Peace Rocks Highlighted at the UMC Conference

This weekend much of our staff attended the 20th Utah Montessori Council conference. The conference is for our Montessori teachers to share ideas, learn, socialize and be inspired. Schools were invited to share their peace project and our Amanda was invited to speak.

Amanda shared our Peace Rock story and arranged a Peace Rock Project display at the UMC conference.  “This past fall, our staff and students (infants through upper elementary) painted peace rocks.  Each class placed them in front of our school during our Peace Parade on International Day of Peace.  We placed signs inviting the greater community to take a rock of peace.  The idea was to spread messages of peace into our community.”

Amanda’s display featured rocks painted by our staff and students and information about our peace project.  She invited the UMC attendees to make a peace rock or take one decorated by our school staff and students.

Re-Enrollment for 2023 -2024

We are happy and honored that you have entrusted us with your child’s education and look forward to continuing that relationship for the next academic year.

Re-enrollment for 2023-2024 is now open!

Every family should have received an email from enroll@mcsslc.com on January 17, 2023 called Enrollment for Returning Student explaining how to complete the re-enrollment process for the 2023-24 school year. The email was sent to the same parent/guardian who filled out the application & enrollment forms previously.

Open enrollment for new families begins in the near future. We wish to preserve our current families’ spaces by enrolling your children first. Re-enrollment needs to be completed by February 15th. After this date, spaces will be opened to new families and your child’s placement will no longer be guaranteed.

Enrollment details to note for 2023-2024

  • The tuition increase this year is 5% school wide.
  • If you are considering the Extended Day option, we would encourage you to sign up sooner rather than later. As of this year there is one fee for both early and late care Extended Day. Staffing is based on those who have selected this option during enrollment and we cannot always guarantee space for later schedule changes.
  • Registration and enrollment for Summer Camp 2024 will be conducted in late fall 2023.

If your child will not be returning for the 2023-2024 year, please email enroll@mcsslc.com to indicate your decision. Alternatively, log into FACTS Family Portal and click Apply/Enroll -> Enrollment / Re-enrollment and click the button “Will Not Enroll.”

If your family has elected not to return to MCS next year, we recommend that you wait to relay that information to your child until closer to the end of the academic year. It has been our experience that children who are told in advance of such a change often lose their focus for the balance of the year, and begin the process of separation long before the change is imminent.

We understand that educational decisions are the result of a thoughtful, intentional process and we appreciate our families taking the time when they are considering re-enrollment for another school year. Do not hesitate to contact us at enroll@mcsslc.com if you have any questions or need assistance in this process.

Carsen Ireland: New Wasatch Extended Day Teacher

Carson was born and raised in Utah. He has always had a passion for understanding the world around him and has found much love for travel and getting to know new environments, people, cultures, and language. He loves communication and is always looking for better and more productive ways to relate to others. Carson has a background in mindfulness, meditation, and Nada or Sound yoga. Prior to substitute teaching he found his passion for education through working with youth in special needs programs. Outside of teaching he enjoys music, reading, yoga & meditation, and hiking with his dogs. He is excited to grow with the community. 

Wishing You a Joyous Winter Break

It has been a busy week with holiday programs, classroom sing-a-longs and potluck events.

Capping off this festive week was the staff Sweater Contest in which there were 3 categories to compete: Ugly, Gorgeous and Festive. There was some strategy in category selection, but the winners are: Carson for the Ugly Sweater, Elise for the Gorgeous Sweater and Karla for the Festive Sweater.

We do hope that you enjoy fun family time and look forward to more growth and education in the new

Open House – 1/18/23 – 6:30pm (Admissions Info)

Montessori Community School will be hosting an Open House Meeting (formerly General Admissions Information Meeting). Parents are invited in-person, to learn more about the Montessori method, curriculum and philosophy, and how our programs are designed to educate the whole child. You will have the opportunity to visit our classrooms and meet our Montessori teaching staff.

January 18, 2023

6:30pm-7:30pm

Program Ages:

  • Infants / 3 – 18 Months
  • Toddlers / 18 Months – 3 Years
  • Early Childhood / 3 – 6 Years
  • Elementary / 6 – 12 Years

You are invited, regardless if you have previously made an inquiry to the school or spoken with someone from our dedicated staff. This is an in-person event for adults only. An opportunity for your child to tour is available later.

You may fill out our “Request a Tour” form and specify the Jan. 18 event in order to indicate you will be attending.

