• Kid's Night Out babysitting tonight!
  • Monday Hilltop provides meal at Overflow Shelter 
  • Thursday All School Gathering with coffee for parents prior 
       
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Mark Your Calendar
 
Monday, November 11
  • Historical Fencing 3-4pm
  • Hilltop families provide dinner for the Overflow Shelter - email Emilie if you can help 

Tuesday, November 12

  • MS Environmental Roundtable Discussion at the River Garden in Brattleboro. 10am
  • CH and LE Spanish 3-4pm  

Wednesday, November 13

  • Bagel Lunch
  • Fire and Stone 3-4:30pm
  • Historical Fencing 3-4pm  

Thursday, November 14   

 

  • All School Gathering - we welcome parents to join us for coffee and a chat in the toddler room prior to ASG (8:30-8:55) 
  • Hilltop Montessori Winter Sports Equipment Swap (see below for details)
  • MS delicious soup for sale after school. Click here for order form

 

Friday, November 15    

  • Ukelele 3-4pm

Looking Ahead...

 

Thursday, November 21  

  • 4ths and 5ths field trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Leaving 8am returning between 5-5:30pm 

Friday, November 22

  • Lower El field trip to the Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College in Amherst MA.  

Monday, November 25

  • Grandparent's and Special Friend's Day - Invitations are going out on Monday. If you have someone special you'd like us to send an invite to, please email Amelia

REMEMBER: To see events further in the future go to the calendar on our website.
Thank You! 
Many thank yous this week!

To the ladies of Children's House: Jen Betit-Engel, Rebecca Mayer, Rebecca Fontaine and Kathryn Einig, thank you for the fall playground clean up. If you see any one of these ladies in the parking lot, please thank them. They worked hard and it looks great!

To Children's House parent, Sara Donahue, for sanding down and painting the Children's House lunch cart. It's looking fabulous! Thanks, Sara!

To Jared Smith for bringing in apples week after week from his family's orchard for students to enjoy with their bagel lunch and snack time. They are dee-licious. 

First Annual Hilltop Winter Sports Gear Swap
Want to find a new home for those outgrown ice skates? Have an extra set of skis collecting dust? Looking for winter gear for your growing child but don't want to buy new? Well, look no further! Introducing the very first Hilltop Winter Sports Gear Swap/Sale.
 
Who: All Hilltop Families!
When: Thursday, November 14th 
What: Bring your outgrown winter sports gear to school. Attach an envelop to the item with your name and how much money you're looking to get for said item. If you see something you like, put the money in the envelop and leave it at the front desk with Ann.
Where: Weather permitting, leave item along the fence line in the parking lot. If inclement weather, we'll set up in another location tba. 
Why: because it sounded like a good idea!
 
** If your item does not sell, sorry, but you'll have to take it home. 
 
But WAIT! There's MORE...
 
A Hilltop family has made a connection with an Ebay merchant who sells used and new discontinued skis and snowboards at silly prices right here in Brattleboro. Downhill skis, bindings, poles, and boots for kids $110! If you are interested, email Amelia. By the way, he sells adult new and used too.
Soup's ON 

The Middle School is at it again. Selling super soup for supper -- say that 10 times fast!


Act now and reserve yours in advance with their special offer of a five week subscription for soup on the following Thursdays: November 14th, and 21st, December 5th, 12th, and 19th.

 

The total cost for the five weeks is $40.00. Please make checks out to Hilltop Montessori School and attach them to this form. Return forms and checks to the front desk or drop off in the Middle School. 

Basketball
Time to sign up for Basketball!

Basketball starts on November 18th and continues Mondays and Fridays 3:15 - 4:45. Practices will be held at the Austine School through February 10th (12 weeks).  This program is for students in 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades with a maximum of 10 players. Priority will go to Middle School students with interested Upper Ellementary students filling out the team.  We have games scheduled on Dec. 9 and Jan. 13 against Monadnock Waldorf School of Keene, NH. Other games TBD.

Cost is $100. The fee covers the gym rental and other possible equipment costs.
Return signup form with a check payment to the front desk by Monday, November 11th.
 

