Growing Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 3: August 16, 2020

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Smiling, sparkling Eyes

Dear GMA School Family,

Masks up and sparkles in eyes were seen in every room of GMA as we celebrated the reunion of new and old friends into our school family. Community compassion and care was felt so deeply all week, and the whole GMA school family seemed to be walking on sunshine! I cannot thank you all enough for your support and partnership in learning. Our first week was absolutely sunsational!

The joy of being with friends, whether onsite or virtual, was felt in all of the classrooms. I enjoyed seeing so many light bulb moments, as the children made connections of the interrelatedness of ideas and to one another. (Please enjoy some photos below of some of my sunny sightings.)

Our incredible teachers have been so busy establishing their community of learners, rich with love and robust learning engagements that balance freedom with responsibility in the classroom. The children are playing an active role in their learning, and the “seeds of interest” are germinating as they begin discovering their inspirational, nurturing, and prepared environments. There seems to be such a hunger for learning, especially since we were all away for so long!

Please share in your child's love of learning and enjoy those smiling eyes as you provide time in the day for your family to reflect on new friends and the learning journey. I am so grateful for all of you as you provide such bright light as we grow together for the better!

Kind regards,

Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

Of all things, love is the most potent.

-Maria Montessori

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Notes from the nurse: COVID care connection, WEEK one

A note from Ms. April, RN GMA school nurse

317-813-4626 ext.106

We are under the guidance of the Hancock County Health Department, who is under the guidance of the Indiana State Health Department and CDC.

We made it! One whole week of school! There was so much encouragement in the halls of GMA this week. The students have been practicing their new safety habits and doing so well. All of the returning onsite students received education in hand hygiene, cloth mask face coverings, and social distancing. I saw a lot of great handwashing this week and friendly reminders to pull those masks up over their noses. There were so many notable efforts made; you can tell the children and staff find joy and value being back with their GMA school family. We have a few changes to our COVID-19 plan for our GMA families to be aware of. We appreciate how our students are being flexible as we learn new practices throughout this time. I am working very closely with the Hancock County Health Department in order to keep our school as safe and healthy as possible. Please note the following changes to the COVID-19 plan and why: MASKS Children 8 years and older are to wear cloth face coverings. If your student is unable to wear a face cloth covering a doctor note will need to be provided so that the school can work with your child's health care provider to find a safe and appropriate alternative. Please make sure your student has a cloth face covering. If your child requires a ventilated mask or face shield please let us know so we can work with your healthcare provider. According to the CDC wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.

Masks with Exhalation Valves or Vents The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.

Face Shields A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.

USING INHALERS AND SPACERS INSTEAD OF NEBULIZERS TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE NEW CORONAVIRUS Inhalers need to be administered using a spacer, and face mask for younger children. Nebulizer treatments will not be performed in the nurse's office this year. Please contact Nurse April if your student uses an inhaler at school to ensure proper equipment and prescriptions are on file. According to the CDC, people with asthma should use inhalers with spacers (with or without a face mask, according to each student’s personal treatment plan) instead of nebulizer treatments whenever possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on limited data, the use of asthma inhalers (with or without spacers or face masks) does not appear to release coronavirus particles into the air. A spacer or valved holding chamber is recommended when using an MDI.). It is best for students to have two spacers, one for home and one for school. If a student does not have their own spacer, consider using cardboard spacers, disposable mouthpieces or a plastic Inflocone™. The American Lung Association’s Model Policy for School Districts: Stock Bronchodilators recommends using inhalers with disposable spacers or mouthpieces.

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S THE FLU? ALLERGIES? A COLD? ASTHMA? Or COVID-19? Just like you, I am wondering, how do I know if that headache is covid? Is that runny nose just a little cold or is it covid? Is this regular seasonal allergy symptoms or is it covid? Here is a chart from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to help with understanding symptoms and what they could indicate.

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Being "the GOOD"!

