The Hopkins School Hawk Squawk

Principal's Update - 9/25/22

Hopkins' Opening Ceremonies 2022-2023!

Updates from the Hopkins' Office

Dear Hopkins' Community,

Just over a week ago, Hopkins' students and staff celebrated with grade level "Opening Ceremonies" for the 2022-2023 school year. This was the first time we were able to gather this way since the fall of 2019! We opened our meeting with a processional march- students entered the gym as a National Park Team. Watching our students, dressed in their green, white and orange, parade in smiling, to the Olympic music by John Williams was quite a picture! Next, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Star Spangled Banner. Once assembled, we had a parade of our National Park Team banners that were created by student leaders several years ago and hang in each team hallway.

Morning Meetings are an important piece of the Responsive Classroom school environment. Whole School (or grade level) Meetings follow much of the same format, but on a larger scale. Following the opening, we greeted each other and shared expectations for a successful school year focused on community building. We practiced our "Give Me Five" routine and after a greeting, we discussed our Core Values, CARES cards and the Principal's Cabinet program. We ended our opening with an inspiring music video of teachers and staff completing a "Goosechase" (check it out below!) - demonstrating their commitment to having fun here at Hopkins! After several years of not being able to join together as a school community, these opening ceremonies were especially heartwarming! Students did a FANTASTIC job demonstrating good listening skills, self-control and respect for our Principal's Cabinet speakers and principal!

It is clear that community-building is in full-swing at Hopkins School! Students are settling into the routines of Hopkins, but this is also the time when teachers and staff are tasked with reinforcing expectations, especially as the academic load rises and the September "honeymoon" period ends. It is important for us all to remember that this is a normal phase of each school year. It is a careful balancing act as we continue to build relationships with students, but also remind them about CARES (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control) values that allow our school to run smoothly and safely for everyone. That being said, we have found time for laughter, fun, and even some music in the gym during arrival!

Teachers, staff and Principal's Cabinet members from Leadership and Effort from last June have begun to roll out "CARES Cards" program, in order to encourage and reinforce these values. Tuesday, we will draw cards from each of the National Park Team's fishbowl and students selected will receive a homework pass, as well as a token to "buy" a new book from the school's book vending machine! Teachers are also busy looking for students exhibiting the Core Value of Helpfulness, for our first Principal's Cabinet of this school year. It is one way that I get to know some of our 645+ students better! These students will take on a variety of leadership roles in our building over the next month, once announced on Friday. I look forward to sharing more about this program in coming blogs!

As usual, there's a LOT going on at Hopkins- Nature's Classroom is coming in this Tuesday and Wednesday to do science and team building activities with our 5th grade students, thanks to our partnership with the HPTO. Please make sure that your child dresses appropriately - these are outside rain or shine! Teachers are wrapping up academic assessments of students, which help us figure out where students are - and plan for their year. As you saw from the letter that went out this morning, we are also implementing a social-emotional development assessment tool this year at Hopkins that will support our focus on planning, implementing, and evaluating preventative strategies to promote social and emotional mental health in all children, through a developmentally appropriate survey created by the Partnership for Education and Resilience, Inc. (PEAR). We are excited to have this opportunity to gain valuable insights into our students' social-emotional needs. We also have our annual Picture Day in a week - fliers for both these events are below. 5th grade instrument ensembles start this week, as well, and listening to all of these beginning instrument players certainly makes my heart happy!

You will also note in the Upcoming Dates section below that our Understanding Our Differences enrichment units also begin soon- this is an opportunity for interested families to support learning at Hopkins. Please reach out if you are interested in supporting our efforts as a volunteer for these programs. You can email me at The Understanding Our Differences program is just one more way, like Principal's Cabinet and our CARES cards program, that we live our motto, "There's Only One You," here at Hopkins School!


Vanessa Bilello

Principal, Hopkins School

Picture Day is Coming to Hopkins- Thursday, October 6th

Big picture
Big picture

Important Hopkins School Dates

Please contact us if you have any questions on events listed below!

    • Monday, September 26th - NO SCHOOL

    • September 27th and 28th - Grade 5 Enrichment (thank you HPTO!): Nature's Classroom at Hopkins School

    • Friday, September 30th- 10:30-11:00 AM - Coffee & Conversation with the Principals - Parents/Guardians of Hopkins' students are invited to join Mrs. Bilello & Mr. Cotter via Zoom to ask questions and + learn more about Hopkins School. RSVP for this event.

