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Mark Your Calendar
Saturday, January 11
Brattleboro Concert Choir, featuring our very own Nora Gordon and Paul Dedell, are presenting a concert. **See below in "Community News" for details.

Monday, January 13
    • Spanish for 4+ and first grade: 3-4pm
    • MS Basketball: 3:15-4:45pm
    • Hilltop hosts at the Overflow Shelter - volunteers needed for for this community outreach event. If you can help with providing food or serving, please contact Emilie Kornheiser.

Tuesday, January 14
  • Drum Circle: 3-4pm 
Wednesday, January 15
  • Financial Aid Applications and supporting tax documents due  
  • Beginning French: 3-4pm  
Thursday, January 16
  • Development Thank You Cafe, 8:30am - Some of you have received invitations, but we wanted to welcome anyone who has volunteered this year at school, or wants to help out for future parties/development committees. RSVP to Amelia
  • Winter Sports (No All School Gathering) 
Friday, January 17
  • Junior Bakers: 3-4pm
  • Ukelele: 3-4pm 
  • MS Basketball: 3:15-4:45pm  
  • Middle School premieres their Society Project Films at the Brattleboro Musuem and Art Center: 7-8pm   

Coming Up...

Monday, January 20
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School

REMEMBER: To see events further in the future go to the calendar on our website.
Notes from Tamara
Learn and share about Hilltop programs...

Being knowledgeable about all Hilltop Montessori School programs helps you, as a parent, understand and appreciate the education your child is receiving. It also helps you be an advocate for the school. 

Parents are our best source of referrals of new families. Adding new, enthusiastic families to our school builds stronger programs and augments the entire school community. Please consider attending and/or participating in many of the upcoming events that will increase your understanding of our Montessori programs. You will learn or share information about:
    • Programs new to Hilltop Montessori School - Stepping Stones Open House - Mini-Class
    • Work your child is doing currently - Children's House Parent Classroom Visits, Elementary Work-Share, Middle School film presentation
    • Programs your child is growing towards - Open House, Moving-Up Night

New Toddler Program Open House, Friday, January 24, 2014 / 9 - 10am

We are inviting interested parents and their toddler to join us on

Friday, January 24, 2014, from 9 to 10am, for our first toddler Open House. Our goal is to share the plans we have for the toddler program in the fall of 2014. This will also be an opportunity for us to meet your toddlers and for you to meet the program director, Ellie Pennell. She will talk about the plans for the program and answer your questions. Please call Lauren Campbell at 257-0500 ext 101 to register for this event.     


All School Open House, Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 9 - 11:00 am

Parents are our best advocates! If you are free to help host contact Tamara. You can share your insights as a Hilltop parent and hear our eighth graders answer questions about their Hilltop experience.  

9 am Welcome

9:15 am - tour and observations

10 - 10:30 am meet with program director for discussion and Q&A

10:30 - 11:00 am wrap up session including a Q&A with 8th grade students, Head of School and Admissions Director

Children's House Parent Classroom Visits, Tuesday, January 14 / 8:30 - 9:15
Join your child's Children's House classroom on  to have them share work with you. 

Lower El Work share, Wednesday, January 22 and February 5 / 8:15  -  8:45
Parents are welcome to come in to the classroom any morning from 8:15 - 8:45 to have children share their work. We have scheduled a couple of Wednesdays coming up to encourage you to come in in the middle of the week when children have much to share

Moving-Up Night - Tuesday, Feb. 4th - PLEASE mark your calendar for Moving-Up Night - whether your child will be going to a new program next year or you're imagining your little one in Middle School, come learn about what the future holds for your child at Hilltop!! Get excited about the next steps!!

This week we'd like to thank:

Our Fabulous Ginormous Cookie Swap/Sale and Snowflake Raffle team!

Jen Betit-Engel
Karen Blumberg
Kathie Capcara
Kathryn Einig
Alix Fedoruk
Rebecca Fontaine (Hotdog Queen!)
Mel Kahn (pictured here!)
Kim Lier
Leah Nussbaum
Rita Ramirez
Jaimie Scanlon
Helen Schmidt
Linda Schmidt

And to all the fabulous cookie bakers out there! We raised $1500! We will be presenting Lucie Fortier of the Drop-In Center with a check for $300 on January 17th at the Middle School's film premiere night at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.

Also BIG Thanks to all of you who donated items to the Morningside Shelter's Kid's Corner.
Tara Davis (Willow Room Parent) sent along some photos to share and a list of some of the items Hilltop Families have donated. Remember, the registry also lists gifts of time. So, if you'd like to help out, revisit the registry to find out how you could help.

Items were gently used, new or handmade:
  • a wooden play kitchen,   
  • stacking tree,   
  • rainbow stacker,   
  • squish grasping toy,   
  • bead maze,   
  • Taggies,   
  • dollhouse,   
  • pack-n-play,   
  • wooden blocks (handcrafted of local wood),   
  • Imaginets,  
  • an art smock.

