• Basketball starts Mon.
  • Upper El field trip Thurs. 
  • Lower El field trip Friday.
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Mark Your Calendar
Monday, November 18
  • MS Basketball: 3:15-4:45pm  

Tuesday, November 19  

  • CH/LE Spanish 3-4pm 

Thursday, November 21      


  • Upper El 4ths and 5ths Field Trip to Boston Museum of Fine Arts leaving at 8am-5pm 
  • All School Gathering 


Friday, November 22     

  • Prospective CH students Mini-Class 9-10am 
  • Lower El Field Trip to Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College: 9am
  • Ukelele: 3-4pm
  • MS Basketball: 3:15-4:45pm 

Looking Ahead...


Monday, November 25: Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day. 8:30am-noon. 


Tuesday, November 26: Stone Soup Day for students. CH noon dismissals stay until1pm 


November 27 - 29: Thanksgiving Break - Solar Panel installation scheduled to start! 


REMEMBER: To see events further in the future go to the calendar on our website.
After School Programs
This was the last week for Fall After School Programs (except for Spanish and Ukelele, which will continue for a few more weeks).  Some of the more popular programs will be back in the Spring, such as Mountain Biking, Fencing and Fire & Stone, so stay tuned to your Hilltop web calendar for more on those.  This winter we will continue to offer Spanish and Ukulele, and a few new classes.
We are also adding new programs to our After School schedule: Beginning French for all ages with Jan Coplan, certified French teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer. Her classes are infused in the language, interactive, and focus primarily on conversation.  Discover hidden talents in Circus Arts with an instructor from the New England Center for Circus Arts. Get your groove on in Drum Circle with our very own Jay Cook.  Winter is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen, explore new foods and different cultures with Vicky Senni Dibe in Junior Chefs.
Forms will be distributed next week but please begin discussions now with your student about any of these fun After School Programs.  Stop by or email Ann  at the Front Desk if you have questions.
Winter Sports
Baby, it's cold outside! That means Winter Sports can't be far off!

One of the perks of living in Vermont? Winter Sports as part of the school curriculum. The winter sports program takes place on Thursdays for six weeks between December break and February vacation. Kindergarten students have ice skating lessons at Living Memorial Park. Lower El students may choose skating at the park, downhill skiing at Mt. Snow (starting at grade 2), or cross-country skiing at the Brattleboro Outing Club. Upper El and Middle School students have the option of cross-country skiing at the Brattleboro Outing Club, downhill skiing at Mt. Snow or learning skating with the younger children at the park. These programs are required and fees are in addition to the school tuition.

This year we are considering having chaperones drive to Mt. Snow rather than renting the bus.  Inspired by the Middle School's recent studies regarding lowering the school's carbon footprint, we are hoping to eliminate duplicate driving.  Instead of having both the bus and chaperones driving up the mountain, why not make one trip?  The cost savings to the school will be passed on to parents in a reduced fee.  It's a Win-Win!  Email Ben James if you want to ski and drive.
The Brattleboro Outing Club cross-country skiing program is experiencing a transition and will be offering four weeks of instruction with an additional two weeks of access to trails in February.  This offering has a reduced fee and once again, the savings will be passed on to parents.

Notes from Tamara
Announcing the Stepping Stones Program!

Some of you may have noticed some new furniture, materials and rugs in the "Quiet Room" renamed the "Toddler Room", soon to be the "Stepping Stones Program". We are moving forward on having a toddler program starting in September 2014. We have been granted a change to our early childcare license to include the younger children and will be working on the details of offering this Montessori program to our community. This room, that was designed for such a program, will now be filled with little voices.

Starting in September of 2014, Hilltop Montessori School will have a Stepping Stones program that will:
  • serve toddlers ages 18-36 months
  • be available for 3 or 5 mornings a week, or 3 or 5 full-days per week
  • provide high-quality, authentic Montessori approach, materials, and activities for these younger members of our community.
For those of you who haven't seen a Montessori toddler program in action, you are in for a treat. They are absolutely beautiful and amazing, as you see the: supporting of the child's abilities, choice of work, development of practical life skills, and satisfaction in growing independence applied at this young age.  So many physical and cognitive skills are just coming online and the whole world is opening up to them for their exploration and mastery. To have this happen in a Montessori prepared environment tailored to their size, abilities, and interests is a gift!

We will be continuing to put the pieces together for this program over the coming months. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please stop by, call, or email me at [email protected].


Annual Fund Update!
Exciting News!
Congratulations, Hilltop Community. We have achieved 93% participation in our 2013 Annual Fund efforts among current families, staff and board! And have raised a whopping $25,849!! That's $7,849 OVER our goal for parents, staff and board.