    • Wednesday, October 5th - NO SCHOOL

    • Thursday, October 6th - Hopkins' Picture Day (information coming soon to families - see pdf above)

    • Monday, October 10th - NO SCHOOL

    • Thursday, October 13th - Hopkins' School Council

    • Friday, October 14th - 1PM Early Release (Lunch is served)

    • Week of October 18-21st - Understanding our Differences Gr. 4: Intellectual Disabilities (adults interested in volunteering can reach out to

    • Monday, October 24th - NO SCHOOL

    • Week of October 24th- Understanding our Differences Gr. 5: Autism (adults interested in volunteering can reach out to

    • Week of October 24th- Be Fearless, Be Proud SPIRIT WEEK (sponsored by Principal's Cabinet)

    • Friday, November 4th - 1PM Early Release (Lunch is served)

    • Tuesday, November 8th - NO SCHOOL

    • Thursday, November 10th - Hopkins' Veterans Assembly (if you have a local family member who is a veteran of the US Armed Forces and would like to attend this assembly, please reach out to

    • Friday, November 11th - NO SCHOOL

Hopkins' Staff 2022 Goosechase

HPTO Updates

Hopkins and Hopkinton Spiritwear Store: Now open! Get your Hopkins’ gear just in time for fall! Click here to order!

HPTO Extracurricular Activities: Fall Session Begins Week of October 3!

  • All Classes Begin: Week of October 3, 2022All inquiries please email or text:
  • Contact Pooja Shrivastava 732.476.4105 (Call or SMS Text) with questions

Recess at Hopkins

Social Emotional Learning Resources

How to Raise Successful Kids -- Without Over-Parenting | Julie Lythcott-Haims | TED


Arrival/Dismissal Routines at Hopkins School

What are school drop-off/pick up procedures?


If your child will be taking the school bus, you can access bus route information on the school district website. Hopkins will be sharing busses this year with Marathon. We encourage a 10-15 minute window at the beginning of the year, as route times are approximations. Be respectful of the time, as those not prepared will delay the route for all. For the dismissal route, again, please allow a 10-15 minute window of time. Route times are approximate, not exact. If your child loses their bus pass, please contact Transportation to order a new one (cost is $10). Drivers will accommodate students while the await a new card.

Front of School Drop Off/Pick Up: Students being dropped off at the building can arrive starting at 8:35 AM, when supervision will begin in the front of school, for walkers/bikers and parent drop-offs (see map below). This is considered a “live drop-off,” meaning drivers must remain in their cars during drop-off time. Have your child seated in the back on the passenger side of the car and please say your goodbyes quickly, as others are waiting to drop off their children. This side will be closest to the curb when you pull up in front of the school, and will allow for the safest drop-off. The tardy bell is now at 8:55 AM. Students do go up to classrooms by 8:45 to unpack at lockers and get organized for the day. Families are encouraged to drop off by 8:45, as it allows students plenty of time to settle in each morning.

School dismisses promptly at 3:15 PM - parent pick up follows the same route as morning drop-off. It is necessary to stay in your vehicle when in the dismissal line- having your child's name printed in the dashboard is helpful and showing ID is required. This also applies to all after-school enrichment programs, unless the instructor has arranged with families to meet at another location outside our building. This is not applicable for the YMCA Afterschool Care, which has their own dismissal protocols.

Because we have so many buses picking up and dropping off at Hopkins all at once, we will continue using the ‘access road’ to queue waiting buses. That access road exits with a right turn next to the entrance into the front driveway/parking of Hopkins. If you are in the line of cars dropping off or picking up students, please do not block the access road so buses can exit.

Dismissal/Transportation Changes for Students:

It is critical to your child and our staff at Hopkins that we know your child’s dismissal routines, or, if there is a change to transportation at the end of the day. Any dismissal changes also need to comply with our District’s Transportation policies. To make changes to a dismissal, please use the form on the district website.

It is also important for your child to know their dismissal plans each day, especially if they have different routines on different days of the week. Children are sometimes confused or forget about the days of the week. Kids can also be on “auto-pilot” at the end of each day and not think about where they are supposed to go. If your child has different plans on different days, please review with your child their schedule and routine.

Other FAQ

What are school office hours?

Our school office hours are 8:00-4:00. There is no supervision prior to 8:35 AM. At 4:00 PM, the office closes and families will not be able to gain access to Hopkins.