Summer Camp 2023

June 12 – August 4, 2023

This summer’s eight-week camp will focus on the arts, movement, gardening and cooking. We are both fortunate and grateful to have the energy and creativity of Candace Wiseman returning as our Summer Camp Director. We are so excited to offer this engaging and creative curriculum that will include many exciting field trips and activities. 

Transitioning and rising students will be charged tuition using their 2022-2023 school year’s program tuition amount. We are not offering partial or prorated tuition amounts, but we are allowing new students enrolled in the 2023-2024 academic year to start this summer during camp. 

Summer Camp Tuition is listed below by program.  Your Summer Camp spots are guaranteed until February 28th when we will open enrollment to new students. Payments will be charged to families in May and/or June of 2023 depending on your enrolled payment plan. Camp enrollment will continue until all available spaces are filled. If you have any questions regarding summer camp, please contact summercamp@mcsslc.com.

You may Enroll in Summer Camp by going to Webforms in FACTS.

Summer Camp Description

The Montessori Community School’s Summer Camp is a multi-week program that focuses on a different area of the world.  Each summer, in order to provide our students with a new “adventure,” the typical Montessori materials are exchanged for crafts, art projects, and various other activities. Our philosophy remains the same: an emphasis on conflict resolution, supporting the development of independence, and making the process of learning fun.

Our summer camp staff is usually made up of extended day, substitute and other support teachers who work with us year-round. Additionally, we may welcome a handful of new summer camp teachers who are trained by our MCS Administration and current staff.

Toddler students who are eligible for Early Childhood and showing readiness for that environment will be in a Transition classroom. Our Third Year Early Childhood students transition to Elementary at the beginning of the summer and they are very excited and ready to embark on all of the more advanced activities that are offered in the Summer Elementary class.

Please keep in mind that while transition is very exciting and our camp is a lot of fun, summer is a different routine.  We recommend families be prepared for all of the normal outcomes of change in routine. Our teachers and camp director make a great effort to keep parents informed and share photos of their child’s experience.  We encourage parents to join teachers in building healthy, communicative relationships in order to support our students so they can have a successful and enjoyable summer.

HVAC Timeline

We would like to provide an update on the HVAC status as well as provide the timeline to show what has been done over the last couple of years so everyone has the complete picture.

2021

Throughout the year The Strategic Planning Committee met and discussed the challenges we have been experiencing with our current  HVAC system and  we continued the process to improve functionality and comfort levels.

We received an assessment from WattSmart (Rocky Mountain Incentive Program) – this program highlighted some options:

  1. Upgrade our current evaporative cooling system
  2. Retrofit the building with VRF/VRC systems
  3. Install a costly ground-loop heat pump system
  4. Install a chilled water system that could utilize the existing hydronic distribution piping

Option 4 was eliminated as it would not be able to cool the building to an extent that would keep up with the longer hotter summers.

Option 3 was eliminated as it was very costly and out of the budget.

Option 2 was deemed the best option for the building and the budget but also expensive, estimated between $1.5-2.5 million.

Option 1 was selected initially to help with specific hot spots and areas that struggled more than others and to give some additional time to budget and plan for option 2.

The evaporative cooler that cools the Toddler classrooms was upgraded in June 2021. An additional portable evaporative cooler was purchased that could be wheeled into a class or the Gym when temperatures grew in specific areas. All of the other evaporative coolers were tuned up for optimum cooling.

2022

The Strategic Planning Committee created an HVAC subcommittee to research and help with the HVAC project specifically. The HVAC subcommittee decided it made sense to move forward with a full engineering analysis and one was performed on the school’s existing infrastructure.

Before and after the engineering analysis, the school interacted with more than 22 companies and sent the engineering analysis to many of them. Some of them immediately said they could not help.  After seeing the engineering analysis some of them said they could and then once they came to the school and saw the scope, said that they couldn’t. A leading HVAC and plumbing company who had helped the school in the past said they could do it and scheduled a time to come out and start the planning, then when it came to start the work, backed out due to being overwhelmed with other projects. The company who manages the church’s HVAC next-door claimed that they could do it and after six separate calls and multiple emails, never put together a firm bid.

The summer of 2022 proved to be unseasonably hot and humid, meaning that even with the tuned up evaporative coolers and the new one over the Toddler classrooms, it was not enough to stay cool. 

As an additional stop-gap solution, nine portable AC units were purchased to cool all the upstairs classes. They had to be retrofitted to the windows and additional electrical infrastructure was put in place in order to allow them to function. This meant that the evaporative coolers that typically pushed air from upstairs to downstairs had to be turned off as they were not compatible with the new portable AC units and the downstairs floors remained warm.

