The deadline for emailing in your corrections for the 2015-2016 Phone Directory is Monday, September 14th!

Parents: Please make sure that you or the person picking your child up from school signs them out!

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September 11, 2015


Click heading to get to section
Coming Up at Hilltop
Notes from the Board
Announcing New Staff
Smile, it's school photo time!
Help Needed
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower ELementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Help Wanted
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 9/14
Creative Movement 

Middle School Soccer 

Tuesday 9/15
Cultural Cooking

Upper El Soccer continues

SSAT Prep Course 

Wednesday 9/16
Historical Fencing

Middle School Soccer

Thursday 9/17
LE Soccer 3:30-4:15

Video Club

Parent Orientation
6-7pm TP, LE, MS
7-8pm CH and UE

Friday 9/18
Circus Arts
Enroll Now!

Peace Day

Pizza Lunch

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

10/9 Grandparent & Special Friend's Day

Notes from the Board

It's been a real privilege for me to serve on the Hilltop Board of Trustees the last six years.  Hilltop has transformed itself in so many exciting ways during this time, from the creation of our beautiful new campus to the formation of a marvelously effective administrative team.  We feel fortunate to have such an outstanding Head of School and, at the vital core of the school, such a terrific faculty and staff. Together they work very hard to maintain and improve the quality of education at Hilltop and to create a welcoming learning environment for both students and parents.

As a parent who has had one child proceed all the way through Hilltop's programs from the Children's House through the Middle School, I have seen first hand what a remarkable education the children receive at Hilltop.  They not only learn the basic skills they will need to be successful when they leave Hilltop, but also, even more importantly, they learn to love learning itself; they gain confidence in their own voices and in their abilities to challenge themselves in areas they would not typically pursue.  

To me, this is the quality that sets Hilltop apart, and in our board retreat this July, we all spoke about how inspiring this environment is for us as well. This year the board will be outlining a new Strategic Plan based on the community input provided last year. This Plan will help guide our decisions about how the school will continue to grow over the next several years.  We will need a lot of help as we move forward and hope you will consider volunteering your time and skills to the various committees that will help us envision our future.  Feel free to contact me, Tamara, Amelia, or anyone at Hilltop, and we'll talk about ways you can lend your voice and expertise!

-Patrick Keppel, Hilltop Board Chair

Patrick Keppel, Board Chair, with his son Emmanuel at the Hilltop graduation last year

Announcing New Staff

Welcome to our newest AfterCare Assistant, Marco Yungo Tacuri! Many of you know Marco as the energetic and friendly father to Asha and Lucas. Marco has wonderful experience with young and older students and shared many of his musical talents with our students last year. We are thrilled to have him involved with AfterCare.
Smile, it's school photo time!

School photo order forms have gone home with your children. Note that a 5x7 class photo is included with all packages

If you ONLY want the class photo, you can note that in the section of the order form that says "add-ons", just note "class photo".

Meaghan Fagley will be taking photos this year on Friday, Sept. 25th.

Help Needed!

Only three weeks until our guests from Alabama come to visit, and soon after grandparents will be here. We need to do a little sprucing up on our campus, starting with our flower beds!

We're so grateful to Sheena Rashed for donating a LOT of mums to Hilltop! And special thanks to Debra Rosenzweig, Ava and Shoshana for beautifying the garden around our signage!

Do you have some time to help us clean up the flower beds sometime in the next 2 weeks? Email Amelia if you would like to help.

Toddler Program

The seasoned as well as the new friends in Toddler Room are settling in beautifully. That lovely sense of community established in the group last year is alive and well and experienced children are beginning to understand the importance of being role models for the youngest children.  How exciting - to be a role model at 2 years old! 

This week we brought out some works that require long periods of concentration and many steps (like table washing) and we were delighted to see the works other children put together themselves. Jay joined us on Thursday morning for music for a very interactive class!  Another wonderful week in the Toddler Room.

We hope to see you at the Parent Orientation night next Thursday. It's a great way to learn more about the classroom, whether you're a seasoned parent or a new one to the toddler room. We plan to have some fun visual aids to give you a real sense of what a typical day is like for your child.

Happy weekend.
Ellie & Hannah

Birch Room

In Montessori classrooms, children learn about the basic elements of air, land, and water.  This week, Cheryl gave a lesson introducing those elements and explaining one way to be good caretakers of our environment. She began by introducing air, land, and, water through a world map and globe.  This led to an interesting discussion about how we know that air is exists.  The children had some good ideas about this, including "sniffing" it, "seeing" it, in winter when you breathe, and "watching" it blow leaves. Cheryl also talked about taking care of our land, water, and air, and about how making less trash helps the earth.  She then showed the class our compost bin and brainstormed what kinds of items should go in there.

One of the really special elements to a Montessori classroom is that no material or lesson exists in isolation.  This happens in small ways, such as how the rough texture of the land forms in our globe is repeated in our sandpaper letters and numbers.  It also happens in larger ways, as our curriculum builds.  This week, our Olders learned about land and water forms as Cheryl read "The Little Island" by Golden MacDonald.  In this story, the children heard of an island, "A part of the world and a world of its own all surrounded by the bright blue sea." 

Have a terrific weekend!
Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

 Cheryl shows the children our compost  bin.
 Some follow-up works for learning how to  compost

Willow Room


We are happy to have had a wonderful first full week of school. The classroom is bustling with peaceful energy, as children adjust to a Work Cycle routine. During this time, we choose our own work and activities, use the materials on our own workspace, and return them when finished to their home on the shelf. 

We also have given so many new lessons! Geography lessons, such as Land, Air and Water and Continent Map Puzzles have generated much excitement and interest. We have also begun to learn how we can take care of our classroom. In the pictures below, Marquette is helping to wash a table. She is ordering her materials, and using careful measurements of water and soap. She uses a scrub brush to scrub, a sponge to wipe away the soap, and a wash cloth to dry. Now the table is clean and ready to be used! 

