October Newsletter

Hillcrest News

October 2018


Upcoming dates:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 30 – Picture Re-take Day
  • Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Election Day. Voting in the Hillcrest All Purpose Room, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Nov. 8 & 9 – Parent - Teacher Conferences. Half Day of School
  • Monday, Nov. 12 – No school in observance of Veteran’s Day
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21 – Thanksgiving recess begins at noon
  • Monday, Nov. 26 – School resumes

Picture Re-takes

Picture re-takes will be the morning of Tuesday, October. 30 at Hillcrest. If you are having your child’s picture re-taken, please send your child to school with the picture package you received. If your child was absent on Picture Day, there are extra order envelopes in the office.

From the Principal

Dear Hillcrest Families,

Wow! October has really flown by! Our Hillcrest students are now settled into the routines of their school days and they are developing new friendships, gaining new academic skills and exploring all kinds of new concepts. It’s such a joy to watch this growth occur! Today, we were lucky to see their learning in action at our October All School Meeting. Students from Mrs. Prevett’s preschool class, Mrs. Lesenski’s kindergarten class and Ms. Smith’s first grade class all demonstrated their learning in mathematics. Thank you to the many community members who joined us today.

As we look ahead to November, our teachers are getting ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences on the 8th and 9th. They are conducting developmentally appropriate assessments, gathering student work samples and thinking about each child’s individual school experience. Whether this is your first parent conference, or you fifteenth, I am sure you’ll be impressed by how well our teachers know their students and by the amount you’ll learn about your child’s progress during this meeting.

Last month, I used this newsletter as a vehicle for introducing you to one of our new staff members, Ms. Katie Hopp, our Technology Teacher. This month, our October Staff Highlight is focused on Ms. Francis Liri, our School Nurse. Your child may have already told you about visiting the Health Office for a band-aid or an ice pack. And, you may have met Nurse Francis when picking up a sick child. But, you may not already know the following fun facts about Nurse Francis. Did you know that Nurse Francis once jumped out of an airplane with a parachute? She also is an expert at spying double rainbows and she’s already seen one here at Hillcrest! And, Nurse Francis has a dog named Sophie who goes bananas for bananas! Stay tuned for our November Staff Highlight . . . who will it be?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend –

Sarah Burstein


A big thank you to all who came to Open House. It was great to see you!

We have had so much fun learning about pumpkins this month. We have used all of our senses to explore them. We learned many new vocabulary words to help us describe various attributes of a pumpkin. Children were actively engaged in many learning experiences with pumpkins.

Now that we have learned our school routines, we are starting our first theme from ‘Tools of the Mind’. This theme is Families. Our play centers have now been adapted to feel more like the different rooms of a home. Children will try out new roles, new activities, and maybe a few words that are new to them.

Please remember to dress your children warmly. We play outside daily and many of these fall days have been quite chilly. It is easier to take a jacket off than to warm up without one.

Parent conference should be scheduled by now. If you have not yet scheduled one, please check with your teacher. We look forward to sharing your child’s growth!

Thank you for sharing your child with us,

Ms. Chanda, Ms. Sarah, and Ms. Teresa





Dear Families,

We have finished up our fairy tales unit and it was tons of fun! Everyone did a great job playing different roles and retelling the stories. When reading the fairy tales we put ourselves in different characters’ shoes, thinking about how they felt and what they were thinking, we talked about beginning, middle and end, and we practiced visualizing the stories in our minds. We also compared different versions of the fairy tale and talked about how they were similar and different from each other.

Now that we have finished with fairy tales, we will begin reading The Magic Tree House book series! We will start with the book Dinosaurs Before Dark. Before reading each Magic Tree House book we spend time building background knowledge about the topic through reading nonfiction texts. We also think critically with these stories so please do not read these books at home until we have finished at school. One of our critical thinking strategies is being able to make a prediction; it is silly to make a prediction when you already know exactly what is going to happen!

In math we are learning all about numbers and shapes. We have been learning how to describe shapes, draw shapes, sort shapes, and turn shapes into objects that we see every day! We are learning to identify numbers, write numbers & gain a concrete understanding of how many each number stands for through a variety of math activities.

Parent-teacher conferences are Thursday, November 8th and Friday, November 9th. We will be sending reminders of the time that your conference is scheduled for as the date approaches. We are looking forward to getting the chance to meet with you about your child J.


Mrs. Lesenski, Mrs. Fox, & Ms. Hirst

First Grade

Happy Fall!

