Parent/Teacher Conferences  This Week.
Thursday is a half day and Friday there is no school!
If you need all day childcare on Thursday and/or Friday, please sign up in the front lobby by Monday so we can support staffing needs!
Fire Safety Day at Hilltop

October 14th, 2016
Fire Safety Day at Hilltop

This morning, the Brattleboro Fire Department came by to give a demonstration for the Children's House students and the olders in the Toddler Program. Following the demo, the children were able to scope out the big red fire truck parked outside!

Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 10/17/16
CH Work Share 8:30-9:00am
MS Home Soccer Game vs The Grammar School

Tuesday 10/18/16
MS SSAT Prep Course
UE Away Soccer Game vs Hinsdale Rec.

Wednesday 10/19/16
Bagel Lunch 
Spanish with Marco
MS Away Soccer Game vs Harstbrook

Thursday 10/20/16
Noon Dismissal
Parent Teacher Conferences, childcare available-sign up at the front desk by Monday!
UE Away Soccer Game vs Guilford-time TBD, there is a potential for a reschedule due to the half day

Friday 10/21/16
No School
Parent Teacher Conferences,  childcare available -sign up at the front desk by Monday!

Check out the 2016-2017 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Saturday 10/15/16
UE Soccer Tournament @ The PutneySchool C ome show your support, first game is at 8am!
Check the Hilltop calendar for the complete schedule.

Saturday 10/22/16
UE Home Soccer Tournament vs Brattleboro Rec @ 9am

Monday 10/24/16
Annual Fund Week Begins!

Wednesday 10/26/16
School Picture Retakes

Tomorrow Night!

Saturday, October 15th, 6:30 pm
Poetry Reading, Dianich Gallery, 139 Main Street

Come hear poet and Upper El Grandparent, Kate Farrell read from her new book, "Visiting Night at the Academy of Longing" at the 2016 Brattleboro Literary Festival! 

Let's show Kate and the Brattleboro Literary Festival our support by attending this and other great offerings this weekend.

Annual Fund Week - 
What's it all about, anyway?

Let's celebrate our school!
Hilltop's Annual Fund Week, October 24-28, 2016

In a few weeks, we'll be celebrating "Annual Fund Week" at Hilltop. You will be receiving a mailing that will include a pledge sheet. We'll also be unveiling a new video featuring Hilltop students on our website. If you are new to the school, or want a refresher on what it's all about, read on...

"Whoa, whoa, whoa" - you might be thinking. "Hilltop is asking my family for money?! But we already pay tuition! What's the deal?"

Here's the deal - Hilltop, just like all independent schools, tries to keep tuition as affordable as possible for as many families as possible. Full tuition does not cover the cost of each student. It's true! As a matter of fact, there is about $1000 gap between tuition cost and the actual cost of a Hilltop education. So, we ask families, alumni, alumni families, grandparents, alumni grandparents, businesses, and whoever else we can think of - to help us close that gap by giving tax-deductible contributions in accordance with their financial ability. 

"What's all the hubbub about 100% participation from families?"

The higher the current family participation in the Annual Fund, the more likely we are to appeal to major donors. Money breeds more money for our school. Major donors and foundations WANT to give funds to an organization that is supported by its constituents. Think about it. If you were a major philanthropist, wouldn't you rather give to an organization with the full support of its constituents than one that, say only 30% of members supported? 

"What's our Goal?"

We have an exciting challenge. Some very generous grandparents will donate an additional $20,000 to the annual fund if  we can raise $50,000 from our community of families, friends, grandparents, alumni and alumni families.  The gauntlet has been thrown, let's meet the challenge! 

"Alright, alright, I'm starting to see the point. How much should I give?"

That part is up to you. Last year gifts from current parents ranged from $20 to $2000 with an average gift of $265. Many families who felt strapped but wanted to give a little bit more, opted to pay a smaller amount automatically each month using Paypal or credit card. $10 a month for nine months is an amazing gift! We're asking families to stretch this year. Could you afford to give, say 10, 20 or even 50% more than you did last year? If you gave $20 last year, could you give $25 this year?