With many exciting mornings to come, we look forward to new activities, songs, and all school activities. Next Friday is Peace Day. We will meet our Upper Elementary Peace Buddies and gather for a Peace activity. 

See you soon!

Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime 

 A morning work period...
 Archer practices fine motor skills by pin pushing a shape.
 Marquetta washes a table.

Lower El

It is so nice to see new students growing more comfortable in their classroom.  As part of our effort to create a warm and caring community, we recite a morning poem at the end of each morning meeting:
                    From you I receive
                    To you I give
                    Together we share
                    Through this we live
                    Morning has come
                    Night is away
                    Rise with the sun 
                    To welcome the day

Along the way, we have read and discussed several books, including "A Bad Case of the Stripes," "When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry," and "Families."  On Thursday, we played "Manners Tag," a game invented by Patrick.  It was fun to speed-walk (no running allowed!) past each other saying "Good day!" and "Excuse me, would you please unfreeze me?"  

The transition from Children's House (or from outside Hilltop) to Lower El can be a big one, no matter how excited a child is to enter this new phase of their lives.  It is normal to have an adjustment period of a few weeks.  As children grow accustomed to the new routines and higher expectations, their anxiety decreases and we see their confident selves shine through.  

Magazines Wanted:
Lower El is seeking your old magazines; any food, home, mechanical, art, or science-and-nature-oriented magazines would be welcome.  

Enjoy the weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

This second seek of school brought our jump into math sequence, band groups, literature groups, several lessons on early humans (ask your child which other ape we are most closely related to and why ...), as well as the start of a new UE initiative:  electives!

Yes, we are offering two slots on Thursday afternoons for the students to choose among several electives that run approximately six weeks.  One of our goals this year is to offer more choice for students, as well as give them opportunities for deeper explorations of art, music, or p.e.  They have the chance to explore other "practical life" interests here at school as well.  Additionally, this is a great way for us to get to know the students and work with them in a different context.

Presently the electives include printmaking, observational drawing, ultimate frisbee, woodworking, computer programming, and Jay is teaching improvisational and circle singing based on his summer workshop with Bobby McFerrin.  He came out of this first session absolutely thrilled with the group's energy and creativity.

So stay tuned for an email asking about parents interested in leading a six-week workshop.  You could share an interest or passion of yours on a Thursday afternoon with a group of our students.

Pinnacle trip:  Next Tuesday - Wednesday.  Again, apologies for the confusions around the reschedule.  We look forward to our fun-filled upcoming week, and especially look forward to visiting with all of you on Thursday evening in the classroom, 7 p.m.

Middle School

What a week!  We headed to Upland for our annual woods odyssey and despite sweat inducing temperatures and humidity, multitudes of ravenous mosquitos, and a wild and wooly thunderstorm, we had a rich and rewarding time together.  Our friend and local ornithologist, Richard Foye came by early Wednesday morning and we took a walk in search of our local birds.  The birds were pretty silent that morning but we had a lovely time talking with this engaging and knowledgeable individual.  Shortly after Richard departed, Josh's mom, Thea Elijah, made the trek into the woods to talk to us about the practice of Chinese medicine and especially how the seasons play a defining role in understanding who we are.  

We also traveled out of the woods to participate in a two day workshop with John Bell and Trudi Cohen of Great Small Works.  The workshop is part of Sandglass Theater's Puppets in the Green Mountains festival. Small groups of students built their own Toy Theater and paper puppets, wrote a script, and performed their new work in progress.  Back in the woods, students engaged in seminars, science classes, frolics in the pond, fabulous food, and some serious s'mores.  Unfortunately the prediction of a great rain brought us out of our Upland reverie a day early but we will be back a number of times next week and in the weeks to come to continue our work.  

Important Dates

Thursday, September 17: Parent Orientation
Toddler ProgramLower Elementary and Middle School: 6-7PM
Children's House and Upper Elementary 7-8PM
This is an evening meeting for parents to learn about the upcoming year's curriculum, program, expectations for students, and ways to be involved in your child's education. Childcare will be provided. Please sign up for childcare at the front desk.

Help Wanted

Cleaning Person
We are looking for someone to help us with cleaning the Main building and the Arts Barn (The Middle School takes care of themselves - showing their "responsible independence"!). This task includes about 2 hours of work every weekday, ideally from 2:30-4:30pm. Vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. Anyone interested should contact Tamara. 

Community News

Groundworks Collective's Hike for the Homeless on Saturday September 12th
In the past, we've had a Hilltop team hike the mountain together. If you would like to join in, meet us at the base of Mount Wistastiquit behind Wal-Mart at 10am on Saturday September 12th. To register and for more information visit: .

Carpool for August Davis After School
The Davis family has welcomed twin boys this past month and are looking for someone to help out with getting their oldest son August, from the Willow room, home. They live close to Oak Grove School. If you can help out with this any day or all school days at 3pm pick up, please email Rebecca.

Brattleboro Hockey League
Registration for the new season starts now! Check out for more information. Also, don't miss the Equipment Sale/Swap as well as Registration Day on Saturday, September 12 from 9am-2pm, at the Brattleboro rink! 

Monthly Family Game and Pot-Luck Night 
Alix Fedoruk, parent to Annelise and Julia, is looking for someone who would like to join her in planning monthly pot-luck game nights at Hilltop. If you are interested email Alix.

Poetry in Motion
Tuesday September 15, at 5pm. Location is Campus 26 on Butterfly Lane, google 26 Elliot Terrace for directions. Price is $5 a person or $10 a family! Pizza and Drinks!

Hilltop Montessori School