Thank you so much to all of our amazing parents who showered the staff with gifts, goodies, and good love!

A special shout out to Mr. Popovic who let me borrow his raincoat at the Ice Cream Social, Mr. Wilderson who built a picnic table for the payground, and to Mrs. Shanley for the delicious sweet treats.

GIANT baskets of supplies were also donated by generous parents: Sara Gatch, April Clarkson Wayman, Katie Keith, Casi Durham, Liv Marvin, Amber Trivett Pfister, Heather Kenjorski, Tiffany Alvey, Christine Haler, Emily Jackson, and Alli Steinke. These will be used by staff all year to support our learners, and we are so appreciative of your creative and caring efforts.

Thank you for all of the fabulous partnerships, as I know of many others who are working so hard behind the scenes and who are showering staff members with help and other ways to support our school.

We are so grateful for all of you and the good that you do!

Mr. Michael's Weekly Video 1: Introduction

Counseling Corner

Hello GMA Families!

I hope you enjoy the weekly videos I will be creating. In addition, if you would like to sign up for a time slot, please use the following link to provide me with additional information:

If you would like for me to work with your child and you are enrolled in either in school or hybrid learning, I can add them to my schedule and meet them in person, just let me know via email or phone call.

We are looking forward to another wonderful school year! If there is anything that I can help with this school year, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Kind regards,

Michael Skiles

Geist Montessori Academy

School Counselor

317-813-4626 EXT: 104


This resource from Weill Cornell Medicine has a short video that explains some ideas that I work on with students. We sometimes do not have control over what happens during crucial times, but having resilience and learning more about it from this article can help give an understanding of how children experience and show signs of the stressors they are facing.

This resource is short and sweet! It shows ways to try and reduce stress during a pandemic. It has many useful bullet points that can be helpful, especially the one about choosing happiness! I think taking a break from stress and being able to take a minute to appreciate something you love is really important. That could be looking at adorable pictures of animals if you are an animal lover, or making someone else happy by sending them something they might enjoy!

Child Trends wrote a great article that goes over ways to support and protect children's emotional well-being during the pandemic. It gives a lot of great insight on taking steps to help protect and reassure children about safety. Keeping your child busy and increasing their self-efficacy is really important during these times.

This Cincinnati Children's resource has a bunch of links for other useful resources! Some of the resources listed include a picture book about how kids can fight against COVID-19, coping skills for calming kids, ways to ease stress and fears about COVID-19, supporting teens/young adults during the Coronavirus and much much more. I like this resource a lot as there is something for everyone!

This resource comes directly from the CDC website. This resource has a lot of phone numbers listed for those who might need immediate help during these times. It elaborates on the stresses the pandemic has caused and ways to help take care of yourself and the community. This resource is similar to the Cincinnati Children's resource in that it has a lot of additional resources within it.

Daily Student SCreening Required

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Screening verification required!

As noted in our school reopening plan, all students attending GMA on campus, must self-screen daily. A weekly verification will be sent to all families who have children attending Geist Montessori Academy on campus. This screening link will be released every Wednesday and will be due back every Friday at noon. Since every child may develop symptoms differently, a form must be filled out separately for EACH child. Please note that if we have NOT received this verification form, your child(ren) will not be permitted in the building. We appreciate your understanding and abiding by this vital policy as we work to keep everyone safe.

Please fill out this form:

Health Screening Verification Form

We appreciate your partnership and diligence to keep our school family healthy and safe!

Socially Distant, Yet Social!

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May we be known for our courage as we face change!

Supportive Strategies - Changes! By: Ms. Peg

How do you handle change? Does your heart beat with excitement or pound with dread at the thought of something changing at home or work? As adults we all know that change is inevitable. We can see it coming sometimes and other times we are blindsided by it. We may be irritated, sad, scared, mad or unphased by the factors we can’t control in our lives. Changes we deem unfair or unjust may cause us to rant and rave to our family, friends and even social media. This school year has included many changes too. Masks, learning across a variety of environments, anxiety about school closing, and other issues can be hard to process, especially for our children. When your child appears upset, sullen, aggressive or sillier than normal this year, remember that behavior is communication. Kids may not have the words to express their concerns yet, but their behavior sure does.


