Welcome Back to School

August 15, 2023

Dear Hilltop Families,

Welcome back to a new and exciting academic year! I hope you all had a refreshing and fulfilling break. As we begin this journey together once again, I wanted to take a moment to extend my warmest greetings to each and every one of you.

Hilltop has built a strong foundation of collaboration, learning, and growth in the last few years. This year, we have set ambitious goals to create an environment that thrives on great communication, increased learning, and increased opportunities for all our students to develop into their true selves.  Last spring, we developed a new mission statement with input from students and staff.  

Hilltop’s Mission Statement: 

At Hilltop Middle School, we foster a safe and inclusive environment where

students explore new ideas, develop skills, and discover their true selves

through engaging academic experiences, social-emotional learning, and

collaborative relationships with staff, parents, and the community.

In other words, our goal is to make sure our school is a safe and welcoming place for everyone. At Hilltop, students can try out new ideas, learn lots of different skills, and figure out who they really are. We want to make learning fun and interesting for students, and we're dedicated to helping students understand their feelings and how to work well with others. We also believe that working together with our families, our teachers, and our community makes our school an even better place to learn and grow.

We recognize to meet these goals, we need effective communication. We will work on providing transparent communication between teachers, students, parents, and staff that will lead to better understanding, stronger relationships, and enhanced learning experiences. Our aim is to ensure that everyone's voice is heard, and that we create an inclusive and supportive environment where ideas can flourish.  To help support us in this effort, please take a few moments to answer our communication survey.  By completing this survey you will also be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to a local restaurant.  

In this coming year,  you will also see an increased focus on attendance and assignment completion for our school.  The last few years we have focussed on anchoring our students to navigate and thrive through the tough years of covid and the return to school.  Now we are ready to be lighthouses for each other, lighting the way for an increased sense of belonging through our social emotional focus, and increased academic success through hands-on engaging lessons.

As Hilltop’s principal, I am here to support, guide, and light the way for everyone. My door is always open for your ideas, concerns, and the many celebrations and growth to come.  Let's work together to make this academic year an unforgettable and transformative experience for each and every student.

Please see some additional Back to School information below.

Hilltop Back to School Important Information 2023

Day of Week

Start Time

End Time


Doors open 8:35am

Class Starts 8:45am



*except Aug. 30



Please note that OBSD will have an early release every Wednesday of each month again this school year.  Early releases allow our staff to engage in professional learning in our journey toward best teaching practices.   

Middle School Years at Hilltop!  Zoom Meet

Tuesday, August 22 from 5:30pm -6:30pm

Please join me for a digital meet up where you will learn what to expect for your student during their middle school years at Hilltop.  We will discuss academic, athletic, and social programming, our mission and goals, communication, and the development of middle school aged students.

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8717...

Back to School Night

Thursday, August 24 from 5:30pm -7:00pm

Last year we had an unprecedented turn out, which was thrilling but caused some chaos.  Please see the following guide to help alleviate everyone arriving at the same time.  

Suggested Arrivals for Students and Families:

6th grade: 5:30pm 

7th grade: 6:00pm

8th grade: 6:30pm

Please enter through the gymnasium for receiving important documents and schedules.  Then please feel free to visit your student’s classrooms, meet their teachers, and check out their locker space. 

Tdap Immunization 

All incoming 7th graders are required to have the Tdap immunization to start school.  Please provide a medically verified record of this immunization.  These can be turned into the office or faxed to (360) 642-1350.  We have received many of these already, thank you!  If you haven’t, please see your medical provider as soon as possible.


When:  Friday, August 25th   11am-6pm

Where:  Peninsula Baptist Church

                23802 Pacific Way, Ocean Park

All are welcome to Pack-2-School where students will receive free school supplies, personal care items, community information, student services, and haircuts!  Be sure to check it out.

1st Week of School

1st Day:  Tuesday, August 29, 2023

2nd Day:  Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023

  • This Wednesday is a full day

3rd Day: Thursday, August 31, 2023 

NO SCHOOL:  Friday, September 1st  - September 4th

  • School will resume on Tuesday, September 5th


Students will receive their Chromebooks on the 1st day of school from their first period teacher.  Students are responsible for their Chromebooks and may be charged for damages.

Like last year, students will bring their Chromebooks to and from school each day.  Chargers for Chromebooks should remain at home and charged overnight.  We do not have enough outlets to charge all Chromebooks at school during the day.


7th and 8th graders can register for Football, and Volleyball.  6th, 7th, and 8th graders can register for Cross Country. 


All sports registration is now done digitally through Final Forms. https://oceanbeach-wa.finalforms.com/ 


Please register your students as soon as possible. Registering your athlete helps to assure eligibility and time to confirm current physicals. 


