Hilltop Country Day School

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Hilltop Country Day School
32 Lafayette Road
Sparta, NJ
Type Private, coeducational, day school
Motto Each Student, Every Day
Established 1967
Headmaster Peter Gordon
Grades Preschool - 8
Enrollment 135
Accreditation New Jersey Association of Independent Schools

Hilltop Country Day School is an independent, nonsectarian coeducational day school located in Sparta, in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. The school serves students in preschool through eighth grade. The school is divided into an Early Childhood Division (preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten), a Lower school (grades 1-4) and Upper School (grades 5-8). The teaching philosophy is centered on small class sizes that allow individual attention and a flexible curriculum that can be adapted to individual needs. The school is led by Head of School Mr. Peter Gordon and by a Board of Trustees composed of members of the community.

Hilltop Country Day School is an accredited member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

Mission statement[edit]

"Hilltop Country Day School is committed to providing a family-oriented, nurturing, creative, highly educational environment in which children:

  • Discover the excitement of learning;
  • Develop good study habits;
  • Grow in self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • Develop sensitivity and respect for the rights and abilities of others; and
  • Learn to accept responsibility and meet personal challenges."


Since 1972, Hilltop Country Day School has been located in the center of Sparta between Lafayette Road and Sparta Avenue. In 2002, Hilltop completed a 18,500 sq ft (1,720 m2) addition that increased the physical size of the school to 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2). The addition included several new classrooms and a modern art studio, science lab and library and provides a new home for the Upper School and preschool programs.

Hilltop also has an open field available for Physical Education classes, recess and special events.

Student Body and Curriculum[edit]

Hilltop focuses on small classes and a dynamic curriculum as tools in educating students in a wide range of studies. All students attend classes in Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, as well as supplementary classes in Music, Art, Art History, Physical Education and Computer Technology. Hilltop also provides a strong program in World Language, with students having the option of French or Spanish, beginning in preschool. Students in grades 5 will also take one trimester of Mandarin Chinese through the Berlitz Virtual Classroom program. Students in kindergarten through grade 8 will be able to study Mandarin through the Berlitz Program in a new Enrichment Program offering after school.

Early Childhood[edit]

The Early Childhood Division consists of students in preschool-kindergarten. Preschoolers must be 2 1/2 and independently toilet trained to be considered for admission.

Lower School[edit]

The Lower School program consists of students in first grade through fourth grade and prides itself on a challenging curriculum that is designed to develop well-rounded individuals that are prepared for the Upper School.

Upper School[edit]

The Upper School consists of students in the fifth through eighth grade and uses a curriculum integrated with that of the Lower School. The Upper School curriculum distinguishes itself with an emphasis on critical thinking and independent analysis.

In recent years, graduates have attended competitive local high schools including Blair Academy, Newark Academy and the Peddie School, as well as local public high schools.

PEAKS Program[edit]

The PEAKS program pairs younger and older students together to participate together in activities designed to teach students respect for others, teamwork and to smooth the transition between the Lower and Upper Schools. The parings are as follows:

  • Prek-4th grade
  • Kindergarten-5th grade
  • 1st grade-6th grade
  • 2nd grade-7th grade
  • 3rd grade-8th grade

Other programs[edit]

Hilltop also serves the community with several ancillary programs.

Extended Day and Enrichment Programs[edit]

The Extended Day program provides both supervised homework help and Enrichment Program offerings including chess club, karate instruction, a robotics program and Kiddie Soccer.

Summer programs[edit]

Hilltop offers a general Summer Camp for children in preschool through 3rd grade, as well as a number of specialty programs providing education for children in areas including digital photography, cheerleading and science. These take place in July and August and is generally limited to Hilltop students.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°07′09″N 74°42′41″W / 41.11916°N 74.71151°W / 41.11916; -74.71151