Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 14, March 8, 2020

Wishing you a Glorious Week!

“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”-Maria Montessori

Medieval Fair Fun

The Upper Elementary Students did a marvelous job exploring the past with an interactive study of medieval times. Disease, medicines, shields and armor, women's roles, weapons, castles, and more came alive as students shared their new learning with our GMA school family.

Music and Movement

Every child has musical potential, and all children are able to learn and express themselves musically, for music is a universal language and children have an uninhibited inclination to move, dance, and make music. Research reveals that music is fundamental in early childhood education, and it helps children to develop in numerous ways, including problem-solving and logic skills. Language acquisition is enhanced as children learn songs with varied vocabulary, meter, and rhyme, and cultural lessons are enriched with songs about continents, planets, respect for Earth, and much more. We aim to have our new music teacher starting very soon.

Music in the Montessori Classroom

"...success [in music education] is bound up with the need for the production
of plenty of music around the child, so that there is set up an environment
calculated to develop musical sense and intelligence."

—Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Learning Labs

The second round of FREE tutoring will run from 3/9-4/24 (Spring Break is in that time frame.)

We are so excited to be able to provide this extra layer of support for our students in grades 3-8 in mathematics and ELA and look forward to further enhancing their achievement and learning development. Please note that our new Book Buddy Program is offering extra support to students in grades K-2, and if you are wanting to volunteer, please contact

To assist with traffic flow during lab times, please be mindful that morning lab students should be dropped off at 7:15 a.m. at door #1, and after school lab students will be dismissed at 4:45 p.m. at door #3, the green moon area. Please be prompt.

Also, with Student-Led Conferences this week, there will be no afternoon labs on Wednesday, 3/11 and Thursday, 3/12.

Thank you for your assistance!

Family Feature:Meet Aquila Fatima and her family

  • We like that GMA is a Montessori school and that our daughter is getting curriculum in her class according to Montessori standards.
  • We like how GMA is focused on continuing improvement and has parent involvement.
  • We have been part of the GMA family for a year.
  • We enjoy going on road trips and exploring new places.
  • We also enjoy making meals together and playing board games.
  • Our daughter Ilhan is in 1st grade.
  • She loves many things about her school but has a keen interest in sciences.
  • Outside of school, she loves learning taekwondo.
  • As a family we strongly believe in learning.
  • There is a lot of good and positive in our community that we can learn from and grow ours.

YUM! Please sign up for the Perfect Potluck

Notes from Abby Kempf Strong and Melissa Reynolds:

Our GMA staff members have some longer nights coming up with Student-Led Conferences.

Let's help provide them some nourishment and support on March 12 with chips and sandwiches. We have about 50 staff to feed, and they are always appreciative of everything you do for them.

Please have all items to the school on March 12, by 11 AM, so we can get everything set out and ready to go.

Thank you so much for your help!

Montessori on the Move

Why is movement such an integral component of the Montessori method? In The Secret of Childhood, Maria Montessori wrote that “Movement is an essential factor in intellectual growth.” The rationale goes that it is through movement that children explore the world around them and connect actions to concepts.

As we often discover, Dr. Montessori was right (and way ahead of her time). Today, neuroscience recognizes that movement and cognition are closely intertwined. An example: A study by a team from the University of Granada in Spain, published in the journal Neuroimage, found that children who exercise have more grey matter and improved academic performance.

Movement not only matters for brain development, but it is also translated into many health benefits, including a healthier heart, stronger muscles, better posture, improved confidence and self-esteem, and general physical and mental well-being.

During their early years, which set the basis for lifetime, children need to develop what is known as ‘physical literacy.’ This is the learning and mastering of fundamental movement and athletic skills, like running, jumping, balancing, skipping or throwing and catching a ball.

Against the backdrop of a progressively sedentary world, there is an ever-stronger need to offer children increased opportunities to practice physical skills, in school and beyond.

Luckily, the Montessori method not only supports the concept of movement as an integral component of learning, but further offers the perfect setting for children to follow their natural drive to move.

In essence, it is about going back to the fundamental Montessori concept that movement matters for the development of the whole child. And doing so, we would be also helping the child set the foundation for a sustainable active lifestyle. We aim to have our new PE teacher starting very soon.

Montessorium • February 07, 2019

Book Buddies Needed!

Do you love to read and have some time to volunteer with kindergarten through second graders? Parent volunteers are needed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., March 3- April 30.

