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Principal Welcome

Our Principal


Craig Hutt Vater, Principal


Welcome to Mount Holly School!  MHS is an exceptional elementary school balancing creativity and academic rigor.  Each student is viewed as a unique individual with the potential to achieve excellence.  The staff are extraordinary in both skill and dedication.  The entire community provides remarkable support and involvement in the life of the school.

At age three, we offer a two year universal Preschool.  This high quality, play-based program gets students off to a strong start and ensures that every student is ready for Kindergarten.  Beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through grade 6,  all students participate in robust extracurricular offerings.  Every student takes French and participates in a six week theater intensive that culminates in a community performance.  Each class elects two students to serve as representatives to our Student Council.  We have weekly meetings that are entirely student run utilizing Robert's Rules of Order.  In addition to daily classroom meetings following the Responsive Classroom principles, we also have weekly all school meetings that are facilitated by students.  At the start of each year, the sixth graders model how to facilitate and each week the next youngest class takes a turn.  It is truly remarkable to see the four year olds facilitate our all school meeting a couple of months into the school year.  Students also attend and participate in our Parent Teacher Student Association meetings as well as periodic School Board meetings.  Art, music and physical education are integrated throughout the program including weekly Yoga classes for all students and our Winter Sports program at Okemo Mountain includes downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing.

Academic rigor is infused in everything we do.  Students are challenged to do their best and produce high quality work.  Students are organized in instructional groups that are conducive to targeted instruction and differentiated learning.  Teams of teachers work together to gather and analyze vital assessment data.  Based on multiple measures, instruction is modified to meet students where they are and interventions are planned to keep each student moving towards grade level expectations. Students who are at or above grade level standards are challenged to continue their academic progress to levels of distinction.  While we utilize multiple assessment tools, we also recognize the importance of state measures in evaluating our students' success.  For the past decade our students have exceeded

Ice Bucket Challenge September 2014

 the state averages for the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) exams by significant margins in all academic disciplines.  The state of Vermont also recognized our school as one of a very few in the state whose students are at grade level proficiency or above despite facing the significant challenges of poverty.  We also take pride in the fact that we have had a number of students with learning disabilities test out of special education Individual Learning Plans (IEP's) validating our fervent belief that all students can learn.

Mount Holly School is truly a special place for children and adults.  Our Farm to School/Seeds to Supper initiative emphasizes the importance of gardening, local farming, culinary arts and nutrition education.  Our mentoring program brings in local volunteers on a weekly basis to support over 20% of our students.  Each year over 100 volunteers are recognized at our end the year barbecue.  The collaboration and teamwork of students, staff, parents and community members is the key to our success.  Know that you are welcome to join in this exceptional learning community.

Craig Hutt Vater
Principal, Mount Holly School