H Term

H Term is The Hill School’s distinctive, experiential, and interdisciplinary mini term held between the Thanksgiving and winter holiday breaks. During the two-week H Term (December 2 -17, 2022) students had the opportunity to explore non-traditional courses that offered more opportunities for collaboration and creative learning, as well as off-campus internships and independent study projects.

All students took part in H Term by either enrolling in two on-campus courses that were held Monday through Friday for 2.5 hours each or participating in an off-campus 60+ hour internship or independent study project. Fifth and sixth form students were able to participate in a hybrid option where they were enrolled in one H Term course in addition to a 30+ hour internship or independent study.

The more than 60 distinctive courses created and taught by Hill School faculty offered opportunities for students to have fun while discovering new ideas and interacting with teachers they may not have encountered during their typical daily schedule. This was also an opportunity for faculty to explore topics of interest and collaborate with other teachers both within and outside their departments. For some, it also presented a way to dive deeper into subjects that may not get much attention during class due to time and content constraints in a year-long or term course.

Learn more about some of these course from the instructors who taught them.

Logging Off: The Impact of Social Media and Finding Other Ways to Spend Your Time

For George Senter Chair of Mathematics Jennifer Edleman, H Term was a chance to connect with students and help them make more personal connections with each other. After noticing that students who arrive early to her classes distract themselves with their phones rather than sit and talk to their classmates, she partnered with fellow instructor of mathematics, Colleen Taylor, to design and teach this course.

"We wanted to share some alternate ways students could connect with their peers,” remarked Edelman. “Our hope is that our students will rethink the way they engage with their cell phones and begin to take better advantage of the activities the School provides.”

Rock Band

Senior Master Teacher of the Arts and Director of Instrumental Music Margie Neiswender P’22 ’23 once again teamed up with a former student to create and teach an H Term course. She and Craig Clemens ’92 taught “Rock Band,” which, according to Neiswender, “offered a group performance-based experiences for student-musicians - from playing music they selected, to working independently and together, to rehearsing and ultimately performing their music.” The course culminated with the students performing live at the H Term Showcase.

Short Play Festival 

During last year’s six-week virtual H Term, Director of the Center For The Arts Chris McGriff offered interested students the opportunity to write and direct an original play. This year, the Second Annual Short Play Festival made a comeback with two live performances.

“It was a joy to watch our students create their own special brand of theatre magic,” stated McGriff. “I hope the students left this course with a stronger sense of self, and that they are proud of the work they’ve created.”

​Poetry Workshop: Reading, Writing, Building Community

Like McGriff, Academic Dean and Athey Family Master Teacher of English Katy Hudak P’21 ’24 and Instructor of English Amanda Molitor reintroduced their poetry workshop from last year's H Term to students.   ​

“Teaching the reading and writing of poetry is always one of our favorite elements in our classroom teaching each year,” remarked Hudak. “We jumped at the chance to spend two weeks doing a deep dive with students who were as excited about poetry as we are! Whether our 13 poets go on to publish a poem they write during H Term or not, they will have learned about themselves as writers, cultivated their craft, and hopefully will continue to enrich their lives with poetry long after the conclusion of this course."

Up Close and Personal: Connecting with Pottstown Nonprofits and Businesses

Cathy Skitko P'08 '10, Director of Hobart’s Run Communications and Community Relations, introduced a group of enthusiastic students to a slew of Pottstown nonprofits and small businesses, with hopes of sparking future volunteer efforts as well as business patronage by the participants and their friends and families.

“I hope these young women will continue to be ‘ambassadors’ in the Pottstown community and encourage friends and family to explore and support the businesses, organizations, and people so vital to the place we all call home,” Skitko said.  

Recipes for Life

Associate Dean of Students Donna Eilberg P'22 '23 '25 also reprised last year's H Term course by welcoming five eager students into her kitchen to learn the basics of cooking and experience the joy that comes with preparing and sharing a meal with others. 

"I wanted to send these students off with some confidence in the kitchen for their college years and beyond," noted Eilberg. "It was a great time to connect with students in a relaxed atmosphere. They were all open to trying new things, and we were pleasantly surprised at how well some simple recipes have turned out."

Intro to Fly Fishing

Senior Master Teacher of English Mark Pearson Ph.D. '78 P'20 '24 and Instructor of Mathematics Karl Mellander share a common passion - fly fishing. For them, the chance to introduce students to a potential lifelong hobby was too much of an opportunity to pass up, so they teamed up to create a course for H Term.

"Our biggest goal was to inspire students to try something new, difficult, frustrating, and life-changing," explained Pearson and Mellander. "We really enjoyed watching the students try something outside their comfort zone. Some of them had limited experience but many did not know what fly fishing was. They really dove in and gave it a shot, no matter their perspective coming into the course."

Hill Christmas Festival

Oaklawn Tuttle Director of Vocal Music Yoon Soo Lim P’17’18 worked with students who had all ranges of singing experience to create a “pop-up choir” during H Term. In less than two weeks, these determined and talented students selected and rehearsed music, learned about the history of Christmas carols and Christmas traditions at The Hill, and designed a “Hill Christmas Festival.” The course culminated in a beautiful service in the Alumni Chapel on December 15.

“What I enjoyed the most is the group of students in the course," noted Lim. “We had the most diverse set of students in this course - from most experienced singers to the absolute beginner. The group came together in a short time, encouraging each other and learning together.”

Get Outdoors PA

Senior Master Teacher of Science Mark Nelson P'10 '13 loves spending time outdoors and wanted to give student an opportunity to see and learn about the history, geography, and local beauty of South Eastern Pennsylvania. Each day in his "Get Outdoors PA" course, he and Instructor of World Languages Laura Wann drove students to a different location, handed out maps, and had them explore the surroundings for the next 60-90 minutes. 

 “Being outdoors gives my time to think and reenergize," reflected Nelson. "My hope is the students gained a better appreciation for the mental and physical benefits of spending time out in nature, and perhaps remember some of the history of each area.”

Street Photography

For Athey Family Master of the Arts and Chair of the Arts Department Diane Deery P'21 '23, H Term brought an opportunity for students to spend more time off campus taking photographs. Since H Term classes were more than double the time of a typical Hill course, her "Street Photography" students had more time to connect with urban areas and the people they encountered.  

"I hope students gained an appreciation for photography," stated Deery. "They know how composition can create a strong photograph, but more importantly the emotion (the photograph) evokes in the viewer. They find their voice through a single image. That can be very powerful."

Learn more about the inaugural, six-week H Term, which was remote during the COVID-19 pandemic.