Our Programs

Maplehill School maintains approval by the State of Vermont Agency of Education to provide Special and General Education services for adolescents and young adults from 7th through 12th grades.

Small Group Program

Maplehill School’s Small Group Program occupies a renovated farmhouse that is set on 90 acres of meadows and forested hillsides on East Hill Rd. in Plainfield, VT. The space provides classrooms, meeting rooms, a commercial grade kitchen, a workshop, a library and lounge space. Up to 20 students may be enrolled at any one time. Average class size in the Small Group Program is between 4-6 students. The Small Group Program provides an educational therapeutic day program for students 12-22 years old. Students work towards a high school diploma or to demonstrate their capacity to return to a less restrictive learning environment. The Small Group Program has a school year program and a summer program. See below for information about our summer program.

Using both emergent curriculum and backwards design, teaching staff design activities to help students improve their academic skills in alignment with Vermont Standards and to make learning as meaningful as possible for students. Working in small groups, on independent projects, electives and service learning classes, students are encouraged to follow their interests to develop understanding of the world around them.

Individual Care Program

The Maplehill School Individual Care Program provides a careful, individualized opportunity for teens and young adults to complete high school graduation requirements in spite of significant personal challenges. The program utilizes 1:1 support for each student, making it possible for the school to effectively address each student‘s disability/ies with accommodations that work. The Individual Care Program‘s course of study provides 4 main areas of activity: functional academics, social literacy, occupational readiness and artistic expression.

The Individual Care Program is based on Maplehill School’s Farm Campus. The working farm setting provides a consistent home-base for the students with built-in diversity in activities. The farm is scaled to be accessible to the student population making it possible for much of the “school work“ to be hands-on, experiential, relevant and collaborative. Maplehill School works closely with the student’s sending school district as well as other service providers associated with each student to promote consistency and understanding about each student’s goals, plans for implementation and procedures for assessment. The Individual Care Program has a school year program and a summer program. The Dean of Students and a staff social worker are on hand to meet with students individually and in groups to address behavioral patterns, emotional connections between students and staff, and work with families to support them in meeting the emotional needs of the youth. The Individual Care Program is set on the Maplehill School and Community Farm, 140-acres of hilltop fields and forests in Marshfield Vermont, just outside of Plainfield Village.

Summer Program

Both of our programs include a Summer Program to support our students’ academic and enrichment needs over the summer. Summer activities include:

  • Farming
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Historical Field Trips
  • Preserving and Canning Food That We Grow
  • Paid Work on Campus

Additional Supports

Therapeutic Supports

Students have access to additional therapeutic supports through the services of a Dean of Students and a staff social worker. Other complementary therapeutic supports include:

  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Individual or Group Sessions
  • Collaboration with Outside Therapists

Vocational Opportunities

A core component of both programs is individually tailored vocational training for each student. Vocational learning occurs both on and off campus and offers students a chance to pursue personal interests and develop skills. Examples of vocational opportunities are:

  • Computer Programming
  • Carpentry
  • Forestry
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Child Care
  • Culinary Arts
  • Retail Work
  • Welding & Blacksmithing
  • Landscaping


Electives offered each quarter are based on student interest, the season, and staff skills. Examples of common electives are:

  • Farm and Gardening
  • Music (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drumming)
  • Art
  • Carpentry
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dungeons and Dragons & Other Cooperative Games
  • Foreign Language
  • Babysitter Prep
  • Outdoor Survival
  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • Creative Writing
  • Drama

Community Building

Building community between students, staff and the broader community occurs in a variety of ways:

  • Annual Overnight Trip to the Adirondacks (Small Group Program only)
  • Harvest Supper
  • Winter Recreation Program
  • Maple Sugaring
  • Annual Student Art Show
  • Community Garden Day
  • End of the Year Celebration
  • Elder Outreach Project

Other Opportunites

Elmhill, Inc.’s resources and circumstances position the organization to be progressive and experimental in its educational practices. We are open to collaboration with school districts, individual schools, independent school groups or other organizations. Please contact us if you would like to discuss an idea.

Some examples of collaborations we have had in the past or would be interested in exploring are:

  • Field trips from regular education classrooms from schools near and far
  • Ongoing visits from local Special Education classrooms

Please Note:

  • Maplehill Farm can host small groups for meetings, workshops and retreats.
  • Maplehill Farm can host groups for experiential land and farming education
  • Elmhill, Inc. is a host site for AmeriCorps member volunteers and events
  • Elmhill, Inc. supports fellow non-profit organizations through resource sharing and offering our space

Enrollment Information

Maplehill School does not discriminate against: race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any other traits in considering applications for enrollment. Though Maplehill School may not be an appropriate placement for all applicants, we consider each with a gentle, direct and personal approach. Maplehill School reserves the right to determine which of its programs would best suit any given applicant.

Each of the following steps for enrollment must be fulfilled to pass on to the next step:

  1. Initial Information Exchange - A representative of Maplehill School and a representative of the applicant‘s sending school discuss student‘s needs and the school‘s capacity to meet those needs.

  2. Introductory Tour - Student and selected student representatives (parent/s, school official, state agency, etc.) tour Maplehill School programs and meet members of Maplehill School faculty. The tour includes a sit-down meeting to discuss specific characteristics of the student‘s needs as well as ways that Maplehill School might address those needs. If the enrollment process is to continue, student receives an Enrollment Form to complete. Maplehill School may request an opportunity to review applicant‘s records.

  3. All-Day Visit - Applicant submits completed Enrollment Form and attends school a full day, taking part in regular school activities. The visit includes a 1:1 review of the Maplehill School Handbook to become aware of day to day procedures and expectations.

  4. Orientation Time - Applicant attends school regularly for a period of no less than 2 weeks as an enrolled student. Student and school have the opportunity to experience practical considerations related to enrollment.

  5. Formal Enrollment - Maplehill School confirms student‘s acceptance into the program and facilitates any needed final paperwork.

Parents, guardians, case workers, or others may contact Maplehill School to discuss the school‘s programs and enrollment possibilities for someone that they know. In all such cases, Maplehill School will refer inquiries back to the individual‘s home school district as the means to begin the enrollment process. Please contact us to begin an enrollment inquiry online.