To our faculty with 186 years of service to Hilltop Montessori School, we salute you!

Girls on the Run
The deadline for registering to be a coach for Girls on the Run is December 15th.

"Girls on the Run© is a non-profit program that encourages girls in 3rd to 8th grade to develop self-respect, confidence and a healthy lifestyle through a fun, interactive curriculum and fitness training activities. Our 12-week, 24-lesson program, held at schools throughout Vermont, fosters girls' physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being, culminating in a wonderfully uplifting 5k Run/Walk in which everyone is #1!  --Girls on the Run of Southern Vermont website

If you are interested in being a GOTR coach, email Amelia.

Project Feed the Thousands
Hilltop is joining forces with other area schools and WTSA and KVT radio stations in Project Feed the Thousands. During All School Gathering yesterday, Tim Johnson, from WTSA, Lucie Fortier, the Director of the Drop-In Center, and Jerry Goldberg, Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce Director came to talk to students about how they could pitch in to help people in our own community who are going hungry. An astonishing 1 out of every 5 children in Windham County go hungry every day.

The food drive will culminate in a "Stuff the Bus" event at Hannaford Supermarket on December 20th. We will have our own cardboard bus in the lobby to stuff with goods to donate.

Download a flyer from the Drop-In Center. Items high on the list of need are personal hygiene products like soap, toothpaste and diapers. Non-perishable food stuffs are also needed. Tuna fish and peanut butter are good protein choices.

Help us fill our bus for Project Feed the Thousands.

Barn Update


The Insulated Foard Panels are due on campus soon! The older part of the barn will covered in panels, hopefully starting next week.

Preparations are being made to install the panels. Once the old part is
sheathed, work will begin on the interior. While I love snow, I hope it will
hold off for a while! Weather won't hinder construction, it just means more work!

Leland Smith
Barn Committee

Birch Room
Saint Martin's Day (in Germany)

At circle we talked about the observance of Saint Martin's Day.  Silvia and family shared this observance with us.  This special day is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours and celebrates modesty and altruism- both values commonly associated with the Saint. In Germany, children build their own lanterns in the days prior to November 11.  We also made lanterns in class.
Silvia sang The Lantern song (Laterne Laterne) at closing circle to end our day-long observance.


This past week the children have been extending their art lessons making free standing linked cardboard sculpture with squares, rectangles, and other shapes. Then the children connect them together using cut lines only.  They have also been t drawing lines and connecting the line into shapes. Watercolors are then used to fill in the shapes.


A cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones.  Olders searched along the trail, near school, looking for flat stones to build sculptures with on the sand circle area in the playground.  We were inspired by the amazing delicate and beautiful cairn sculptures while hiking up to the top of Black Mountain a few weeks ago.  We hope to add to our collection over time. 


Here are two simple ways to encourage responsible independence at home.  
  • Let your child carry their coats, bag lunch etc. themselves at pick-up and drop- off time.
  • Make sure they have appropriate winter clothing ...have them get it ready the night before to make the morning routine easier.
Willow Room
Middle School seventh graders Bella Bonneau, Emmanuel Keppel, Aidan Murphy, and Izzy Snyder are now joining us on Friday mornings as part of their mentoring program.  It's been another great way to foster community within the school.

Enjoy the weekend!
Melissa & Ellie

Lower Elementary

It takes about
seventy hours to drag
a poem into
the light.

So writes Mary Oliver, poet and dog lover.  Here in Lower El, we are wrestling with this creative process in our Writer's Workshop time.  This week, we created shape and acrostic poems, as well as some free form poems.   It is exciting to witness the enthusiasm in the room as pencils scratch across paper, writing about cats, seasons, and all sorts of other interesting topics. Words come more easily to some children than to others, but we try to make this experience as rewarding as possible for everyone.  Dan and Jay will be helping us enhance our poetry through art and music.  OUR DECEMBER POETRY PERFORMANCE will serve as the grand finale  to all of this creative writing.  It will take place in our classroom on Wednesday, December 18th -at 8:45 in the Lower El classroom.  Please join us for a breakfast potluck after the performance.

Whereas the children have performed the poetry of other, well-known poets in the past ( under the generous direction of local artist Mollie Burke), this year's performance will feature all original poetry by your children.  

BORROWED BOOKS - Parents, if your first or second grader has a plastic bag of books at home, please have them return them every Thursday so that we can exchange them for a fresh batch.  Unless we receive this bag, we cannot send home new books for your child.  Thank you!

WINTER CLOTHES - It is now the season of jackets, hats, and gloves.  Please remind your child to dress for the weather, as we go outside every day.  This is also a good time to replenish the extra clothes boxes with long-sleeve shirts, pants, and warm socks.  