Jared Smith of Ames Hill Orchards gave 6 wooden apple crates that were used  to make a coffee table for the living room, and as clothing storage in a room that currently has no dresser or closet.  

Thanks to Jared Smith for the apples! They are delicious!

And thanks to Roselle Garro for all the snack treats. Greatly appreciated!
Financial Aid Deadline FAST Approaching!
Financial Aid Deadline is Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Applications are due to SSS, School and Student Services, complete with all current tax documents, and must be submitted by the deadline to be considered in the first round of grants.Click here for the SSS website for online financial aid applications.

Buildings and Grounds Update
We are generating electricity from the sun!

10:30 am on December 31st, the "switch was flipped" and we officially went solar! Thanks to all the parent committee members led by Seth Harter who worked hard to see this project to its fruition
. We will be  generating about 60,000 kWhs per year. That's enough to power the entire school!

The solar array was installed at no cost to Hilltop by Integrated Solar Applications of Brattleboro. They helped us connect with investors from Wisdom and Power LLC of Norwich, VT. Hilltop will pay 90 percent of the monthly electric costs to Wisdom and Power. After seven years, we may choose to purchase the panels at fair market value or continue to pay our investor.


Tamara seals the deal with John Langhus of Wisdom and Power LLC.


Important Message from Jeremy West, Middle School Student

How to Get Started Recycling!


To recycle is to reprocess a used material so that it may be used again. The advantage of this process is that materials are conserved, energy is saved, money is kept, and  jobs are made. Recycling can help both you and the earth because the amount of energy that recycling uses compared to trash is tiny and since recycling uses less energy it costs less money. This smaller amount of energy also allows less carbon to be put into the atmosphere each year which reduces global warming. Recycling can help you and the environment, and due to recent attempts to stop climate change, recycling has never been easier, and to make it even easier, I have composed some documents that answer the what's, where's, and why's about recycling. If you are interested in starting or enhancing your recycling plan then please e-mail the word "Recycle" to [email protected] for a list of answers about recycling, thank you for your time and I hope this document inspires you to new heights.

All the best,

-Jeremy West

Hilltop Montessori Middle School
Birch Room

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."   - Maria Montessori.

 Attaining responsible independence begins from day one.  From a child's first experiences upon entering their classroom our goals are to nurture a desire to learn, independence, initiative and to utilize their skills and abilities for strong academic growth.  Our new students Natalie and Minjae were warmly welcomed into our classroom by their many classmates.  They are observant children who have many helpful guides nearby willing to assist them with routines and rules as needed.

As the photo's below show they are already on their way to settling in comfortably with purposeful work throughout the curriculum areas.

Reminders: Please refill extra clothing boxes, in the bathroom, as needed.

Willow Room


Happy New Year!  


We welcomed two new Youngers to our classroom this week! Leo and Hazel. We are so pleased to have these families join Willow Room.



Brrrr! This week has been extremely cold and has curbed our morning time outside. In an effort to keep as much of the usual routine at the cubby area in place, we ask that on very cold mornings (below 10F) families say their goodbyes at the bench. Melissa will be there to welcome children, offer assistance with coats, etc. as needed, and transition the children to the classroom. Many thanks, in advance, for your help and understanding.


Snowy weather often means changing clothes mid-day. Please be sure your child has a full change of extra clothes at school.


Enjoy the weekend.

Melissa & Ellie


Lower Elementary
Welcome back! It's wonderful to have everyone back again and rediscovering the routines and rhythms of the classroom. While many looked forward to familiar classroom works, the real highlight of the week was reuniting with friends and sharing stories from winter break.


We kicked off the new year with a lesson on what 2014 years looks like, and why it is the year 2014 when the Earth is actually much, much older. We began the Clock of Eons series of lessons, which picks up where the Earth's Story left off. The latter tells the story of the formation of the Earth from the big bang, and the former tells the segment of our story from the Hadeon Eon to the Phanerozoic.


In addition to these thrilling impressionistic lessons, we also began our unit on measurement. Tamara read the book, How Big Is a Foot? and invited children to explore what happens when we measure various items in the room with a "king's foot" and an "apprentice's foot."


Winter Sports/Cold Weather Reminder: Please make sure your child has snow pants at school for recess, PE, and winter sports activities. A water bottle to keep hydrated is also a good idea for winter sports days.

Inside Shoes - With snow and grit upon us, it is especially critical that students have inside shoes to wear at school. Please make sure your child brings some in, if they haven't already. ALSO - all black boots look alike! Please make sure your child's boots are labeled. 

