Dear Huckleberry Hill students and families,
Huckleberry’s students, staff, parents, and families work diligently to create a warm, enthusiastic climate where visitors feel welcome and students feel safe and supported in their learning. We are a vibrant educational community where children come first.
Each morning we open our doors to approximately six hundred second, third, and fourth grade children (approximately 9 classes per grade level) who attend Brookfield Public Schools. Huckleberry Hill is joined by Center Elementary School (K-1), Whisconier Middle School (5-8), and Brookfield High School (9-12) to complete the Brookfield Public School system. Brookfield is located in Fairfield County and borders the communities of Bethel, Bridgewater, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, and Southbury, Connecticut.
Our school is comprised of students who come to school ready and eager to learn, talented teachers, involved parents and community members, and a supportive Board of Education. At Huckleberry Hill, we make an unconditional commitment to focus on high academic achievement for each individual child. We have a well-trained and highly motivated professional staff that uses research-based best practices to plan lessons to meet every child’s academic needs. Girls and boys are asked to think critically, develop their own interpretations, and make connections between their daily life and what they learn in the classroom. We monitor students’ progress through frequent assessment, examine student work regularly, and adjust our instruction accordingly to ensure that all students are successfully meeting their academic goals.
Huckleberry Hill is an energetic school community devoted to excellence in teaching and learning. HHES is a community of learners where everyone, staff and students alike, is encouraged to challenge themselves to grow intellectually and as citizens of the world. Huckleberry’s nearly one hundred teachers and staff members represent a broad range of background and experience. These highly professional staff members meet together regularly to discuss curriculum and program issues. They are dedicated to the belief that our mission of excellence is achieved when people work together for a shared, meaningful purpose.
In 2009, Huckleberry Hill began embracing the Responsive Classroom approach that capitalizes on the relationship between social and academic learning and promotes a positive learning environment for all students, staff, and families. The following seven educational principles guide the Responsive Classroom philosophy*:
- The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
- How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
- The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES).
- Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach.
- Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children's education.
- How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community.
At the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach are ten classroom practices*:
- Morning Meeting - Gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead
- Rule Creation - Helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals
- Interactive Modeling - Teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique
- Positive Teacher Language - Using words and tone as a tool to promote children's active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline
- Logical Consequences - Responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity
- Guided Discovery - Introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility
- Academic Choice - Increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work
- Classroom Organization - Setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students' independence, cooperation, and productivity
- Working with Families - Creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and helping them understand the school's teaching approaches
- Collaborative Problem Solving - Using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students
At Huckleberry Hill we offer a comprehensive range of programs and services to meet students’ diverse needs and interests. We utilize the Reading and Writing Workshop model that emphasizes the use of authentic literature and builds upon a strong connection between reading and writing. Our mathematics program emphasizes problem-solving and application of skills and strategies. We utilize a school wide enrichment model (SEM), offering students opportunities to stretch their learning beyond their physical classrooms. All of our curriculum is aligned with Connecticut’s Common Core Standards.
Students use integrated, state-of-the art instructional technology in their classrooms, the computer labs, and the library/media center. Each classroom is equipped with a Mimeo board and some additional technological resources available to students and staff include iPads, netbooks, flip cameras, Mimeo Vote, and more.
As some of children’s earliest and perhaps most influential teachers, we recognize that students’ parents are crucial to our success. We appreciate parents’ involvement in their children’s education and ask parents to contact us whenever they have questions or concerns. Huckleberry Hill Elementary School continuously strives to build a strong academic program and to provide an atmosphere that inspires a love of learning with strong family and community support.
Huckleberry’s PTO brings our parents and families together for activities ranging from volunteering at the book fair, in classrooms, at field day, or in the school’s garden, Huck’s Paw Patch, to opportunities for wonderful family memory-making at our annual Welcome Back to School Meet & Greet, movie and Bingo nights, and so much more. Huckleberry Hill values its partnerships with the PTO and individual parents as well as the larger Brookfield community.
We hope you enjoyed reading and learning about Huckleberry Hill. We are proud of our students and our school! You are always welcome at Huckleberry! I extend my personal best wishes for a wonderful school year.
Mary Rose Dymond, Principal of Huckleberry Hill Elementary School