Deer Hill School

Continuing the Commitment to Excellence


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    The All-Schools Chorus Concert will NOT take place on Wednesday, March 22, due to the impending storm. We are working on finding another date for our student musicians to perform and will update you when more information becomes available.


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    All schools will operate on a half-day schedule on Wednesday, March 22, due to the storm.

    All evening events are cancelled.




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  • flu information


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  • BYOD Purchase Option

    Click on the image above for information about purchasing a Chromebook through Cohasset Public Schools!



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  • Life Threatening Allergy Protocol

    Allergy Protocol

    Click above for information regarding our updated Life Threatening Allergy Protocols.



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DHS News

Principal's Welcome

  • picture of Jennifer deChiara


    Dear Deer Hill Parents, Guardians, and students,

    Welcome to our new website on SchoolWires!  I'm very pleased to be able to offer you this website as a resource for checking in and learning about all the amazing things that go on here everyday.  I'm so fortunate to be the Principal of Deer Hill School, where the community, the staff, and the students are the best!

    The Mission of the Deer Hill School is that we strive to prepare our students for success in the 21st century.  We work to ensure students succeed socially, emotionally, and intellectually.  Throughout our instructional program we emphasize critical thinking, creativity, analytical and technology skills, and we incorporate lessons of collaboration and communication across all curricular areas.  We are committed to providing a safe, respectful and academically challenging environment with clearly defined goals and expectatins.  We strive to develop responsible citizens with an appreciation for diversity, an understanding of global connections, and a passion for lifelong learning.

    We are strongly supported in our efforts by our community.  The Deer Hill Parent Student Organization (PSO) works very hard to provide enrichment programs for our students that promote our rigorous curriculum, to offset costs for high quality instructional materials, to promote our family events, and to support the staff through gestures of appreciation.  The Cohasset Education Foundation (CEF) also works very hard to raise funds for major projects not covered by our school's operating budget.  The CEF has funded such projects as our STEM Lab, technology integration in the classroom, Author in Residence Programs, Orff Instruments for our music program, iPads for teachers, and many other worthwhile and innovative projects.  Both important groups welcome participation from our parents and guardians.

    More information about our programs can be found at this website, which will be updated periodically to include school news, important announcements, upcoming events, and current resources.  Thank you for visiting us!


    Yours truly,


    Jennifer deChiara, Ph.D

    Principal, Deer Hill School

DHS Principal Blog

  • Curiosity

    Posted by Cassandra O'Brien on 12/11/2017

    Celebrating Curiosity at Deer Hill School

    “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” Eleanor Roosevelt

    This month, we are celebrating the Social Emotional trait of curiosity. This is new for us! We often step back and teach our students about such Social Emotional Competencies as responsible decision-making, social awareness, etc., competencies that we consider our responsibility to help strengthen and nurture in children. But curiosity is one of those delightful traits that children seem to already possess with abundance. Without any explicit instruction from us! (In fact, we must always be on the lookout to make sure we are not curtailing children’s curiosity with our explicit instruction.) What children don’t universally realize, however, is how closely curiosity is connected to learning – at least that’s the way it should be! – and so they should embrace their own curiosity.

    It’s very important to us at Deer Hill that students understand that they have the power to encourage their own brain growth, and celebrating their own curiosity is one way to do this. Unfortunately, in schools, for too long we have given students the impression that the smartest person in the room is the one with all the answers, when we now know the one with the most questions has the greatest intellectual potential!

    In my recent classroom conversations on this topic with students, it doesn’t take much effort to help students see the connections among curiosity, creativity, and brain growth. They quickly remember how their own curiosity has acted as a motivator to learn in their own life experience. In grades three and four we have been reading a fabulous book entitled “On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne. The theories of Albert Einstein regarding gravity, matter, time, motion, the universe – all those phenomena that were complete mysteries not so long ago – were borne of this remarkable man’s curiosity and relentless search to understand. I like to read the author’s dedication after reading the story, so that students can have a full appreciation for the power of their own curiosity when they hear the words: “To the next Einstein, who is probably a child now.” I am so hopeful they see themselves in those words.

    For the fifth grade, I’ve created a short slide presentation with some key questions for discussion, such as “Why is it important to be curious?” and “How is curiosity lost?” As usual, our students have been so insightful about the answers to these questions. In particular, they understand very well those forces that result in someone losing their curiosity – from developing a habit of sticking to the familiar, experiencing failure enough times that you just don’t care anymore, and letting your brain “get lazy.” Interestingly in all of their answers, the responsibility for nurturing curiosity always fell on themselves. These students articulated the very sophisticated idea that we are in charge of nurturing our own curiosity, and that we should not blame others for our own lack of motivation. Extremely impressive.

    However as educators, we never let ourselves off the hook in developing lessons that will motivate students and pique their curiosity. When I was in high school many years ago, it wasn’t unusual to hear a teacher say, “I only teach those students who are motivated to learn.” You will NEVER hear a Deer Hill teacher say that. When our teachers plan their lessons, their second question (behind ‘Why is this learning objective important?”) is “How will I get the students motivated to learn this?” So, like everything else in teaching and learning, it is a two way street between teacher and learner.

    (If you would like to see the short slide show that is being used in the fifth grade, click here.)

