Garland, Texas built its first school building in 1888, when the towns of Duck Creek and Embree combined into one city, at a cost of $9,000, states the Hillside Academy for Excellence, part of the Garland Independent School District, on its website. That original school burned down in 1898.
By 1925, Garland had both an elementary and a high school. High-school classes met in the same building as the elementary classes until 1936, when the district built Garland High School. On its website, Garland High School lays claim to being the district’s oldest high school, having celebrated its 100th anniversary during the 2001-2002 academic year; this means the district founded its first high school in 1901.
Garland Independent School District constructed four new elementary schools in 1970 and 1971. Hillside Elementary, for grades Kindergarten through 5, was one of these four schools. Ten years later, Hillside Elementary added a new gym, two more rooms and carpeting, thanks to a district-wide elementary school improvement program. Fire ravaged the school in February 1984, leading to major renovations at a cost of more than $350,000. Completion of the renovations and rededication of the school occurred in November of that same year.
Hillside Elementary changed its name to Hillside Academy for Excellence in 1987, providing a more-rigorous curriculum for gifted and talented students. As of 1993, these programs included a gifted and bilingual program, which has expanded to all grade levels as of 2015.