Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School


Our Mission

Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School is a thriving learning environment that nurtures, inspires, challenges and educates the minds and well-being of our diverse population of children in Kindergarten through Grade 5 where all children will achieve their optimal academic level and develop positive citizenship and character traits.

We support the growth of the Whole Child and the continuous professional development of the teachers in collaboration with the families of Silver Hill and the Haverhill Community. The vision of Silver Hill as a Horace Mann Charter is to provide our community with leadership in instructional practices, site based management by staff and parents, and increased community involvement in schools.

Our students wrote their version: The Mission of SHHMCS is to be NICE – Nurture, Inspire, Challenge, and Educate all students (Us!). Our thriving learning environment (classroom & school) helps us build and develop higher academic skills, positive citizenship and character traits.

  • Coffee with the Principal

    Coffee With the Principal

    Topic: Family Science Night

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    there will only be an evening Coffee

    5:30 PM

    (Childcare Provided)

    Principal Shepherd will talk about an opportunity for any parents that would be interested in organizing a family science night.

    Please RSVP by Monday, April 14, 2014



    Letter to Parents from Mitchell D. Chester
    Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

    10 Things Parents Should Know About PARCC

    1.  Massachusetts is the nation’s top performing state, but we cannot stand still and allow key educational and technological innovations to pass by us.
    Massachusetts students are performing at high levels – second-to-none among the 50 states and on par with some of the highest performing nations in the world. Despite this, not all students are enjoying the same level of success. To remain competitive globally, we cannot stand still. We need to continue to invest in public education, upgrade our curriculum and instruction to reflect the demands of the 21st century, and put all students on a pathway to college and career readiness.

    2.  Massachusetts is currently developing a new, high quality, 21st century student testing program called PARCC.
    Massachusetts is one of 18 states working collaboratively to develop PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC is a key component of the state’s commitment to prepare all students for success after high school. The state will administer PARCC tests to students in grades 3 through 11 in two subjects, English language arts and mathematics.

    3.  The goal of PARCC is to measure student progress toward a common set of academic learning standards in English language arts and mathematics.
    In 2010, Massachusetts adopted new learning standards, and since then, schools across the Commonwealth have been introducing them into classrooms. The standards are more rigorous than previous standards and are tied to the skills and knowledge that colleges and employers expect of our high school graduates. The best preparation for PARCC is good classroom instruction that focuses on the standards that students receive every day.

    4.  Over the next two years, Massachusetts schools will “test drive” PARCC before the state decides whether to fully adopt this new testing program.
    In spring 2014, more than 1.35 million students in grades 3-11 across 14 states, including Massachusetts, will take a PARCC field test. A field test lets us try out the test questions, make sure the questions measure the subject area content contained in the learning standards, and build the best test we can. In Massachusetts, we will randomly select roughly 15 percent of students in grades 3-11 to take a PARCC test this spring and try out the test questions.

    5.  Higher education is a key partner in the development of the new PARCC tests.
    Educators from K-12 and higher education are playing integral roles in the development of the new PARCC tests. PARCC will provide clearer signals about students’ readiness for the next grade level and, in high school, readiness for college and careers. Each of Massachusetts’ 29 public two-year and four-year colleges and universities have committed to use student performance on the PARCC tests as an indicator of students’ readiness for entry-level, credit-bearing college courses.

    6.  PARCC is a computer-based test, though a paper-and-pencil option exists.
    Computers are playing an increasingly larger role in everything we do, including education. A computer-based test will allow us to improve the ways that students can demonstrate on a test what they know and are able to do. For instance, students will be able to use the computer to complete performance-based tasks that better measure the range of skills we value and colleges and employers report are necessary for students to acquire.

    7.  Students selected to take a PARCC test this spring are most likely to continue participating in MCAS testing as well.
    Students taking a PARCC field test this year will not receive a score or grade based on their performance. Most schools will continue to administer MCAS tests to students in grades selected for PARCC to preserve the reporting of valuable information on student performance to parents. In addition, all Massachusetts high school students, at least through the class of 2018, are required to take and pass the high school MCAS tests in three subjects to satisfy the state graduation requirement and earn a high school diploma.

    8.  We are striving to make PARCC tests accessible to all students.
    We are committed to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners, are able to participate in a meaningful and appropriate manner so we can report valid results for all students. We are designing a testing program that is inclusive of all students and building many accessibility features that we consider to be accommodations on MCAS into the computer-based PARCC test.

    9.  Parents can help children prepare for the PARCC test.
    Parents can help their children prepare for PARCC by familiarizing themselves with the state’s academic learning standards. The standards are posted online at The National PTA has also developed a Parents’ Guide to Student Success, available in Englishand Spanish, in response to the new common set of learning standards. Additionally, PARCC practice tests and sample questions will be made available later this spring.

    10.  In future years, PARCC could replace MCAS as the state’s student testing program.
    Based on the two-year “test drive” of PARCC, the state commissioner of elementary and secondary education will evaluate the strengths of PARCC and the program’s ability to measure the state’s new academic learning standards in English language arts. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote whether to fully adopt PARCC as the state’s new testing program in fall 2015.

    If you have questions about PARCC, please visit, send an email to, or, as always, ask your principal.