Barn Update
THIS WEEK'S BARN UPDATE:

Radiant heating pipes have been laid and the floor has been insulated. Keep a look out for the Foard Panels to go up next. Framing is on the horizon!
Notes From School Visits

Tamara
This past Monday was a valuable day for teachers and staff to visit other schools. Some teachers obtained good ideas and insight to apply to their programs. Many found themselves even more appreciative of the wonderful facility and real Montessori environment that Hilltop Montessori School is: the open, bright, clean and non-cluttered physical spaces; the patient teachers working to support children towards independence; the extended open work cycle encouraging deep concentration and exploration and allowing for choice; the attractive and enticing Montessori materials, etc.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Amherst Montessori School. They are in a bright new building, not surprisingly with a similar feel to our own, as some of the same people were involved in its planning and building process. They have a strong toddler program and a Spanish immersion Children's House classroom and other classes that include Spanish lessons. Elissa McLean (Spanish teacher for our After School Programs) and I both observed these programs. It was useful input and nice models to observe. Their toddler program was inspiring. It was lovely to see the space, "guides", and nine busy and engaged little people enjoying their morning, exploring their world, and becoming empowered to take care of themselves and each other.

We are beginning the process of developing our Toddler Program - in anticipation of opening a "Stepping Stones" class starting in September of 2014. Just this week, we received approval to extend our license to include the younger ones and we've begun transforming the "Quiet Room" to include materials enticing and appropriate for toddlers. Please come take a peek!

Birch Room

On Monday November 4th our group of four staff traveled north to Newport Montessori School in Newport, NH. As always, it is a wonderful time to visit with each other, share ideas, observe, and reaffirm what we do so well within our classrooms and at our school as a whole.

 

We . . .

  • Prepare our environments to meet the needs of each child and "link" the children to the environment
  • Inspire and create a sense of wonder
  • Preserve the 3- hour work cycle
  • We are precise, consistent and repetitive in our presentation of lessons
  • And above all share joy, model respect, and seize opportunity.
Willow Room

On Monday we journeyed to Duxbury, Massachusetts to visit Bay Farm Montessori Academy. We're always grateful for every opportunity to observe at other Montessori schools. It is an important part of our professional development as Montessori teachers. After our visit we are thankful for:

  • Honoring and preserving the work cycle
  • Inspiring a sense of wonder
  • Respect for each child and the child's work
  • Clear and consistent expectations
  • Joyful learning and exploration
Director of Elementary - Dan
I observed in a small lower elementary classroom in Northampton, MA. The teacher's very economical use of language helped me to reflect on my own language while working with younger students. I also met with the art teacher during my visit. It was great to have an opportunity to see what other elementary students are currently working on in art. 
 
Upper Elementary
Upper El teachers Tom and Jennifer visited a Montessori School in Cambridge, MA.  They were, in fact, able to observe in action one of the key Montessori trainers at CMTE, where most of our elementary teachers have been trained.

Much of what we saw reaffirmed our efforts in Upper El.  Students were engaged in a variety of activities that you might typically see in any Montessori classroom:  math works spread out on the floor, rehearsals for an upcoming skit in the hall, kids working with clay for a culture project, redrafting of papers, and a general hum of conversation and purposeful movement.

We were inspired by some creative ideas for working with language, such as:  a student magazine publishing works from writers workshop, playful student-created booklets related to grammar, and interesting ways to widen the activities around literature studies.

Perhaps most rewarding for us was being able to sit down with Mary, the CMTE trainer, for a chunk of time to share ideas and stories.  She emphasized giving her students choices among possibilities for their works following a lesson as we do.  Like us, she guides the older students through a major research project in sixth grade, and moves the class through multi-year cycles for major thematic units in history and science.  She was especially helpful brainstorming around how to manage multiple teaching topics and grade levels in a larger class.

