cropped-P1-13003.jpgWelcome to garnethillman.com!

I am thrilled to share this site with you as a way to communicate and collaborate about my journey in the educational world.  Thanks for stopping by – Let’s learn together!

I am a huge proponent of FEEDBACK in all forms – and I welcome yours on this site.  Please feel free to visit the feedback page and let me know what you think!


Upcoming presentations/conferences:

March 10: “Why Should I Change How I Grade?”, MAMSE, Flint, MI
June 15: Grading and Assessment Training, First Educational Resources, Aurora, IL
June 26-30: Assessment training, Solution Tree, Fort Wingate, NM
August 3: Grading and Assessment Training, First Educational Resources, Brainard, MN
Click here to listen to my latest podcast for Learning Lab Radio “Standards Based Grading: Focus on Understanding”


About Garnet

Garnet HillmanGarnet Hillman is an Instructional Coach in Deerfield, IL and has previously served as a  High School World Language instructor. She has been an educator for fifteen years.  Garnet enjoys working with new technology to differentiate instruction and connect with the students on a whole new level. One of her many responsibilities is working with teachers to improve instructional practice and grading policies.

A passionate educator, Garnet has extensively researched and executed standards based learning and grading in her classroom to maximize student growth and achievement.

As a ‘lead learner’ wanting to set an example for students and teachers alike, Garnet’s quest for knowledge continues outside of the classroom as well.  In addition to live presentations on Standards Based Learning and Grading to fellow educators, she enjoys writing about her educational journey in her blog, co-moderating and participating in various education-focused chats on twitter, such as the #SBLchat (Wednesdays, 9pm est/6pm pst) , and working as a mentor.  Garnet also enjoys collaborating with fellow educators at various conferences and Edcamp events throughout the year.

In March 2014, Garnet was chosen as Sophia.org Featured Teacher of the Month.  The site featured one article per week for the month of March from Garnet.  Read the first in her series about standards-based education, “A Teacher’s Journey of Positive Deviance.

Garnet likes to travel, read, run, and cook in her free time. She also loves to spend time with her husband and their two wonderful sons.





when there is a fork in the road…. grab a spoon!

My journey of being the ‘lead learner’ in my classroom


Make it your own

I have been reading the book Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp this summer and participating in a book study with some of my colleagues. Thus far it has provided some great ideas and reminders to reflect on for the fall and has also been a great affirmation of what we do in our classrooms and schools. …

The ‘A student’

“Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.”                                         -Martina Navratilova Over the years I have encountered the label ‘A student’ in a variety of situations. Students identify themselves with it, …

Strength in letting go

Do teachers own their content? Are the information and concepts taught at each grade level and subject area exclusive to that class? The issue of content and where/when it should be taught to kids is something we hold near and dear to our hearts as teachers. It is something that feels as though it is ours …


Need a speaker?

 I am available for keynote/conference presentations as well as school/district-based workshops and consulting.  Among the topics I can facilitate discussion on are as follows:

  • Standards Based Learning: Creating Life-Long Learners

Autonomous, collaborative, differentiated environments are most conducive to learning – let’s make this happen! Participants will explore the standards based classroom and learn how to unpack standards, create engagement, and give ownership of learning to their students. As educators, we want to ensure that our students seek knowledge over points, scores, and grades.

  • Effectively Communicating Standards Based Grading

Standards based grading is a paradigm shift for our learning communities and it is imperative that we send clear messages to all stakeholders. Participants will gather ideas about how to explain standards based grading to students and parents. Plans for open house/curriculum night, conferences, and reporting options will be shared.

  • Differentiated Instruction

Meeting the needs of the diverse learners we encounter is of paramount importance. Differentiating by readiness, learning profile, and interest will help all students be successful. Participants will delve into the three areas of differentiation as well as the topics of pre-assessment, grouping strategies, and anchor activities.

  • Formative Practice and Summative Assessment: When Does Formative Become Summative?

Formative practice is essential to learning for our students. Standards based learning and grading provides students ample practice in a low stress environment to maximize growth. Participants will explore the roles of formative and summative assessment, as well as redo and retakes in the standards based classroom. We will discuss when learning and grading transition from formative to summative.

  • Creating a Student-Centered World Language Classroom

Learning matters to our students when they take ownership, persevere to find proficiency, and feel supported through the process. In the world language classroom, educators can build environments for learning that are student-centered, support risk taking, and engage students to become proficient in their language. Participants will see examples from thematic units build for student autonomy and language acquisition.

Past presentations

3.7.16 Windom, Springfield, Luverne, Redwood, and Sleepy Eye School Districts, Windom, MN, District Based Standards Based Grading Training
1.18.16 Windom, Springfield, Luverne, Redwood, and Sleepy Eye School Districts, Windom, MN, District Based Standards Based Grading Training
10.23.15: ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching) Conference, Chicago, IL – “Social Media to Amplify Teacher Voice”
10.17.15: What Great Educators Do Differently Conference, Chicago, IL
10.16.15: AMLE National Conference, Columbus, OH – Standards Based Grading Panel
9.23.15: Macon/Piatt Regional Office of Education, Decatur, IL – “Why Should I Change How I Grade?”
8.19.15: Ft. Stockton, TX – “Healthy Grading Practices in a Brick House Culture”
8.14.15: Minot, ND – “Healthy Grading Practices in a Brick House Culture”
7.30.15: Knox, IN – “Healthy Grading Practices in a Brick House Culture”
7.28.15: CESA 3, Fennimore, WI –  “Practical Application of Standards Based Grading”
6.16.15: Assessment and Grading Summit, Mokena, IL – Keynote, “Why Should I Change How I Grade?”
3.9.15: Windom School District, Windom, MN – “Healthy Grading Practices within a Brick House Culture”
1.17.15: SAMRi Camp, Downers Grove, IL – “Standards Based Learning and Grading” and “Standards Based Grading Roundtable Discussion”
1.19.15: Springfield City Schools, Springfield, MN – “Standards Based Grading in a Brick House Culture”
1.5.15: Deerfield District 109 Teaching and Learning Conference, Deerfield, IL – Standards Based Grading Roundtable Discussion
12.12.14: Lake County Curriculum Resource Council, Grayslake, IL – “Standards Based Learning and Grading…and Twitter!”
10.29.14: Webinar for AudioSolutionz – “Standards Based Learning and Grading” for more information, click here
10.3.14: ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching) Conference, Chicago, IL – “Teacher Leaders as Change Agents”
7.28.2014: #COLchat to Action Conference, Swartz Creek, MI – “Standards Based Learning”
7.24.2014: John Early Museum Magnet Middle School, Nashville, TN – “Healthy Grading Practices in a Brick House Culture”
6.27.2014: Standards Based Learning and Grading Summit, Chicago, IL – “Let’s Grade FOR Learning”
2.18.2014: Deerfield District 109 Teaching and Learning Conference , Deerfield, IL – Four sessions on various facets of standards based grading

Contact me if I can help you!