October brings a new science focus on the season of Fall. We have gone on a wonderful “Wonder Walks” around the school where we looked for different “signs” of fall. We are learning about the different ways that plants and animals adapt to the changing seasons. We will look at how animals prepare for Winter as well. There are many great activities and opportunities for learning about the fall season.

In language arts we have been studying short vowel words. The children learned word families that contain short vowels such as hot, pot, spot. They will continue to build, read and write these words daily. We are also learning about diagraphs such as ch, sh, wh, th and ck which have 2 letters that make just one sound. The children will start to identify the sound and the letter combination and use it in their reading and writing.

In math we have been working on learning the basic adding skills including beginning to write addition equations. We will move into beginning subtraction. We encourage the children to practice adding and subtracting at home as well as at school.

Homework began after Open House. Every week you will receive a book bag with books that the children can read independently or with a little help and a reading log. On Thursdays, there will be a comprehension sheet that you can complete with your child. Be on the lookout for book bags. Your children are looking forward to reading to you. Please return the signed reading logs and comprehension sheet on Friday so that we can send home more books!

Ms. Casey, Miss Matrishon, Ms. Smith, Mrs. Saylor


English Learner News

Kindergarten students have been learning vocabulary for emotions and looking at characters in texts to describe how they are feeling and why, using the word "because." First grade students have been learning about basic world geography and the seven continents. We are exploring how artifacts can help tell family stories. First graders have also started weekly reading buddies with some students from Ms. Chanda's preschool class. They have had fun planning activities and conversation questions for their preschoolers. Ms. Wulfkuhle is also continuing to visit classes for morning meeting, teaching some songs and greetings in Spanish and sharing a read aloud.


Lea Wulfkuhle

News from the Health Office

HAPPY FALL! We are now in the full swing of things here at school. I hope everyone’s year is going well.

Some Health Office reminders:

If your child has a physical exam or gets any immunizations during the school year, please send a copy to the school nurse.

If your student has ASTHMA and has a rescue inhaler, please provide one to the school nurse, along with a doctor’s order so that your child can be treated here at school if asthma symptoms develop. If your child uses their rescue inhaler in the morning before school please call to inform the school nurse of the time it was given so that it will be known when your child can have another dose.

If your child has a contagious illness (such as conjunctivitis, strep throat, or hand, foot, and mouth disease) please let the school nurse know so other classrooms and families can be notified if a trend is seen within the classroom or the building. Also, with fever of 100 degrees of higher, illnesses requiring antibiotics (such as impetigo, pink eye, or strep throat), vomiting/diarrhea, and chickenpox please keep your child home from school. Your child may return to school once antibiotics have been given for 24 hours or once symptoms of fever/vomit/diarrhea have been gone for 24 hours without medicine or once all chickenpox sores are dry and scabbed over.

The Fluoride Mouthrinse Program, a free-of-cost program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Oral Health, is being offered to 1st grade students. This weekly 1 minute rinse will begin on November 1st. If you would like your 1st grader to participate please be sure to return the permission form that was sent home.

Please always feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for all you do to help keep our Hillcrest Community healthy!

Francis Liri, BSN, RN


Art News

The Art Room is a busy place this October. We have been examining pumpkins and drawing and painting them. We have noticed their shape and the variety of lines that make up a pumpkin’s surface. Our youngest artists have examined leaves and made texture rubbings. We have also explored the art element "line" and used it in our drawings and paintings in interesting ways. Stop by Carnegie Library and view 1st grade art students self-portrait paintings based on the story "Sky Paint" by Peter Reynolds. And look out for some beautiful pumpkin paintings coming home soon!


Jocelyn Castro-Santos, Art



Students have been busy learning library routines this past month. Students have learned about the various sections in the library, and have begun using shelf markers to learn how to reshelf books. Pre-school students have been learning about proper book care. They have learned about the various ways that library books should be treated. Kindergarten and first grade students have been learning about the different parts of the book. They have played interactive games to learn how to identify the various parts of the book, including the front and back covers, spine and spine label, title, author, and illustrator.

Jess Nadeau, Librarian

Physical Education

Dear Parents, Now that weather is turning cooler and classes are outside as much as possible, I wanted to share a few helpful reminders. Your athlete will have Physical Education on either Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday again this year. Please make sure they have the following items.

  • Comfortable clothing that they can get dirty.
  • Sneakers for their feet
  • A sweatshirt, it can always be removed
  • A water bottle as there is no outside water access

Thank you,

Mr. Wood, P.E.