Last Strategic Plan Meeting is Tuesday Night!

March 10th, 2017
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Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
AfterCare Reminder
Parent/Teacher Conferences
Parent Education Night
Save the Date
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Before and After Care
Hilltop Helpers
Next Week at Hilltop

Tuesday 3/14/17
Strength and Conditioning
Sweet Treats  
MS Odyssey and Strategic Plan Meeting 8pm

Wednesday 3/15/17
Girls on the Run
Spanish with Marco 

Thursday 3/16/17
Strength and Conditioning 
Parent Teacher Conferences
Noon Dismissal

Friday 3/17/17
Parent Teacher Conferences
No School

*Childcare is available for both days ($8/hour) and during conference times (at no cost)-please speak with  Rebecca at the front if you need either. You must sign up by Tuesday, 3/14th by 5pm.

Coming up...

Tuesday 3/21/17
What to Wear? A Discussion Around School and Dress Code 7-9pm

Wednesday 3/29/17
MS Alabama Odyssey Trip  (thru 4/5/17)

Check out the 2016-2017 School Calendar 

Notes from the Head of School

Thank you all for coming to the Strategic Plan and Endowment information sessions this week. We have one more presentation scheduled for Tuesday evening, at 8pm in the Middle School. For those of you who were unable to come join us for these meetings, here are links to our Strategic Plan and Annual Report

We also videotaped one of the sessions:

2017 Strategic Plan and Endowment
2017 Strategic Plan and Endowment

Tamara welcomes any further questions that might still be lingering or thoughts you have to share as we look to our plans for the future.

Aftercare Reminder

Please be advised that, so we can plan appropriately for staffing, we need 24 hour notice to add your child to the after care list.

Thank you.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are March 16th and March 17th. Please check your email from (Volunteer Spot) to sign up!

If you did not get the email, or if you have any questions, please contact Rebecca at the front.

Childcare is provided on both days.
You must sign up with Rebecca by Tuesday, March 14th by 5pm. 

Parent Education Opportunity

What to Wear?!  
A Discussion around School & Dress
Hilltop Middle School

What kind of messages about females and their bodies do we give - specifically in terms of clothing?  This discussion will focus on the policing of girls bodies and sexuality and how this negatively affects both men and  women. It will also give concrete ways in which to talk to youth about dress code in supportive and non-blaming ways.  
Moderated by Anna and Shea from the Women's Freedom Center.  The Women's Freedom Center is the local organization working to end domestic and sexual violence in Windham and Southern Windsor counties. The Youth Advocate works with teachers, staff, students, and caregivers around issues of consent, rape culture, social media, objectification, body image, gender identity, and healthy relationships.    


Saturday, April 29th
*7:30am - noon
In the Arts Barn

*come when you want, but tag sale people are an eager bunch

Hilltop  Multi-Family 
Tag Sale and Market & 
Pancake Breakfast 

Believe it or not, spring IS coming... and you know what that means. Spring cleaning! Want to turn those no longer needed items into cold hard cash? Here's a fun solution: Join us for the Multi-Family Tag Sale and Market. Each family reserves a table for $10 and is responsible for selling their own treasures - you keep the profits. This year, we're adding a twist...

We're hoping to host other merchants who sell items that would be of interest to parents! So, if you know of someone who you think would fit this description, let Amelia know. The only contribution to selling at our market would be one small item that we will then put in a tricky tray raffle (like the one we did at the holidays). So, think children's clothing, activities, products etc.

Let the decluttering BEGIN!

Toddler Program 

This week there was a surge of renewed interest in Practical Life works involving water - surprise, surprise! - which was probably inspired by the addition of the cloth washing stand and drying rack to the classroom.

These works are exciting to the child and beneficial to development in so many ways. Children use their gross motor skills when carrying several heavy pitchers of water to fill the basins for washing. They learn to follow a sequence - first wet the cloth, then apply soap, then scrub on the washboard to create bubbles. They also develop hand strength and practice their fine motor skills when wringing out the wet cloths and hanging them to dry on a line with clothespins. Not to mention the benefits to their length of concentration and focus, their confidence in their own abilities, and their ever-expanding independence. 

 Davis exemplifies the joy a child experiences when using water works!

When considering the pictures taken in the classroom this week, it occurred to me how the adults in these young children's lives can acknowledge the joy in the child's work while preserving a child's sense of accomplishment. As your child becomes more capable and confident in their skills, they will likely participate in lots of Practical Life activities at home - like washing dishes, wiping tables and preparing food. Here's a helpful bit of guidance from

When your child starts to help out around the house, don't feel like you need to reward them or praise them excessively. If you rely heavily on qualitative praise (like, 'you're so smart') or giving your child rewards (like toys, money or cookies) - it will take away from their own sense of accomplishment. Pretty soon, you'll find that they only do things for your praise or reward. And their joy of doing the activity diminishes.  The best way to praise your child is by using simple phrases like, 'You cleaned the fireplace,' 'You helped wash the dishes' or 'You brought your dishes to the sink.' These descriptive praises tells them you noticed what they did - and your acknowledgement is all they need.

*This website also has a really fun videos of 2 year olds loading a dishwasher - definitely worth a look!

Enjoy the weekend. Stay warm!
Ellie, Amanda & Marco

Birch Room

Thanks to all who were able come to today's workshare. The children were so excited and happy to be your hosts! They loved giving you a taste of some of the varied, challenging work they do each day. We are lucky to have such a happy and enthusiastic group of learners!

