Hilltop Montessori School's mission is for students to practice responsible independence in a caring community of curious, critical learners and
thoughtful citizens.
Newsletter / Monday, August 27, 2018
Calendar Listings:

Tuesday, August 28th
First Day of School
Orientation Schedule for TP and CH

  • New to the Toddler Program and Children’s House (ages 3 and 4) Students - 8:30-10:00 am - New students visit to become acquainted and see the classroom (without parents or older students).
  • Returning 3’s - those 3’s who moved up to the Children’s House during last year, arrive at 8:30am and stay for their regular dismissal time.
  • Returning 4’s and K’s - arrive at 10:15 am and stay until their scheduled dismissal time at 11:45, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 pm.

Before Care and after care for new students begins on Tuesday, September 4th.

Friday, August 31
First Full Day of School for TP and CH
Hilltop Family Picnic 5-7pm

Monday September 3rd
No School, Labor Day

Tuesday, September 4th - 7th
MS in Upland

Thursday, September 13th
September Parent Meeting
5:00-6:00 Toddler, Children's House & Lower EL
6:00-7:00 Upper EL and Middle School

Friday, September 21
Peace Day
Notes from the Head of School
Dear Families,

It is wonderful to be seeing you all again as the school year kicks off. I hope to see many of you this Friday at the picnic. This summer has been a wonderful time of projects and planning. We have completed the Self Study report for our American Montessori Society Accreditation to be submitted in the next week or two. More information to come on that!

This summer has also included curriculum planning and additions for every program area. Please attend the Parent Meeting on Thursday, September 13th. The meat of the meeting will be for ALL parents to hear what is on for the curriculum this year. We will be adding a “New Parent Mixer” this year before each program meeting, specifically for new parents. Please come hear about all the topics that are lining up!

One of the Professional Development areas that we had identified for all staff to work more on is related to Anti-Bias work as part of our diversity/equity goals. As an authentic Montessori school, we are proud of the peace curriculum and cultural lessons and materials that do so much to show and teach acceptance of all types of people. The lessons of the Fundamental Human Needs taught in Elementary, and the Middle School focus on “What it means to be Human?” get at the heart of this curriculum.

Blog on Cosmic Education

Article on Peace Education

Notes I wrote last year on Peace Education

Middle School Curriculum notes

These are all areas where we consider/teach about/discuss diversity, equity (or the lack thereof), along with prejudice, privilege, bias, and anti-bias. We do well and we want to be better. Many staff spent time this summer reading and considering how we can be more direct, thorough, and intentional in our work in this area. Several staff read and discussed:
Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race  by Debby Irving

Other summer reading included:
So You Want to Talk About Race  by Ijeoma Oluo

What If All the Kids Are White?: Anti-bias Multicultural Education With Young Children And Families (Early Childhood Education Series)  by Louise Derman-Sparks

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race  by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Our In-Service week, included a half-day training by Tiffany Jewell, who has the experience of being both a Montessori Elementary teacher and a social justice and peace education teacher. ( https://anti-biasmontessori.com ) She has presented at local and national conferences and gave us an afternoon of insight and resources for further planning and exploration of this ongoing work. We will be sharing more about this in the coming weeks, months and years!

We also had an afternoon of CPR/AED training with our new AED given by generous and creative Elementary parents. We hope to not need to share that work, but we are ready if we need to be!
The CPR trainer uses Jay to demonstate the Heimlich Maneuver.
Hilltop Family Picnic
Friday, August 31st
5:00 -7:00 p.m.

Green Mountain Camp for Girls

Bring a dish to share, we'll have the grill going!
Our first social event of the year, the annual Family Picnic, is quickly approaching! The date is Friday, August 31st. from 5-7 at the Green Mountain Camp for Girls again this year. The kiddos will be able to swim in the pool (lifeguard provided). Jay and friends will play, and of course, we will have a B.B.Q!! What a wonderful time for families to connect, meet new friends and share a meal. It will be great fun. We are looking forward to seeing you all. 

In the spirit of participation, we ask each family to provide a potluck dish to contribute to the meal. 
Here is the breakdown, by classroom and type of dish:

CH/Toddler Program: Desserts
Elementary Program (UE & LE): Salad or side dish
Middle School: Drinks (no soft drinks please)
Board of Directors: Hot Dogs, Tofu Dogs, Hamburgers & Veggie Burgers

Click here to sign up! There is additional information & you can simply add in your potluck dish here as well:) 

Click here for directions to Green Mountain Camp

Since there are certain areas designated for our gathering, here are a few rules we must follow:

  • As always, please keep your eyes on your child/children at all times.

