PHT Paws-itively News

March 7th, 2022

Principal's Thoughts

Dear Page Hilltop Families:

At this time you should all be aware of the change in school mandates regarding the wearing of masks in school, effective this past Friday. The decision as to whether or not you want your child to wear a mask in school is totally up to parents. As we move forward I am fairly confident that we will have some students & staff wearing masks while others may not. There may be changes from day to day or during different parts of the school day.

We are an all-inclusive school and we will continue to support all of our students and families with their decisions in this matter. There will always be masks available in classrooms, the cafeteria & at school entrances. Students are welcome to help themselves to a mask at any time.

We have recently installed several more water-filling stations throughout the school, the latest of which was installed in the cafeteria over vacation. Students are encouraged to bring their water bottles to school every day and will have opportunities to refill them during the day. If your child needs a new water bottle, please send them to the office and we will provide one, at no cost.

Thanks, as always, for sharing your children with us!

Fred Deppe, Principal

Matt Lutinski, Assistant Principal


  • March 9th -- Early Release @ 1:45
  • March 16th -- Half Day Dismissal @ 12:15
  • March 17th -- St. Patrick's Day -- Wear your green!
  • March 21st -- First Day of Spring -- Wear your spring colors!
  • March 31st -- 1/2 Day (Preschool - 5) for PTC Dismissal @ 12:15


Moving forward, students will have the option to sign up for a bagged lunch on half-days. Lunch is not served at school on half-days. Parents/Guardians should expect to see a sign-up form via email to participate in the bagged lunch program on half-days. Please be on the lookout for the email in the coming days for our first half-day of the month scheduled on Wednesday, March 16th.


Postural (scoliosis) screening is one of the State’s mandated health screenings for 5th-grade students. This screening is to check for deviation of the normal curve of the spine. We have scheduled this for all 5th-grade students during the week of March 21-25, while in gym class.

If you are opting out of having your child screened for scoliosis, you must fill out this form or send an email expressing your desire to opt-out to Nurse Ashleigh Barter (


All students and staff are encouraged to participate in the following spirit days to be held this month:

Thursday, March 17th - St. Patrick's Day

Dress like a leprechaun OR just wear lots of GREEN!

Monday, March 21st - Welcome to Spring Day

Wear lots of bright sunshine-y colors. Wear clothing with butterflies, birds, ladybugs and other "signs of spring". Wear your favorite spring hat.


Page Hilltop is looking for people interesting in providing coverage for classroom teachers and paraprofessionals (on an interim substitute basis). Interested applicants must submit a copy of this application. Applicants, if hired, will need to complete a CORI in the main office and also be fingerprinted. Please email Fred Deppe, at if you have any questions.

Current Employment Opportunities can be found on SchoolSpring -- CLICK HERE


Our Community Reader Day was a great success held on Friday, March 4th. At around 9:00, students from each classroom came up to the library to meet their Community Reader. We had many different representatives from throughout our two communities of Ayer and Shirley. Thank you to all of our Community Readers for your commitment to our students and for showing them that literacy is a part of every job they will encounter.

Special "Thank You" to the following...

  • ASRSD Admin -- Dr. Adam Renda, Mr. Charlie Caliri, Mrs. Beth Lewis, Mrs. Courtney Noll, Dr. Miriam Meyers, Mrs. Mary Beth Hamel, Mrs. Tara Bozek, Nurse Rene Paine, Ms. Larainne Wilson
  • ASRSD Teaching Staff -- Mr. Nick Forrest, Nurse Ashleigh Barter, Mrs. Pat Russell, Nurse Tina Huff, Mrs. Leah Carter
  • APD -- Chief Brian Gill and his staff
  • AFD -- Deputy Chief Jeremy Januskiewicz and his staff
  • Ayer Public Library -- Amy Leonard
  • Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce -- Melissa Fetterhoff
  • J&S Business Products -- Jose Banchs
  • Little Bee Bookshop -- Debra Rivera
  • Ayer Shirley Rotary Club -- Lehel Reeves
  • Keystone Academy -- Megan Ritter
  • Ayer Business Owner -- David Berry
  • Ayer Town Clerk -- Susan Copeland
  • BAE Systems / First Robotics-- Chris Miska


Mrs. Crutchfield's Class: On Wednesday, March 2nd Mrs. Crutchfield's class celebrated Wacky Wednesday. We read the story Wacky Wednesday to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. In this story, a boy wakes up to find a shoe on his wall and another one stuck to the ceiling. The wacky things don’t stop there! He finds several wacky things in his yard and at school. After reading the story, the students went on a hunt for wacky things in our classroom. Some wacky favorites were the palm tree and giant panther in our classroom!


In promoting World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 we are asking our families the following...

What does inclusion mean?

Please use the Google Form below to share what inclusion means to you and your family!


