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Montessori Toddler Head Teacher Ellie Pennell with Paisleigh, Kennedy and Lucas.

BRATTLEBORO >> Sending their children to a private school appears to be out of financial reach for many families across America, but many of those schools offer different forms of aid that puts their classrooms within reach.

Case in point is Hilltop Montessori, which, from a distance appears to be a shining beacon on the hill open only to those of financial means. But Tamara Mount, the head of school at Hilltop Montessori, said her organization offers "flexible tuition," rather than offering scholarships or financial aid.

"As the needs of families have grown over the years, we've tried to be more flexible," she said. "But at the same time education costs, and tuition, continue to rise."

More than 50 percent of the students who attend Hilltop receive some sort of flexible tuition, she said. But every time a student is admitted whose family can't pay the full price of the school's education, money has to come from elsewhere in the school budget. Hilltop Montessori has managed to find a delicate balance between meeting the community's needs and financial solvency.

To help meet the need on a sustainable basis, Hilltop is in the process of establishing an endowment that will help cover the costs of its flexible tuition program. The endowment, which hasn't been named yet, will have its official kickoff on April 23 at 2 p.m. at the Latchis Theatre.


The event features a children's concert by Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, and sponsors include The Richards Group, Brattleboro Subaru, Farnum Insulators, Sovernet, Stevens and Associates, PDSC Law Office and Silver Forest.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and Hilltop is working with the Boys and Girls Club, HCRS, Youth Services and Groundworks Collaborative to offer tickets to families who might not otherwise be able to afford to come to the show. Donors are asked to purchase extra tickets, which will made available through the various agencies.

To purchase tickets, visit