New elementary school in Madera County will serve the needs of new development and several districts

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- You can't miss the construction of new roads and homes along Highway 41 in Madera County north of Avenue 14.

Right in the middle of what will be the new community of "Tesoro Viejo" sits the new Hillside Elementary School.

"What we have done is built the school and instructional vision of the school first and then the houses will be built after that. It is a little bit backwards from the traditional development where you have the population first and then the school comes in," said founding principal Jared Pierce.

Hillside is serving a huge portion of Chawanakee Unified from Wawona near Yosemite National Park south to the cities of Fresno and Clovis.

"They are coming to us and they get to establish with us what the culture is going to be. We are really heavy on the instructional model and technical model," said Pierce.

He adds Hillside Elementary will focus on technology when it comes to teaching.

The school officially opened on Tuesday to 80 students from TK (Transitional Kindergarten) to 8th grade.

The student population is divided up between four teachers and four classrooms; TK/kindergarten, 1st/2nd grade, 3rd/4th/5th grade, and 6th/7th/8th grade.

Several classrooms are still under construction along with a gymnasium/cafeteria and library/multimedia room.

Pierce said construction is on schedule to be complete by the end of the year.

The "Tesoro Viejo" development will have nearly 5,000 homes and Hillside Elementary will be able to accommodate up to 800 students.
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