Middle School
Observing in other classrooms has always been held in high esteem in the Montessori world. We often made promises to do so and have always had the best of intentions, but rarely could we pry ourselves from our own. Creating a day that was specifically designated as an observation day did the trick. Nora went off to Ohio and came back on fire about a math program developed and practiced at the Montessori High School in Cleveland and at the Hershey Farm School. Finn spent the day at The Putney School and I spent mine at Northfield Mount Herman to deepen our understanding of these two institutions where many of our graduates matriculate. We both received positive feedback from teachers as to the high level of our student's preparedness and the ease of their transition. We also had the pleasure of visiting with many of our alum.

Administration and PE - Amelia
Lauren, Ben and I visited Lexington Montessori in Lexington, MA. We were warmly welcomed by their Admissions, Development and PE Directors. Lexington Montessori is twice the size of Hilltop and is located in more of an urban area drawing from many Boston suburbs. Despite these differences, we found that we actually have a great deal in common with them. They were challenged by the economic downturn in 2008 and are slowly rebuilding their enrollment.  We discussed fundraising and community building events. They do a community wide 5k race in the spring, a pancake breakfast/field day sort of thing in the fall and have in the past done a fancy grown up party - all but the latter are mostly community building. They used to do an auction, but interest lagged when the economy soured. The Annual Fund appears to be their focus for fundraising. LMS also does a great job with parent education, we jotted those ideas down too. Ben observed a morning of PE classes. We made some new friends, got some great ideas and toured their lovely campus. We're hoping to host them for a visit in March.

Elementary
  • Upper and Lower El need drivers for their field trips on November 21 and 22. Please be on the lookout for permission slips/driver sign up forms coming home with your child(ren). 
  • Dan is looking for old magazines for collage work in the art room. Please make sure they are appropriate for elementary aged children, thanks.  
Middle School

 

 

It has been a powerful, non-stop week. Tuesday was our second downtown day. Students had three particular endeavors to complete: a painted cityscape practicing some new perspective skills Finn had imparted, a written observation of downtown inspired by James Agee's Knoxville: Summer 1915, and time spent in the library's history room working on their "Before Our Time" history project. We will be spending as much time in both the library and the historical society as we can in the next couple of weeks.

 



 

 

 

Wednesday's YES! (Youth Environmental Summit) in Barre was an informative, eye-opening, alarming, and positive experience. Our next step in understanding how we might be a bigger part of positive environmental change is happening next week. We left the summit with the charge to go back to our communities and begin to take action steps. We are fortunate to live in both a state and a community that already is actively engaged in the environmental reality we live in. To become familiar with some of the individuals and organizations that do this work in our community, we put together a roundtable discussion to be held at the River Garden next Tuesday, November 12 at 10:00. Our focus will be on sustainable and resilient communities and how we can lessen our carbon footprint. You are welcome to join us.

 





 

 

Thursday night's Curriculum Vitae and Love/Hate poetry recitation was beautiful. Enough said.

 

Enjoy the weekend.

 

Community

 
Support these young artists!
Hilltop Middle Schooler, Zach James and his band, The Snaz will be playing at the Iron Horse, in Northampton next Thursday, 11/14, at 7pm. This is a huge deal! Way to go, Snaz!


The second annual Brattleboro Film Festival (BFF)
kicked off Friday, November 1 and continues to November 14 at the newly renovated Latchis Theatre with 30 features that are hot right now including, Oscar contending dramas, timely documentaries, free workshops and talks and the area premiere and Gala celebration of six-part "Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie." There is a special family screening at 2pm on Sunday of two international animation sensations "The Painting" and "Boy in a Bubble" and many other events.
BFF is also offering free entry to high school students (and Hilltop Middle School) for Sunday evening area premiere of 'The Vermont Movie'.
For a full listing of films and events go to: www.brattleborofilmfestival.org and see a trailer for The Vermont Movie at: vermont movie trailer

 


The Hatch presents "Storytellers on a Mission" featuring seven of the nation's hottest storytellers who tell hilarious stories to raise money for the New England Youth Theatre. Featuring Brian Babylon, Ophira Eisenberg, Dave Hill, SRSLY with Alexandra Fiber and Danielle Gibson, Adam Wade and host Tom Shillue. Tickets: $60, $40 & $25, available at NEYT.org.  November 14, 7 pm at the Latchis Theatre, Main Street, Brattleboro.

 



 
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