If this interests you, please email

IREAD-3 , March 16-18, 3rd grade students only

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is excited to share resources with parents and families that provide transparency regarding the statewide grade 3 reading assessment. IREAD-3 was developed by Indiana educators to measure foundational reading skills of students at the end of their grade 3 school year.

En Espanol: Porque los estudiantes toman IREAD-3? Toca aqui para un video con mas informacion.

Information about this test can be found:, and the attachment shares item samplers.

Great at State

Words from Coach Kathy:

Outstanding team sportsmanship, cooperation, and creativity was exhibited by our very own Molly, Joy, Cameron, Devon, Chloe, Caleigh, Bentley, Ellen, and Eliza.

These students competed, Saturday, March 7, with middle school students from across the state at Lucas Oil Stadium in the State Robotics Championship. It was a tight race, and though they did not make it to finals, they competed very well, earning the invaluable prize of the love of learning!

A special thanks goes out to all of our amazing parents, friends and teachers who helped behind the scenes, especially Staci Lovold, Nadine Kwok, and Adrienne Johnson. Our Robotics Team mentors, Johnny Sweeney and Jim McGinn are absolutely unbelievable, and we are so appreciative of all of their efforts, time, and dedication to robotics.

It is such a pleasure and honor to coach such an incredible group of committed, caring, and creative problem solvers!

ILEARN Coming Soon, grades 3-8

Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana Academic Standards. ILEARN is the summative accountability assessment for Indiana students and assesses:

  • English/Language Arts (ELA) (Grades 3-8)
  • Mathematics (Grades 3-8)
  • Science (Grades 4 and 6)
  • Social Studies (Grade 5)
  • Biology (High School)
  • U.S. Government – Optional (High School)

Released items from last year:

Please refer to attached brochure for more guidance and sample problems.

Kelso and Lily making a splash

Hello GMA Families!

Kelso and Lily having been making quite a splash in the lower elementary classrooms! Over the past several weeks we have been working on how to be a "Kelso Star!" We talked about how to be respectful, caring, fair, responsible, and honest through stories, pictures, and puppet shows. The Kelso program has been providing several great examples of these traits, but over the next few weeks, the students will be the stars! Each classroom will be creating their own Kelso Star Book.

Each student will get a book page with one of the words that we have talked about, and they will create a picture of what that word means to them. Once everyone is finished with their masterpiece, we will put all the wonderful pictures together to create a book that the kids can look at in the classroom. The Kelso Star Book will conclude the "Building Character" segment of the Kelso program, but we will start the conflict resolution segment once our classroom books are complete. I will have pictures of the books to share with everyone once we get them all put together. Stayed tuned!

Michael Skiles

School Counselor

317-813-4626 EXT: 104

News from Nurse Joy

There are new Hepatitis A immunization requirements.

It’s a two part series that takes 6 months to complete.

Please refer to the attached letter for more details.

Is it a cheetah? By Stephanie Tolan

It's a tough time to raise, teach or be a highly gifted child. As the term "gifted" and the unusual intellectual capacity to which that term refers become more and more politically incorrect, the educational establishment changes terminology and focus.

Giftedness, a global, integrative mental capacity, may be dismissed, replaced by fragmented "talents" which seem less threatening and theoretically easier for schools to deal with. Instead of an internal developmental reality that affects every aspect of a child's life, "intellectual talent" is more and more perceived as synonymous with (and limited to) academic achievement.

The child who does well in school, gets good grades, wins awards, and "performs" beyond the norms for his or her age, is considered talented. The child who does not, no matter what his innate intellectual capacities or developmental level, is less and less likely to be identified, less and less likely to be served.

A cheetah metaphor can help us see the problem with achievement-oriented thinking. The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth. When we think of cheetahs we are likely to think first of their speed. It's flashy. It is impressive. It's unique. And it makes identification incredibly easy. Since cheetahs are the only animals that can run 70 mph, if you clock an animal running 70 mph, IT'S A CHEETAH!

But cheetahs are not always running. In fact, they are able to maintain top speed only for a limited time, after which they need a considerable period of rest.

It's not difficult to identify a cheetah when it isn't running, provided we know its other characteristics. It is gold with black spots, like a leopard, but it also has unique black "tear marks" beneath its eyes. Its head is small, its body lean, its legs unusually long -- all bodily characteristics critical to a runner. And the cheetah is the only member of the cat family that has non-retractable claws. Other cats retract their claws to keep them sharp, like carving knives kept in a sheath --the cheetah's claws are designed not for cutting but for traction. This is an animal biologically designed to run.

