No School on Monday!
Enjoy the long weekend.

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Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, October 12

  • Upper El soccer game at West River Park vs. Brattleboro Yellow team 9am 

Sunday, October 13

  • Harvest Festival at Putney School 10am-4pm, come support Middle School soup sales  

Monday, October 14   

  • Fall Foliage Day - No School!   

Tuesday, October 15   

  • UE Soccer practice 3-4:15pm  
  • CH Spanish 3-4pm

Wednesday, October 16  

  • Bagel Lunch
  • Mountain Biking 3-4:30pm   
  • Fire and Stone 3-4:30pm
  • Historical Fencing 3-4pm 
  • LE Soccer Game vs. St. Mike's at Hilltop 3:30pm
  • Going Far Cross Country Running at Academy School 3:10pm   

Thursday, October 17     

  • Willow Room Black Mountain Hike leaving at 9 - 11:30am 
  • MS Soccer 3-4:30pm
  • Alumni Night 7pm - Come hear Hilltop alum speak about their high school experiences and field questions from the audience.    

Friday, October 18    

  • Birch Room hike  
  • Lower Elementary hike up Putney Mountain 
  • Pizza Lunch 
  • Hilltop Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival 3-6pm 

Saturday, October 19

  • Upper El soccer game at West River Park 11:30am 

Looking Ahead...


Monday, October 21 - Monday, October 28
Hilltop Annual Fund Week 2013!  


Thursday, October 24
Early release for parent/teacher conferences, childcare available see Tamara's notes

Friday, October 25 
No School, parent/teacher conferences, childcare available see Tamara's notes.

REMEMBER: To see events further in the future go to the calendar on our website.
Next Friday's Pick Up Logistics
Next Friday is our Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival. The festivities start at 3pm. We will have lots of fun activities and we need parents to chaperone their children to keep all safe.
  • If you are NOT planning on staying, we ask that you pick up your child as usual - Children's House on the playground and Elementary and Middle School in the circle. 
  • If you are planning on attending, and we hope that you are, please park your car THEN walk to the circle, retrieve your child and meet us on the playground for the carnival.
  • If your child usually stays for aftercare on Fridays, let us know if you are NOT going to be joining them at 3pm for the carnival.  

PARKING for Friday the 18th: We will have some volunteers on hand to help with parking. Park in the lot behind school. If that lot is full, we'll be parking cars down the driveway on the right hand side, as far off the driveway as possible and possibly on the fire road. 


Thanks for all your help with these pesky logistics. See you at the carnival! 


Thanks this weeks go to:
  • Jared and Leland Smith for sharing delicious apples from their orchard with us. They are yummy! 
  • Lynn Dewald for being our official water tester and keeping our drinking water safe! 

Barn Update


Not much to report this week other than footings being poured, setting gravel, digging test pits - a lot like last week. Next Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes well, the rest of the footings will be poured. Watch this space for more updates.

Wanted:  A Building and Grounds Committee

It has now been four full years since Hilltop moved to the hilltop. That move completed a 30 year migration from Main Street to the Austine School and finally here. And just when the dust had settled, we took on another substantial project with the Arts Barn. Somehow, I get the feeling that our community will remain in a constant state of motion.


Thankfully there is a strategic plan in place to guide the direction of the organization. And there is a proposal to create a campus master plan. Would you like to take part in guiding the growth and care of our land and buildings?


My name is Adam Hubbard, parent of 7th grader Ethan Hubbard. I will be leading the re-establishment of the Building and Grounds Committee. The goal of the committee will be to  1) Reach out to students, faculty, staff and parents for input and ideas about the campus, 2) Assist the Board of Directors with campus decision making, and 3) Develop and implement the Campus Master Plan.


Additionally the committee might prioritize projects, assist with fundraising efforts and help organize work parties.


If you are interested in getting involved, please contact me by phone, email or even in person. [email protected] or 802-380-5875

Notes from Tamara

Survey Responses

We are thrilled with the participation and responses from the families survey! 

