LOST AND FOUND   boxes are located by the Children's House and Elementary Cubbies. Items that have not been picked up by DECEMBER 18  will be
  DONATED over Winter Break. Please have a look!


TUESDAYS beginning January 12...not on Thursdays as previously scheduled. 

Marco Yunga 
will be teaching  Spanish through Music  on   Wednesdays  for CH and LE as an ASEP  this Winter, check it out! 

ASEP Forms are DUE NOW!

December 11, 2015


Click heading to get to section
Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Cookie Swap and Raffle
Hilltop Family Ski Day
Toddler Program (TP)
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
MS Adirondack Chairs for Sale
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 12/14
Author/Illustrator Nancy Elizabeth Wallace Visits the K's in CH
MS Basketball Game @ Putney

Tuesday 12/15
UE Basketball Practice
Adult  Fitness Class @ 5:15

Wednesday 12/16
MS Basketball Game @ Spofford Camp Gym

Thursday 12/17
UE Field Trip to Museum

Friday 12/18
Noon Dismissal
Holiday Break
Annual Cookie Swap

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Monday 1/4
No School
Teacher In-Service Day

Tuesday 1/5
Normal School Schedule Resumes

Thursday 1/7
Winter Sports Begin

Friday 1/8
MS Community 
Postcard  Films
at Brattleboro Museaum and Art Center
Hilltop Alumni Reunion

Notes from the Board

Mark Loevy-Reyes
Many members of the Hilltop community believe expanding our level of diversity at the school is an important goal in our developing strategic plan. We put a request for interested participants in the weekly newsletter back in October and formed the Equity Task Force. The Task Force is led by board member, Mark Loevy-Reyes, and consists of the following dedicated members of the Hilltop community: Anna Berry (alum parent and current parent of 11 years), Lauren Campbell (Director of Admissions and alum parent), Greg Hessel (current parent of 3 years), Emilie Kornheiser (current parent of 4 years), Tamara Mount (Head of School and current parent of 3 years), Jenn McCollum (new parent to a Children's House student), Rich Wolfe (alum parent and Board Treasurer). The Board's Equity Task Force met before Thanksgiving to begin looking at making recommendations to the Board about how to accomplish the goal of increasing diversity.  
One order of business was to change our focus from "diversity" to "equity". The intent was to think of our charge not as a static snapshot, but as a dynamic continuing process. "Equity" encompasses an answer to the question of "why" and "for what."  Additionally, equity is a process focus for our work. Equity contains both our aspirational future, and the societal history of injustice, crimes, and inequality, of class, gender, sexual-orientation, and race.
We started the discussion by considering how our personal experiences shape our connotation of equity. We reviewed the ways that Hilltop is already successful in creating an environment of inclusion and equity.  That success can be seen in the ideas and curriculum that are fostered within the school. Hilltop's community also includes many different definitions of family and identity.  
But the Task Force's biggest challenge will be to recommend ways for Hilltop to expand its equity mission in our corner of the world and make suggestions for how to finance the efforts.  The Task Force recognizes that there is much work to be done to continue to increase the equity that the community is striving for. We will spend our next meetings thinking through the issues in order to develop clear recommendations to the Board.

Get ready for the sugar rush!
The cookie event 
of the season - next Friday! 

The 3rd Annual Ginormous Cookie Swap, Snowflake Raffle and Community Craft Sale is happening next Friday at  noon dismissal. 

Get those ovens pre-heating, it's time to go into production. All cookies should be dropped off in the theater either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. 

But wait! There's More!

The Snowflake Raffle Items are displayed in the lobby. Come in and take a gander at the wide variety of items we have this year. Purchase tickets at the front desk, drop your ticket(s) in the jars next to the item(s) you covet, then let Lady Luck work her magic. 

We'v got: a little kid's bike and helmut; private yoga session; massages; bowling; tickets to see the NH Monarchs semi-professional hockey; wine and cheese basket; Honduran coffee; jewelry; restaurant gift certificates; Latchis movie and popcorn tickets; oil change; artwork; Sidehill Farm jam sets; one of Cheryl's wreaths; JC Penney gift card; vintage dress and more! 

AND there are crafts too! Don't forget, if you've got a craft to sell - contact Amelia.

Let it snow! (PLEASE?)

Announcing Hilltop Family Ski Day at Granite Gorge

Saturday, January 30th from 10am until 4pm

We'll have "way" discounted lift tickets to sell Hilltop families for a day of fun - skiing or tubing - at Granite Gorge ski area located right outside of Keene NH.

Stay tuned for more info and Save the Date!

Toddler Program 

One of the most joyful aspects of being a teacher is watching your classroom of children independently get to work. In the morning, after taking off shoes and hanging up their belongings, the children know they are free to choose the work they'd like to use. Sometimes it's independent work like squishing and rolling play dough or pushing "coins" into a slotted box. Or it's a group work like having a language lesson on colors with a small group of friends. Sometimes those initial works lead to other independent works and other times lessons are presented by a teacher based on the interests of the child. Even at a very young age children in the toddler room demonstrate joy and confidence in making choices and delight in the satisfaction of using the works.

