The First All School Gathering of the School Year!

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October 2, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
Grandparents Day on Friday
Gee's Bend
Traffic Rules
Alumni Night
Toddler Program (TP)
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Kids Night Out
Nikki Kimball
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 10/5
Middle School Soccer Game at the Grammar School at 3:45pm

Tuesday 10/6
Cultural Cooking
SSAT Prep Course
Upper El Soccer Game at Hinsdale

Wednesday 10/7
Fire Prevention Visits
LE Work Share 2:30-3:30pm
Historical Fencing
Middle School Soccer Practice

Thursday 10/8
All School Gathering
(Rehearsal for GP Day)
LE Soccer 3:30-4:15
Video Club

Friday 10/9
GP Day
Noon Dismissal
No aftercare this day

Gees Bend Events, click here for more info

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Saturday 10/10
Upper El Soccer Game vs. Brattleboro at West River Field

Tuesday 10/13
LE Field Trip to Putney Mountain

Wednesday 10/14
UE Author's Tea at 2pm

Thursday 10/15
Alumni Night

Check out the Monday and Wednesday Middle School soccer game schedule here.

Grandparents Day on Friday

Twice a year we invite grandparents and special friends to visit the classroom with their grandchild or special friend. The morning begins with a Welcome greeting from Tamara, in the Arts Barn, with coffee and tea, followed by Classroom Visits. The morning will end with an All School Sing in the Arts Barn. We hope as many of you Grandparents and Special Friends out there can join us! There is a noon dismissal on this day and no aftercare. Please plan accordingly!

Gee's Bend
Thanks to all of you who have helped us prepare for our Alabama visitors; to those of you in the Flower Bed Clutch who made our campus look spiffy to those who welcomed and greeted our visitors at All School Gathering.

Tonight's performance and tomorrow's 4pm performances are sold out. There are still seats available for Saturday Evening's performance. You can purchase tickets at:

We welcome you all to come to a pot luck on campus Saturday at 5:30pm.  It will be our last evening before our friends pack up to go home on Sunday. To sign up to bring something and RSP, visit:

Click here to listen to a radio interview with Stella Mae Pettway and her sister Delia that was conducted yesterday for The River.

Traffic rules

Pick-up and Drop-off at Hilltop are both an art and a science. To keep things safe and moving as efficiently as possible, please follow the set procedures as detailed on page 34 of the Student and Family Handbook.

- Use the parking lot when picking up siblings and carpool students form multiple programs
- For pick up at the circle, DO NOT PARK or leave your car in front of the Middle School or anywhere along the circle as it clogs up the line
- DO NOT use cell phones while in the pick-up and drop off lines - we need to keep everyone safe.
Teachers will continue to work to have elementary and Middle School students out to the circle on time for an efficient pick-up at 3 p.m.
Thank you for your cooperation and teamwork in keeping this process safe and as efficient as possible.

Alumni Night

Join us for High School Night with our Alumni!
Thursday, October 15, 2015/6:30pm in the Middle School
Where do our graduates go after Hilltop?  
How did their education at Hilltop prepare them for high school?
Join the conversation as our alumni speak about their 
high school experiences, the process and the transitions.  

All parents and students are welcome, whether you are thinking about high school for next year or just want to hear about the high school experience.

Toddler Program 

Joyful Toddlers doing new "works" in the Toddler Room!

Painting at the easel
Pumpkin Scrubbing

Willow Room

Dear Friends, 

This has been a busy and full week. We have begun to "study" apples, changes in seasons and all things Autumn! Enjoy the wonderful cool Fall weather and have a great weekend! See you soon!

-- Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime

Gus uses the White Board.

Opal makes bubbles using an egg beater.
Graham uses the color tablets to find colors.

Birch Room

One of the characteristics of a Montessori education is the mixing of older and younger students in a classroom.  This allows not only support for our younger students, but the opportunity for our older children to reach the final point of mastery- the ability to share and teach what one has learned.  Here are some pictures of this mentoring relationship at work in the Birch Room this week!  -Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Matai makes a nematic for Alica.
Caroline gives Isla a lesson.

Addie helps Oliver with a puzzle.