We have received 53 responses so far. Response from about half of our families (assuming there were some families with two people responding) is well above the expected results from such a survey. All of the feedback was very helpful in informing plans for the future. We greatly appreciate the effort and thoughtful participation of our families! 

If you haven't taken the survey but would like to have your voice heard, there is still time. Click here to take the families survey. After you respond, please email Ann to have your name entered in the drawing for a coffee mug!

We will be doing a more thorough analysis next week, but some initial noteworthy comments include:
  • Many people suggested online conference scheduling. We've already started looking into how to make that happen in the future.
  • Twenty people liked the idea of a coffee chat before All School Gathering and a few noted that they were not aware that parents were welcome for All School Gathering, SO... 

Please feel welcome to join our school community for All School Gathering on Thursday mornings. It is always a fun time with very sweet and/or informative presentations from children of all ages and fun songs led by our minstrel Jay, often with musical performances from the children. The schedule is:

8:15 - 8:30 - Drop off children
8:30 - 9:00 - Coffee and toddler playtime in the Quiet (future Toddler) Room for adults and toddlers
8:45 - 9:00 - Peace Buddies find each other and gather in Middle School (good weather) or Upper Elementary (bad weather)
9:00 - 9:20 or so - All School Gathering - a heartwarming, informal community time

  • Childcare/Enrichment activities for the conference days: There wasn't enough potential participation in the Irish Dance for the Friday conference day to make it worth the expense. There was a need expressed for care during these kind of days with no school. In the future, with the barn space available and more advance scheduling, planning, and notice time, we would like to provide more choices and opportunities for care and enrichment. Though it did not make sense to pull off Irish Dancing this time, instead we will offer the following
Care During Conference Days
  1. Free Childcare During Your Conference: As has been done in the past (but not everyone knows) there is childcare offered free of charge during your conference time. So, if you need to have Mariam watch your little one while you meet with the teachers, please feel free to drop him/her off at the playground or Quiet (Toddler) Room.
  2. After Care During Conferences Day and a Half: For families who need care for the afternoon of Thursday, October 24th and during the day on Friday, October 25th when there is no school, we will offer care (until 5 p.m.) at the regular After Care rate of $7.50/hour.  (Please sign up at the front desk by Friday, October 18th, to reserve a space.)
  3. Mask Making Enrichment Activity: We also have a fun Mask Making program to offer older children!

Just in time for Halloween: Mask Making   


Thursday October 24th 12:00 - 3:30 and Friday October 25th 8:30 - 12:00 (follow-up time after school TBD if needed) Upper El & Middle School  - $65

Tools of transformation, masks can inspire awe, wonder, and mystery in the mask-wearer, as well as the viewer. Students will learn the fundamentals of designing and creating their own masks, focusing on sculptural techniques to capture the "essential spirit" of the mask. Participants will sculpt in fabric, cast in duct tape-mache and learn painting techniques to give their masks maximum play. (Please sign up and pay by check at the front desk by Friday, October 18th, for your child to participate in this fun activity.)

Birch Room
On Monday October 7th, the Birch Room olders cored apples then filled the core with raisins, brown sugar and walnuts.  Our baked apple dessert was a great collaborative lesson with all hands involved!

On Monday, the West Brattleboro Fire Department visited us.  Our firefighter friends talked about fire safety, fire alarms, smoke detectors, meeting places (at our homes) and much more.  We got to see and touch firefighter clothing and gear and were able to get into the fire truck and see what it looks like! 


On Tuesday Mariam gave a lesson on Applesauce making. Interested children helped slice, chop, and then cook the apples until soft enough to grind into sauce. The applesauce was served for snack on Wednesday.


  • Conferences sign-up list is in the front lobby.  Conferences are for 20 minutes.  
  • Check clothing boxes and restock as needed.   
  • Monday, October 14 No School.
  • Friday, October 18 will be hike day. Watch your e-mail for information.