Within the last few weeks the school has finally received a firm bid from a local HVAC contractor to completely upgrade the entire heating and cooling infrastructure. The cost will be between $800K and $1.2 million dollars which is a staggering amount but we believe it is an important step in continuing to ensure students have an ideal environment in which to learn and grow. As we have throughout this process, we continue to research grants and other funding options to help offset some of the costs of this large capital investment.

As with any project of this magnitude we hope to meet certain targets but plan for unexpected variables. If things go well we may begin working in late January and anticipate it taking at least three or four months to complete.

We appreciate everyone who has helped with this project. It has been long and time consuming but we are excited to see a solution on the horizon. Please reach out to us with any questions or suggestions.

Robyn’s Message to the Community in December

This past week has been filled with so many emotions. I know that the departure of the previous directors has had a tremendous impact on our community – our students, our teachers, our staff, our parents, and me, too. Parting ways professionally with two such extraordinary friends and colleagues was one of the most difficult events of my career. I know many of you are angry, saddened and taken aback. The last few months have been a period of extreme challenges and your emotions and concerns are certainly understandable. I wish I could give out more information that could help you understand the decision, but as I have addressed in prior emails, out of respect for previous employees, I cannot divulge any more than I have.

That does not mean I don’t wish to communicate with you. On the contrary, I want to meet with each of you, discuss your concerns, and address how we can work together to help heal our community. While these past few weeks have seen times of significant sadness, countering them have been so many moments of hope and optimism. I have had the opportunity to meet with several parents and have really appreciated their valuable insights, questions, and offers of assistance. It is clear that there are many parents who have a great love for our school community and are very dedicated to helping us work towards restoring the warm and loving environment that we have treasured in the past. I have been uplifted with their genuine concern and support of our school.

There are a few other families who have scheduled to meet with me this week and please know that I am happy to set up other appointments, if you need a dedicated time to chat. Having been very secluded in the Business Office for two years, I have not had the opportunity to get to know many of you and I would be delighted for you to stop by and say hello and tell me how you are feeling. I look forward to actively working with parents to improve our community communications. 

To help facilitate communication, you will have noticed that the majority of Admin and administrative support are now seated in the main office area. The former Business Office is being converted to a Conference Room. We want you to know that we have an Open Door policy and if you see any of us we will be happy to chat.

I hope you all understand how grateful I am to you for your willingness to continue to remain committed to our school and the community. I recognize this as an absolute gift. Please know that I am equally committed to you and your families and doing all I can to help you and our community through these difficult times.  

In Gratitude,

Robyn

Holiday Gift Giving 2022

Each year MCS looks for local charities to support as an opportunity for our entire community to participate in service learning projects. This year we have chosen to give to some great causes: The INN Between and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The INN Between serves vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in the Salt Lake area.  They provide medical respite and end-of life care.   They use and provide basic supplies from laundry items and Gatorade to craft projects.

The International Rescue Committee  helps people affected by humanitarian crises recover.  This year we are responding to one family of 6 with some basic needs from sheets and driving lessons to a laptop and gift cards.

Give now to our sister nonprofit MEF and we will purchase items needed.

If you have donated in-kind or financially please use the following donation receipt for your tax purposes.

Valor in Vernal

Administrators from Utah Montessori Council member schools around our state gather each Fall for a weekend of activities and conversations that strengthen our connections, our craft and our souls.

Vernal

This year we traveled to Brandi’s hometown for Valor in Vernal! Brandi facilitated the opening ceremony at her family’s yurt. She held space for us to begin our work for the weekend- a deep dive into the concept of valor. The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines valor as, “strength of mind or spirit to encounter danger with firmness.”

Brandi’s yurt

Amiee Di Brienza presented our keynote where we explored valor in our schools and our careers.

Petroglyphs

We hiked and explored Dinosaur National Monument. A highlight of our time was the opportunity to meet with and learn from a National Park ranger. Ranger Mason Runs-Through patiently answered our endless questions about paleontology and archeology in this special place.

Ranger Mason Runs Through @Dinosaur National Monument

At the closing ceremony, Emily Squadroni deftly closed the circle on our conversation while providing us with work for our hands as we processed all that we had explored.

Hey fourth graders you can get a FREE pass valid for the duration of your 4th grade school year (September-August). Visit https://www.everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm to learn more.

We all left the retreat with renewed trust in our network of colleagues and empowered to lead with valor.

Enroll

Ready to start the admissions process and enroll now? The first step is to Request a Tour with our admissions team.

Give

MEF is MCS's sister nonprofit and has a mission to help more kids experience Montessori. Please consider a donation to MEF.