FIELD TRIP - Thank you to the many drivers who have signed up to help get us to the Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College next Friday.  We truly could not do it without your help, and we're very grateful that you are giving your time (and fuel) to this cause.  Please consider staying for pizza lunch when we return to school. 

BOX BOARD - Dan is in need of box board, like cereal boxes, for a project the Lower El is currently working on.

Finally, consider asking your child about:
  • the parts of a frog ( 1sts)
  • the functions of a fish vs. an amphibian (2nds)
  • Pisces ( not the astrological sign!) ( 3rds )

MISSING:  Black Bog boots; name inside: Ian Doherty  If these boots have accidentally found their way to your home, please return them to their owner!  Thank you.   

Enjoy your weekend!  
Kerstin and Patrick


Upper Elementary

The Upper Elementary was fortunate to have two of our parents, Gail Greenleaf and Sara Coffey, come in to kick off the Dorothy Canfield Fisher (DCF) book reading project. Their presentation inspired great interest among the students, who were later buzzing with discussion about favorite books. This is a program in which students choose to read from a set list of thirty leading new books. Those who have read at least six by next spring can participate in voting on the top pick of students in the region for the year. We extend an enormous thanks to Gail and Sara for their great presentation, energy, and supplying us with the books!




Our classroom has been humming this week as students work on the second major research project of the semester, finish up other recent projects, and continue their more routine studies. The sixths made presentations on the nitrogen, carbon and rock cycles. They tested home soil samples for pH; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; color; and texture. They are also writing scripts about the three branches of government. (After our recent lesson on how a bill becomes a law, Sheridan has been perusing the 255-page speech Bernie Sanders delivered in his 2010 filibuster!)



Fifth years are doing portraits to accompany research on a hero of their choice, while transforming a detailed essay organizer into a full, five-paragraph essay. Seeing their growth in paragraph writing over the past two months is extremely rewarding for Tom and Jen (as is the chance for us to learn about less-familiar figures in history!). All students are considering what they'll create to accompany their cultural research topics for the December museum. Many are finding inspiration from the wealth of projects introduced by Dan in art class, now scheduled twice a week.


Fourth and Fifth students will visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts next Thursday to view exhibits on ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. We will be departing school at 8:00 a.m. and returning between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. Thanks in advance to our many parent drivers.


We have all shifted to the second literature and seminar book of the year. The sixths had started the year with Seedfolk and are now reading about the life of a migrant worker child in the autobiographical book, Circuit. Fourths and Fifths have moved on from Long Way from Chicago and The Golden Goblet to either Number the Stars or The Cay. (When we can no longer obtain the same edition that we store in the class, we know we have an old gem!)

Middle School

We continued our work and education from last week's Youth Environmental Summit with a local roundtable dialogue with area environmental activists. The roundtable took place at the River Garden right in the center of Brattleboro. Our guests were Guy Payne from the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, Paul Cameron from Brattleboro Climate Protection, Katherine Gillespie from Food Connects, Tim Stevenson from Post Oil Solutions, and Dr. Ralph Meima from Project Atlantic. After a time of introductions and an explanation of what inspired each person to dedicate themselves to the challenges of climate change, students continued the conversation with the questions they prepared from the research they conducted prior to the roundtable. The topics discussed were varied and provocative. We talked about European models of non carbon energy independence that were far ahead of us due to our lack of political will, we talked about how economic disparity impacts climate change, we talked about how every positive action we take, no matter how small, is important and useful. Perhaps one of the most powerful and provoking comments of the day came from Guy Payne when he said, "every decision we make is an energy related question".


Here is a selection of student reflections from that day:


           "There were parts that made me feel depressed but at the same time happy. Like when Ralph Meima talked about what they are doing in Sweden with taxing carbon. I thought it was such a cool idea! But then he said how it would be so hard to do that here. I felt sad but also motivated to find a way to make something like that possible here."   Sophie Lurz


            "I thought it was really amazing to see how the people motivated and get started. When I came home from school today, I grabbed a bucket and said that this was going to be our new composting bucket." Bella Bonneau


            "I really enjoyed being able to actually discuss what was going on and how to change, rather than being told what is wrong. Now I really want to do something and know I can do it rather than feeling like it is hopeless. Many people know what's happening, but they think someone else will do it or they are too small and insignificant to help. I learned that anyone can help and that I have to help. It is not an option." Elery Loggia


            "This discussion inspired me to become more active as an individual, school, and community level. I hope the discussion we had today inspired everyone in the class to be more conscious in their decision making and take steps towards a better future." Izzy Snyder



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