Early childhood and elementary education provide an essential opportunity to build a strong and lasting foundation. Our attention, our efforts, and our resources are focused solely on the needs of children and their early education.” Virginia Connor, Head of School
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s is a school for children. We welcome boys and girls as young as 2 for our early childhood and elementary programs.
Our students graduate from eighth grade academically prepared, physically confident, and morally centered people of conscience and character. Our graduates are poised to use their inherent gifts and the benefits of their education to create a more just, equitable, and productive world.
As an elementary school, our focus on the preschool through middle school years allows us to celebrate and protect the unique joys of this foundational time in a child's life. Our excellent faculty engage our students’ innate curiosity, nurture each child's unique abilities, and challenge all to fulfill their potential, thus providing a sound and lasting intellectual, physical, and spiritual formation.
Continuing the visionary mission of our founder, we pride ourselves on cultivating a diverse school community that is strong in knowledge, in spirit, and in love of self and others.
Inside St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's
Come through our front doors to get a glimpse of our school community in action and see what a typical day is like for students at St Hilda's & St. Hugh's.
Robotics with Pratt Institute
Watch as our fourth graders combine math and art skills learned at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's while using the city's largest industrial robot at The Consortium in Brooklyn, NY.
- Annual Fund
- Christmas Pageant
- Curriculum Night
- DEIL - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Team
- ERB Tests
- Family Festival
- Food Chain
- Food Service - Lunch and Snacks
- Formal Dress
- Holidays and Celebrations
- Lost and Found
- Math Bowl
- Parents’ Association (PA)
- PA Holiday Party
- PA Hoopla
- PA Tree and Greenery Sale
- Parent Conferences
- P.E. Show
- School Store
- SEED - Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity
- Specials and Specialists
- Special Visitors Day
- Spring Production
- Student Art Show
- Student Council
- Upper Division Field Day
- Weekly Update
The St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Fund is the school’s annual giving program. It provides resources far beyond what tuition dollars alone can offer to enrich the learning experience of each student. From field trips and special celebrations to professional development and the materials and supplies that enhance each lesson, community support of the annual fund ensures that we can continue to make every day vibrant and meaningful.
Chapel is an important part of our school’s Episcopal identity. It is a morning service that takes place in Gordon Chapel, which is the physical and spiritual heart of our school. The format varies slightly based on division, but it is a time in which our community gathers together to hear from each other, from school leaders and teachers, and from outside speakers on a variety of topics. Each day, we sing a hymn, accompanied by music from our school’s organist, and say the Lord’s Prayer. The school’s chaplain gives a weekly Chapel as well. As a school we recognize a variety of national heritage months, feast days, and national/religious holidays to keep the deep diversity of our nation’s population at the center of our prayers and understanding; Chapel presentations often reflect these themes.
In the lower division, Chapel happens daily for about 15 minutes in the morning. Students in grades 1-3 attend Monday through Friday, and students in SK attend on Wednesdays.
In the upper division, Chapel is held on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. At the end of Chapel, students have the opportunity to share birthdays, special events, and general announcements. Eucharist is celebrated most Thursdays. Students should wear their sweaters or blazers to Chapel.
Curriculum Night is the first opportunity for parents of students in nursery through grade 8 to formally hear from their children’s teachers about the curriculum and year ahead. In 2019, it takes place on Thursday, September 19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Please note that we are unable to provide childcare and ask that children remain at home—we look forward to seeing them on Friday morning!
Parents will begin the evening in their children’s homerooms. In the lower division, following homeroom time, parents can also visit teachers of special subjects in their classrooms.
In grades 4-8, teachers will pass out syllabi and other relevant handouts, which will summarize the material reviewed that evening. This information will also be available on the class webpages, through Veracross.
The Christmas Pageant is one of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s most enduring and beloved traditions. Written by Madeleine L’Engle, the renowned author who had served on our faculty, this 60-minute performance features all students in nursery through eighth grade. Students perform the Christmas story through song and dance. This event is always held on the last day of school before winter vacation. There are two performances and parents are given tickets to one performance. Parents can also volunteer to help with the costumes and make-up for the performances. This Pageant is live-streamed for family and friends around the world to enjoy. You will receive plenty of communication, starting as early as November, about this event!
Standing for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership team, the DEIL team is dedicated to helping faculty foster an authentic multicultural school community for the benefit of all students and families. In line with the founding mission of Mother Ruth, the DEIL team has been in the making for the past several years, with individual members receiving ongoing practitioner training and consistently volunteering for work within the school with an explicit focus on the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, and multicultural fluency. If you would like to learn more about DEIL or to communicate with the team, you can reach them by emailing DEIL@sthildas.org.