"Why limit the Annual Fund ask to only a week?" 

We approach the staff, faculty, board and current parent community first because this is the group that sets the tone for Annual Fund giving for the rest of our Hilltop community and beyond.  Shouting from the rooftops that we have 100% support of our constituents sends a very strong message that we're worthy of support!

"What if this is a bad time of year for my family to give?"

That's okay. You can always make a pledge during Annual Fund week and pay later. You have until June 30th 2017 to make a contribution to the Annual Fund for 2016.

"Okay, show me the FUN!"

Oh, there will be fun. During Annual Fund week we'll have daily email blasts with updates on our progress, some great challenges with homemade delicious incentives, and other surprises culminating in a ghoulish costumed Halloween party/potluck for all ages on Friday, October 28th from 5:30 to 8:30pm in our Arts Barn. You can "mortify your children by wearing a costume and dancing!" GASP! Guaranteed to be the scariest Halloween for your children yet! Music with our very own DJ, Jay Cook, games, costume parade and tasty tacos from Tito's Tacos. More details to come.

School Picture Retake Day

School Pictures went home with your child today! If you are not happy with the photos, or if you missed the first session, please let Rebecca know at the front desk.

The retake day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th at 9am.

Toddler Program

A Moment in the Toddler Room Today

Birch Room

As we've moved into fall, the Birch room children have been learning about apples, apple picking, and harvest time. On Thursday,  Kerstin Perry came to our class and gave a presentation (and tasting!) on different kinds of apples. The children also made apple sauce for snack on Friday

Thanks so much to Kerstin for her beautiful circle, Colleen for her cooking and teaching skills, and Jade for her great work as our classroom coordinator!

Here are some pictures from the event!

Kerstin doing the apple demonstration with Paisleigh and Letha

Asha, Henry, Isaac, Oliver and Odin listening intently and ready with questions!

Carter preparing to dice up some apples!

Alica slicing up the apples

Willow Room

Lower Elementary (LE)

Our week began with a walk along the solar system. We started by comparing the relative sizes of the planets if the sun were the size of a soccer ball. Earth would be the about the size of a peppercorn and Jupiter the size of a pingpong ball! We next headed outside to walk the 'to scale' distances between the planets. With each pace we took, we travelled 3,600,000 miles. Counting out the seven paces between Venus and Earth (both the size of peppercorns, remember) and the two hundred forty-nine paces between Saturn and Uranus (an acorn and a coffee bean), helped give students an impression of the distances between planets. Many students followed up on this lesson by creating their own pull-out book of the planets.

We ended the week learning about moss, a plant best examined with the help of  a magnifying lens. We will be learning more about moss over the next couple of weeks. 

In between these two lessons, students practiced sight words and math facts, learned to use new math materials or new ways to use familiar materials, and read new stories or the next chapter in reading groups. We also began our unit on story problems. So, if train A left the station at  6:30 and train B left at..... 

We look forward to sitting down with you next week at conferences. Enjoy the beautiful fall weekend. 

 Upper Elementary (UE)

We so enjoyed having grandparents and special friends visit us last Friday morning.  Thank you for the interest and enthusiasm you brought to our classroom and school.
Despite the short week, our work mornings have been humming:
  • The simple machines under study now include levers: Students are drawing and classifying a collection of levers, and experiencing the change in force required when a load is closer to or further from the fulcrum. 
  • The class has also begun a writing unit on short stories, beginning with a discussion and brainstorm around different types of conflict. 
  • In geometry, our younger students explored what happens when you add the three angles of various types of triangles. 
  • Others are moving from this to considering how one might find the "center" of a triangle. The older students are determining the formulas for the areas of different shapes - all based upon the shape's relationship with a rectangle.
Today we culminated the short week with a visit to hear Harry Bliss speak at the Latchis Literary Festival. He described his work both as a cartoonist for the New Yorker, and as a children's book author and illustrator. He was humerous as well as thought-provoking, challenging the students to maintain a curious attitude throughout life. He also suggests drawing and writing in a journal every morning and night, which he has done since he was young, and especially for aspiring writers and artists of any kind.
Some of the older students today shared information about world-changing plants that they have been researching. We heard about rubber, cotton, and cinchona, from which quinine and the cure for malaria is derived.
Students are choosing works to share next week at parent conferences, taking stock of their work to this point in the school year, and identifying their next goals.

