Re-Entry Plans: Fall 2020

Dear Families,


I hope this letter finds you able to enjoy the summer, despite the uncertainty and ominous news from other parts of the country. We, as a school, have been working hard to develop our plan for Re-Entry in September. Here is Hilltop Montessori School’s Re-Entry Plan for the Fall of 2020. I have great appreciation for the staff, teachers, Board members, and parents who offered and helped to develop this plan. It is nimble and able to adjust to changing situations. 


Many families have contacted meLauren, and Barb in the Business Office, in the recent weeks to discuss their particular circumstances and considerations. We welcome this communication!


In a typical year, re-enrollment deposits are made in February, and the first May tuition payment from each family is the final commitment for the enrollment and tuition for the full year ahead. This year we offered families the option to delay the first payment until July. We also offered COVID Hardship Requests, and about a dozen families have applied for and received those. 


At this point, almost all families have made their first tuition payments in TADS, and we are assuming you are on board for the year. We are making staffing and facilities decisions based on this level of enrollment. We are committed to being here in person if at all possible. Our teachers and staff are under contract and lined up to serve your children. We hope that this grace period, as well as the plan enclosed, have given you the time and information you need to feel confident in your decision to enroll your children in Hilltop programming during this uncertain time.


The year ahead will require a strong partnership between families and the school. Please read through the attached document carefully and thoughtfully to begin that shared commitment, and set both ourselves and our children up for a safe and successful year ahead. If you have any questions about the plan generally, or about your particular family circumstances, PLEASE reach out to us. 


So, have a good read, and know that we have planned for what we can predict might happen, and will be poised to respond to the unexpected too.
Stay well,

Tamara

April 30th, 7-8pm: Open Board Meeting

Please join us for the Open Board Meeting on Thursday, April 30th at 7pm.We had hoped to serve pies with pie charts, but instead we will chat by ZOOM. [The ZOOM invitation link will come in a later email and is available in the Google Classroom Calendars.]
Do you wonder:

  • What has the Hilltop Board done in the last two months to adapt to the rapidly changing COVID-19 world?  
  • How will Hilltop support families who have experienced financial hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis?
  • How would the school continue to provide support for learning at home, if it were to become necessary again?
  • What does Tamara staying on as Head of School mean?
  • What does the Board do vs. Hilltop’s Administration?
  • Who is on the Board and how might I fit in?
  • How can I contribute to the social and financial sustainability of Hilltop?

Come and learn more on Thursday, April 30th at 7pm!
We understand that there is a new context, and the Board of Trustees has been guiding the school through this. We value your perspective. We invite you to be part of the conversation to ensure the collective voices of our families are heard as we move forward and shape this “new normal”.

HMS: Learning from Home Handbook

We have been able to document what we are doing as a school and what each program is doing as we continue school remotely in our HMS: Learning from Home Handbook. This will also be provided in hard copy to every HMS family next week. We are working to translate both the sense of community that Hilltop provides, along with the academic and “whole child” offerings that are regularly given by our school.

Hilltop Montessori School COVID-19 Information

Hilltop Montessori School current status and plans for continuing student engagement at home. All in-person school activities have been cancelled for this school year, as directed by the state.
Hilltop Montessori School has been transitioning to provide support/education virtually, as our campus has been “shutdown” to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infections. We are also working to support families of “essential persons” with their childcare needs.

Notes from Tamara Mount, Head of School
It is so strange for all of us to be working from home and not visit in person with you, each other on staff, and of course spend the days with your children. This has been a transition for us all, some more than others. . . I’ve been astounded by the work of the teachers and by what I’ve seen and heard from your homes. Moving online as a Montessori school is, by definition, especially challenging. We have no textbooks or workbooks our students are methodically working through. Each child works in our prepared classrooms at their own unique place in each subject area – their own spot in an individualized curriculum. Clearly, it is not possible to fully replicate this model at home, although I’ve been amazed at how the teachers have worked to do so and how quickly many of you have been able to implement their suggestions. 
Go easy on yourselves and your children. We can’t all turn into home schoolers overnight, no matter how much support is given. Within each program, and for each child, there is a different level of responsible independence with work at home, just as there is for work at school. If you are trying to work at home yourself, know that there will be bumps in the road for us all. As we adjust to the “new normal,” please continue to communicate with teachers and administrators as we work together to support productive, engaging, and enjoyable remote learning from home. Here is a fun example from Lower Elementary! 

The Middle School-The Society Project

The Society Project

in the Time of Climate Change

Wendell Berry wrote: “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” A place is as much a community of shared values as it is a physical environment and the Middle School set out to discover how their community is responding to the threat and reality of climate change. The Society Project is the centerpiece of this exploration. For the project, students selected, interviewed and photographed a member of the wider Brattleboro community and created a digital montage. The interview and resulting montage focused on how the individual in both their work and life addresses climate change.

The resulting series of short films reveals a committed, aware, and involved community who care deeply about the future of Brattleboro and the world.