Hillcrest Elementary School

Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year!

August 2023

Dear Hillcrest Families,

Welcome to the 2023 - 2024 school year!  We are all looking forward to seeing our Hillcrest students here at school at the end of the month. The transition back to school can be full of all kinds of emotions. Some students are excited and happy about their first day of school while others may be nervous or unsure about it.  Whatever emotions your child may be experiencing, we are ready to support them as they get settled into their school year routines. 

You should have received your Back to School mailing during the week of August 14th. It contains lots of important information, so please take some time to review it carefully.  You will find:

  • A Welcome Letter from your child’s teacher

  • School Health Office News

  • An update from our School Adjustment Counselor

  • The School Year Calendar

There are many important dates to note in the next few weeks. These include:

  • Preschool & Kindergarten Orientation on August 31st & September 1st**

  • First Day of School for First Graders on August 31st.  

  • First Day of School for Preschool & Kindergarten on September 6th

  • **If you have not already confirmed your Preschool or Kindergarten Orientation appointment, please call Mrs. Burstein at 413-863-7400. 

And a few important logistical details:

  • The school day begins at 8:30 and ends at 3:15.  (Full Day Preschool ends at 3:00 and Half Day Preschool ends at 11:30.)

  • First grade and kindergarten students are dropped off at the main traffic circle and are dismissed at the Griswold Street parking area.  Preschool students are dropped off and picked up at the doors near their classrooms. 

  • Breakfast and lunch are available free of charge for all Hillcrest students. First grade and kindergarten students who would like to eat breakfast before the start of the school day may arrive at 8:15.  All other students should arrive at 8:30.  Preschoolers will be served breakfast after 8:30.  The school meals menus can be found at www.gmrsd.org.

  • Details about bus routes can be found at www.travelkuz.com. First grade and kindergarten students who live more than 1.5 miles from school are eligible for the school bus. 

Finally, I am happy to introduce some wonderful new members of the Hillcrest community:

  • Ms. Katie Thompson will be joining us as our new first grader teacher.  Ms. Thompson most recently taught at Hoosac Valley Elementary School.

  • Ms. Jessica Drake will be joining us as our new kindergarten teacher. Ms. Drake most recently taught in the Athol-Royalston and Orange Public Schools. 

  • Mrs. Olivia Baron will be joining us as our new preschool teacher.  Mrs. Baron most recently taught at Hawlemont Regional Elementary School.

  • Ms. Ramona LaTronica is now our elementary Library & Media Skills Teacher. Ms. LaTronica worked at Hillcrest as a full-time substitute teacher during the 2022-2023 school year and we are so happy that she will now be taking on a permanent role in our district!

  • Ms. Jackie Thibeault will be joining us as a new special education paraprofessional. Ms. Thibeault  is a recent graduate of GCC and she completed her early childhood education internship here at Hillcrest last school year. 

I know our students and families will be very happy to get to know our newest staff members. They are talented, dedicated educators who are looking forward to building strong relationships with you!

Should you have any questions as the first day of school approaches, please feel free to call me at 413-863-7400 or send me an email at sarah.burstein@gmrsd.org. I am looking forward to a school year full of positive energy, ongoing collaboration and lots of learning!

Sincerely yours,

Sarah Burstein

Principal, Hillcrest Elementary School

Early Childhood Coordinator, GMRSD