Willow Room

Our week began on a very exciting note. Firefighter Jason and Firefighter Kurt from the Brattleboro Fire Department visited our classroom bright and early Monday morning. They talked with us about fire safety. Here is some information they shared:

  • Matches are for adults only.
  • Smoke detector batteries should be checked twice a year.
  • In a house fire you should:
    1. Get out of the house, crawl on the floor to stay out of the smoke.
    2. Meet at your family meeting spot.
    3. Call 911.
    4. Never go back in the house.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL!


Firefighter Kurt put on his special firefighter clothes and equipment called "turn out gear". The children watched in awe as he put on each item. As he dressed he talked about the importance of the gear and how it helped him stay safe in a fire so he could help put the fire out and help people. When he was completely dressed and had put on his air tank and mask his eyes were the only part of his body we could still see. The children listened to the sound of the alarm on the air tank and the sound of Kurt breathing with the mask over his face. When he talked with his mask on his voice sounded different too! The children had the opportunity to touch his clothing and gear and look through the mask to confirm that it was still Kurt underneath everything.


Kurt shows the children how his oxygen tank works and sounds

Firefighter Kurt in his turn out gear

Next week we are looking forward to our Black Mountain Hike on Thursday, October 17th. We will leave school at 9 and return as close to 11:30 as possible.

Please watch the weather and help your child dress appropriately for the trip.


We'll see everyone on Tuesday, October 15th. Enjoy your weekend.


Melissa and Ellie




Lower Elementary
The Moon; a Fish; Timelines

At the heart of the Montessori curriculum are the cultural studies: Geography, History, and Biology.  They include a vast amount of subject matter, from our Sun and Earth studies in Geography, to the vertebrate and invertebrate work that is currently underway in Biology, to the type of History that begins at the very beginning, in the time before humans appeared on Earth. 

This week in Lower El, we focused on our neighbor, the Moon; we examined the external parts of a fish, as well as the functions, and had the opportunity to watch Dan dissect a big Bluefish; we began our Invertebrate and Sun and Earth projects (ask your 2nd and 3rd Graders about this); we practiced daily math, worked in reading groups, and discussed our hopes and dreams for the school year.  Everyone has been working hard and is very deserving of the upcoming long weekend!

Oscar and Jamie experience how much a gallon of water weighs on Earth and on the moon. 

Ally and Leo do grammar work.

Thursday Reading Group

Julian, Emmett, and Owen
research invertebrates.

Vertebrate study: Parts of a Fish

HIKE TO PUTNEY MOUNTAIN, Friday, October 18, 2013!  We are still looking for drivers to bring the students and accompany us on our hike.  

PARENTS OF FIRST GRADERS We received a large shipment of brand new books this week suited to our emergent and early readers! All first graders and some second graders took home books matched to their reading level to read with you.  This is their homework for the next week!  Please send them to school with the bag of books next Thursday, October 17th, so we can exchange them for different ones. 

PARENT CONFERENCES: Please sign up at the front desk for a time to meet on October 24th or 25th.  We look forward to seeing you! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Kerstin and Patrick

Upper Elementary

On Wednesday the sixth graders spent a delightful fall day in the 1830's at Old Sturbridge Village. We watched a log sawn into boards, a musket loaded and fired, some tinwork being worked, took a tour of a root cellar and watched a clay vase miraculously come into form on a wheel. At each stop, the students engaged with the artisans as if they themselves were members of the village community with an important question to decide: Should the town buy a poor farm to house their paupers? This was a new idea sweeping Massachusetts at the time. Many townsfolk we spoke to didn't want their taxes to increase. Some mentioned the stigma of going to the poor farm. Others thought the present system of "vendue" was working fine, and that being housed with a family would be more natural than having all the poor in one house. Eventually we had our own town meeting under a beautiful grape arbor. Luckily for this group, we bent the rules a bit and allowed the girls to participate. In the end, it was decided to buy the farm, even without knowing for sure the number of paupers the town would send there.


Meanwhile, the 4-5 students have been working in small groups to prepare presentations on their Egypt studies, and working on paragraph organizing for their topics. Today we are treated to a visit by Nellie, Nome's bunny who served as class mascot during one of the recent soccer games.