 The first session of Upper El electives concluded. The students thoroughly enjoyed jewelry making!

A big THANK YOU to John Donaldson who has been volunteering his time to engage Upper Elementary in a programming elective. They had a great time and learned all about problem solving in the context of computer programming! 
Here is a  video they produced!

Also, another big T HANK YOU to Mac Oglesby who has helped a group of UE woodworkers to make whirly gigs and more!

Middle School (MS)

The Middle School has sold soup, coffee, hot cider, and baked goods at Putney School's annual Harvest Festival since the beginning of time. In fact the same soup recipes have been used year in and year out and many people attending the festival tell us that they especially come by our tent to enjoy our goods every year. Ostensibly the Harvest Festival is one of the major fundraisers for our odyssey fund and the amount raised this year is invaluable in making the Alabama Odyssey a reality. But our efforts every Sunday before Vermont's newly declared Indigenous People's Day really have a greater resonance and importance than the dollars raised. It is this time of participation, contribution, and volunteerism that creates and supports a growth of our community outside of the school's walls. It is this particular moment when the power of the partnership of student, staff, and parents is fully evident.

There are a number of people to thank who brought these forces to bear. Our parent coordinators, Anna, Alix, and Alison who coordinated, communicated, and made sure all was in place, every family (truly every family) that contributed soup, baked goods, and time at the festival, and the students who took on so much responsibility and were excellent servers and ambassadors of Hilltop. Sometimes there are those behind the scenes who through their extraordinary quiet efforts insure the students have a successful and powerful experience. We especially want to thank Kim Lier for all her contributions of time, materials, extra soup making, and baking. She gives testament to the maxim of it takes a village.

Leila is ready for business

Hot cider was in demand

Alum Rhea and Lily ready for soup

Alumni parade

Winter Sports Chaperones

We are thrilled to have our new Hilltop Van up and running! It did numerous trips this week - Middle School outings, soccer games, etc.!  

We will be using the van for Winter Sports, but will need more drivers too. Please sign up   here  to chaperone for Winter Sports. We will need drivers and chaperones for Mt Snow, Living Memorial Park Skating, and the Brattleboro Outing Club for cross country skiing. Thank you!

Community News

Dreamcatcher Entertainment Presents...
Life, Circus, Death
Show time: November 11th and 12th @ 8pm
Where: Hilltop Montessori School
Tickets @ or at the door
For more information here or call 802-579-2590

Saturday Oct. 15th and Saturday Oct. 29
Hilltop Children's House parent and professional photographer, Rachael Waring is offering a special Mini-Photo Session package for Hilltop families, just in time for the upcoming holiday season! 15 minute session for $125 ($25 to go to Hilltop!) Photographs taken at Hilltop. To reserve a session call 413-824-2844. 
PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange, is interviewing families who might be interested in hosting Athenais from France, an exchange student at BUHS, from November to January, or for the rest of the school year. She is living in a "welcome family," who can only keep her through October but would be happy to serve as a respite family throughout the school year.  
Athenais is a delightful, smart, and confident 16-year old girl who likes singing, photography, cooking, martial arts, and skiing. She is an A+ student. Her dad is from Mali and she has a younger and older brother. She is allergic to cats and raw fruit. 

PAX students are enrolled full-time at BUHS and are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular activities. Host families provide room and board, as well as love and support while the student is far from home. Students do not need a separate bedroom, as long as you can provide a bed in a room with a host sibling and a place to study. They have spending money of their own for personal expenses and medical insurance.

Interested families are asked to contact  Ann Newsmith or call 802-257-4710.

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!

Hilltop Montessori School