Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 8, January 26, 2020

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We're Going To state!

GMA Robotics Team Update form Ms. Kathy~

I am sure by now you have already heard the great news...the team was super excited by yesterday's competition. In a VERY short period of time they managed to build a competitive robot, program an autonomous drive, and build a cohesive, cooperative team.

A normal season is several months long; this team has only had a few weeks to pull an entry to the state competition. Yesterday they did just that. They came home with a trophy for Skills Driving, scoring a whopping 121 points, edging out the next competitor by just one point!

At the end of the elimination round, after 8 matches, they were ranked 8th out of 38, making it into the final round. Among the 5 teams that made it into the finals, they finished in second place. During this time, they then found out they earned the EXCELLENCE award...the highest award offered.

The Excellence award is given to a team who was close to winning in several categories and demonstrated overall teamwork, cooperation with other teams, and a quality design notebook. THIS is what earned them a spot in the state competition.

Big thanks to the Sweeney family for hosting so many practices at their house to help the team get ready so quickly. Big shout out to our volunteer mentors, Johnny Sweeney and Jim McGinn. All of your time, effort and energy is greatly appreciated.

Here is a link to the State competition information page on

Mark your calendars for MARCH 7!

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IDOE Releases the 2020-2021 Family Friendly Schools Designations

The Indiana Department of Education just released the 2020-2021 Family Friendly Schools Designations, and Geist Montessori Academy made the list!

The Family Friendly Schools designation recognizes schools excelling in the involvement of families and communities in their children’s education.

“Great teachers, engaged families, and an involved community create the necessary environment for our children to be successful,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I am proud to recognize these Family Friendly Schools for creating such a positive environment for their students and communities.”

Launched in 2015, the Family Friendly Schools designation focuses on addressing the academic, physical, emotional, and social needs of students, while providing the needed resources and fostering the active involvement of their families through schools and the community. The program recognizes and honors schools that welcome all families into the school community, communicate effectively, support student success, speak up for every child, share power, and collaborate with the community.

For more information on the Family Friendly Schools designation, including a complete list of recognized schools, please visit:

We are so grateful for each of you and the joy, love, and peace you bring to the GMA school family. Thank you for being you!


A night to remember!

Please Come join us on January 31!

The GMA School Family is so excited to celebrate our family together, as one,

with our Grand Opening and Ribbon cutting Ceremony!

The children have been busy preparing for the festivities

and some of our students will even be performing.

We will all get to sign the gym floor, students will get a piece of the ribbon,

and student prepared snacks will be featured in the rooms.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Friday, January 31

6-7:30 p.m.

All attending will enjoy a scavenger hunt, with a fun giveaway at the end.

We can't wait to see you all this Friday evening!

Grand Opening Invitation: Click here!

Teamwork: It's a deal!

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NEW car line starts Tomorrow, 1/27

Thank you so much for your patience as we navigate the car line procedures at our new campus. Please note that the newly created lane on 900 is for RIGHT turns only. Please follow this police guideline immediately.

We will begin to implement the new car line procedures on Monday, January 27. Being mindful of siblings that must meet state requirements of minutes spent in school, as well as parents with multiple children only wanting to wait in car line once for pick-up, we have created the following plan:

  • All Pre-K and kindergarten students without siblings will be released for car line pick-up at 3:00 p.m. All Pre-K and kindergarten students without siblings need to be picked up by 3:10 p.m.
  • Pick-up for Pre-K and K will only be at door 3, green moon.
  • Pre-K and K students with siblings, along with grade 1-8 students, will be released at 3:30, with cars stopped in the double-S lane until 3:15.
  • At 3:15, all remaining students’ car line numbers will be taken, and students will be called at 3:30 p.m.
  • All cars need to be in the lot no later than 3:45 p.m. Dismissal for this large group will be at both doors, like we have been doing.

Thank you for your patience with the procedures!

Meet the Cortez Family

Hello! This is the sixth year our family has been at GMA. If you do not know us, we are the Cortez family, Kim, Victor, and our children, Teagan, Willa, and Orion.

Our family enjoys singing, together, watching comedy movies, and playing games. However, we occasionally go out for a surprise activity or explore a park or a museum. We all enjoy the museums the Indianapolis area has to offer. Teagan loves digging right into the history of everything, Willa enjoys visual representations, and exploring the exhibits, while Orion likes trying out every activity and creating new inventions from what he learns. Our favorite museum is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis because it meets everything each child loves.

Outside of school, Teagan enjoys roles in plays or musical theatre, but in her free time she’ll also write stories and draw. Willa, also enjoys theatre, plays soccer for Indy Premiere, and loves to choreograph dances. Orion also likes acting, and is a green belt in Karate.