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  • Belonging

    Posted by Cassandra O'Brien on 10/2/2017

    At Deer Hill School, we have long believed in the importance of the spirit of belonging.  When children truly feel like they belong in their school community, they flourish – they feel comfortable asking questions, taking risks, going big.  They help each other out and applaud each other’s successes.  The old days of teachers expecting students to just sit there and be quiet while they delivered the curriculum are long gone – at least at 208 Sohier Street!  We respect our students’ voices and we know that the more students interact with one another while they process what they are learning, the more powerful and long lasting that learning will be. 

    In our schoolwide effort to promote social emotional learning through our curriculum and our daily routines, we have focused through the month of September on the spirit of belonging.  Third grade teachers have been teaching about its importance through the book “One Hundred Dresses” by Eleanor Estes. In the fourth grade, all classes are reading the book “Wonder” by Raquel J. Palacio.  Each of these stories illustrates the importance of acting purposefully to create a genuine atmosphere of belonging, and especially when there is a person unhappily wandering around the margins of the group.  In the third and fourth grade I’ve had the pleasure of reading aloud the picture book “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown. This is the story of a tiger who gets tired of having to dress up in top hat and tails and act very properly all the time.  He is dismissed from his town when he sheds his clothes (cue giggling fits among the third graders – “He’s naked!”) and goes to live in the wilderness alone.  But he soon gets lonely and goes back home, thinking that he’d rather be uncomfortable with his proper animal friends than be comfortably wild but all alone.  When he gets there, he sees that the other animals have also become more “wild,” and so he finally relaxes, knowing that he can be at home among the other animals.  (The illustrations in this book are outstanding.) 

    Talking points from the story include the idea that we all need to belong to a group of people that accept us for who we are – where we don’t have to dress a certain way to fit in, or talk a certain way, etc.  Students understand this right away – they know when they are in a place where they feel like they belong, and they certainly know when they don’t feel that way.  Students I spoke to said they were pretty sure they could recognize if another child was feeling like he or she didn’t belong, and they had good but simple helpful suggestions on what to do.

    In the fifth grade, we’ve been learning about the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which takes the concept of belonging and enhances it to mean a spirit of connectedness so powerful that what happens to you also happens to me.  (There is no English equivalent for the word.) We talked about how this concept was instrumental when the country of South Africa transferred power from the minority white Afrikaaners to the majority black South African people who were there for generations before.  According to Ubuntu philosophy, even victims are connected spiritually to perpetrators, and it was this way of thinking that was so helpful when Apartheid was ended and Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.  The video that we watched on the spirit of Ubuntu can be seen at  We also shared a poem that was written by a Deer Hill fifth grade class two years ago on the subject:  UBUNTU POEM  only.pdf

    Finally, we had a school spirit assembly on Friday, September 29th, where we celebrated the spirit of belonging at our school.  If you would like to see the slide show and my notes, the presentation will be posted soon.

    Our next theme is “The Spirit of Curiosity at Deer Hill School”  - I can’t wait!

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  • Social Emotional Learning

    Posted by Jennifer deChiara on 9/8/2017

    Social Emotional Learning at Deer Hill School

         At Deer Hill School we have been making a concerted effort to strengthen our school culture through the integration of social emotional learning (SEL) skills with our daily academic curriculum and routines.  As a faculty, we have been studying the work of the Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to learn more about the skills related to social emotional well-being so that we can have a shared understanding around the topic.  The term “social emotional learning” can mean many things to different people, and so developing a common language around the subject is a necessary first step if we are going to strengthen our school culture.  At Deer Hill School, when talking about social emotional learning, we use the CASEL skills framework:

     SEL wheel

         For decades schools have devoted varying degrees of emphasis on the skills and conditions associated with social emotional wellness.  In my time in education, we have taught “values clarification” and “character education,” usually as enrichment classes separate from the academic curriculum.  Sometimes we limited these skill sets to be solely within the purview of the Adjustment Counselor.  Or the parents.  However, good teachers have always understood that these skills must be embedded in the academic curriculum and in the daily life of the classroom – they are too important to be relegated to the margins of education and it would be a mistake to squander our opportunity to strengthen students’ abilities in these areas.

         Not only do we attend to the social emotional well-being of our students because it is the right thing to do, but research has consistently shown that social-emotional learning and academic achievement are related.  When students demonstrate healthy self-awareness, they are able to utilize strategies for learning that are most helpful for them.  When they are successful in self-management, they can minimize the distractions brought on by stress and control impulses that have an adverse effect on learning and attention.  When students have strong relationship skills they improve their ability to work successfully in groups – a necessary condition of learning and working in the 21st century.  When they are socially aware, they develop the strengths of empathy and multiple perspective taking.  Responsible decision-making is vital for students to be successful in every domain of their life, including their own personal safety.

         Throughout the year you will hear and read about the methods through which we promote social emotional learning on a daily basis through our academic curriculum, our classroom and schoolwide routines, our enrichment program, and our special occasion assemblies and ceremonies.  Because we believe in a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset (that is, with purposeful teaching and effective effort, all students can strengthen their aptitude for learning) we believe that we have the ability and the responsibility to improve upon the social emotional wellness of all of our students.  If you are interested in learning more about CASEL and the framework with which we and other schools are working, check out the link at  You will also find our schoolwide goal and supporting objectives and activities in this area in our 2017-2018 School Improvement Plan.

         As always, please feel free to contact me about this topic or any other aspect of your child’s learning experience at Deer Hill School!

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