The Comprehensive Testing Program 5th edition (CTP 5) test is given to our students annually beginning in the second grade. Education Resources Bureau (ERB) is the name of the company that creates and scores the test, which St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s administers. We begin this test in the second grade, like many independent schools, so that the children have an opportunity to practice and become familiar with these types of tests. Standardized tests are typically given at various points throughout a child’s education, and taking the ERB provides relevant preparation. The results are used internally as a diagnostic tool, though it is acknowledged that this is just one of the many pieces of information gathered about each student’s progress. The results of the tests will be shared with families in the spring and more information about follow-up will be communicated at that time.
Eucharist takes place for students in grades 4-8 on most Thursdays at 10 a.m. It is our worship service and includes a homily from the school’s Chaplain, readings from the Gospel, prayers, and hymns. All students, regardless of faith tradition, attend and participate respectfully. Participation in the consumption of bread and wine is optional; the Episcopal faith welcomes all at the altar, regardless of faith tradition or baptism.
The entire St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s community will gather at the New York Athletic Club, Travers Island, for outdoor food, fun, and games. Bus transportation is available, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The event is the culminating event for the Special Visitors Day celebrations, which are held in October. Please contact Michele Haberland in the Development office with questions.
The Thanksgiving Food Chain takes place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Students in nursery through grade 8, teachers, and parents first gather in the chapel for a short service and blessing of food donations. Students then form a human chain by grade, starting with the youngest (nursery) closest to the altar and ending with the eighth graders in the kitchen at the Broadway Presbyterian Church, our neighbor on the corner of Broadway and 114th. Our donations allow the church to produce nutritious and delicious food for the patrons that rely on their stewardship. Our donations also stock the shelves of the Food Pantry, where hungry New Yorkers can “shop.”
Early childhood students will also visit the food pantry in advance of the Food Chain to learn about how their donations will serve families in need.
The day of the Food Chain is a half-day for students in nursery through grade 8. Students in grades 1-8 are dismissed following a concert performance. Students in nursery, junior kindergarten, and senior kindergarten are dismissed following the Food Chain. Beginners have a regular day of school.
The school contracts with Cater to You to provide healthy and child-friendly lunches and snacks for our school community. Our lunch menu is available on the Parent Portal and is also displayed on our lobby screen each morning. Snack is available for all students every day. We have a rotating snack schedule that is designed to be both healthy and filling. Dessert is available every Friday for all students. All baked goods are made in our kitchen or purchased from a nut-free bakery.
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s follows a nut-aware policy, and parents are asked not to bring in outside food. In the event of severe allergies in a classroom, a meal-time protocol is put in place and all parents are notified.
Formal dress code applies to students in grades 1-8 and is outlined in the school’s uniform guidelines. Students are required to be in full uniform, including jackets, blazers, and tie for boys and a blazer or blue cardigan for girls. Formal dress is typically every Thursday, when we observe the Eucharist in the upper division. For Thursdays that do not require formal dress, it will be noted in the Weekly Update, on the online calendar, and on the website.
There are other days that will require formal dress, like Convocation, Picture Day, and all concerts where students are performing. When that happens, this will be noted in the online calendar.
In keeping with the school’s mission to advance inclusion and equity among our school community, this year’s calendar includes an expanded list of holidays, feast days, and monthly commemorative observances. These monthly observances were taken from the United States Library of Congress and recognize the rich diversity of our school and country. Led by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership (DEIL) team, the school will honor these monthly themes through a variety of educational experiences including Chapel presentations and celebrations. Parents are invited to many celebrations throughout the year. These events and celebrations are highlighted on the printed school calendar. Those who wish to learn more or want to be involved should email the DEIL team at DEIL@sthildas.org.
The Lost and Found is located in the lobby, within the closet directly across from the welcome screen. There is also a Lost and Found located in the locker rooms on the C-Level. The Lost and Found is regularly cleaned out and labeled belongings are returned whenever possible. Over lengthy vacations (winter, spring, summer), the Lost and Found and gym lockers are emptied and items left behind are donated to charitable organizations. The school provides plenty of notice and reminders to students and parents.
Students in grades 4-8 go head to head in our annual math competition! Divided into two teams, the elected class representatives compete by answering a variety of math questions. Upper division students make up the audience and cheer on their classmates; they also have a chance to answer some of the unsolved problems. Students in the lower division celebrate Math Bowl by partnering up with different grades for math themed crafts, games, and snacks.