Willow Room


Thank you to all families who visited our classroom during the Work Share! We had a wonderful turn out. If you were unable to stay for work share, you are welcome to arrange another time to observe or visit. Please contact me (Jonathan) if you would like to set-up a time to visit. 

Looking into the next week, we have possible snowy weather heading our way! Please remember to send snow pants, hats and mittens, just in case. We hope that this will be winter's last stand before Spring!

We look forward to our conferences next week (Thursday and Friday)

See you soon! 

-- Jonathan, Rebecca and Rachel

Lower El

O h fish! How cold-blooded and aquatic you are!

This week, the Lower El students learned about odes in writer's workshop, and then wrote  their own poems in celebration of something, or someone, they love. The objects of their affection ranged from cats, to pancakes, to Transformers. It was a lively and productive lesson!  

Fish were the subject of our biology studies. One group studied the parts of a fish, another focused on the functions of fish, and the oldest members of the class began their taxonomy, or scientific classification, work. Soon, we will hop over to the next group of vertebrates, amphibians.  

During peace time this week, we read the book One, by Kathryn Otoshi.  It provided us with the opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation about bullying behavior, kindness, and inclusion.  

Enjoy your weekend!  

We will see you next Thursday and Friday for Parent/Teacher Conferences.

Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia

Corbin does the Decanomial layout

Decanomial layout

Working on a fish report together

Upper El

The fifths have recently begun the annual study called "Journey North". Through a web site of the same name, each year the Annenberg Foundation chooses 10 "Mystery Sites" throughout the world. Our job is to find them (the cities) from the clues they provide. More about this in subsequent newsletters.

We have begun the preliminary work. Each student chose a random latitude and found a city at that latitude. Using the website run by the US Naval Observatory, they found the sunrise and sunset times for that city for an entire year. Each student made a graph of a year's worth of sunrises and sunsets. The horizontal axis is time (a year), and the vertical axis is 24 hours, from midnight to midnight. The shaded portion is night time, the non-shaded portion is daylight.

It's illuminating to compare the graphs from different parts of the world (latitudes) to see how daylight is distributed throughout the year. Near the equator, the sun is out close to 12 hours a day throughout the year. As one gets closer to the poles, the difference between winter and summer, in terms of daylight hours per day, increases. Once you get above the Arctic Circle (Ben's graph), there are periods of 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of night some time during the year.

SAVE THE DATE!  The Upper El play will be on Thursday, April 13th
There is a school show at 1pm and a family show at 5pm!

Middle School

It has been a very full week of scientific exploration (with sweet benefits), charcoal portraiture, discussions on the Selma Voting Rights Movement, Bloody Sunday, and the Selma to Montgomery March, grappling with "Message to the Grassroots" and Malcolm X, and the teasings of Spring. The Alabama Odyssey continues to sharpen its focus and our anticipation grows exponentially by the day.

Next Monday is a day of guests to our classroom. We start the day with the Poet Laureate of Vermont, Chard deNiord. Students are currently writing poems that reflect their thoughts, feelings, and understandings about race, the Civil Rights Movement, justice, and essentially the moral universe. The poems they write will be shared with both poets and peers in Alabama. Mr. DeNiord is coming in to help guide and inspire our students in this complex endeavor. Later in the day, Curtiss Reed Jr., the executive director of the Vermont Partnership For Fairness and Diversity is joining us. From their website: 

Vermont Partnership is a proven, effective resource that Vermont leaders turn to for assistance, support, and advocacy related to inclusion, diversity, and equity in the public sphere.
Our Mission
For the people of Vermont, we work to strengthen inclusive and equitable practices to eliminate prejudice and discrimination of all kinds.

We look forward to this challenging and extraordinary day!

Spring study skills being practiced

Studying the faces of civil rights leaders with careful observation and charcoal

The scientific journey of colorful natural selection continues

Before  and After Care

Before Care

After Care

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Hilltop Helpers

J ulia Fedoruk in the Middle School is still collecting for Carry Me Home, a Brattleboro-based 501c3 non- profit which sends clothing to refugees in Eastern Europe, coordinating with volunteer organizations on the ground to make sure the right items are sent to the right places when needed. Recent shipments have gone to Athens and to Lesvos, where refugees continue to arrive by boat.  

Collection for spring clothing has begun, with special focus on items for refugee children who have begun attending schools in Greece. Please bring items from the list below to the collection box in the lobby or the box in the Middle School. Carry Me Home is also in need of funds to pay for shipping. The largest box they can send, 44 pounds, costs $164 to ship. Please make donations via Indiegogo Generosity, or leave a check made out to Carry Me Home With Love in the collection box.

You can find more information about Carry Me Home on  Facebook, or via email.
You may be interested in PBS Frontline's Exodus , a documentary on the refugee crisis that aired in December 2016 and is still available to watch on line.

A big THANK YOU to Hazel for providing our students and staff with delicious pizza each week!

Many thanks to Brattleboro Tire, 558 Putney Road in Brattleboro for donating
snow tires for our Hilltop van . Please visit Dan and the boys at Brattleboro Tire for your car's needs and be sure to say "Thanks" on Hilltop's behalf.  or call them at 802-254-5411.

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