Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

Volume 2, December 8, 2019

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Happiness of the Child

After my first full week at GMA, I am truly amazed by all of the work going on behind the scenes! I would like to give a HUGE Shout-Out to the Board, the parents, and the staff~ for the incredible work you do, day in and day out. The engagement and happiness of the child shines throughout our GMA school family.

The GMA School FAmily is Better Together

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New Car Rider Line Procedures

Our new campus is almost ready! We are getting so excited to move the school family under one roof. To help with a smooth transition, there will be a Parent Education Night on December 18th, at 6 p.m., at the North Campus. Come learn about the new school’s car rider line and safety procedures.

Cookies and Cocoa!

There are so many exciting new developments at the new campus, and we are eager to be together, for we are better together!

There will be a classroom "Sneak Peek" offered at the new campus on Wednesday, January 8, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. This open house format will allow students to see their new classrooms before coming to school on Thursday, January 9. Be sure to check out the gym and enjoy some Cookies and Cocoa with the PTO.

Staci Lovold Joins our GMA School Family!

We are so excited to announce our new kindergarten teacher, Staci Lovold. Ms. Staci, has incredible credentials and past experiences. She will be joining our GMA school family on Fridays and then will be serving full-time at the new campus after winter break. She has a B.S. in kindergarten/primary education, as well as her masters in teaching curriculum and instruction. Besides this, she also is Orton-Gillingham certified, has taught preschool, kindergarten, and was a literacy coach for seven years.

Here's a word from Ms. Staci:

Hello GMA families!

My name is Staci Lovold, and I am excited to begin transitioning into the role of Kindergarten teacher at GMA. Over the last 19 years, I have served children ages 3-8th grade as a Preschool, Kindergarten and First grade teacher as well as working as a Literacy Coach. My career has taken me into private settings, a public charter school and most recently in a cooperative preschool & kindergarten. My family has been a part of the GMA community for the last 8 years, and I’m looking forward to now joining my own children at school each day!

What three traits define you? Patient, flexible, dedicated

What is one thing you cannot resist? Dark Chocolate!

What is your favorite thing to do? I enjoy spending time with my family. We love playing games, watching movies and camping together. (Going for a nice run is a close second!)

Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to and why?Finland and Sweden. The areas I visited were simply breathtaking. Visiting in the summer also meant I got to experience nearly 20 hours of daylight each day!

What is your favorite Montessori quote? We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.

Absent Work Policy

In order to preserve the importance and value of learning as a school family, it is an expectation that make-up work is made available and completed by all absent students, whether the child is absent for a day or for weeks. This reinforces the importance and value of our time learning at school, while also staying true to the Montessori Method and keeping the community of learners connected to one another, even while apart. The concept is very similar to the eLearning days.

If a student is absent for more than one day, similar works will be placed at the front desk (labeled with student’s name, teacher’s name, and date) by 3:00 p.m. for family members to come and pick up. If you would rather receive the materials/lessons via email, please contact your child's teacher. Since the Montessori Method has many hands-on learning experiences, your child's teacher will customize the learning based on a home environment and personalize the lessons for your child. If a child has a prearranged absence, all work will be sent home prior to the absence. Please give your child's teacher plenty of notice and do not hesitate to ask me if you have any questions or need further explanation.


Policy Review and Enhancement

I have quickly found that one of GMA’s greatest strengths is its creativity and growth mindset: the desire to continually refine and hone best practices.This week, GMA staff came together for team building activities, and we are really Going Places! Inspired by the book Going Places, where creativity and collaboration are combined, the teachers worked together to take GMA to new heights. As such, there are a few areas that we are looking to enhance, specifically, we are working to improve some of our school policies in order to create school-wide systems to better support our students. Policies currently in committees and in the revision stage are the anti-bullying, conduct, restraints and seclusion, and school/classroom discipline policies. We look to have the revised policies for public review soon.

