December 4, 2020

A Note from the Principal’s Desk - 12.4.2020


Dear Hillside Parents/Caregivers:


I hope this message finds you well. We’ve been living with the new coronavirus for months, and the spread of COVID-19 is still going strong in many areas around the U.S. and specifically in our state and county. As the pandemic wears on, it’s understandable that some people are becoming fatigued with mitigating measures, one being remote learning. I understand the challenges and appreciate the support you are providing your children. I recognize and see how our families have been tasked and I I commend the effort of our parents and caregivers...Thank you! 


I participate in daily meetings with teachers to plan and prepare for delivery of instruction. We work in partnership to make this reality as bearable as possible, we work in partnership to develop and implement best practices for learning. Continuous discussions are being had so that lesson plans and delivery of instruction is focused on standard based rigorous learning. So in the craze of our reality please know that we are focused on your child’s educational experience. I want you all to know that our brilliant teachers will continue to do outstanding work during impossible times.


District Updates:

  • Message from Chris Graber, Director of Technology: The district has recently entered an agreement with Comcast Essentials for in-home wifi access. This service is only available to families that have no existing Internet and is subject to approval by Comcast. This service is not intended to supplement any existing Internet service. Families that fit this criteria are encouraged to reach out their building principal. A work order will be completed on the family's behalf and someone from the Department of Technology will be in contact.


  • Message from Tom Santagato, Director of Pupil Services: We are excited to announce that we will be updating our Pupil Services webpage on the District website.  Updates will include our Pupil Services Handbook as well as other resources/links to assist parents.  Additionally, Dr. Ponds has interviewed a candidate to provide the district with a Special Education Audit to happen sometime soon.


4th & 5th Grade Aesthetic Classes:

Week of Monday, 12/7: B-day aesthetics for 4th & 5th graders

Friday 12/11: B-day aesthetic for 3rd graders begins


School-wide Topics:

Holiday Gifts

Every year, Hillside families shower our teachers and staff with Holiday gifts. Please lookout for an email from your Class Liaison about the Holiday class gifts. If you have not heard from your Class Liaison or have any questions, you can email us We thank you for your generosity.


PTA Memberhub Givebacks!

Introducing a great new fundraiser called Givebacks! You get to save on things you can actually use - and our PTA gets up to 20% back!


Here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to our eStore to shop, save, and support

2. Our PTA automatically gets up to 20% donated back!

3. We’ll be adding new Givebacks about every week from brands you know and love, plus some new finds to discover.


This is the perfect way to jump start your holiday shopping! It’s that Simple - CLICK - SAVE - SUPPORT. Don’t forget to share your purchases on social media! The more you share, the more funds we raise.


P.S. If YOU own a business and you're interested in doing a Givebacks to benefit our school, please let us know! We want to include your business.


Hillside Care’s Annual “Make-A-Wish” Program is Up & Running!

Please make the holidays a little brighter for children in need within our own school community by participating in the Hillside Cares Make-a-Wish Program. This annual tradition at our school is made possible by your generous support. Let’s make wishes come true this year! Stay tuned for Sign-up Genius link.


Holiday Knitting (or Crochet) for Make-A-Wish - Each year as part of Make-A-Wish we ask that those who knit and crochet in our community make and donate hats for Hillside/Nishuane students. It's that time of year again! Our local yarn store, Yarnia (147 Valley Road), is collecting the hats now through December 18th. So put those needles to work for a good cause. Sign Up here and tell a friend. Questions:  


MFEE Hurdles

Introducing Healing Huddles, starting January 2021 (sign-up by December 6th):


* 1-hour conversations, over a 6-week period, with 5-6 other parents and caregivers

* Parents and caregivers share stories, gain some connection with parents, and learn tools and strategies to manage today’s challenges

* Groups are led by parents trained to provide just-enough structure and support to the conversations (curious about this training? Learn more below) 

* Groups can be formed around shared affinities or challenges


Groups are starting January 4th. Reply by Sunday, December 6, to or click here to learn more or sign up


In the Huddle:

MFEE is looking for "Conversation Coaches." As a Coach, you'll get quick and specific training from Helaina Altabef, parent coach, and Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown, clinical psychologist. You'll learn how to create space for fellow parents to build connections, find support, and manage stress. You’ll get tools and resources to share with your Huddle. The time commitment to be a Conversation Coach is two short interactive trainings, and then the 6 weekly one-hour conversations. 

Conversation Coaches can be anyone - no special skills needed.  Consider asking a friend and coach together. Groups can be formed around shared challenges -  like families with special needs children, parents of preschoolers, single parents.  As a Conversation Coach, you can create a group that speaks to you as a parent and caregiver. Conversation Coach training starts December 16.  Reply by Sunday, December 6, to or click here to learn more or sign up.


A Message from Ms. Scott:                                                                                                            

Here are a few strategies for managing the stress and/or sadness you may feel in the coming weeks. Healthy Coping Strategies Remember-  make a plan and be purposeful about protecting your and your family’s mental health this season.     


If you feel your child is experiencing a social-emotional challenge and would benefit from counseling services, please do not hesitate to reach out. Need to See Ms. Scott Form. It is important that we continue to teach our children how to advocate for themselves and seek help when they need it. Therefore, a form is also available for students to complete in my Google classroom. Here is the link in case you would like to share it with your child(ren). STUDENT- Need to See Ms. Scott Form


Here is the link and code for my Google classroom for anyone who would like to join.Ms. Scott's Google Classroom. The class code is y5znwsx. There are daily affirmations, mind moments, and meditation activities to help calm some of the angst the children may be experiencing at this time. Signing up for the daily summary email will allow parents to experience some of these activities too. :) Have a wonderful weekend! ~Ms. Scott


Notes from Nurse Boyle

Hello Hillside Families and Friends,

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend and were able to get some rest!  Please remind your children to log into my google classroom at zitgw4b.  I love hearing from my little friends!


Some housekeeping items if your children are returning to hybrid learning and they take medication during the school day I need the medication forms. If a student was new to the Montclair Schools since last school year and I do not have his or her physical I need this too.  If you child is returning to school please have them practice wearing a mask during the day several hours a day.  They need to get used to wearing one in school.  


And last but not least the NJ Hope and Healing along with The Mental Health Group of NJ have wonderful zoom meets to assist people.  I really enjoy the school nurses meetings.  Scroll down to the middle of the page and you will see a link for December zoom meetings. They have meetings for parents, coping with COVID and other interesting topics.

Have a wonderful weekend! ~Nurse Boyle


Important Dates:

Wednesday, 12/9: Early Dismissal/Evening Conferences,  classes end at 2:06PM

Thurs. & Fri. 12/10-12/11: Early Dismissal/Afternoon Conferences,  classes end at 2:06PM

Friday 12/11: 2nd Marking Period Begins


Have a wonderful weekend and be safe during the inclement weather.


Kind regards,




Samanthaa Lennon Anglin, Ed.D.


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