August 25, 2020
Dear Hillside Families:
Welcome to the new school year! This has been a summer unlike any other and we are gearing up for a start to the school year with remote instruction, which will make the start to this school year unprecedented. I am excited to welcome all of our new families and welcome back our returning families. I am also really looking forward to partnering with you throughout this year to support the academic and social development of our children. In these uncertain and different times, please know that our amazing staff are your partners to support our children. I heard your feedback from the Spring 2020 experience loud and clear, what worked and what did not work for our staff, students and families. In spite of the current circumstances please know it is our mission to help every child feel welcomed and connected to our Hillside family. Additionally, we strive to challenge each student to grow in their academic abilities, we’re focused on live rigorous instruction. I welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to educational excellence for all.
You have been receiving Dr. Ponds’ communications throughout the summer regarding the district’s plan for the start of the school year, most recently the Remote Learning Plan from the Department of Equity, Curriculum and Instruction. I realize there are many questions about what the start of this new school year will look, it is our expectation that the Remote Learning Plan will help to answer many of those questions. Over the next two weeks I anticipate being able to answer additional questions regarding instruction, scheduling, and the many other logistics for the start to the school year.
Here are some important updates regarding the ever pressing topics:
• Hillside’s school day will be 9:10 am-3:35 pm, we will run a schedule that is very similar to our traditional Hillside
• Live instruction will take place each day for the mandated minutes outlined in the Remote Learning Plan established by the Department of Equity, Curriculum and Instruction
• Schedules specific to your child and their grade level will be released in Genesis – Parent Access in the near future (district date TBD)
• Schedules will reflect CORE instruction and Related Arts instruction (aesthetic classes)
• Students will use Google Classrooms and the conferencing platform Zoom and Google Meet
• Student learning materials will be organized and available for pick up by families on Wednesday, September 9th, specific scheduled times slots for pick-up to follow
• School Supply Wish Lists are posted on our school website in the parent information section. The direct link is: https://hillside.montclair.k12.nj.us/ . Thank you to our PTA for organizing the First Day Boxes for those who chose to order this way.
A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into the process of student placement for the 2020-2021 school year. Your child’s homeroom teacher and daily schedule will be accessible in Genesis – Parent Access in the near future. You will receive an email when the information has been posted to your account, you must complete all necessary forms in Genesis in order to receive this email. If you are having issues accessing your Parent Access account, please email parent access at email@example.com
Upon reviewing your child’s schedule please keep in mind:
• Homeroom assignments are final; As per Dr. Ponds’ communication to families and directives to building principals, “children will be grouped with immediate family members only.”
• Third grade schedules will NOT reflect aesthetic courses; all 3rd homerooms will rotate through all Related Arts offering in order to experience all that Hillside aesthetics has to offer. A specific schedule will be forthcoming.
• Fourth and Fifth grade aesthetic courses can ONLY be changed during the add/drop period, which is September 24th – 29th. Specific directions for this process will be forwarded in the near future.
• ALL students are scheduled for a Response to Intervention (RTI) period. This is a flexible period used for academic instruction. During this time teachers will host office hours, small group review sessions, intervention support and enrichment opportunities.
• As a reminder, general school supply lists for each grade level are available on our school website on the left side of the homepage (https://hillside.montclair.k12.nj.us/).
• You will receive a Welcome Letter from your child’s teacher before the start of the school year.
Message from the Hillside PTA:
Hillside Elementary School PTA: Join and stay connected through the Hillside PTA! Visit the Hillside PTA’s new website at montclairpta.org/hillside/, where you can apply for membership, shop for spirit wear and find other key contacts and information. And make sure you join the Hillside PTA’s Facebook group “Hillside Elementary School – Montclair, NJ”. You can also contact Hillside PTA President Brian Fleischer with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2-Question Explorers Survey: The Hillside Explorers team would like to determine whether to offer our Hillside Explorers program this fall and your feedback is crucial. At this time, we will only be able to offer a VIRTUAL Explorers experience so we would appreciate any feedback you have so we can determine whether and how to create the most meaningful programming for the Hillside community. (For those who are unfamiliar with the Explorers program, it is an after-school enrichment program that is organized and run by the PTA. There is usually a wide range of classes offered and students can participate in as many as they would like.)
Please complete the 2-Question survey. Responses are due this Friday, August 28th.
First Day of School Celebration:
We’re as excited as ever to be starting another school year! For anyone who knows Hillside’s First Day of School is quite a huge celebration that takes place on our front lawn. We know that going back to school looks very different this year, but we still want to stay true to our Hillside traditions including our First Day of School celebration! Please send in pictures of your child from last year’s celebration, pictures of their virtual learning spaces, and/or pictures with a first day of school sign – anything that positively reflects the unique circumstances that we’re in.
Please note: Forwarding an image for this virtual celebration is your consent for us to use the image in our First Day of School celebration slideshow!
Email your pictures to email@example.com by Monday August 31st.
September Family Transition Moments: (information and web-conferencing credentials to follow)
– Wednesday, September 2nd – Hillside Town Hall: Orientation for ALL Families
– Thursday, September 10th – Virtual Welcome Back to School for Students and Families
– Friday, September 11th – Virtual PTA Welcome Event at 6 pm.
– Wednesday, September 23rd – Virtual Back to School Night at 7:00pm
– Friday, September 25th – Our PTA & School Action Team for partnerships (SATp) will have their first welcome meeting. I hope that you can join for one of the meetings to learn all about the amazing programs and activities that support our students and school.
Although these events will be virtual, each event offers a great opportunity to bring our HILLSIDE community together.
We look forward to another rewarding school year for all of our Hillside families!
Samanthaa Lennon Anglin, Ed.D.