It has been wonderful to once again be able to walk the campus, both indoors and outdoors, and see the students and teachers in action as we settle into in-person learning. Last year our entire campus and community was strictly podded, both inside and outside, in a way that did not give me the freedom to interact with all of the programs and observe classrooms. I am loving getting to see everyone this year! It feels as though our masking, improved ventilation and air filtering, and outside work is supporting us in being safe, but also allowing us to have a much needed and longed for sense of community.
We anticipate continuing to prioritize being able to have students here in-person. While we expect that there will be some positive COVID cases among our community, we hope to minimize any “close contacts” and the need to shut down our entire school. As we were successful with last year, we hope that even if there were a COVID positive case on campus, there will be no spread within our school. We are optimistic, but also watching the rest of the country.
One precaution we are taking in hopes of minimizing potential spread is to not have Peace Buddies, which entails cross-program togetherness in a way that feels too risky. We will miss this opportunity to connect and bond in our community, but the risk of greater contact groups is too high. We are also expecting to NOT hold an in-person Grandparents and Special Friends Day. However, we do feel comfortable holding AfterCare and having After School Enrichment Programs. As we move into the fall we will continue to assess each event individually. Please refer to the website calendar for the most up-to-date event information. We are looking at a format and time for the September Parent meetings – stay tuned. We are grateful for the beautiful weather today, and the chance to hold our Back-to-School Picnic tonight. Hope to see you soon!
Head of School
Why do we do “Standardized Assessments” at a Montessori school?
At the beginning of each school year, and at two other milestone points in the school year, we have our Learning Specialist Team, Wendy Lynde and Amelia Farnum, do an objective evaluation of all school aged students using the assessments consistent with that of our local public schools. Before we had a Learning Specialist on staff, Montessori teachers would do similar assessments, taking the teachers out of the classroom and away from giving Montessori lessons. We are grateful to have our Learning Specialist team available to efficiently and consistently assess all students from Kindergarten through Middle School (taking about thirty minutes for each student). Once completed we then blend the observations from all the teachers with these objective data points to provide a more complete picture of each student to enable us to meet their specific learning profile. Some students and families might wonder why we, as a Montessori school that “follows the child”, do “standardized” assessments? There are many reasons. This practice:
- Helps to get an additional objective data point to help place students in personalized literacy and math groups.
- Gives students the “practical life” experience of doing this kind of “testing” in a different format, something that they will need as a life skill in their future academic lives.
- Builds a comfort level with working individually in a slightly more formal way, but in a supportive, low-stakes context.
- Provides comprehensive and balanced academic assessment and effective communication around student needs.
- Provides data to use if we end up requesting that the district do a complete educational assessment of a child.
Sometimes students notice that this work feels different. They are asked to stay quiet and to work on their own, very different from the chatter and collaboration that they are used to in the Montessori classroom. It is a helpful experience that broadens our information and expands their skills. When we follow up with the check-ins later in the year, we are able to use that information to assess students’ response to instruction and make any needed adjustments. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Learning Specialist Director
Head of School