Michaelmas is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is traditionally celebrated on September 29. Many British universities and schools celebrate this day as the start of the fall term, and Mother Ruth brought this tradition to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s when it first opened as a way to honor her affection for English traditions. We celebrate this day at the New York Athletic Club, located at Travers Island. This is a fun-filled day of games, sporting events, and a picnic lunch. Students in grades 1-8 travel with faculty by charter bus. Homerooms are assigned into two teams, Charterhouse (named for the monastery where Saint Hugh was prior) and Whitby (named for Whitby Abbey, where Saint Hilda was the founding abbess ), and dress in the colors associated with that team. More information will be sent separately by Patti Lesser, the director of athletics.
The Parents’ Association, also known as the PA, is an important link between the school’s parents and the head of school, faculty, and administrators on matters of interest to the entire parent community. All parents and guardians are members of the PA, and membership fees are included in the cost of tuition. The PA engages in and organizes activities that benefit the school. This includes planning and supporting school fundraisers, social events, faculty appreciation events, and facilitating monthly meetings that include presentations on important topics. The PA’s executive committee is composed of the president and other officer positions that are elected in the spring of the previous academic year.
The annual PA holiday party is a community-wide event featuring games, a photo booth, karaoke, crafts, face painting, caroling, and a visit from Santa! There will be a table of treats at our legendary bake sale, as well as a lunch in the cafeteria for more substantive fare. The school store will have a special selection of holiday items for sale. Parent coordinators and volunteers are essential to this event; members of the PA will reach out to the parent body to solicit your involvement. This is a great way to get involved and connect with other parents!
Conferences are held twice a year (in the fall and spring for nursery-grade 8 and in the spring for Beginners), so parents have the chance to meet more formally with all of their children’s teachers. School is closed for that day, and childcare is available through Extended Day Programs from 8 a.m to 6:30 p.m. This is an important opportunity to hear from your child’s teacher about his or her individual progress in the classroom and our goals for the year. Sign-up is done electronically and information will be shared directly by your child’s teacher(s) or from the division director (for grades 6-8).
Students in grades 1-3 have a chance to showcase all that they have learned in physical education! This is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the skills that your children have been practicing in physical education throughout the year. In May, the senior kindergarten puts on their own P.E. Show.
The School Store is located at the base of the steps leading to the gym. Here, students and parents can purchase gym uniforms and school ties and other school-related items, like gym bags, and logo headbands. In general, the School Store will not have skirts, shirts, and pants on hand, though a Uniform Exchange (when gently-used uniforms are available for distribution to other families) is organized twice a year. School uniforms should be purchased from Flynn & O’Hara.
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s began its first SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) group in 2012, and since then, nearly 100 members of our community including faculty, trustees, and parents have participated in the year-long dialogue that uses self-reflection and structured group conversations to examine topics of diversity and equity. Led by trained parent and faculty peers, SEED leaders and colleagues use their own experiences and those of their students and children to widen and deepen school curricula and, ultimately, to serve the needs of our diverse community.
Founded in 1987 by Dr. Peggy McIntosh, author of the classic paper, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” SEED is a peer-led program that promotes change through self-reflection and interpersonal dialogue and builds capacity for more equitable curriculum, campuses, workplaces, and communities. The parent SEED group is coordinated and co-facilitated by the school counselor, Valerie Morel.
Specials are classes outside of the homeroom or academic content areas. Depending on the grade, they include second languages (French, Spanish, or Mandarin Chinese), physical education, science, music, art, religious knowledge, technology, and greenhouse. Second languages and science are considered academic content classes in grades 4-8. Specialists are teachers who teach these special subject areas.
Special Visitors Day is held in October as part of our Family Weekend. Grandparents and other special guests of students in nursery-grade 5 are invited to spend the morning at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Visitors enjoy breakfast, a faculty presentation, classroom time with their student, and Chapel. Our Family Festival is held the following day at the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island.
Our spring musical features students in grades 1-8. Upper division students audition for lead and featured roles; students in grades 1-3 can sign up for one of the lower school ensembles. Tickets are available for purchase on our website. The performance is live streamed for friends and family to view around the world. The Parents’ Association (PA) helps to coordinate the many volunteers needed to help with set design, make-up, costumes, and ticketing. Parents of children in all grades are encouraged to participate!
The student council is an elected body of representatives composed of students from grades 4-8. In the fall, each homeroom in grades 4-6 elects a representative after a brief period of campaigning and speeches. Student council is responsible for contributing to the student life of the school, including socials, bake sales, and other student-life experiences.