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 April 16, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
2015-16 Calendar
Notes from Tamara
Lost & Found
After School Programs
Summer Fun
Tiny House
Board Parent Night
Toddler Room
Willow & Birch Rooms
Middle School
Community News
The Week AFTER Next at Hilltop

In-service day

Tennis 3:30-4:30

Fire & Stone 3:30-5

Ultimate Frisbee 

All School Gathering 

Circus Arts 3:30-4:30

Girls on the Run 3-4:30

Historical Fencing 

2015-16 School Calendar
For those of you who like to plan ahead, the 2015-16 calendar is ready. Click here for a pdf.

*Please note that fall Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day has moved from Thanksgiving week to the Friday before Fall Foliage Day. Save the date.

Notes from Head of School 
On Wednesday, Kerstin (Lower Elementary Teacher), Rebecca (Children's House - Willow Room Assistant) and I attended a training at the Vermont Learning Collaborative on "Classism in the Classroom" ( At Hilltop, we work consciously to address diversity and inclusion in many ways. In Southern Vermont, we do not have as much opportunity to experience racial and ethnic diversity but we strive to whenever possible. We do have more diversity of family structures and many members of our community who are gay and lesbian. We also have the opportunity to be sure to be inclusive of the economic diversity that we have. And, as we are thinking about expanding that economic diversity, we want to be aware of all the potential class biases that we might have. This training, in conjunction with the discussions we have been having with students, faculty, and the board, are informing how we move forward with increased awareness and inclusion. It is important to ask:
 "Is this accessible to all students?" "Are we excluding people with this curriculum/book/action?" 

Much of the training served to reaffirm the cultural curriculum and peace curriculum that is a part of our programs. And, there is always room to analyze, update, and improve.
Some of the topics that come up in this context include:

- how can fundraising be handled in an inclusive, respectful way
- how directly should we be addressing class differences in the classroom with children at different program levels
- what books and materials could we add at different levels to be sure to be including people of different classes
- how could the "fundamental needs" curriculum of Lower Elementary be augmented to more directly address class differences
- additional fees for extra things (after care, pizza lunch, etc.) can exclude some, despite our attempts to include all the fees in the tuition
- would a sliding scale of fees for some things be a way of being more inclusive

We will be continuing to look at these topics within the current context of our community and looking to the future.

LOST & FOUND - Come & collect! Everything must go!

PHEW - just check out those piles of clothes! We are asking parents to *please* come and dig through the piles and bring home what is your child's before Friday! Please empty cubbies of everything except indoor shoes.

Any leftover items will be donated. Thank you!

New After School Programs begin April 29th!

Breaking news: Circus Arts with NECCA is the newest addition to our After School Enrichment Program offerings! In addition, Historical Fencing and Fire & Stone return, as well as the always popular Cultural Cooking. Check out the new programs here. 

Sign-up forms were sent out earlier this week, and more are available at the Front Desk. Please return completed sign-up forms to the Front Desk by Friday the 17th, or very soon after vacation!

Thank you very much! 

Come join us for SummerFun!

Hilltop's SummerFun camp program offers the perfect balance of creative learning and fun recreational activities for students ages 3-5, 6-9, and 9-12.

Find out more about SummerFun on our website
Thank you!

Tiny House 
$5000.00 raised so far!

Please share the link with friends and family:  
We had our first build day last Saturday. Thanks to Rob and Kevin Warzecha, parent and handyman extraordinaire, for starting the project. Come to Hilltop this Saturday morning and channel your inner Bob Vila! We can use the help! Email Amelia if you think you can come.

Kevin measures twice and cuts once!
Rob secures frame to the trailer

Parent Confab Night



Wednesday, April 29th, 6-8 p.m. 
Please join us during an open Board Meeting and participate in planning for the future of our school!

Childcare will be available.

Sign up at the Front Desk!

You're not going to want to miss this!
Tickets are on sale NOW for our "Vintage Swing Gala and Auction"!  You can purchase at the front desk or on line at

Please join Hilltop and the community at large Friday, May 22nd from 6-10 p.m. for a night of swing style dancing featuring local musicians, Jazzberry Jam, which includes our very own Jay Cook!

If you'd like us to send someone outside of the Hilltop community an invitation, let Amelia know.

Toddler Room

Henry scoots

Paisleigh and Hannah swing

Cooper pulls

Happy Spring Break!