Teagan is in Mrs. Angela’s class in the seventh grade, Willa is a fifth grader in Ms. Abby’s class, and Orion, is in Mrs. Meagan’s class in first grade. When we started at GMA, Teagan had Mrs. Leslie, who we are so grateful to, as she not only saw the spark inside our child, she also knew how to keep that spark burning. Gratefully, so has each teacher and staff member our children have learned from. Through extra hours, and every student that needs help, this faculty will always come through. The entire staff does not only do a wonderful job teaching and guiding, but they also build lasting relationships with students. This makes students not just see them as teachers, but as friends too, which is a wonderful gift.

Our family’s personal favorite thing about GMA has to be the message of peace and the sincerity of Maria Montessori’s approach. The GMA community has been a wonderful part of our lives, as the families, volunteers, and staff work to make an environment that our children really like to come to each day!

~Kim, Victor, Teagan, Willa, and Orion

It's Sand Time!

The PTO playground committee has been busy again! The sandbox has come in, and they are requesting that all sand donations be dropped off by the basketball goals, out of the way. Thank you for your contributions and helping to create a fun play-space for our children.

School Choice Week

On Friday, January 31, in culmination of School Choice Week, we are celebrating the success of school choice and bringing the entire school family together under one roof: Better Together!

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Meet Ms. Meagan

What is your favorite thing to do?

My favorite thing to do is to be with my family! My husband Jeremy and I love sharing the joys of life with our sweet daughter Emma!

What would you like to be your greatest accomplishment?

I hope that my greatest accomplishment is that people remember me as someone who is kind. I also hope that when my students look back and remember their elementary days with me they smile, feel love in their hearts and know that I truly cared about each of them!

Where is the most interesting place you've traveled to and why?

The most interesting vacation or travel experience I have had was my cross country trip to San Francisco for my Montessori training. The training was seven weeks and I really wanted my car to be able to explore the California coast. So, a few of my friends drove my car and camped the entire way there. We learned so much about the country and saw amazing sights along the way.

What is your favorite song and why?

Depends on my mood! HA! I seem to find songs that quickly become my favorite depending on the season of life that I am in. I absolutely love listening to musicals. When I love one, I become obsessed and listen constantly until I know all of the words. Songs have a beautiful way of telling stories :) My favorite past-time is turning on a musical and jamming out while cleaning or having a dance party with my toddler in our living room.

What is your favorite Montessori quote or principle?

The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, ’The children are now working as if I did not exist.’ - Maria Montessori

This quote by Maria Montessori stands out to me and is often one of my favorites. I love when it comes to that point in the year where I can step back and observe the seeds I have sown sprout. When I am able to see the classroom functioning without me, learning is still happening and there is a happy buzz throughout the room- it makes me realize that all of the hard work in setting expectations, routines and procedures was for a reason and the children feel safe to be themselves and help each other learn.

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Family Sock Hop Coming Soon

Please join us on Friday, February 21st from 6:00PM - 8:00PM for our Family Sock Hop in the Gymnasium!

  • Swing dance lesson by Naptown Stomp
  • Performance by Leen Illusions
  • Tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family.
  • Please send in your registration by February 17

Like to be involved? We'd love to have you! Sign up here

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Sibling enrollment time!

Current GMA families, it is that time of year to let us know if your current student has a sibling not currently enrolled in GMA that wishes to enroll for the 2020-2021 school year. Per our charter regulations, siblings of current students have priority. If you have a student that will be joining us for the 2020-2021 school year, please complete this form:

Enrollment Form, Sibling 2020-2021

Please contact Ms. Jane with any questions or concerns, 317-813-4626.

important reminders

Upcoming Events

January 31: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, 6-7:30 p.m., Gym,

Invite your friends and family with the evite link!

February 13: Skating Party at Roller Cave, 5:30 Learn to Skate, 6-8 p.m.

February 14: eLearning Day, Professional Development for Teachers

February 17: No School, President's Day

February 21: Family Dance, 6-8 p.m.

March 7: Come cheer on the Robotics Team at State!

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

Act it out~ coming soon!

A note from Ms. Meagan:

What? A place for all things theatrical! Children will have the opportunity to study theatre through play! With a variety of dramatic games and improv warm ups, your child is sure to have a blast! We will also go through the steps of putting a small performance together and showcase that to our family and friends on our last day of class in the NEW GYM!

Please refer to the attachments with all of the details.

East Entrance is the only exit during the school day until car line pick-up

GMA’s east entrance, closest to Olio, is to be used as an entrance and exit during the school day since cars are not allowed on the north side of the campus during school hours. We are having a sign made to reflect this, so in the meantime, please know that it is ok to drive out the Do Not Enter signed east entrance.

There is also a chain blocking the north side of the school, so please be mindful of this policy. This is ensuring the safety of our middle school students as they play basketball on the blacktop area. We appreciate your help with this, as we continue to keep student safety a priority.

Learning Labs Begin this week

We have been busy dissecting student achievement data in math and reading and are beginning Learning Labs to help better support our students who are in need of just a little boost. We are utilizing the Quality School Grant to offer these tutoring labs before or after school, FREE of charge to our families. If your child was chosen to participate in this opportunity, a permission letter describing the lab details will be coming home this week.

