Administrative Offices
788 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413) 499-7924
Public Notice - Joint Commission
Special Initiatives
In addition to our classwork and social interactions, Hillcrest provides students with a number of additional opportunities on our campuses and throughout the community.
Rain Gardens
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
The Housatonic Academy has partnered with the Housatonic Valley Association to provide an off-campus pre-vocational opportunity for students. 

Through this collaboration, two students, with the support of the Housatonic Academy Job Coach, spend a few hours in downtown Pittsfield tending to and cleaning the rain gardens. The rain gardens serve as a filter for rainfall runoff, trapping sediment, debris and pollutants before they enter the waterway. In addition to helping our community, the experience serves as an educational activity that teaches the students various job readiness skills that will be useful upon graduation from high school.
National Youth Project Using Mini Bikes (NYPUM)
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
Dirt Bikes Serve as an Effective Motivational Tool

NYPUM participants develop self-esteem through:
  • Achievement
  • Membership
  • Self-Control & Discipline
  • Positive Values & Work Habits

Participation in NYPUM is always at the discretion of the staff and teachers and is a direct result of meeting strict NYPUM requirements that include completing schoolwork, maintaining a high level of positive behavior, and exhibiting a positive attitude.

“I think that what I’m learning in NYPUM will help me get through life.”
Berkshire Horse Works Program
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Associations

Using the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Associations (EAGALA) model, children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect and are resistant to intervention and change will work together in groups with a treatment team in experiential learning through horse-centered activities.
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
HC Café

The Café, which has been in existence for the past several years, is another asset that allows the Center campus to offer students a Vocational option. The students are supervised by a Serv Safe staff and learn how to cook both a breakfast and lunch menu. They also learn the financial side of the food service industry by collecting fees for the meals and observing the ordering process for products. They also learn social skills by interacting with customers by taking orders and delivering the meals to the customer. The Café is successful mainly from the generous activity of our staff ordering the meals that they offer. This is a positive program for our students and great learning experience.
Culinary Pre-Vocational Program
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
Culinary Pre-Vocational Program

The Housatonic Academy will soon be offering a culinary pre-vocational program. Four Hillcrest staff will become ServSafe Food Safety Managers and will be certified as exam proctors, so they may instruct students in the culinary pre-vocational program and certify them in food safety and sanitation, as required by the Massachusetts Food Code. 

Students will be given a variety of program opportunities from basic sorting skill development to basic food recognition and preparation for increased self-sufficiency to certification in food safety and sanitation for those students fourteen and older who would like to pursue vocational job placements or who would like to have the certification for future use. 

Student food safety certifications are good for five years and will be a benefit to students as they graduate and pursue employment, becoming productive citizens of our community.
Greenhouse Gardens
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
The Highpoint Campus has a fully functioning greenhouse and a flourishing garden on site. Both of these are maintained by our students and staff on a daily basis. We grow everything completely organically, from seed to harvest. We put an emphasis on soil health, companion planting, and non-synthetic pest control, and educate the students on why this is important. We encourage the students to think about sustainability and the impact that humans put on the Earth's resources. We encourage a healthy work ethic and often discuss how learning these skills at Hillcrest will be helpful in their transitions back into community settings. Students can work in the greenhouse and garden as part of the on campus vocational program or by volunteering. 

We have brought broccoli, lettuce, spinach, zucchini and summer squash to the kitchen already this year for our students and staff to enjoy with their meals. We also have tomato, eggplant, pumpkin, butternut squash, cucumbers and sweet pepper setting fruit from our garden. 

In the greenhouse, we have an assortment of house plants and perennials. These include Coleus, Aloe Vera, Jades, Geraniums, Shamrocks, Spider Plants, African Violets, Wandering Jews, and Purple Hearts for house plants. Bee Balm, Day Lily, Coneflower, Perennial Phlox, Autumn Joy Sedum, Meadow Sage, and Catnip for perennials.
Hillcrest Center Walking Track
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
Center Campus Walking Track - Fitness and Fun

Hillcrest Educational Centers recently offered some resources to programs for proposals and the Center developed a plan to provide a walking track for our students. The proposal stated that in keeping with a healthy environment and exercise program offering this mild therapeutic type of activity seems perfect for our students. The track is 1/11th of a mile and is located in the open field area next to our playground area. The track is a stone base with crushed stone dust as the final layer, which provides a semi firm top to the track. This track will enhance our ability both through the gym classes and residential time to allow for more alternative activities for our students. It will afford our students a space to go to for relaxation and physical exercise to also relieve possible stress or anxiety. This is a positive addition to our campus and we look forward to its abundant use.
Girls’ Circle
Hillcrest Educational Centers In The Berkshires, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA
Girls’ Circle

The Girls Circle model, is a structured support group for girls from 9-18 years. It integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training in a specific format designed to increase positive connection, personal and collective strengths, and competence in girls. It aims to counteract social and interpersonal forces that impede girls’ growth and development by promoting an emotionally safe setting and structure within which girls can develop caring relationships and use authentic voices. Girls Circles are held weekly for 1 1/2 to two hours. Each week the facilitator leads the group of girls through a format that includes each girl taking turns talking and listening to one another respectfully about their concerns and interests. The girls express themselves further through creative or focused activities such as role-playing, drama, journaling, poetry, drama, dance, drawing, collage, clay, and more. Gender specific themes and topics are introduced which relate to the girls’ lives, such as being a girl, trusting ourselves, friendships, body image, goals, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, competition, and decision-making. 

Girls Circle format: 
•  Weekly sessions for eight to twelve sessions or more 
•  Five to ten participants and one to two facilitators 
• Consistent format with verbal and experiential or expressive activities 
•  Age-appropriate, gender-relevant themes 
•  Strengths-based facilitation strategies
To learn more about Girl's Circle, click here.