  • Guests (adults and children) are NOT allowed up the stairs, on the ridge or in the cabins.

  • Please park in designated areas only - Town of Dummerston issued stern warnings. We appreciate your help w/the parking. Guests should only park on one side of the road.

  • Parking is tight, if you can carpool with another family from the covered bridge, please do so. Otherwise, once the parking on the Campground is full, you may park on the road. All cars must be parked on the same side of the road.
We are so excited that Green Mountain Camp has graciously invited us to share the camp and the facilities. Thank you for your respect and understanding. We look forward to seeing you there!
Important Reminders
Back to School Envelopes

The back to school envelopes will be in the front lobby for parents to pick up on the first day of school. Please find a moment of peace to carefully read through the envelope. In addition to pertinent information regarding the school year, there are also important forms that need to be returned by the end of the first week of school. Included in the packet you will find the following:

  • After School Programs/sign up form
  • Consent for Dismissal Form
  • Information to update your child's immunization
  • Medication Form
  • Information regarding volunteer drivers-new form and guidelines
  • Sunscreen & Insect Repellant Consent Form (TP and CH only)
  • Pizza Sign Up - for CH thru MS (bagel sign up to come)
  • Student and Family Handbook
  • Additional Language Program questionnaire

The Handbook is for your reference, all of the other forms should be returned to the front desk by Friday, August 31st.

Please let Rebecca, Hilltop's Administrative Coordinator know if you should have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your diligence! 

p.s. Be sure to mark your calendar: Thursday,September 13th, an important meeting for all parents of all program levels.
Aftercare Team!
Introducing Hilltop's new After Care Team (from left to right):

Sarah Palacios , Toddler Program Assistant
Françoise Zucchetti Clay, Children’s House Afternoon and AfterCare Assistant
Jessica Thomas, After Care Program Director
Annie Woodward , Children’s House Afternoon and After Care Assistant
Sarah Palacios
Toddler Program Assistant (BeforeCare and AfterCare)

Sarah is excited to join the Hilltop community this year as an assistant in the Toddler Room. She is a recent graduate of Marlboro College, where she earned a degree in ceramics and grew her interest in alternative educational models. She is interested to continue to learn more about the Montessori method through observing the “absorbent minds” at work in the classroom. Sarah hopes to bring her passion for sustainable agriculture and love of cooking and baking with whole ingredients into the classroom. 

Françoise Zucchetti Clay
Children’s House Afternoon and AfterCare Assistant

Françoise’s journey in the Montessori field began when her 10 year old daughter started attending a Montessori school in 2003. Françoise believes that her daughter’s Montessori education helped build skills and self-confidence in a way that her prior schooling did not allow. Over time, Françoise became more and more involved in her daughter’s school, first as volunteer, then as a cook, and later as a teacher. Françoise completed her AMI Montessori training at the primary (3-6 year old) level in 2008 and taught as a lead teacher for 4 years before moving to the United States from France.

Jessica Thomas
Children’s House Afternoon Assistant and AfterCare Program Director

Jessica, originally from London, England, was the Lower Elementary Director at Hilltop for over 25 years and is now the Director of the AfterCare program. She has a BA in Psychology and Education from Union Institute and University and her Lower Elementary certification from the Center for Montessori Education. Both of her children are Hilltop alum, and she now has two boisterous pre-school age grandchildren.

Annie Woodward
Children’s House Afternoon Assistant and AfterCare Assistant 

Annie is excited to bring her love of children and teaching experience to Hilltop this year! She studied Education and Child Development at Marlboro College, where her thesis focused on the ideals of early childhood education and the importance of play in child development. She began her teaching journey in Early Headstart programs, and continued on to teach in a Waldorf school as an assistant, summer, and aftercare teacher, and then as a lead Kindergarten teacher. The last year she has spent working with individual children and families, and is looking forward to returning to teaching and being a part of the wonderful Hilltop community.
The Birch Room welcomes Mariam
A new but familiar team in the Birch Room, Cheryl will be continuing as lead teacher, joined by Mariam as her able and loving assistant.