Practices and games will be announced soon.  Please contact AJ Smith with any questions regarding sports.  

AJ Smith, Athletic Director:  aj.smith@oceanbeachschools.org

Elective Classes for 7th and 8th Grades

Enrichment for 6th Grade

This year, seventh and eighth grade students will have elective classes.  Students filled out a forecasting survey before they left at the end of the school year.  

*We attempt to schedule your student’s top choices for electives, but do not guarantee that they get their top two choices.  Many factors go into scheduling and we will do our best. 

Sixth grade students will have several enrichment classes during the school year including visual art each day.  6th graders may also sign up for band.  We surveyed the 5th graders last year, but if your student would like to sign up now, please let us know.  There will be information going home at the beginning of the year for these students.  


At Hilltop every student finishes every assignment.  We use a program called ICU to communicate about any missing assignments.  More information on ICU will be sent home on Back to School Night.


Ocean Beach School District has a high chronic absenteeism rate.  We know that every day missed whether for sickness, appointments, or other reasons affects student academic success.  We will be starting a campaign to increase attendance and bring awareness to this issue in our school.  We will be asking students to “Strive for Five and Turn it off by Ten”.  This means aiming for less than 5 absences, and turning off electronics by 10pm to get a good night’s rest.  


If your child is signed up to ride the bus, you will be receiving a phone call from your child’s bus driver prior to the start of school. Your bus driver will tell you when your child is scheduled to be picked up. This may be the weekend prior due to enrollment changes right up to the start of school.  Don’t worry, you’ll get a call!   

School Supply Lists

Our school supply list is attached and posted on our website and Facebook page.

Picture Day

Picture Day will be on September 29th.  More information to come...

Fisher FAQs

Watch your emails and check out our Facebook Page for Fisher FAQs video segments.  We are answering frequently asked questions for families and students. 

Staffing Updates: 

We are saying goodbye to a couple amazing staff members and welcoming some new staff as well!  

Goodbye and good luck to:

  • Donald Anderson who taught math and science is off to teach in Japan to work with the Department of Defense for the year.  

  • Kristen Mathison, science and math, is taking on an exciting new opportunity as a teacher at Ocean Park Elementary.  

  • Michael Cline, art and health teacher, retired from teaching and will be enjoying the good life.  

  • George Scott, special education teacher, accepted a principal position in a new school district. 

Switching Gears: 

  • David Blaylock will be leaving PE and getting back to teaching math in the classroom this year.  He is very excited to make the transition.

New faces on campus:

Cheri Baker – PE and Health

This will be Cheri’s 21st year teaching. She lives in Long Beach with her husband Robert. She has one

grown daughter, Hannah Chalker and two grandsons Colt and Lane. She has three dogs, three horses

and one cat. Her dogs are my fur babies. Her horses are one of her passions. She is very competitive and

regularly races her horses in barrel races and rodeo. One of her other passions is exercise and running. She

have competed in many running races myself, including two Boston Marathons, one New York City

Marathon and one Iron Man race. She is super excited to become a PE teacher, and very excited to share

her love of exercise with students which will hopefully inspire kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Erica Lasley – Special Education

Mx. E (or Mx. Lasley) is a third year teacher.  Mx. E will be teaching  special education and is very excited to do

so as they have worked with autistic kids their whole life and have many friends with special needs. Mx. E  loves cats and volunteers at the animal shelter. They are also vegan!

Kelli Hughes-Ham – Art

Kelli has been serving as an Art, English, and CTE instructor at IHS for the last 17 years, and is excited to

join the Hilltop team. She was born and raised in Chinook, and chose to come home to raise her family.

She has two sons, Milo (7th grade) and Ruary (9th grade), and she lives in Ilwaco with her husband,

kids, and several animals. In addition to being a teacher, she also owns a bookstore at the port. Kelli

has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art and is stoked to share her

knowledge with our middle schoolers!

Leena Couling – Science and Math

Leena Couling is originally from Los Angeles but has lived all over the US.  She is coming to us from the high school where she taught Biomedical Science, Anatomy & Physiology, and health.  She has six years of experience teaching various science classes that include forensics, astronomy and chemistry. Before becoming a teacher, she was a dolphin trainer, CSI for Honolulu police department and a cancer researcher. Her two kids are also at Hilltop Middle School - Coral is going to be in 8th grade and Alan in the 7th. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and sleeping!


Partnerships between school, home and community are important to us. Middle school is a time where students often make rapid growth socially, emotionally and academically.  Middle school can often be much different from elementary school and Hilltop staff is here to guide the students as they navigate this time of development.  As we venture together into this new school year, please feel free to communicate your needs, concerns, and ideas to our teachers and staff.  We look forward to working with you this year.



Cheri Lloyd