to Literacy ( is our partner for adolescent reading. The Key Comprehension Routine teaches students strategies for understanding and learning text complexity.

HILL’s research partner, University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning, led by Dr. Ed Kame’enui, is the leader in literacy research and a center of thought leadership on best practices. CTL researchers created the nationally recognized assessment Dynamic-Indicators-Basic-Early-Literacy-Skills (DIBELS) and maintain the DIBELS database for 20,000 schools. HILL partners with CTL to implement national research projects. CTL also refers clients requesting DIBELS professional development to HILL.

HILL also leads the Leadership Strand in CTL’s annual Research to Practice Conference, and gives several courses a year in collaboration with ACCEPT (, a regional educational non-profit that promotes excellence and innovation in educational practice. Finally, HILL works with the EDCO Collaborative (, which has a long, rich history of providing services to school districts in Greater Boston.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 7
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 7
Number of Contract Staff 11
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 100
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 88
Male: 12
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Dr. Sandra Jones Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation HILL for Literacy
Board Chair Term July 2010 - 2013
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Dr. Darci Burns Ph.D. HILL for Literacy --
Mr. Jeff R. Dieffenbach President and Founder of Deepbrook Enterprises LLC --
Mr. Charles Haynes Ed.D., CCC-SLP MGH Institute of Health Professions --
Mr. Chuck Holland MSEE HILL for Literacy --
Ms. Pam Hook Ph.D. MGH Institute of Health Professions, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program and Written Language Laboratory --
Dr. Sandra Jones Ph.D. HILL for Literacy --
Dr. Edward J. Kame'enui Ph.D. University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning --
Ms. Lesley Maxwell MS, CCC-SLP MGH Institute of Health Professions, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program and Written Language Laboratory --
Dr. Louisa Moats Ed.D. Moats Associates Consulting, Inc. --
Ms. Ann Noble-Kiley Ed.M. Women in Action; United Way North Shore --
Dr. Doug Sears Ph.D. Boston University --
Ms. Elizabeth Sorrell Superintendent of Carver Public Schools --
Mr. Ronald P. Weiss Esq. Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP --
Dr. Maryanne Wolf Ed.D. Tufts University Center for Reading and Language Research; Department of Child Development --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 100
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 54
Male: 46
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 60%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 60%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Executive

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2012 to June 30, 2013
Projected Income $800,000.00
Projected Expense $750,000.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

Audit Documents

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Financial Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $1,422,943 $891,410 $575,854
Total Expenses $1,301,634 $741,798 $689,687

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $53,000 -- $225
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $1,369,943 $891,410 $575,620
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- $9
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $1,119,258 $582,701 $514,430
Administration Expense $182,376 $159,097 $175,257
Fundraising Expense -- -- $0
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.09 1.20 0.83
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 79% 75%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% nan% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $512,393 $267,570 $40,104
Current Assets $512,393 $267,570 $40,104
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $131,400 $7,631 $0
Total Net Assets $380,993 $259,939 $40,104

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.90 35.06 inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?