    More information on PARCC can be found at

  • MCAS Dates

    • 5/6    Grade 5 – Science Session 1
    • 5/7    Grade 3 – Math Session 1
    • 5/8    Grade 5 – Science Session 2
    • 5/9    Grade 3 – Math Session 2
    • 5/13  Grade 5 – Math Session 1
    • 5/14  Grade 4 – Math Session 1
    • 5/15  Grade 5 – Math Session 2
    • 5/16  Grade 4 – Math Session 2
  • Notes from the Principal

    Dear Silver Hill Families,

    Someone once said nothing happens in March. Let me tell you, in schools this is not the case! March is a packed month, so this will be one of my longer letters. J  I’ll also catch you up on some Silver Hill activities from January and February.  Sorry for the delay, the months just seem to be flying by!

    Wrestling for Reading Fundraiser

    Many thanks to everyone who contributed to and attended our Wrestling for Reading Fundraiser held on January 25. Our cafeteria was transformed into the Fantini Arena, and the crowd of over 200 spectators was treated to a fun filled wrestling tournament provided by the Atlantic Pro Wrestling.  Our own Silver Hill alumni, Cody Ward emerged as the winner of the Silver Hill Wrestling Tournament Belt, proving that good sportsmanship, athleticism, and being the “good guy” prevails! Fans enjoyed hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, and other refreshments at the concession stand organized and manned by Rich Dellea and our Board of Trustees.  A VERY special thank you goes to the Habib family, David and Crystal, and their daughters Alicia (Grade 5) and Kaylee (Grade 1) who presented the idea for this fundraiser, organized and manned the event, and contacted the many sponsors who donated to make it such a successful evening. Ali Habib even had an impressive performance as an emcee, clearing the rope as she entered the ring!  A good time was had by all, and almost $4000 was raised to purchase books for our classroom libraries! Thank you to all of the following sponsors, and the Habibs for making this event possible.

    Fantini Bakery, Haverhill Bank, Sherwin Williams, Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc.,  EZ Way Cleaners, S.S. Maguire Management, LLC, Athens Pizza, Academy Lanes, Lakeview Kitchen, Ski Bradford, Sandlot Beach Club, Dollar Valley, German Shepherd Resource and Rescue, Dunkin Donuts, Heavenly Donuts-Bradford, Haverhill Girls Softball League, Wicked Big Café, Westgate Cleaners, 99 Restaurant-River Street, Paul Geggis, Amazement Play Center, Pizzeria Eros, Barking Dog Ale House, YMCA, Holland Flowers, Chunky’s Cinema, DeCicco and Father Construction, Foto Factory, Triad Associates, Inc., Flowers by Steve, Sandlot Sports, Laser Craze, TD Bank, Law Offices of Eric R. Brown, Quintanna Supply, Jimmy’s Famous Pizza, Haverhill Gazette, Edible Arrangements, Papa Gino’s, Joseph’s Trattoria, Benedetti’s Deli, Cedarland, Royal Nails, Jump On In, Chick’s Roast Beef.

    The Leslye Zylkuski Leveled Library

    Staff held a breakfast to present our very dedicated (and determined!) librarian, Leslye Zylkuski, a plaque dedicating our new Leslye Zylkuski Leveled Library. As you know, we have been building up our leveled book resources, including our very successful Wresting for Reading fundraiser.  Leslye began leveling and organizing the books that we already had even before the school year started, adding the books purchased this year, to develop a comprehensive inventory for both fiction and non-fiction text. For months, Leslye has been compiling book collections and keeping the inventory up to date. Then she, with the help of her husband Gene (also our Board Chair!) their son Alex, and our reading specialist Diane Palmaccio, transformed our Room 100 into the most impressive leveled library. This has given us a clearer picture of what we still need to add for mentor text aligned to our curriculum, and what to purchase for our classroom libraries to provide enough “just right” books to give our students daily access to good literature at their “just right” reading levels. Leslye’s work has given Silver Hill a wonderful resource library for students and staff. Thank you Leslye!

    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Site Visit

    On Tuesday, February 25, we welcomed a team from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for our follow up visit from February 2013. The team was made up of two DESE Accountability Specialists who oversee curriculum and instructional programs, the DESE Access and Equity Coordinator, who oversees the required guidelines for special education and English Language Learners programs, and a principal from another charter school. They spent the day meeting with our Board of Trustees, teachers, and me, reviewing our Board governance policies, curriculum and instructional programs, and conducting classroom observations. Although the final report will not be issued for several weeks, their summary at the end of their visit was, in their words, “very positive”.  They commented on the “collaborative efforts of the staff… and the engaged, well behaved students.” We already knew that!  The final report will represent that Silver Hill has met the criteria for having a comprehensive and cohesive educational program, fully aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core.  This reflects the enormous amount of curriculum work completed by teachers during their professional development time and carried over into classroom practices, all staff working collaboratively to enhance our instructional practices, and the support that we receive from our Silver Hill families in being part of your child’s education. It is a tribute to the passion and persistence that our school community shares in working together to continuously make Silver Hill an exemplary learning environment for our students.

    Best Regards,


(978) 374-3400
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