Education at Hillcrest

At Hillcrest, education and schooling are of outmost importance and priority.

Our ultimate goal is for family and school reunification and reintegration post rehabilitation. To this effect, your loved one’s schooling should not suffer or be affected in any negative way through seeking rehabilitation.

Our Director of Education is the renowned Mr. Mark Paladini.

Mr. Paladini brings 12 years of extensive teaching experience at the university level where he was celebrated for his curriculum design and lesson planning for undergraduate and graduate students at Regent University. In addition to heading the undergraduate program that he co-created at Regent University, he also developed and ran a highly successful online master’s program for high school teachers. He received his undergraduate degree Cum Laude from the University of Washington in Seattle, achieved the Dean’s Honor List at California State University, Sacramento, and is a graduate of the Los Angeles Teaching Fellows Program. Mr. Paladini also served on the recruitment team during his time at the university which gives him a unique advantage to help students prepare for what is needed to get into college.

Prior to teaching at the university level, Mr. Paladini taught and developed courses for UCLA Extension, taught middle school English for LAUSD, and mentored students at a National Blue Ribbon Elementary School in Los Angeles. He also has extensive experience in the entertainment industry and is an award winning Casting Director, enabling him to bring his theatre skills into the classroom to create an engaging atmosphere where students enjoy the process of learning.

Mr. Paladini has a proven track record of successfully working with diverse groups to improve academic achievement, and cultivate positive parent/community relationships. He provides dedicated and ongoing support, all the while holding students to high levels of personal accountability, and implementing standards and performance-based practices to ensure an impeccable school/work culture and climate. His warm personality is comfortable, inspires others to do well, and makes him a joy to be around.

His primary role is to lead, guide and oversee the education schooling component at Hillcrest. This includes, regular liaising between the client’s school, the client, and the education program aids at Hillcrest. Mr. Paladini ensures that there is open communication, update and feedback between all key players. He obtains the school curriculum, assigned readings, assignments and assessment tasks from each client’s school, and creates an individualized program of study for each client based on his/her level of study, while simultaneously accounting for the pace of his/her school system. In some situations, where a school’s curriculum may fall short, and/or not be conveniently adapted where one is outside of the classroom, Mr. Paladini will adapt and/or create a new curriculum, approved by the client’s school and in line with his/her level requirements. Mr. Paladini works in close partnership with the school boards, educators, tutors and teachers to ensure that each client is obtaining the best education, continuing where they left off, and matching their abilities and level of studies. This allows for smooth transitions back into the school, college and home environment, post rehabilitation.

Mr. Paladini meets with each client on a very regular basis to review their education timetable , their individual progress and their homework schedule. His daily involvement in all of our clients’ schooling allows him to ideally and accurately assess and update each client’s programming as necessary. Parents also receive updates on their children’s’ progress regularly (minimum once per week). Simultaneously, our program provides education program aides on the ground to, in effect, individually tutor each client through his/her schooling exercises and readings, while always under the guidance and mentorship of Mr. Paladini. In the event that a student requires a specialist tutor in any subject, our program will assess that need and provide all that is necessary to assist the client through his/her education.

Our clients range from very advanced college level students, to individuals who may have been struggling through the school system, or even those who may have dropped out early from formal education and are now learning and mastering a trade. Each one is catered to on his/her personal level. For example, Mr. Paladini will arrange for a college level student who requires some additional AP courses to complete all of those requirements so that he/she does not fall behind his/her peer group and his/her college application remains unaffected. On the other hand, a client who has struggled through the school system or perhaps even dropped out will be coached back into a healthy structure of schooling so that he/she can re-integrate in a healthy manner post rehabilitation. Also, a client who has begun to master a trade in carpentry or the like will be supported on this journey as well.

It is important to note, that while we are generally an “unplugged” rehabilitation facility, we make allowances for computer time during the education and schooling sessions so that clients can also connect live in real time with their classmates and teachers from their home-school and feel like they are physically in the classroom and progressing in a similar way and at a similar pace as their peer group.

We are proud of our integrated school education component at Hillcrest. Our clients and their families are grateful that this type of program does not negatively impact the progression of education and the ultimate career path. Rehabilitation and healing is important but we don’t want our clients to feel that it will come at a cost, and/or hinder them from seeking us out. Thankfully, we have achieved a balance that is conducive to both healing and therapeutic programming, as well as maintaining the regular schooling and educational component for each client.

Nutrition Class

The goal of this class is to enable the clients to learn about good nutrition and how it can help prevent disease and promote good health. Clients learn about the nutrients acquired from food that the body requires. They also learn new and healthy eating habits, enabling them to see how their old habits affected both their physical and emotional health.

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