Read the remainder of this article here:

High Ability resources:

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YEarbook order time

Save the memories with a yearbook. Please refer to the attached document for details.

important reminders

GMA is WILD about Books: Book Fair Coming and eWallets are EASY!

GMA is WILD about books!

Escape into the wilds of reading with the Scholastic Book Fairs® spring 2020 elementary school theme, Book Fair Jungle: Elephants, Tigers, and Books, OH MY!

The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to GMA March 9-13!

Students will get to make a wish list on Monday, March 9. Please refer to the attachment below. They will be able to purchase items during their class' scheduled time slot March 10-11. The Fair will also be conveniently open during the Student-Led Conferences.

Wednesday, March 12, the Fair will be open until 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, March 13, the Book Fair will be open until 6:00 p.m.

Give your student a secure, cash-free way to shop the fair. Simply create a free account, pre-authorize a spending limit, and have funds immediately. Check out some of the books that will be showcased by reading the book blurbs attachment below!

Scholastic Book Fair eWallet

Car Line Care Reminders

Please use precaution, courtesy, and grace when in car line. Also, please always put your car in park when in the student loading zones.

Coronavirus Update

We wanted to make sure that you are aware that the Indiana Department of Health has confirmed two positive cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Marion County. We are in ongoing communication with our local, state and federal partners in an effort to keep our GMA school community updated on the status of this rapidly changing situation.

In addition, we are encouraging frequent handwashing among students and staff, as it is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick. Hand sanitizer is also available and can be used when needed. Our school nurse, Ms. Joy, is closely monitoring students who are showing any signs or symptoms of an infectious illness. Listed below are some additional recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of germs:

  • Stay home when you are sick. The CDC recommends that you remain home until you are “fever free” for at least 24 hours.
  • Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms that cause concern.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or by coughing into the inside of your elbow. Throw any used tissues away in trash.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.

We will continue to consult with our local, state and federal partners and follow their recommendations on the spread of the coronavirus. In the event that GMA would be closed for an extended period of time, we would utilize eLearning days for students. We are committed to the health and safety of our students and staff.

For more information on the coronavirus, click here.

We thank you for doing your part to keep our school community healthy!

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Better Together: GMA School Board Supports our School family! Look: Our name is on the building!

Please join the School Board on March 17, at 5:30, in the art room, for the next School Board Meeting, and enjoy the January meeting minutes:

Website ideas needed

Would you like to help with the GMA website? Committee members are needed to give insight as to what is needed/wanted on the updated website. Please contact Cindy Schuler if interested:

Calendar Approved!

A special thank you to the creative and dedicated calendar committee!

The 2020-2021 Calendar was approved by the board on 2/19. Please make note that all snow days will be eLearning Days on the day of the occurrence. As such, all of the typical FLEX Days are now DAYS OFF. The committee was also mindful to put Professional Days/eLearning Days next to already scheduled breaks to keep the learning more fluid and to aide parents in scheduling.

In addition, start and end times will remain the same, Pre-K and Kindergarten: 8:30-3:00 and 1st-8th grades: 8:30-3:30. We hope you enjoy that your input was heard and the majority vote on both surveys was used to build the calendar. Again, we are so appreciative of your feedback on the surveys and the dedicated team who created the calendar.

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Project Lead the Way is on the Way!

We won! On Friday, the Indiana Department of Education announced the 2020 Recipients of the Digital Learning-Community Advisory Grant. Geist Montessori Academy was awarded $49,982.84, and the grant is being matched by Project Lead the Way. All staff will receive professional development this summer, and we will launch PLTW in the 2020-2021 school year.

GMA’s STEM vision is to develop a student’s ability to think logically, solve problems, innovate in authentic experiences, engage in inquiry, collaborate with peers, and develop self-motivation and the love of lifelong learning. To do so, GMA STEM will help students intentionally make the cross-curricular connections and uphold the Montessori philosophical beliefs that connect education to students' own interests and experiences.

What PLTW Launch does is tap into students’ exploratory nature, engages them in authentic learning experiences, and encourages them to keep discovering, becoming lifelong learners. PLTW empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. And as students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, they become creative, collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.

For more information, click here and visit:

Census: WE can COUNT on YOU!

