The Hopkins School Hawk Squawk

Principal's Mid-August Update - 8/15/21

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August Updates from the Hopkins' Office

Dear Hopkins Families,

As summer begins to wind down, I hope yours has been filled with memory-building opportunities and lots of joy! Between strange weather patterns and the Delta variant of COVID-19, it has perhaps been a different summer than anticipated. The Bilello family has enjoyed a quieter pace than then the previous 18 months; however, with a rising sophomore and senior, an active 2 year old goldendoodle and the New England Revolution dominating in first place in MLS, the pace isn't quite as slow as I might have liked! However, taking time to breathe, reflect and refocus has been most appreciated.

This weekend, my 15 year old asked me to bring her to Staples for a new graphing calculator and my 17 year old reminded me it was time for back to school clothes shopping. After the shock of them asking to leave the house before noon wore off, I recognized that we really have entered the "Sunday afternoon" of a school year! The lazy days of July are behind us and we know that students and families are starting to think about school supplies and class lists- so are your teachers and principal!

This summer edition of the Hawk Squawk is chock-full of information for our school community. Every two weeks, you can anticipate a "Hawk Squawk," that will provide your family with a principal's update, important dates and reminders on key events. We will have one more "Back to School Edition," prior to our start on September 1st. There is always a social-emotional learning section full of resources to explore. Frequently, the Hawk Squawk will include photos and videos from school. Finally, at the bottom of each edition, families can find links to our social media accounts, our website and other key information. In this way, we hope to keep families informed on all the happenings of a busy school of 630 4th and 5th graders! This August edition should provide a key resource for your family as we begin our year together.

Classroom teacher assignments will be shared, via email, this coming week, on Wednesday, August 18th. Teacher letters to students will be emailed out at that time. As a reminder, the class placement process is incredibly complex when involving 300+ students at a grade level, so we are unable to make any roster changes at this time. Families were offered the opportunity to share specific information last April and the "domino" impact of any change prevents any requests in August. Families looking for Grade Level Supply Lists can check out the link below and for district information, including transportation updates, please check out our school & district website.

As we prepare for the start of the school year, there are many opportunities to learn more about the Hopkins' community, staff, and curriculum. For our incoming 4th grade families, I've provided a link below for a webinar hosted by Ms. Babson and me, scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday evening, as mentioned in my previous email communication (linked for reference, below). This webinar is an opportunity to review highlights of 4th grade at Hopkins- what makes it special and what your child can anticipate as they start their Hopkins' experience. All families will have the opportunity to learn more about curriculum highlights from your child's teachers during our annual Curriculum Nights - please make sure you put these September nights on your calendar now. Format for these evenings will be shared out soon.

For students wishing to put names to faces, we've put together a "Who's Who at Hopkins School," which we hope will help students and families put faces to names of various staff members - and alleviate some of the first day "jitters" students may be feeling. For those hoping to catch a sneak peak of their National Park team hallway before school starts, there are several opportunities coming soon! Check out the calendar section below for the dates/times. For those visiting Hopkins prior to the start of school, please know there is a roofing project underway, impacting the front parking lot/office/main lobby. Please read signs/email updates for parking and entrance information.

Ms. Babson and I look forward to meeting with interested students and a parent/caregiver during our casual “Popsicles with the Principals.” Feel free to enjoy a snack at our gazebo or play on the playground. Principal's Cabinet Members, Ms. Babson and I will join students to chat about summer and discuss the upcoming school year. This is a great opportunity for students to ask us questions and review some of the routines for 4th and 5th grade. Please be sure to reserve a spot if you are planning on attending one of these “meet and greet” dates, as they are an RSVP-only event for Hopkins students.

If you can't make it to one of the above events, we will also be holding our Annual Hopkins’ Open House later this month. All Hopkins’ students are welcome to participate, with an adult, in a self-guided, scavenger hunt-style tour of Hopkins at this time. While classrooms will not be open and teachers are not available, Principal's Cabinet Members, Ms. Babson and I will point you towards key spots in the building. This event is drop-in style and there is no sign-up needed. It is a good way to build enthusiasm for the upcoming school year as students get a “sneak peek” and visit their new National Park Team’s hallway and navigate their way around the school. Please ensure that anyone visiting inside the building this summer wears a mask.

Please enjoy these last days of summer. I hope all of this information helps in connecting our school and your family, and allows us to work together successfully.


Vanessa Bilello

Principal, Hopkins School

The Hopkins Experience

Click here to watch and learn more about Hopkins School from Principal's Cabinet members, Mrs. Bilello and Ms. Babson

Incoming 4th Grade Parent/Guardian Webinar

Wednesday, Aug. 18th, 7-8pm

Virtual - Webinar Via Zoom

When: Aug 18, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: 4th Grade Incoming Parent/Guardian Webinar

This webinar is an opportunity for incoming families to learn more about the 4th grade experience at Hopkins School from Mrs. Vanessa Bilello (principal) and Ms. Julie Babson (assistant principal). There will be a brief Q&A period after their presentation.Topics that remain under the purview of HPS Central Office and School Committee (such as masking) are not the focus of this webinar. Families requiring information communicated in this webinar translated are asked to reach out to for assistance.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: 426691

Or One tap mobile :

US: +16465588656,,87992895382#,,,,*426691# or +13017158592,,87992895382#,,,,*426691#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 879 9289 5382

Passcode: 426691

International numbers available:

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Important Beginning of Year Dates


Please contact us if you have any questions on events listed below! For those visiting Hopkins prior to the start of school, please know there is a roofing project currently underway impacting the front parking lot/office/main lobby. Please read signs/updates for parking and entrance information.