Mariam Diallo
Children’s House Assistant & the Before Care Program Director

Cheryl Matthews
Children's House Program Director
Early Education Partnership Program Director
Serina Keppel
Assistant and Early Education Partnership Program Director

Serina Keppel is the full-time Early Education Partnership Program Director for the many programs we collaborate with the state to implement (STARS, the Vermont Child Care Financial Assistance Program, and Act 166 public preK initiative). These responsibilities have been growing each year, and by being full time in this role she will be able to better support teachers and families. As part of these responsibilities, Serina will be spending more than 10 hours in the classrooms. Serina has her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Boston University and has worked with young children for over 20 years. She also holds a Vermont State Educators License with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. Serina enjoys working in the pedagogy of Montessori with a terrific group of colleagues. Serina loves working in a school that she has long respected and appreciated as a parent.
Welcome Jade
Jade Harmon
Elementary Art Teacher

Jade is delighted to be joining the Hilltop community as Elementary Art Teacher. The art room continues to evolve into a TAB-inspired (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) studio space that resonates beautifully with Montessori philosophy. In their art studio, students behave as true artists: designing their projects, choosing their medium, exploring their artistic voice, and navigating their unique creative process. Students create in a supported, gently guided environment as they absorb technique, art history, methods of reflection, and – most importantly – make a wonderful mess!

Jade received her BFA in art and creative writing from New College via The Union Institute. She has taught art to children of all ages. She loves exploring all methods of art making and specializes in comics, sculpture, graphic design, and fabric arts. She and her husband, Jay, have lived in the area since 2002. Their son, Eko, has completed the three-year Children’s House cycle and is currently entering his first year of Lower Elementary. 
Welcome Jaime
Jaime Durham
Front Office Assistant / Technology Facilitator

Jaime will be assisting at the front desk on Thursdays and Fridays this year. She will also be bringing her technology expertise to the Upper Elementary as the year evolves.  Jaime’s first foray into Montessori was as a toddler growing up in California. She has wonderful memories of her years in those classrooms, and is thrilled that her two young children will be joining the students at Hilltop this fall. Jaime has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. She spent her post-college years traveling the world and teaching English to young learners, before landing in Vermont in 2011. She fell in love with the Green Mountain State while hiking the Long Trail, and settled in the Brattleboro area to attend SIT Graduate Institute, where she received her MA in TESOL. She then worked for five years as an assistant and instructional designer for SIT’s online MA programs before leaving to spend more time with her growing family. At SIT, she focused on work in digital citizenship, online communities, and eLearning.  She is very excited to be a part of the team at Hilltop!
New Facilities Assistant
Milo Gardilcic will be assisting Kegan with facility management. He comes to Hilltop with years of experience as warehouse manager at Cultural Intrigue where he processes high volume e-commerce orders and handles all routine maintenance of the building, including contracted service companies. Milo's effective communication skills, determined work ethic and positive attitude make him a perfect match for Hilltop.
We are thrilled he has joined the team!
Work Party
Thank you for all the families and friends who joined the Work Party last week. There was a lot of painting, building, gardening and cleaning accomplished in a short amount of time! We appreciate your dedication and support of Hilltop.
Interested in a Fruit Farm Share this Fall?
Nine Weeks of Ecologically-Grown Fresh Fruits

Scott Farm is offering fruit shares for 9 weeks, starting the second full week in September, delivered here to Hilltop! The first delivery will be the week of Monday, Sept 10th, exact day to be determined.
The delivered prices are: $92 for a full share and $47 for a half share

*GREAT NEWS: We have a commitment of many families for share delivery to Hilltop!*

Time is running out...
If you are interested in a share, the deadline is Wednesday, September 5th.

If Mother Nature cooperates, Scott Farm will begin the season with peaches, followed by the freshest picked traditional farm stand apples, combined with an assortment of our heirloom varieties. As the season progresses, plums and pears will be added to the apple mix. Participants will get weekly emails with the selections of the week, their history and best use, plus some recipes and musings as well.
Let's support our local farmers!
Any families interested, please email Roselle .

Hilltop Helpers
BIG thanks to Brattleboro Tire for donating our Hilltop van's winter snow tires and for rotating them each year!
Thank you to Nathan Rupard and Hazel restaurant for delivering our pizza each week and providing our staff with delicious pies!
Community Events