Ellie & Hannah

Willow Room

Dear Families of HMS, 

What beautiful weather! The long awaited warmer weather is here! We certainly are enjoying and taking advantage of it. The sandbox is also getting much use, with new buckets, shovels, and trucks -- Thank you to Serina of the Birch Room for sharing these items with us. 

In the Willow Room, we have entered into Spring by exploring birds, and noticing changes and growth in nature. We have also introduced a new art work, in which we get to ... draw on the floor! With growing interest in BIG drawings, we created a little area in which children can draw on the floor with chalk, inspired by images of murals and graffiti art. When the images are finished, a sponge is used to clean the area. Art is everywhere, and not always permanent!
Enjoy the wonderful sun, and see you soon!

-- Jonathan, Rebecca and Mariam   

August traces and paints the parts of a bird
August and Senji explore mural drawing on the floor
Aiden uses the addition finger board

Leo and Vera play in the sandbox

Avery and Aiden work together in the sand area


Birch Room

This week in the Birch Room, we read and talked about the book My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. In this story, a child tells us "You'd be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days." The days include "Happy Pink", as well as "Black Days. Mad. And Loud," and everything in between. The story served as a spring board for us to talk about feelings and moods, and an extension activity allowed the children to make pages describing their mood that day.  

This week, we also had a special visitor to our class. Over the past 2 weeks, Cheryl has been telling us stories about her new (triplet!) baby lambs. On Thursday, one came to school with her for a surprise visit to Birch Room. The children were, needless to say, very excited to meet the little one!

Hope you and your families have a great vacation week! See you on Tuesday, April 28th!

Cheryl and Serina

Eko & Addy pet Miss Brows while Dylan looks on

"Cheryl had a little lamb, whose fleece was black as coal. Everywhere that Cheryl went the lamb was sure to go!"

Meeting Miss Brows
Minjae and Miss Brows

Breakfast time for Miss Brows

Cheryl reads at circle

"Hmm... what kind of day am I having?" -Lucy

Addy had a rainbow day

Lucas does some writing

Layla watercolor painting

Natalie working at the board 
Back to top 

Lower El

Students in Lower Elementary have had an extraordinary week with Tapestry Artist, Marcy Schepker. Marcy is a tapestry weaver, soft toy maker and community person with 36 years of experience as a weaver and teacher. 

Using the inspiration of the Montessori Timeline of Life they created 4 panels as a community project and individual pieces from their own imagination. They began by blending colors of wool by rolling it through a hand-turned carding machine and then shaping and weaving the wool with a felting pin into a large tapestry created by the group working together.

The energy was focused and inspired, having completed the panels students also had the chance to create a large tapestry of South America. So stop by the Lower El and take a look, or even better ask a student about their experience in this community creation. 

Housekeeping: Please make sure your child takes home all their extra clothes and lunch supplies on Friday, as next week is April break. Check the Lost & Found while you're at it!

Have a great weekend.
Kerstin and Patrick


Upper El

Please come see the Upper El play this evening at 5PM. Here is a preview:


Middle School 


The Middle School returned - arriving back in Brattleboro at 2:30 this morning! They have today to catch up on sleep and laundry and will be back in school on Friday to share the adventures of their Alabama Odyssey trip, which was the culmination of their Civil Rights studies. You can read their trip-blog on Hilltop's School In Action page.


Community News

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Auxiliary's Spring Event 
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Catered Reception 5:30-6:30pm
Discussion 6:30-7:30pm
Centre Congregational Church, Main Street, Brattleboro

"Everyday Chemical Exposures and Breast Cancer"
Why are we concerned? What can we do?
A discussion on the intersection of the environmental risks and women's health issues. 
with Janet Gray, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Science, Technology, and Society at Vassar College.

Tickets are $20 each. RSVP by May 8th to Barb Henry at (802) 257-0688.

Tick Alert!
Hilltop wants to know if anybody in your family gets a tick bite! Be sure to check your family for ticks after spending time outdoors, and keep an eye out for tick bites several days after a tick is found. See these tips for avoiding ticks and spotting any kind of symptoms. 

Next week:
A friendly traffic announcement for those of you out and about during Spring Break: On Tuesday April 21 I-91 between Exits 2 and 3 will be closed both north and southbound from approximately 8AM to 5PM for bridge inspection. 



Hilltop Montessori School