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In move to Easthampton, Hilltown Charter to increase enrollment, from 175 to 218



Monday, January 27, 2014
WILLIAMSBURG — As Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School prepares to move from Williamsburg to new, larger, quarters in Easthampton, administrators say the school will also expand the number of students in grades 6 through 8.

Over the next three years in its new home at 1 Industrial Parkway in Easthampton, Hilltown Cooperative plans to increase its enrollment from 175 students to 218.

“This is the first time in a long time that we will be taking in a significant number of kids in the 6th grade with openings in the 7th and 8th grades as well,” Education Coordinator Dan Klatz said. He noted that the school normally fills classrooms in the older grades through attrition, when students leave the school.

Klatz said the school now has 20 sixth graders, but for next year, there are 10 new openings to boost that class enrollment to 30.

“As those 30 students move up, the size of the (combined) 6th, 7th and 8th grades will go from 60 to 90 students,” he said.

At present, 175 students from kindergarten to 8th grade are enrolled at the Hilltown school, in its longtime home in the Brassworks building on Route 9 in Haydenville.

“Part of the whole moving plan is to accommodate more students,” Klatz said. “We do have a cap at 218 students however, and we have three years to reach that number.”

Applications to attend the Hilltown Charter School are available at the school or from the school’s web page at www.hilltowncharter.org.

Applications must be returned to the school before the Feb. 4 admissions lottery. Meanwhile, school officials say that the school’s move to Easthampton will take place in July. The new quarters are in a 25,000-square-foot building, roughly 6,000 square feet larger than the school’s current quarters.

“We think the larger building will be better for the kids both socially and academically,” Klatz said. “The most significant difference will be that the school will not be a shared space with other entities. It makes much more sense for a school to be its own entity.”

The Brassworks has housed Hilltown Cooperative since it first opened in 1993.

“The move is bittersweet,” Klatz said. “The Brassworks building was flawed, but it has been our home.”