NWEA MAP Growth Assessments

This past week, your child took a MAP® Growth™ test from NWEA® on a computer or tablet. MAP Growth scores help teachers check student performance by measuring achievement and growth. Teachers use results to tailor classroom lessons and set goals with students.

MAP Growth tests are unique, and they adapt to your child’s responses in order to measure your child’s skill level. If your child answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If s/he answers incorrectly, the next one is easier. These results will provide a more complete picture of what your child knows and is ready to learn—whether it is on, above, or below grade level.

Based upon the results, students will set goals within their classroom and assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The NWEA results will be going home with the students’ second quarter progress reports on Friday, December 20.

We are truly excited to focus on your child’s individual growth and achievement. For more information about MAP Growth, visit


The PTO is having a Pancake Breakfast on December 14, from 9:00-10:30, with 10:30 -12:00 being reserved for packing and possibly shelf building for the new campus (hopeful that it will be here.) A special thank you is extended to the hardworking and devoted parent volunteers who have been finding sponsors to help fund the fence and play area. Along with this, the playground committee has been working tirelessly to help ensure a play area is ready at the new campus. They have ideas to earn Nature Explore Center Certification and to purchase swings and other fun amenities for the children. They also have begun long-term plans for the space beyond the creek. Jen Peden has been instrumental in offering to move GMA equipment, such as the gaga pit, peace pole, and large play rocks. Also, thank you, thank you, PTO, for your generosity and giving all teachers $200 for their new classroom set-up. We truly appreciate ALL that you do!

Branding Vote: Voice and Choice; Better Together!

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We Need YOU: We are Better Together!

Please vote and complete the quick questionnaire

There is so much talent in our GMA school family!

Please take a few minutes ( less than five), to vote on our logo for the new campus and share some ways that you would like to take an active role in our school community. Please complete by Wednesday, December 11.

Please Click HERE for the Logo Vote and Volunteer Form

Squaring with the Pegboard By Callum, Jeremy, William, Benjamin , Remy, Makena, and Christian

The pegboard is a Montessori material used for squaring, and also used for finding greatest common factors, least common multiples, multiplication and division. We got excited about a new lesson and decided to create our own squaring pattern borrowing all upper elementary peg boards and 3752 pegs and 32 beads from the test tube material. We squared 98,275,832 which equals --------------. (we are still working on it!).

The green pegs are unit pegs (which includes units of thousands, units of millions, units of billions, etc). The blue pegs are the tens pegs (tens of hundreds, tens of thousands, tens of millions, etc.). The red pegs are hundred pegs (hundreds, hundreds of thousands, hundreds of millions, etc.). As an example, 5 green unit pegs are worth 5, 5 blue tens pegs are worth 50, 5 red hundred pegs are worth 500, 5 green thousands pegs are worth 5,000, and so on.

We can find the answer to squaring one digit by one digit (or units by units), and this will make one green square. When we start squaring a binomial (or 2 digit number), then you will have one green square, two blue rectangles that mirror one another (where each peg is worth ten), and one red square.

This pattern continues as you move through trinomial and quadrinomial squaring.

To use the material you need to put the numbers on your paper squares and place them on the sides of the pegboard, then put the pegs in squares or rectangles, like a multiplication array. If you have a zero on one of them then skip to the next one.

To find the answer to the squaring problem on the peg board, you have two methods to solve. One, you can count up all the pegs in order and make trades as needed (trading 10 green units for 1 blue ten peg) ; starting with units, then tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. Or, you can count the individual squares and rectangles, and add them upon paper, which will give you the same answer.

Busy Time of Year

It's a busy time of year; please help your child learn the value of time management and be prompt in dropping off and picking up your child.