For our current art project, we are in need of box-board for example, cereal boxes, cracker boxes, tissue boxes... thanks! 


Middle School

We are entering the phase in our study we call the third period. In the Montessori world we use the Three Period Lesson as our model. The first period is the lesson itself. In our case it might be defining what a procedure is or a thesis or how to combine pigments in watercolor. The second period is the independent practice and furthering of that lesson. Students conducted labs, collected data, researched individual naturalists, and began their classification projects. In the third period students express their learning (sort of show and tell) in completed lab reports, biographical essays or presentations, reading comprehension paragraphs, and several art-focused projects. Currently students are redrafting their lab reports and reading comps, completing their naturalist biographies, and dipping into their creative selves with the classification and naturalist language/art projects. We are coming to the end of our time in the woods.   



There is plenty going on in this transition time. Along with completing the projects currently in play, students will have a final reflective first person essay and a self-evaluation to write prior to their conferences. The week after conferences we embark on our new study, "A Sense of Place", where we continue our quest to understand who we are, this time in community and society. As Wendell Berry famously said, "If you don't know where you are, you don't know who you are."



We were happy to see so many of you at our Upland open house on Monday and invite you all to a parent presentation evening on Tuesday, October 22 at 7pm. Also we hope you will attend next Thursday's Alumni Night. A number of our alumni will be here representing many of the local high schools both public and private. They will speak of their experiences, the transition from Hilltop to high school, and answer your questions. It is always a revealing and fascinating occasion.  



Thanks to all of you for your contributions to Harvest Festival this Sunday and we look forward to seeing many of you there.


Way to Go Commute Challenge for Hilltop

Way to Go Commute Challenge for Hilltop

Hilltop School is participating in next week's Way to Go challenge October 14 - 18! Way to Go is part of the VT Safe Routes to Schools program to get more kids physically active and participating in their transportation to school.

This year Way to Go is taking up the zombie theme and preparing kids to beware of the signs of becoming a "car zombie."  Check out the hilarious flyer -

Dave Cohen (dad of Ely in Lower El) will be helping to coordinate bike rides to school on Tuesday and Thursday.  Rides will begin at the Living Memorial Park parking lot.  Morning meet time will be 7:50 am.

Dave will have room for two kids and the ability to tow one bike on his electric-assist cargobike if someone poops out.  It would be great to have some parents riding up, so let Dave know if you are interested.  It might also be useful to have a parent on standby at Living Memorial Park with a cell phone and car equipped with a bike rack, just in case someone needs a lift up. Kid's should have a multi-speed bike, tires pumped up and a 'can do' spirit.

If your child and/or you want to ride one or both days or if you have any questions, contact Dave at 802-258-7013. Rain cancels.


Parenting Teens Wisely Parent Education Class: 

Improve Communications with Your Preteen or Teenager: Wed, Oct. 23rd  from 6 - 9 pm  

Parents, grandparents and caregivers of children ages 10-19 are invited to attend a free workshop to improve communications with their children. In an effort to promote positive communications between parents, caregivers and teens, the Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition (BAPC) and Windham County Partnership for Success are offering the Parenting Teens Wisely workshop, on Wednesday, October 23rd  from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Brattleboro Union High School multi-purpose room.  This free three hour workshop teaches parents skills and techniques to help them better understand and deal with children ages 10-19. Space is limited. Register online at or call BAPC at 802-257-2175 or contact via email.  

Deadline approaching for the BMAC's Sixth Annual LEGO Contest & Exhibit

Submit an original LEGO creation for inclusion in the contest and exhibit, or simply come see what others have dreamt up and built. New in 2013, the school with the most entries will win $200 in art supplies! Entries must be delivered to BMAC on Wednesday 10/23, 4-6 p.m. Prizes will be announced at the annual Awards Ceremony on Friday 10/25 at 5 p.m. Submissions will remain on display Saturday 10/26, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10/27, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Click here for Contest guidelines and entry forms



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