Mission, History, Philosophy

History of Hilltop

Founded in 1972, Hilltop Country Day School is a distinguished independent, nonsectarian, coeducational day school in Sparta, Sussex County, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Hilltop Country Day School is committed to providing a family-oriented, nurturing, creative, highly educational environment in which children:

  • Discover the excitement of learning
  • Develop good study habits
  • Grow in self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Develop sensitivity and respect for the rights and abilities of others
  • Learn to accept responsibility and meet personal challenges
AdobeStock 180991486 scaled

Hilltop Values The Child

This is reflected most prominently in the school’s small student to teacher ratio. Small classes allow true relationships between the student and teacher to develop. This close, personal relationship fosters a deeper understanding of the teaching-learning process, and a more active participation in it. Small classes allow teachers to more successfully meet each child at their level and challenge them to achieve the next.

Children Learn in Different ways and at Different Paces

Children’s learning styles and effective modes of learning vary. These differences in children and learning are treasured and we recognize that children learn best when the curriculum is molded to meet them, where they are.

AdobeStock 176691784 scaled


We believe children learn most effectively in an environment that is academically challenging, emotionally safe, socially warm, developmentally appropriate and one that respects the family as partners in the educational process. Knowledge of the world is best learned if constructed and experienced by the learner in an environment that challenges thinking, encourages experimentation and investigation, models learning, and allows risk taking in safety. School should be a place where children have an opportunity to define themselves as learners, and more importantly as people.

We value developing in children fundamental learning skills in the academic, social, emotional, aesthetic, creative, ethical and physical dimensions, as well as developing a strong, confident sense of self, and a true respect for the rights and abilities of others. Hilltop recognizes the need for children to be exposed to the importance and value of community – our own, the wider community and a diverse community, and to respect what it means to be a member of these communities.

AdobeStock 158426141 scaled

Hilltop Values the Role of the Family

Although the school designs and implements curriculum, it looks to parents for constant support and input regarding their child. Parents also play a vital role in establishing a strong sense of community and shared endeavor. The school values open communication.


About Hilltop

Founded in 1972, Hilltop Country Day School is a distinguished independent, nonsectarian coeducational day school situated in Sparta, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA. Our institution, spanning from preschool to eighth grade, is dedicated to fostering a vibrant educational environment.


  • Early Childhood Division: Catering to preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten.
  • Lower School: Comprising grades 1-4.
  • Upper School: Serving students in grades 5-8.

Leadership: Guided by the vision of Head of School, Ms. Laura McGee, and overseen by a dedicated Board of Trustees drawn from the local community.

Academic Overview: All students engage in a comprehensive curriculum covering Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Supplementary classes in Music, Art, Art History, Physical Education, and Computer Technology enrich their learning experience. A robust World Language program offers Mandarin or Spanish options from preschool onward.

High School Placement: Our graduates have been successfully accepted into competitive local high schools, including Blair Academy, Newark Academy, Peddie School, and public high schools with honors classes.

Extended Day and Enrichment Programs: The Extended Day program provides supervised homework help, while our Enrichment Programs offer diverse activities such as chess club, karate instruction, a robotics program, and Kiddie Soccer.

Summer Programs: Experience Camp Apogee, our engaging summer camp blending S.T.E.A.M enrichment with traditional summer fun and swimming at The Lake Mohawk Pool. Open to children ages 5 to 13, including non-Hilltop students.

Accreditation and Memberships: Hilltop Country Day School is proud to be an accredited member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

Join us on our journey of academic excellence, holistic development, and a commitment to nurturing lifelong learners at Hilltop Country Day School.