School Board News: December 10 Preliminary Agenda




Meeting Location

GMA North Campus, 13942 E 96th St. McCordsville, IN 46055

Tuesday, December 10, 2019



Nick Wright – President | Kirby Durham – Secretary | Uriah Ellis – Treasurer

Lacey Willard – At-Large Member | Andrew Cavallaro – At-Large Member


Cindy Schuler – Executive Director

Logan Bonar – Assistant Executive Director

Jack Colwell – Controller


Rob Wohlschlaeger – Lauth Property Group


Geist Montessori Academy (“School”) welcomes your participation at the School’s Board meetings. The purpose of a public meeting of the Board of Directors (“Board”) is to conduct the affairs of the School in public. We are pleased that you are in attendance and hope that you will visit these meetings often. Your participation assures us of continuing community interest in our School. To assist you in the ease of speaking/participating in our meetings, the following guidelines are provided.

1. Agendas are available to all audience members at the door to the meeting.

2. ”Public Comments” are set-aside for members of the audience to raise issues or make comments to the board. . Under Indiana’s Open Door Law, addressing the board is a privilege, not a right. The Board will only listen to your issue, not immediately respond or take action. These comments are limited to five (5) minutes per individual, and total time allotted to public comments will not exceed fifteen (15) minutes. The Board may give direction to staff to respond to your concern, or may determine that the topic be placed on a future agenda for appropriate response and action.

3. When addressing the Board, speakers are requested to state their full name and adhere to the time limits set forth. In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Board will not discuss any individual students or their personally identifiable information in public board meetings.

1. Opening

· Pledge of Allegiance

· Welcome

2. Consent Agenda

· Approval of Minutes

· Financial Report

3. Office of the Executive Director

· Office of the Executive Director Report

· Team Lead Reports

4. Committee Reviews

· Finance Committee

· Facilities Committee

5. Pillars Open Items

· Community Outreach

6. Old Business

7. New Business

8. Public Comment

9. Adjournment

Upcoming Events

December 10: School Board Meeting, 5:30 p.m., North Campus

December 14: Pancake Breakfast, 9:00 a.m-10:30 a.m., Packing 10:30-12:00

December 18: Parent Education Night: Car Rider Line, 6:00 p.m., North Campus

December 20: Progress Reports, eLearning Work, and NWEA results sent home

December 21-January 6: Winter Break: Enjoy your time with your loved ones!

January 7-8: eLearning Days

January 8: Sneak Peek, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

January 9: First Day for the GMA staff and students to be together: Better Together!

Looking for Lockers

The new campus needs lockers, and Ms. Angela and the middle school business class used this problem to springboard into a solution by creating a problem-based learning activity. The students investigated and explored a variety of locker options to best meet their needs at the new campus. Using the space restraints and being fiscally mindful, they developed platforms and pitched their recommendations. Enjoy this videoclip from Baby Yoda and friends:

We will be ordering new lockers, using the funds that the middle school students generated from their in-school pizza business.

Family Feature: LaRock Family

Meet Front Office Extraordinaire: Beth LaRock

A few words from Ms. Beth: I would say some traits that define me are kindness and helpfulness. I have learned so much working here and love the challenge of doing more to help the staff and students at GMA. The environment is very important to me, and I believe preserving the earth’s resources should be a top priority. Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy gardening when the weather is warmer and snuggling in to watch some HGTV when it’s cold outside.

Our family consists of my husband, Eric, daughter, Abigail, 13, son, Ethan, 9, and myself. Abigail loves math, history, spending time with her friends, and almost always has a book in hand because she loves to read. Ethan enjoys math, and he loves to play piano, video games, and also spending time with his friends. We have been at GMA for 5 years now. I love Dr. Montessori’s approach to learning and believe that you need to embrace the whole child and that they all have potential to learn and grow when you meet them on their level. We have a cat named Horace, and the kids and I enjoy volunteering twice monthly at the Hancock County Humane Society with those kitties. During the holidays, we love to decorate, host family dinners, and celebrate with our church family.

The most important things in life are not things. My advice is to try and surround yourself with positive people who will lift each other up and not tear each other down.

Calendar Change: eLearning Days Coming Soon!

With the transition and move into the new GMA building, there will be two eLearning Days in January: Tuesday, January 7 and Wednesday, January 8.

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.

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

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