Big Week Ahead!
  • LE poetry  
  • UE Museum 
  • Ginormous Cookie Swap/Sale and Snowflake Raffle Friday at Noon Dismissal!  
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Mark Your Calendar
Monday, December 16
  • MS Basketball: 3:15-4:45pm
Wednesday, December 18
  • Lower El Poetry Performance 8:45am
  • Hilltop Montessori School Board Meeting 6pm
Thursday, December 19
  • Upper El Museum 2pm
Friday, December 20 - Noon Dismissal
  • Upper El Museum 8:30-9am
  • Upper El present making 9-12pm
  • Ginormous Cookie Swap/Sale and Snowflake Raffle Extravaganza! 12pm
Holiday Break:  December 23 - January 6

Month of January:
Middle School art exhibit at Amy's Bakery, and hand-made books at Brooks Memorial Library 

Thursday, January 9 - First Winter Sports Thursday!

REMEMBER: To see events further in the future go to the calendar on our website.
This week we'd like to thank:

The Cookie Swat Team and Raffle Wranglers: Alix Fedoruk, Jen Betit-Engel, Rebecca Fontaine, Rita Ramirez, Kim Lier, Jaimie Scanlon, Linda Schmidt, Kathryn Einig, Mel Kahn, Karen Blumberg, Kathie Capcara, Helen Schmidt and Leah Nussbaum!

Notes from the Head
Being new to this school and to this "climate" (both literally and figuratively), I am relieved that the decision to close or delay school due to snow does not lie with me. As most of you probably know, Hilltop Montessori School follows the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union's call on whether to close, delay opening, or have an early closing. With the snow upon us, we thought it would be useful to review the notification procedures here in a newsletter to save anyone who is unclear from having to dig out your Family Handbook at 6 a.m.  Let it snow!!!
SNOW POLICY- FROM THE HANDBOOK (p. 22): Hilltop follows the WSESU school closing policy for snow days. Cancellation of school will be announced over local radio stations by 7:00 a.m. (WTSA 96.7FM, 1450 AM or WKTV 92.7 FM, 1490 AM). School closing information is also posted on the date in the Public Access Calendar at our website, by going to and clicking on "calendar" and at . (Click on "School Closings" and then select Hilltop Montessori under "Select a District".) Other school functions will be cancelled in the same manner when necessary with as much notice as possible.
In the event of a two hour delay, school will start at 10:30 a.m. and early morning care will be cancelled. In case of early closing of WSESU schools, Hilltop will email parents to notify them and will post the closing on the website. All attempts will be made to keep the school open. The after school program is sometimes shortened or cancelled and relevant parents will be called. In the event of 6 or more snow and/or emergency days throughout the school year, these days will be made up at they end of the school year.

All this being said, we want all families to feel safe driving to and from school. So if the weather looks questionable and you feel that it is not safe to venture out, or the weather turns bad during the day and you would like to retrieve your child early, we understand completely. 
Notes from the Board

Hilltop Montessori School finds itself on an upward trajectory. It is lucky to have a new Head of School who is constantly working at moving the school forward. Hilltop also has a wonderful group of educators who are all committed and trained to deliver rigorous Montessori education. Perhaps more importantly, the teachers all care very deeply about the education and growth of the students at Hilltop. The school administration is working hard to maintain and improve the school's finances and enrollment. Finally, thanks to the commitment of the whole Hilltop Community, the school is improving its facilities to enhance the education of all students and to meet the values and mission of the school.


In an effort to keep up with all of the forward thinking going on at the school, all members of the Board of Trustees on Saturday, December 7, 2013 volunteered their day to study how to better act strategically to meet the future needs of Hilltop Montessori School. Dane Peters, a former head of school and school board member at various schools and current Vice President of the American Montessori Society Board of Directors, came to Hilltop to share strategies and best practices among independent schools that will help Hilltop's Board of Trustees develop long term strategies to continue the upward trends. The training confirmed the good work that the Board of Trustees has been doing regarding oversight of the school and provided strategies to incorporate new ideas into Board deliberations.


One of the things that came out of the training is an understanding that the Board as it is currently constituted is too small. The Board needs to almost double in size. With that thought in mind, I invite any interested persons to let any board member or administrator know if you are interested in joining the exciting work being done by the Board. Also, if you know of anyone who might make a good board member, please talk to that person about possibly joining. We would love to have our Board of Trustees include both current parents and other community members.


As the end of the year approaches, the Board is celebrating Hilltop's growth. It is also aware of the many challenges that Hilltop, and all independent schools are facing. We ask the Hilltop community to be mindful both about the great school that educates our children and all the hard work that is necessary to make that happen.   


Mark Loevy-Reyes

Board Chair 

The Ginormous Cookie Swap/Sale and Snowflake Raffle is coming!
The Ginormous Cookie Swap/Sale and Snowflake Raffle is almost here!

The fun starts at early dismissal on Friday. There will be hot dogs or veggie dogs for kids, the super duper cookie aisle, and the Snowflake Raffle.