Be well and happy weekend.
Ellie & Hannah

Annabel hanging upside down!

Willow Room

Enjoy these pictures...

August and Max play chess
Owen explores a yard stick

We share our new table made by the children

Pasture explores light and dark gradation
Mazin hammers into clay

Birch Room

This week in the Birch Room we told different versions of the gingerbread man story and talked about the many ways a story can be told.  We also traced, cut out, and decorated paper gingerbread men. On Monday,  we made gingerbread muffins with Roselle (Sebastian's mom) for Tuesday's  snack. Monday,  we will continue to celebrate the season as we make latkes!  

Enjoy your weekend!

Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Lower El

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our first Author's Tea of the school year!  The students worked hard, from planning, to writing, to practicing reading their stories out loud.   For parents who were unable to make it, those stories will be sent home before December vacation so that you can have your own private reading.

Enjoy your weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Students are honing writing skills with their first major literary essay (6 th ), and paragraphs or mini-reports on museum topics. In both areas, we see substantial growth in the students' ability to choose the important details, organize their thoughts, look for those pesky run-on sentences, and employ meaningful transitions that angle the details towards the main idea of a paragraph or the main thesis of the essay. This follows a number of mini-lessons in which students in small groups had debated and then shared their thoughts on topic sentences and a preferred organizational structure for a series of model paragraphs. At one point, a student exclaimed, "Oh, now I get it! That's why you guys make those suggestions on our papers!"  
See photos of the creativity, industry, and collaboration going into next week's UE museum.
Join us for UE museum next Thursday, December 17th from 2-3:00 p.m., and the following morning, Friday, December 18th
We are still looking for more adults to join us for present-making day, next Friday morning following the museum. Bring in a craft you enjoy sharing, or help lead something we have ready here in class.  Email Tom if you are available to help out.

Middle School

For every Montessori student, structured choice has always been a key element of their learning.  At the middle school, students encounter realms of choice at every turn.  It may be a topic of study, the approach to a presentation, the essential question that informs their lab in Upland or in the case of the Spontaneous Project, the pursuit of any topic of the student's interest under the guiding umbrella of the overall study.  A Spontaneous Project always results in some form of final presentation that is once again totally of a student's choosing.  For some students this broad canvas is a gift and their greatest challenge is choosing among their many ideas.  For other students, the breadth of possibility is daunting and they often benefit from some brainstorming and structured guidance.  Succinctly said, a Spontaneous Project is an opportunity to further a passion, discover new realms of learning, and to recognize that life in and out of school are interrelated.  As you can imagine the range of the projects is fascinating.

We are in the Spontaneous Project presentation season as we end this part of the year.  We thought it might be interesting to share some of the topics of this semester's endeavors.  The projects are under the broad umbrella of our "Sense of Place" study.
Here is a sampling of topics:
~ A 4'x8' mural of the Brooks House from 1875 and 2010.
~ A "then and now" photo book of different locations in Brattleboro.  The intention is to donate this book to the Brooks Memorial Library's local history room.
~ The depiction of an infamous Brattleboro crime in the form of a radio play.
~ Graffiti in Brattleboro
~ The Heroin epidemic in Brattleboro and Vermont.
~ Several students created projects that required interviewing various citizens downtown.  One project focused on the accessibility of services to people of different incomes and another created a "Faces of Brattleboro" photo project.

Middle School Adirondack Chairs For Sale

Contact:   Van Zaransky or Gus Williams, you can click on their names to be directed.

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 would like to offer support in any way to the Rashed Family , please let
Rebecca  know. We will be coordinating meals, and anything families would like to offer to Mazin and his family. Also, there are cards at the front desk for signing and/or offerings of condolences or monetary gifts. Stop by when you can please.

Tom Griffith has a chicken plucker that he is willing to lend anyone in the Hilltop community. If you are interested contact  Tom .

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

Community News

Project Feed The Thousands
This December, once again, Hilltop Montessori School is participating in the community wide food drive, Project Feed the Thousands. We will be collecting non-perishable food and personal hygiene items like toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, feminine products, etc. in a box in the front lobby until December 18th.

For the past few years, our students help to load our collection onto a school bus that makes its way to the Hannaford parking lot where WTSA radio broadcasts for the day. 
Last year, Talia and Ernie spoke with radio hosts about Hilltop's participation.

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Carry Me Home  
Is a group of volunteers that run a project called Carry Me Home.  They are now collecting used baby carriers in good condition, gently used snow boots, children's winter jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, sox, lined winter pants, small stuffed animals and toy cars. They ship these items to aid the refugee crisis. Carry Me Home works with a grassroots volunteer organization that recently received the status of the non-profit humanitarian organization in Zagreb, Croatia, which helps to get the supplies directly in the hands that need them most.  You can find them on  Facebook at https://facebook.com/CarryMeHomeWithLove/ or you may email them.
Hilltop parents Lynn Dewald and Kate and Josh Traeger have helped with this effort in the past, and would welcome any questions about the project.

Hilltop Montessori School