Young Children Need to be Counted too!

a. Federal funding for programs benefiting Hoosiers and their communities is based on Census results

b. The Census count includes everyone residing in the U.S. and does not exclude non-citizens. All people living in the U.S. are counted

c. About 5% of children under age 5 in the U.S. were missed in 2010, that’s about 1 million young children, the highest of any age group. More than 12,000 Hoosier children under age 5 weren’t counted

d. This undercount is generally due to a child’s household situation such as splitting time between homes; living with grandparents, extended family, or foster parents; living in a non-English speaking household; living with foreign-born adults; and/or experiencing homelessness

e. Every child should be counted where s/he reside as of April 1, 2020

II. Confidentiality/Data Security

a. In March 2020, every household will receive a notice from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions to complete the survey (online, by mail, or by phone)

b. Your responses to the survey and submitted to the Census Bureau are private

c. No information is shared with any other federal, state, local government agency; survey responses are not shared with law enforcement

d. Your name and address are only collected as a part of the Census to verify that you and every resident are counted just once

e. The Census Bureau secures all responses, including online survey responses

III. Language

a. The Census will also be widely available to non-English speakers, including fully translated Census forms in 13 different languages, and guides in many more languages

IV. Funding

a. Census data drives funding for delivery of many community needs

b. Census data directs almost all of Indiana’s $1 billion annual federal pre-Kindergarten-grade 12 funding – including Title I, SNAP, Special Education, and Head Start c. Each child uncounted may reduce funding for community schooling needs by nearly $1,000 per year, for a decade. That’s approximately $10,000 per child missed

d. Impoverished communities are impacted even more per child missed

V. Representation

a. Fulfill your civic and constitutional duty - Census data is used to apportion congressional representation and Indiana General Assembly seats

VI. It’s Easy and Convenient for Everyone!

a. In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online, but you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer

b. The form can be completed in just 10 minutes

c. If you don’t submit a completed census form, then the Census Bureau will send an enumerator to your address to collect the information in person

d. Completing a census form early is the best way to avoid an enumerator visit your home

VII. Spread the Word

a. In order to receive the funding for all our community needs, it’s important to talk with other community members about completing the Census, especially under-counted populations

b. Our community leaders need your help to encourage your friends and neighbors to complete the census.

Nature Explore Program

Nature Explore Center Program: Nature Explore Program

The PTO is hoping to bring the nature Explore program to GMA. Discover engaging art experiences inspired by nature that help children make deeper connections with the world around them. Experience the Look-Move-Build-Sketch planning tool that encourages multifaceted arts exploration.

The Importance of Visual-Spatial Learning

Description: Explore tools for providing more authentic learning opportunities for children in both built and natural environments. Gain a deeper understanding of why visual-spatial learning is important for all children.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Abby Kempf Strong:

Upcoming Events

March 9-13: Scholastic Book Fair: WILD About Books will be open Wednesday, March 11, until 8 p.m., and it will be open Thursday, March 12, until 6 p.m.

March 10: PTO Meeting

March 11: End of Third Quarter, Student-Led Conferences

March 12: Early Release at noon, Student-Led Conferences

March 13: Early Release at noon, Student-Led Conferences

March 16, 17, 18: IREAD, state test for 3rd grade, 30 minutes in the morning

March 17: School Board Meeting, Art Room, 5:30 p.m.

March 20: Yearbook orders due

April 2: International Festival

April 3: Flex Day (or eLearning)

April 6-10: Spring Break/No School

April 14: STEM Club begins for grades K-2, PTO Officer elections

April 16: Enrollment Night, 5:30-7:30, Parent Montessori Education

April 20-May 15: iLearn State Testing

April 29-30: Act it Out Presentations

May 2: 10am-1pm- Save the date! Spring Carnival

May 8: Save the date! Talent and Art Show. (Please note this is a change from the date published at the beginning of the year)


The PTO would love for you to join us at 4:00 in the art room for all meetings and committee meetings. We have many exciting events coming up and would love your ideas and input.

3/10 - PTO General meeting

3/19 -PTO Talent Show committee meeting

3/31 -PTO Spring Carnival committee meeting

4/14 - STEM Club begins for grades K-2

4/14 -PTO Officer elections

5/2 10am-1pm- Save the date! Spring Carnival

5/8 - Save the date! Talent and Art Show. (Please note this is a change from the date published at the beginning of the year)

New Phone Number: (317) 813-4626 and Address

Please take note; our new school family has a


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055

working together for the better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

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