Preschool and Kindergarten registration is now open for the 2022 - 2023 school year. Check out our website -- CLICK HERE

Preschool Registration Slide Deck -- CLICK HERE

Preschool Registration Packet -- CLICK HERE

Kindergarten Registration Slide Deck -- CLICK HERE

Kindergarten Registration Packet -- CLICK HERE


We are currently reviewing various options for school activities/events that we may be able to host at Page Hilltop. The recent change in policies relative to mask-wearing will obviously have an effect on what we can do. However we also still need to consider social distancing and health factors. We invite our parents to be involved in two different ways:

  1. Talk with your children and provide us with any feedback on what special school events they have missed the most these past couple of years. What would they really like to be able to participate in this spring? You may email Mr. Deppe with your family's ideas or send him a note.
  2. In preparation for the possibility that you may be asked to be a volunteer for a school event or trip, you will need to have a current CORI on file. CORIs are valid for three years. If you are unsure as to your CORI status, you may call our school office and they can check for you.

To submit a CORI only takes about 10 minutes. You may stop by the school office, any day between 9:00 - 2:00, to complete the application. Please bring your driver's license with you.


As we continue with the initial planning for any of the school events/activities/trips that we may be able to involve our students in, one of the key factors that must be considered is cost factors.

We are all aware that costs have been rising, in all areas of business, these past two years. One area that is facing challenges is school transportation, especially when it comes to a potential field trip vs lack of bus drivers available. The admission costs, for various venues, is also on the rise.

These past couple of years have been extremely stressful and challenging for all of our students. We are determined to provide them with some positive memories as they finish out this school year.

For those of you who are new to the Page Hilltop community, I want to reassure you that we have never allowed any student to miss out on a school event and/or trip due to a family's inability to cover any related costs. The Page Hilltop School community ALWAYS takes care of our family members.

Our PTO has always been very supportive of our school and will continue to do so. However, their funding may be slightly more limited than in past years, due to a cutback in fund-raising opportunities the past two years.

IDEA FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: If you could check with your employer (HR or Community Affairs Department) and ask them if they have any special donation accounts that may be used to help support school events. There are some businesses that do this and I figured it doesn't hurt to ask.


All 4th & 5th-grade members of our PAWS POWER group are reminded that our next meeting is on Monday (March 7th). Meet Mr. Deppe in the LIBRARY at dismissal. Parents should plan to pick you up at the Page Hilltop School entrance (4:30). Bring your snacks. Remember to wear your t-shirts on Monday.


Third graders Lacey & Hannah would like to remind everyone that we should work together to keep our school, our community, and our world clean and beautiful. These two thoughtful & caring students recently went about the school hanging up posters that they had made themselves. Well done, girls!


Our PTO is in the process of gathering information regarding various summer camps throughout the local area. We are not promoting any one camp over the other. This is just a service that our school and PTO group want to be able to provide, in case you are looking for a camp to send your children to. This list will be sent home in the near future.


To opt into this new testing program use the link to this Google Form -- CLICK HERE

Testing kits will be sent home with students every other Tuesday. Students will need to test at home by 6:30 pm every Tuesday and report positive cases only using the QR code to the Google Form provided with testing kits.


Looking for something beneficial that your child can work on at home to continue their learning? Students, in grades K-2, have access to Lexia and can log in at home if they are looking for something to work on to improve their literacy skills. All students K-5 can also work on math lessons on Zearn.

Please find the links to these online tools below...

Students should have their usernames and passwords written down in their folders. If not, please email your child's teacher for this information.


All parents of 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade students should have received a copy of the spring MCAS testing dates. We ask that you do your best to avoid scheduling any appointments on those dates. If, for any reason, you did not see this notice, please contact the school office at ext. 1401.


  • Grade 5: April 5 & 6
  • Grade 4: April 11 & 12
  • Grade 3: April 25 & 26


  • Grade 4: May 9 & 10
  • Grade 5: May 16 & 17
  • Grade 3: May 18 & 19

STE MCAS (5th-Grade Only)

  • Grade 5: May 24 & 25


NEXT PTO MEETING: Thursday, April @ 7:00 PM via ZOOM

PTO Website -- LINK

PTO Facebook Page -- Link

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Create a FREE SMILE ACCOUNT and link it to Page Hilltop.

Share with family and friends so they can help support PH too!

YES, Page Hilltop can still earn with Box Tops!
Here is a video on how to Scan with the Box Tops Mobile App YOUTUBE BOXTOP

The PHT PTO scrip program is a simple and effective fundraising program.
Please email Amanda Lewis at with any questions regarding the Scrip Program.
Go to: and click Join Your Existing Program
1. Enter the Enrollment Code: 298736BL13535
Complete the Family Registration page
3. Start Shopping!