Lower El

When children step into the Lower El classroom each morning, they are greeted by a teacher with a handshake and a "good morning."  As part of this welcome, we look each person in the eye, and ask that they do the same.  It's part of that friendly package: a firm but gentle handshake, a kind greeting, and the courtesy of showing the other that we are attending to our friend in that moment by looking them in the eye.  Smiles are optional, but strongly encouraged!  Perhaps your child will demonstrate this greeting for you, and you can observe whether making and maintaining eye contact is easy or challenging for them.  

Wednesday, October 7th, 
we will host our first Work Share day.  Parents or other family members are invited to the classroom from 2:30-3:00, so students can show their guests what they are learning.  At 3:00, students with visitors who are staying for the extended presentation may go to Aftercare free of charge.  Adults are invited to stay for a half-hour presentation/mini-lesson.  Next week's theme will focus on the language curriculum in the Lower El classroom, and ways to strengthen the bridge between home and school in that area.  Time has been reserved from 3:30 to 3:45 for any questions visitors may have.  We are excited to open our classroom to you, and look forward to sharing a mini-lesson or two!  

In addition to our regular math work, such as odd and even work, stamp game division, and checkerboard multiplication, Wednesdays are LE's "Math Theme Days."  This week, Patrick introduced word, or story, problems to the class.  He and the students discussed the ways in which a person could solve a word problem: through drawing, by using manipulatives such as blocks or beads, or acting out the story.  He offered this brainteaser to the class, which we invite you to puzzle over with your child:
Brainteaser: A king asked his architect to build a sacred structure in honor of the kingdom's 150th anniversary. The architect used 10 enormous stones in four rows to create a triangle shape that pointed south [see photo for configuration]. When the king saw it, he was furious! The king's ancestors had come from the north, and the structure was supposed to point north instead of south. The king gave his architect exactly 2 weeks (just in time for the celebration) to correct his mistake...or else. That's barely enough time to move 3 of the large stones. Can you help the architect figure out how to make the stones point in the opposite direction in 3 moves?

Happy October!  Enjoy your weekend.
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

It is such a thrill to read the drafts of the class stories, and to watch them incorporate last year's as well as this year's lessons.  Some students are learning to expand the visual images in their writing to draw the reader into what they see.  Others are learning to angle each scene towards the development of the main conflict.  Some of our more prolific writers are stretching out the most important moments of their stories, while summarizing or even omitting some less important scenes.  This is the beauty of an approach to writing instruction that follows the developing needs of the individual students.  We look forward to sharing these varied stories at the author's tea on
Wednesday, October 14, at 2:00 p.m.

Other works continue.  Ask your students about how a hard boiled egg,  a glass milk jug, newspaper scraps and a match demonstrated high and low pressure air (and we didn't even set off the fire alarm!).  The work of air studies are now going global, with a look at how temperature diffentials create wind patterns around the earth.  Students are also working on group presentations and individual writing about their early humans.

Strong-stomached students examined the digestive system of a chicken, as well as the heart and lungs. The rest of the chicken is in Tom's freezer at home.

On Friday, October 16, we will visit the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.  More drivers needed.  We'll be leaving at 8 a.m., and returning by 5 p.m. Let us know if you can drive, and how many you can take.  Thanks as always.

Enjoy the fall colors this weekend.

Middle School

We started the week in the beauty of Upland and finished the week in the midst of Gee's Bend, Alabama.  On Tuesday, inspired by the work and genius of the artist Andy Goldsworthy, students created their own land art sculptures on their plot utilizing only what they could find.  We then went on a "tour" of the forest admiring each student's work.  We finished the day and began Wednesday with Thoreau's "Solitude" from his book, Walden.  The conversation was rich in its perceptions, exposure to Thoreau's expansive vocabulary and beautiful language, and willingness to explore complex philosophical literature.  We're topping it off with reading the first chapter of Emerson's Nature this weekend.  We know how to have fun!

On Wednesday afternoon our guests from Gee's Bend, Alabama arrived.  They have been very busy since their arrival and we are excited to present their performances of the play, "Gee's Bend", tonight and tomorrow.  The playwright, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, is also here from Tennessee and is giving a workshop with our students on the craft of playwriting.  As part of the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Elyzabeth and several members of the Gee's Bend community are offering a discussion about the process and creation of her very successful play.  This is sure to be fascinating (especially to those who have gone or are planning to attend the play) and is taking place at the River Garden at 10:00 am. 