There are seventeen, free, academic support sessions being offered to families, serving approximately 90 students, and we will be closely monitoring the students’ progress to ensure success. The first session is for 5 weeks, the weeks of 1/27- 2/28. At which time, we will reassess and offer other students the opportunity to participate or offer the students currently in the labs, the ability to continue receiving services.

Further, in analyzing the data, we also discovered that there are many high ability students who need differentiated learning opportunities. We are utilizing the high ability grant to ensure that high ability English language arts and mathematics curriculum is being offered to better serve their needs and stretch their potential and higher level thinking skills.

Great STEM opportunity: Register now

Engineering for Kids is offering after school STEM opportunities in explore and mechanical engineering. Please see the attached flyer with all of the enrollment details.

They are also offering an Early Bird Special for Summer Camps at GMA. Register for a full day camp experience and save up to $50 per week!

Here is the link for the website:

Bundle Up and Be in the Know!

As inclement weather approaches, please watch local news’ stations and check your emails for delays and cancellations. We will post all 2-hour delays and cancellations on local news’ stations, email, Facebook, and Geist Montessori Academy's website.

Pokémon is back with Ms. Joni

Come explore the wonder and excitement of competitive Pokémon!

What? Find out what all these cards are about! Children will have the opportunity to enhance their strategy and critical thinking skills through play! The Pokémon trading card game involves high levels of reading, math, logic, planning, and executive functioning skills. Importantly, it also teaches social skills such as communication in game, calling for help, sportsmanship, and winning and losing graciously. After our last meeting, I will be more than happy to organize a field trip to an actual competitive Pokémon event for our group!

Who? I highly recommend this club to 2nd through 6 th year students. The game involves reading all the fine print on the cards, and doing multiple math calculations per turn, which can include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Maximum of 10 kids in each 6-week session.
When? Fridays after school- 4:00PM-5:00PM
Feb. 21, Mar 6, Mar 20, Mar 27, April 10, April 17.
Where? Ms. Joni's Room (Redwoods)
Cost? $75 for the session; and each child will receive a 60-card deck, with protective sleeves and a deck box, and all damage counters and other materials needed to play the game.
Please see the sign-up for more details and for registration. The Sign-ups are first come, first serve (payment first only). Please contact Joni Heredia with questions.


Or send a check for $75 to Joni Heredia.

Attendance Matters

Please email your child's teacher and CC Beth LaRock, our attendance manager, of any absences:


Due to the car line dismissal time of 3:30, there will be no student dismissals permitted after 2:45 p.m. Therefore, please make all appointments for your children before 2:45 p.m. In order to properly manage the flow of car line dismissal traffic, any student needing to be picked up beyond 2:45 p.m. will have to join the rest of the students in the regular car line procedures.

Spirit Wear Shirts Available!

It seems that everywhere I turn, I see someone wearing our new sensational shirt, uniting us as one: Better Together!

Our incredible PTO is selling these T-shirts, displaying our new school logo for only $10. Youth sizes XS-L and Adult sizes S-XL are available. These will be the only spirit wear shirts offered this semester, so please order accordingly.

Also, if you were given your shirts at the Sweet Meet and Greet and have not paid for these yet, please do so as soon as possible since the PTO has many other financial obligations at this time.

Shirts are limited, so please contact Casi Durham directly if you would like one: durham.casi@gmail.

eLearning Day : february 14

Per Indiana Department of Education, "eLearning Days have given the option for continuing an instructional day away from traditional time limits and brick and mortar setting. This innovative program has evolved into an engaging instructional model used in many Indiana schools to keep the sequence of learning going in spite of weather and other challenges. More importantly, it has provided teachers and students the opportunity to engage with digital resources, to collaborate virtually, and to develop digital skills that are used and valued beyond K-12."

Please enjoy the eLearning PowerPoint Presentation by Mr. Logan, presented on October 3 to explain the process:

Additionally, please find the attached board policy pertaining to eLearning Days. Students should have received their eLearning day work before leaving for winter break.

Mastering Montessori

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Tree of Thanksgiving

Like rain and sunshine, community partnerships and outreach help Geist Montessori Academy continue to thrive and flourish. In recognition of the many sponsors and donors, we are developing a tree of thanksgiving and new growth. Leaves of recognition will be adhered to the tree in tiers:

Bronze: $1000-$4,999

Silver: $5000-$9,999

Gold: $10,000-$14,999

Also, in honor of time and talent, in addition to treasure, we are allowing the PTO to select outstanding volunteers for up to 20 percent of the recognition leaves, over a 5 year period. Sponsors and donors that make a contribution of $15,000 or greater will have a banner featured in the gymnasium. The banners are 3 X 5 feet with grommets in the left and right upper hand corners. The design on the banner needs administration and board approval. Upon approval, the banner is created by the donor and then displayed in the gymnasium.

We appreciate your partnerships and are so thankful for your generosity and support.

Indeed, we are BETTER TOGETHER!

Together, we are so much better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

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