Upper Elementary
It was wonderful to see everyone back this week. We jumped right into our new studies. As part of their chemistry study, the fourths and fifths began an examination of the properties of matter. The fourths and fifths also learned about the history of silk. This lesson was an introduction to their study of the Silk Road. This study will begin with a focus on physical, political, and economic geography.

The sixths began their study of the human body with a series of impressionistic lessons, including a dissection of a cell. To begin their study of Western Expansion in U.S. history, sixth graders analyzed a painting that introduced a variety of topics included in this study: human migration, transportation, technology, and interactions between Native Americans and new Americans. On Monday students began their study of poetry. Each week students are introduced to different poetic forms and write poetry of their own.

The culmination of the poetry study is a poetry performance on Wednesday, February 12 at 1:30.

Experiment on heat conductivity

Alex and Sam work on cross multiplication

Inside Shoes - With snow and grit upon us, it is especially critical that students have inside shoes to wear at school. Please make sure your child brings some in, if they haven't already. ALSO - all black boots look alike! Please make sure your child's boots are labeled.
Middle School

We started the new term with our feet in high gear. Number one on our list is the creation of the Society Project video collages for next week's premiere gala at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Students are creating striking and insightful community portraits under the expert guidance of Finn while learning the ins and outs of the Final Cut Pro software on our computers. The premiere begins at 7pm. Bring the family, invite friends and celebrate the work of your student.


Concurrently with our filmmaking endeavors we are immersing ourselves into the worlds of conflict. Our study, "Struggle for Peace", strives to examine and explore conflict on many different levels. So far we have read an excerpt from Buddha's writings, an essay by Gandhi, President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, the novella I Had Seen Castles, and just beginning the novel, The Book Thief as well as Thoreau's classic essay, Civil Disobedience. We will also be hosting a series of local guest speakers that are dedicating themselves to changing what President Obama calls our "culture of violence". You are welcome to join any of these discussions. Here is the schedule (all begin at 10am):


    Friday, January 17 - Daniel Sicken. Daniel is a participant and veteran of Plowshares actions

           Tuesday, January 21 - Ann Braden, the founder of Gun Sense Vermont

            Monday, January 27 - Jackie Trepanier from Brattleboro Community Justice.

            Monday, February 3 - Anna from the Women's Freedom Center


This is a time of extensive academic engagement that requires students, in order to be successful, to practice (with diligence) their organizational and time management skills. Students are currently researching their selected "peace people" and are either learning are refreshing their knowledge of the Harvard Specific Outline. At a minimum, students should be spending approximately a half an hour a night in their research and note taking. At the end of next week their main thesis, three mini-theses, and pathways are due. This is a major milestone in the organization and discernment of this extensive research project.


It is good to be back!







Community News


(And support our very own Nora Gordon and Paul Dedell!) 


The Brattleboro Concert Choir will present Richard Blackford's rapturous "Mirror of Perfection" and Benjamin Britten's arresting masterwork "Rejoice in the Lamb" on Saturday, January 11 at 7:30 pm., and again on Sunday, January 12 at 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, Brattleboro, VT. The concert, directed by Susan Dedell,  features soprano Junko Watanabe, contralto Jennifer Hansen, tenor Marc Winer, baritone Peter Shea, and introduces 10-year-old soprano Elle Jamieson as treble soloist. 

Benjamin Britten set the ecstatic and wild creative poetry of Christopher Smart (1722-1771) with brilliant musical color and imagination in the festival cantata Rejoice in the Lamb. 

Richard Blackford's Mirror of Perfection captures the passion and compassion of the famous saint who was a fanatic of love.
  This piece took London by storm when it made its debut 7 years, when it was described as a "cantata of lavish beauty, clothed in a radiance of strings, harp, and horns." Come year it's New England debut!  
  Advance tickets are available at the Brattleboro Music Center (257-4523) or at the door.


Windham Child Care Association presents:

"Helping Children Develop Healthy Sleep Patterns"

with Scott Noyes, Saturday, January 11 9:30 -11:30am


The results of children not getting enough sleep are astonishing. Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on physical health and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions. The loss of one hour of sleep for a child each night is equivalent to two years of cognitive maturation and development. In addition, sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine. This presentation will review the facts about the importance of sleep and how to help children establish and maintain healthy sleep habits.

Child care provided for parents upon request.

The Brattleboro Retreat - Conference Room

Call to register: Nancy 802-254-5332 x 312

Or email: nancy

Monday, January 20th
Nature Days: Childcare for Teacher-In-Service days and selected holidays!
All kids in grades 1 - 5!  
Let your child join us during their days out of school for days of fun as we play and learn in the fields and forests of Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center. Come investigate the winter world around us through games, activities and exploration. Our adventures may include learning how to make snow forts strong enough for winter survival, following the tracks of an animal, and sledding down Heifer Hill.
Members $35/day, Non-members $45/day
For more information and to register: or 802-257-5785 
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