Monday, your child will be coming home with a post card about the cookie swap and there will be a ticket attached to the card good for one free cookie of their choice.

Bid on the "Teeny Tiny House". Hand made by the Farnum's. Interior is a blank slate for you to let your inner interior decorator run wild!

This is our only silent auction item. All other items will be raffled off on Friday. Buy tickets, then place tickets in the bag labeled with your dream prize and you could be a winner.

Items in the raffle include: 2 kid's ski helmets; 2 tix to BMC Chamber Series Concert; 4 tix to see NBA farm team the Springfield Armor; 2 fitness classes at BodhiFit; 1 month of free Tae Kwon Do classes with free uniform; 4 tix to NEYT winter show; hand made journals; Vermont Country Deli gift basket; wine and cheese baskets; Sidehill Farm Jams; Circus School gift certificate; 1-hour massage; cheese knife set; Wolf Kahn cards, calendar and notebook; local honey; hand-knitted items; 2 30-minute skating lessons; $50 drop off laundry gift certificate; gift certificate at Whetstone Restaurant; 1 hour parent conference with a child therapist; Hilltop tote bag; Montessori apps for ipad; 1 large pizza from West Brattleboro Pizza... the collection keeps growing so c'mon in and browse!

Raffle tickets are on SALE at the front desk. 
            • 2 for $5
            • 5 for $10 
            • 12 for $20

Cookie boxes for the Swap/Sale are $6 for small (2 for $10) and $12 for the larger size boxes.  


A portion of our proceeds will go towards Project Feed the Thousands.


See you on Friday! 



If you missed the Middle School's Round Table Discussion...
If you were unable to attend the Middle School's Round Table Discussion on Environmental Issues in Brattleboro, you can watch the whole thing on BCTV.

It will be on channel 8 next 2 weeks. Check the dates and times on the BCTV website:


The schedule for the following week is posted on Friday afternoon. OR you can watch on-line.

Financial Aid
The SSS website for online financial aid applications is now open and the deadline to apply for next year is Jan 15, 2014. A Guide to Financial Aid pamphlet is available at the front desk.

Barn Update


Final design modifications are being made on the roof trusses for the barn and the
Foard Structural Panels for the new portion of the building will soon be on site. Work continues on the interior of the old section of the barn. Ingram will be working on the old section while we wait for the Foard panels.

Siting of the sprinkler pump house is in flux, with the team hoping that the state will allow us to use our pond as a holding tank instead of burying 3 giant storage tanks.

Solar work continued this week. We thank the primary programs for their patience as workers walked, shoveled and drilled overhead. The entire roof facing the playground will be covered in solar panels, reducing Hilltop's electric bill for decades to come.

So much progress in one school year is very exciting!

Leland Smith
Barn Committee

Birch Room


Festivals Of Light


For the past several days we have been learning about celebrations in other countries during this time of year.


For Hanukkah, we read several books such as Hanukkah! By Roni Schotter and Latkes and Applesauce by Fran Manushkin. As a follow-up we made latkes with sour cream and applesauce with our older friends.



On St. Nicholas Day we read the book The Baker's Dozen retold by Aaron Shepard. We designed colorful replica St. Nicholas cookies.



For St. Lucia Day (December 13, in Sweden) we lit our evergreen candle crown to celebrate the Festival of Light. We made our own crowns in the art area.



We also shared the Legend of the Poinsettia retold by Tomie dePaola and made our own Poinsettia flowers from tracing our hands, cutting them out and connecting them in a flower shape. We talked about Navidad and posadas in Mexico.



Next week we will read The Gift of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James and talk about The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. They are Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.




Willow Room

Gingerbread has been the theme in our classroom this week. On Monday we learned about the St. Nicholas Day holiday celebrated in many European countries. Children clean and polish their shoes or boots and leave them by bedroom doors or on porches for St. Nicholas to fill with sweet treats like gingerbread cookies and small surprises. The children enjoyed the story, The Bakers Dozen, a St. Nicholas tale by Aaron Shepard. It was the perfect lead into our gingerbread cookie extravaganza!   On Monday we mixed up 3 batches of cookie dough and chilled them overnight. On Tuesday each child rolled out dough and cut the shapes of their choice. On Wednesday our cookie artists glazed and decorated. Everyone enjoyed tasting his or her hard work at closing circle while we read the folktale, The Gingerbread Man. We've also enjoyed reading and comparing different versions of this classic folktale.




The snow and cold weather has arrived in full force. Thank you for sending warm clothes and appropriate outdoors gear. It's the time to start including an extra pair of socks and an extra set of insulated mittens in your child's backpack. Remember we have three outdoor play times in our day and no one likes to put on cold, wet mittens.


We hope you enjoy the snow this weekend!