  • Wednesday, August 18th- Placement Letters emailed to HPS Elementary families
  • Wednesday, August 18th- Incoming 4th Grade Family Webinar with Mrs. Bilello & Ms. Babson - An opportunity for incoming 4th grade families to listen and learn about the 4th grade experience. See above for webinar link.
  • Thursday, August 19th - 2:00-2:30 PM - Popsicles with the Hopkins' Principals- Optional & RSVP required: RSVP for this event
  • Wednesday, August 25th - 1:30-2:00 PM - Popsicles with the Hopkins' Principals- Optional & RSVP required: RSVP for this event
  • Thursday, August 26th - 11:30 AM-12:30PM - New to HPS student event w/ Hopkins’ counselors, Mrs. McCorvey & Mrs. Chevalier- This event is by invitation only for 4th and 5th graders new to HPS. Parent/guardians are welcome to join Mrs. Bilello and Ms. Babson while students meet with our counselors.
  • Thursday, August 26th - 2:00-3:00 PM - Annual Hopkins’ Open House - All Hopkins’ students are welcome to participate with their families in a self-guided tour of Hopkins. Classrooms will not be open and teachers are not on-site. This event is optional and drop-in style: there is no sign-up needed.
  • Friday, August 27th - 10:30-11:00 AM - Popsicles with the Hopkins' Principals- Optional & RSVP required: RSVP for this event
  • Monday, August 30th and Tuesday, August 31st from 9-11 AM & 12:30-2:00 PM- Medication Drop Off- Hopkins' Nurse, Ms. Caruso, is available for meeting families and medication drop-off, in the Hopkins' office
  • Wednesday, September 1st - First Day of School!!!
  • Friday, September 3rd - No School
  • Monday & Tuesday, September 6th & 7th- No School
  • Monday, September 13th - 6:30-8:00 - Gr. 5 Curriculum Night - More information on format for this year’s parent information “Back to School” events to be shared out soon
  • Tuesday, September 14th - 6:30-8:00 - Gr. 4 Curriculum Night - More info coming soon!
  • Wednesday, September 15th - 3:15-6:00 PM Gr. 5 Instrument Rental - for Gr. 5 students enrolling in music instrument ensembles (more info coming from Music Dept.)
  • Thursday, September 16th - No School
  • Friday, September 17th - Early Release @ 1PM (Lunch Served)
  • Friday, September 17th- 10:30-11:00 AM - Coffee & Conversation with the Principal - Parents/Guardians of Hopkins' students are welcome to join Mrs. Bilello via Zoom to ask questions and learn more about Hopkins School. RSVP for this event.
  • Monday, September 27th - Hopkins' Picture Day
Hopkins School Website

Click here to visit our school website.

Beginning of Year- Key Info

All information below can also be found on the Hopkins' website.

Where does my child report on Day 1?

We will be sharing specific information in the "Back to School Edition" of the Hawk Squawk. We recognize that many students may be anxious - please know there are MANY adults to assist students! If you have special concerns, reach out to the office. The best thing families can do to help is ensure that their child knows their homeroom teacher's name (including reading it!). Reviewing key names/faces in the "Who's Who" (shared above) is also VERY helpful!

What are school drop-off/pick up procedures?

Bus routes will be posted through the HPS transportation department website. Students being dropped off at the building should arrive at 8:45 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 at 9:00 AM.

School dismisses promptly at 3:15 PM and 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 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.

What are school office hours?

Our school office hours are 8:00-4:00. There is no supervision prior to 8:45 AM. At 4:00, 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 until 6/30/22, due to a grant from the USDA. No documentation/application is needed to receive these benefits. Only complete, reimbursable meals are eligible (1 meal/student/meal period). Snacks, single milks, water, seltzers, double meals, etc. are NOT FREE and will be charged accordingly.

Access elementary school lunch menus here. Additional lunch is available for $2.75 ($.60 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.

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.

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.

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.

Social Emotional Learning Resources

Back-to-School Tips for Parents From Kids
Kids Who Risk Their Lives Going To School
WATCH: Indiana kids sing 'We Are The World'

Quick Links


Arrival/Dismissal Routines at Hopkins School


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 recommend that you be at bus stops somewhat earlier than the printed times for the first week or so, until the buses have a chance to fully establish their routines. 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.

Parent Drop-Off and Pick-up Procedures:

For those of you not familiar with our process, please check out the map below, which can also be found on our website. Drop-offs in the morning start at 8:45. Please know that if you drop off your child prior to 8:45, we are unable to provide supervision or entry to the building. Therefore, we ask you aim for as close to 8:45 as possible. Our tardy bell rings at 9:00. The pick-up line will begin dismissing students promptly at 3:15. Be prepared with ID for all parent pick-ups at the end of each day.

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.


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' Staff 2019 Goosechase
Hopkins Educators Perform at the 5th Grade Talent