Dear HIlltop Families,
After years of carefully expanding staffing and services, and broadening our support of equity and economic diversity through Indexed Tuition, we find ourselves needing to focus on financial sustainability – and specifically, to plan for some belt tightening around all of our programs for next year. The vast government grants and tax credit programs that we resourced the past few years are presumably a thing of the past. We will be doing all we can to balance our budget and not negatively impact the fulfillment of our mission, but there is one area where some families may feel an impact: a reduction in AfterCare hours for the 2023-24 school year.
We want to provide families with as much advance notice as possible, with the adjustment of Children’s House and Elementary Aftercare ending at 4 p.m., instead of 5 p.m, for the 2023-24 school year. This end time has been in place for the Toddler Program this year, and has enabled us to have the classroom teachers responsible for that hour after school. For the other programs, we have had trouble providing care for the 4-5 hour because of:
- Difficulty finding and keeping qualified, reliable staffing for the end of the day period.
- Inefficiency in needing extra staffing for a part of the day not staffed by the regular teaching staff.
- Inconsistencies between the Montessori part of the day and Aftercare.
These factors, coupled with a low rate of utilization, have made the program quite expensive to sustain without some adjustments. By ending at 4 p.m., our classroom teachers can efficiently and consistently provide this “extended day” supervision for the students.
We realize the hardship that this will present to some families. We also acknowledge the perception that this makes Hilltop less accessible to working families, something that we have worked for years to address. Yet, the reality is that very few families have been enrolled in the 4-5 hour since COVID first started in 2020, when we were entirely unable to offer AfterCare, in part because many families were required to make and have maintained other arrangements. We recognize that this is, in part, because we could not promote or provide a quality, consistent service. We hope to do so again in the future.
We continue to have a posting out for an AfterSchool Director who could help us develop the program into a more vibrant, consistent, reliable, quality offering. We are also looking into a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club and the Rec Center to enable our Elementary students additional offerings past 3 and 4 p.m, in addition to the afterschool programming we already offer. Please consider this an important planning detail for next year, and stay tuned for updates. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to Tamara.