Melissa and Ellie


Lower Elementary
Lower El harnessed some of the boundless energy we are experiencing these days by presenting a lesson on the winter solstice.   Many children had much to add to Tamara's presentation on this "darkest evening of the year," as Robert Frost described it.  Winter festivals were discussed, and the reason behind them. All have to do with light as a symbol of hope, or as a way to ward off the seemingly endless dark.  Children shared their knowledge of Hannukah and Christmas.  We marveled at the idea that ancient people were afraid that the sun, once so present and powerful, would not return when the cold season arrived.  Today, thanks to science, we understand that winter always ends, and warmer temperatures will return each spring.  Take heart!

POETRY - Our dress rehearsal is taking place on Tuesday, December 17th, at 1 o'clock.  If you are unable to attend our Wednesday recitation at 8:45, please feel free to come on this day. 

On Wednesday, December 18th, our poetry recitation will begin at 8:45.  We'd like to have a breakfast potluck with you in the Lower El classroom afterwards.  Please think about what you could bring to the potluck.


Stay warm!

Kerstin and Patrick

Upper Elementary

The UE and art room this week are a factory of student projects. Olives are being pressed for an olive oil lamp; models of an aqueduct, fracking, farm pollution run-off, the Roman Colosseum, and more are in the works; games to share facts on water uses; the carbon cycle, the Trojan War, and Greek theater are underway. These projects and more can be viewed at our museum next Thursday, Dec. 19, from 2-2:50, and Friday from 8:30 to 9:00.


We are also looking forward to next Monday's Saturnalia feast. Our Saturnalia potluck feast is on Monday. Please help your child prepare a Greek, Italian, or colonial American dish to share with the class for lunch. Saturnalia was an ancient Roman holiday that honored the god Saturn and brought light to the darkness of winter. Seeing that we have been studying ancient Greece and Rome, a Saturnalian feast seemed like a wonderful way to celebrate our growth and successes during the past term. Below are a couple links to websites that have ancient recipes. While it is fun to look at these recipes, do not feel you and your child need to hunt and then prepare a wild boar this weekend. Any Greek, Italian, or early American food will do. We also studied Egypt this fall, so if you have a favorite Egyptian dish.There are food allergies in the classroom, so if your recipe has tree nuts, gluten, or eggs in it, please have your child attach a note to the dish. Thank you for helping your child with this.




Thank you to those who have offered to come in for present-making following the museum next Friday, Dec. 21. If anyone else has crafts to share, let us know!


Secret Santa persons have been assigned. Students are to give a used or home-made item, or used book, that will be exchanged on the last day before break.


Finally, here is a wish list of items we hope to acquire for the UE in the near future. Please keep these in mind during holiday shopping, or you may have a good quality used option that could be shared:


-         2 sturdy floor lamps, "torchieres," (approx. 72" high) with side light;

-         2 sturdy desk lamps (not a huge base as space is limited);

-         plastic sleds; 

-         1 working digital camera (video capability a plus);

-         1 good working vacuum cleaner (used is fine!).


These will help cozy-up our room during the winter months, and allow us to continue sharing great pictures of your loved ones.


Note: When visiting the museum next week, please check out the display of lost clothing items living in the hallway. These will be donated at the end of next week if left unclaimed.


Also, helmets must be worn on children using snow skates!  


Middle School

The middle school has been a beehive of activity as students work toward completing their community portrait photo collage, history project book and spontaneous project before the end of next week. There are photos everywhere, collages in various states of process, and draft after draft of text being written. On top of it all we are beginning our next study, A Struggle For Peace" with an introductory class on Monday. The curriculum, project explanations, and calendar will all be coming home for your perusal and signature on Monday.


Today was the last official day of elderly companions and younger mentoring. Amidst the fun and joy there were sad faces and promises to return. I think sometimes we don't know the profound happiness we bring to other people in the simple act of visiting and conversation. As Mack wrote in his reflection: "And when we do end, we will hug and say goodbye and I will visit her because that is what friends do for each other."



Community News



On December 15th at 1p the Bruins Alumni will play our own Brattleboro Greyhawks in a benefit game for the Brattleboro Hockey Association.  Come have a good time and support the many Hilltop kids taking part in the Brattleboro youth hockey programs.
And don't forget the raffle.  Win an autographed Bruins jersey, a signed stick, and more.  Go to for details and tickets.



2014 Mount Snow Ski Ticket Fund Raiser

To benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro

Thank you for your support of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro by assisting in the sale of ski vouchers to Mount Snow, Valid January 6-17, 2014.

Tickets will be available from December 5, 2013 through January 5, 2014 or until they are sold out. We only have a limited supply of tickets.

The price of each ticket is $40.00 , payable in cash or by check made out to the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro. There are NO REFUNDS.

Contact information:

Beth Baldwin, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro

802-254-5990, ext.109     cell: 802-579-7448


Battle of the Paddle: Saturday, January 4 registration 8-8:30am

The Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary will host this double elimination Ping Pong Tournament at the Gibson Aiken Center, 3rd Floor. Divisions for 11 and under; 12-15 and 16 and over. Fee is $15 in advance and $20 day of. Prizes awarded. Net proceeds benefit Sunrise Rotary projects. for more info contact Sandy Shriver






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