Keep life at home consistent. Bedtimes and routines are important to maintain.

If you’re learning virtually, pack lunch for your child and encourage him to go outside to eat and play during lunchtime. If your child’s learning onsite, empathize with him/her over having to wear a mask to school.

Help your child grow his vocabulary to express his emotions. Remain positive and hopeful.

Be careful how you are communicating when your child is present. You are the first and best teacher they have.

ZOOMing into Virtual Learning with Ms. Jen

WOW! What an awesome week we have had here at GMA! Our teachers have done an outstanding job providing a nurturing, loving, inspiring learning environment for all of our GMA students whether they are onsite or online!

As we move into Week Two, I hope you will take some time to celebrate this special back to school season with your child(ren). It has been a long time since we were together with other learners in a school setting, and it is such an exciting time for our students. Ask your child to share with you what their favorite activity was this week or have them tell you about a new friend they made. I am sure they have many stories to share with you!

Thank you for your patience this week as we all learn to navigate the new schedules with various learning options, technology, passwords, and such. I know there have been some glitches in the system, but we are working quickly to alleviate any issues that may have caused frustration this week so that next week can run a little bit smoother than this week. The word of the week has been "grace," and we are so grateful for the grace and patience you have given to teachers, staff, students and perhaps most importantly to yourselves as we all work together to iron out the kinks and make this year the best it can be. Let's continue to show that grace to each other as we keep growing together!

Jennifer Gosch

Assistant Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy


GMA's Sensational School Board!

Our sincere appreciation is extended to our amazing school board for their service to GMA!

President: Uriah Ellis

Secretary: Lacey Willard

Treasurer: Andrew Cavallaro

Members at Large: Karen Swan and Mark Clark

Meeting Dates: August 18, 2020, October 20, 2020 (*Pending Fall Break calendar), December 15, 2020, February 16, 2021, April 20, 2021, June 15, 2021

*All Meetings begin at 5:30 pm and are open to the public. Meetings will be held at the physical school location or virtually, as needed.

We look forward to our continued partnership, as we grow together for the better!

August 18, Virtual School Board Meeting

Geist Montessori Academy (GMA) will be hosting a virtual school board meeting on Tuesday, August 18th at 5:30 pm. This meeting is open to the public via the below Zoom link:

Time: Aug 18, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 882 864 9223

Passcode: 5fJUNn

Do you have a question for the school board? If so, please submit it to:

There will be a forum to answer any questions that were submitted prior to the meeting from 5:00-5:30 p.m. with this link:

Meeting ID: 882 864 9223

Passcode: 5fJUNn

Thank you,

GMA Board of Directors

We would love to have you join the PTO!

Come out and join in the fun with the Parent Teacher Organization!

The first virtual PTO meeting will be Tuesday, August 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Topic: PTO August Meeting
Time: Aug 25, 2020 06:30 PM Indiana (East)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 966 7303 4813
Passcode: UypJ96

Meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

We hope you join in the fun as we grow together for the better!

Car line procedures

new calendar

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Reopening Plan

Virtual or LIve, GMA is ready to thrive!

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Montessori Resources

Whole School Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Special Needs

Online Learning Platforms

Primary (3-6)

Elementary (6-12)

Meet our incredible School Family staff members: Enjoy Photos and Letters

Please enjoy this special edition newsletter, filled with letters and photos from our 2020-2021 staff members.

Meet our 2020.2021 Staff Members

We are so excited to grow together for the better!

Children of the World, featuring GMA students!!!

"Children of the World" Virtual Choir

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

GMA Contact iNformation


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055

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growing together for the better!