Enjoy the weekend and we hope to see you at a performance and the potluck on Saturday.

Environmental Studies
We receive our friends from Gee's Bend

Kids Night Out

Kids Night Out
Is a chance for parents to have an evening out, and for the kiddos to have some fun at the school! The first 'Kids Night Out' is scheduled for October 16th from 5:30-9:30pm. Come drop your little ones off for some organized and safe fun! If you are interested please contact Emma.

Nikki Kimball

World Class Athlete Nikki Kimball to Visit Hilltop Middle School
The Middle School is excited to host Vermont native Nikki Kimball and her documentary, 
Finding Traction on Tuesday, October 6th. Finding Traction presents the inspirational story of Nikki's quest to to become the fastest person in history to run America's oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail.  The documentary asks what drives her to attempt such an incredible feat, and follows Nikki's journey from its beginning - training and racing in the Rocky Mountains - to her actual record attempt through Vermont's beautiful but brutal Green Mountains.  We are fortunate to have Nikki Kimball at the school to screen the film, talk about her experience, and what it took to push herself to do her physical and mental best.   Nikki Kimball's commitment to ultra running is exceeded only by her grace and commitment to making sure that females always have a place at the table when it comes to athletic achievement.  Nikki, uses her remarkable skills to to reach far beyond the running community to be an advocate for finding peace 
in the great outdoors. The film will be shown at 12:45pm, with a discussion and the possibility of a run afterwards!

Girls on the Run Vermont screened the film on 10/01 at 118 Elliot Street at 7pm. This conflicted with Hilltop's Gee's Bend event, so, we invite parents to attend the Middle School screening on 10/06.  Questions? Please feel free to contact Rita Ramirez.

Hilltop Helpers

Hilltop Montessori School has a wonderful group of helpful families supporting each other in many ways: carpools, meals in time of need, hand-me-down snow pants, etc. We would like to provide this space in the newsletter as a place that people can share needs and "gifts" with the rest of the Hilltop community. 

If you have a need, or a service or item to offer, let the FRONT DESK know and we'll get it in the newsletter!

Lilac Ridge Farm
Thank you to Amanda Thurber for your generous donations of pumpkins and 
hay bales and for delivering them to the school! It truly makes it look and feel festive up here! 

More Help with the Gardens
Thank you to Madeline Fan for doing additional work on the gardens outside of the school. It's looking great out there!

Community News

Free 5-Week Parenting Education Series
A six session Parenting Class sponsored by Building Bright Futures, The Winston Prouty Center, and Wyndham Southeast Supervisory Union called Positive Parenting Solutions is beginning on October 27th. This is for parents of children ages 3-6 years old. Dinner and child care will be provided. Everything is free! Flyers at the front desk.

Express Fluency is now offering French classes!
Did you "take" French in school but struggle to speak it? Do you travel to Quebec or France and want to be more comfortable speaking? We are offering an Intermediate French weekend intensive in Brattleboro. Come to a FREE class to get a better sense of this different way to learn a language.  Monday from 7-8pm, Main Street in Brattleboro. For more information at or call 802-275-2694.

12th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner 
On Saturday, October 10th, the twelfth annual Empty Bowls dinner will take place at at Landmark College to benefit the Ground Works Collaborative Food Shelf.  Come enjoy a simple meal of soup prepared by local restaurants in a handmade pottery bowl you choose and take home. Tickets are $25 per person and can be reserved for either of the two seatings at 5pm or 6pm by calling 802-257-5415 x108. 

Kids Night Out
Is a chance for parents to have an evening out, and for the kiddos to have some fun at the school! The first 'Kids Night Out' is scheduled for October 16th from 5:30-9:30pm. Come drop your little ones off for some organized and safe fun! If you are interested please contact Emma.

Youth Battle of the Bands 
Area youth bands can launch their musical careers by competing at Youth Services' Battle of the Bands at the River Garden on Friday, November 6, during Gallery Walk night, from 7 to 10 p.m.  For more information, contact Nanci Leitch.

Hilltop Montessori School