How do I dismiss my child early from Hopkins - or different than their normal daily plan?

Families changing dismissal must complete the Hopkins' Dismissal Form. It can be found on our school webpage, as well.

What do I if my child is going to be absent?

Contact our absence line at (508) 435-0312.

What about lunch?

FREE MEALS FOR ALL STUDENTS: Free meals are available to all students once again this year, due to MA state funding. No documentation/application is needed to receive these benefits. Only complete, reimbursable meals are eligible (1 meal, with milk, per lunch period). Snacks, single milks, water, seltzers, double meals, etc. are NOT FREE and will be charged accordingly. Students are required to pick their option (hot, vegetarian, cold) at 9AM each morning and no changes are allowed to their orders during lunch.

Access elementary school lunch menus here. Additional lunch is available for $3.00 ($.75 for milk). Online payments can be made through the HPS website, or with a check. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch. As a reminder, Hopkins students do have lunch on Early Release Days, but not on Early Dismissal Days. Please check the school calendar on the website for details.

What about lockers?

Hopkins School students will be using lockers for storage of their coats, backpacks and lunches only. Hopkins does not permit students to lock their lockers. As a reminder, Hopkins School is not responsible for lost or stolen valuables. Students are asked to keep such items at home.

Other Key Info?

Be sure that you and your family review our HPS Elementary School Handbook prior to the start of the school year- all families are required to sign off that it has been reviewed each year.

How can I get involved?

Families are encouraged to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the HPTO (Parent-Teacher Organization), SEPAC & ELPAC (Special Education/English Learner Parent Advisory Councils), as well as HEF (Hopkinton Education Foundation). These are all great ways to become part of our community at Hopkins- and are extremely important supporters of our schools in Hopkinton! You can find links to these organizations at the bottom of this newsletter or from our website. Many of these volunteer-run organizations will be at our Curriculum Nights for families to learn more.

Hopkinton Parent-Teacher Organization

The Hopkinton Parent-Teacher Association (HPTO) provides students at our elementary schools with a variety of enrichment programs during the school year to enhance and support classroom instruction. THE HPTO organizes parents/guardians to volunteer at Hopkins - whether you are available weekly or for special events. The HPTO counts on your membership to support activities in the schools that are enjoyed by all. For more information, please visit the HPTO website.


As a reminder, any volunteers do need to have an up-to-date CORI on file in the office. Check with the office for details. Volunteer opportunities are frequently coordinated through our HPTO.

Security Reminders

Drop-off Window:

In an effort to minimize disruptions, drop off hours for forgotten lunches, instruments, and other items occur between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM at Hopkins School. Please do not bring forgotten homework to school. To drop-off items, you will be buzzed into our main entrance exterior door, and a table will be located in the vestibule. Please leave the clearly-labeled items on the table. We no longer allow visitors into the main section of the building to drop-off forgotten items. Our staff will call students down to the Main Office to pick up these items at approximately 11:00.

School Doors:

Just a reminder that we ask for everyone’s support to prevent ‘tailgating.’ While holding the door open for others is a polite thing to do, it can be a security risk in our schools. Please do not hold the door open for others; we kindly ask that all visitors pass through our buzz-in system at the main entrance to the school.

Quick Links

Hopkins School Website

Click here to visit our school website.

The Hopkins Experience

Click here to watch and learn more about Hopkins School from Principal's Cabinet members, Mrs. Bilello and Ms. Babson, our previous AP (created last summer, but filled with footage from around Hopkins!)

Hopkinton Family Support Organizations

Only One You at Hopkins School 2022


Our school website has static information, but it is also updated with current news, photos and bulletins. Every other week, you can expect a school-wide update from the Principal’s Office, the Hawk Squawk. This is distributed to families via email and can also be found on the school’s webpage. You can also follow us on Twitter: @hopkinsschool, Instagram (hopkins_elementary), and Facebook (HopkinsElementarySchool). Ms. Babson sends out the Hopkins Herald newsletter every other month. This includes articles written by staff and students at Hopkins, as well as many pictures from our hallways.

In addition to the above school-wide methods, please communicate openly with your child’s teacher(s). Each teacher has an email address and voice mailbox. Many also utilize a website and/or Twitter to share news. You can find their contact information on our school website or you can call (508)-497-9824 to reach teachers’ voicemail.

More Fun w/ Hopkins' Staff!
Hopkins Educators Perform at the 5th Grade Talent