Growing Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 2: August 9, 2020

New Growth!

Dear GMA School Family,

As we head into this year of beautiful new beginnings, so much is revitalized and exciting!

We have new learning options, new staff members, and new families joining our beloved school family. In order to optimize learning, teachers have been working diligently to prepare their environments and learning opportunities, both virtually and on campus. The innovative ideas are so refreshing.

We are eager to embrace this unique school year with vigor, love, and dedication. Your partnership is vital as we grow together to new heights, being the best that we can be.

We can't wait to see you tomorrow morning!

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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Virtual or LIve, GMA is ready to thrive!

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Children of the World, featuring GMA students!!!

"Children of the World" Virtual Choir

Sunshine Spreaders!

Three of these amazing darlings are our GMA students from Ms. Meagan's Act It Out Club!

Mark Woodward, writer of Maria Montesori: The Musical, wanted to do something special for the schools who could not put on their Spring Musical last year due to the pandemic. So, he organized a virtual choir for all to participate.

We are so excited to see some of our sweet Lower Elementary kids in this beautiful video! Thank you Gavin Gray, Jocie Kenjorski & Tessa Porter for sharing your gifts and talents with the world!

Jocie Kenjorski is the finale~ they are all sunshine spreaders!

Rain or shine, such a joy to see you at the Ice Cream Social!

It was so wonderful seeing the eager and bright eyes filled with bliss at the Ice Cream Social.

A special thank you for our amazing Parent Teacher Organization for providing the special ice cream treats!

If you were unable to attend, virtual learning supplies will be sent home with your child this week.

Arrival and Dismissal

Arrival: Please help provide a safe and efficient carline for dropping off children and picking them up. The carline gate opens from 8:00-8:10 for Pre-K ONLY. The carline gate opens at 8:15 a.m. for K-8, with students exiting cars for arrival at 8:20 a.m. Students should be dropped off each morning at school entrances 5 & 6.

Please have your child ready to exit the car independently when you pull up to the entrance (i.e., shoes and jacket on, lunch and backpack in hand). Students may only exit the vehicle once the appropriate staff member has signaled for them to do so. A staff member will greet them and assist them into the building. Please note that if you arrive after 8:30, you must park and accompany your child into the front office of the building and sign him/her in. Children cannot sign themselves in late. These students will be reported as tardy.

Dismissal: At dismissal, your child will walk to your car when his/her number is called. Staff will be present to help ensure that all students are safely in their vehicle before the carline continues. Please refrain from lengthy discussions with teachers or staff, or from giving verbal messages at this time. We make every effort to provide a quick and efficient system of arrival and dismissal, and we appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

ALL kindergarten parents need to be in the inside lane for pick-up. If your kindergarten student has no siblings at GMA, then the gate for pick-up will open at 2:45, with kindergarten students with no siblings being released at 3:00 p.m. If your kindergarten student does have siblings at GMA, the older sibling will walk to the younger child’s room, and they will dismiss together at regular pick-up.

The gate for regular pick-up opens at 3:15, with school dismissal at 3:30 p.m.


Carline map:

Daily Student SCreening Required

Screening verification required!

This important email was sent to all families with students onsite either hybrid or full-time. If you did not receive the email, please check your spam folder.

Dear GMA School Family,

We are so excited to see your child(ren) onsite this upcoming week!

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. Due to this being the first week of school, the form will need to be returned by Sunday, August 9, 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 by Sunday, August 9, at noon.

Health Screening Verification Form

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

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Counseling Corner

Hello GMA Families!

My name is Mr. Michael and I am the school counselor at GMA. This will be my fourth year at GMA, so some of you may know me and some of you may be new faces for us to get to know! If you are a returning family, welcome back! If you are new, welcome aboard! We are so excited for the start of the school year!

Things will definitely look different this year with the options of being in school, on a virtual platform, or a hybrid of in school and online, but we are adapting to these choices and are making decisions based on the safety and wellness of the students and staff members. In order to reach those students who are starting the year off on a virtual platform, I will be working specifically with those who are enrolled virtually, every Wednesday. I will be doing this by creating a video every week to send out in the weekly newsletter as well as creating a schedule to work with students via Zoom for those that would like to meet with me. These Zoom sessions would be 10-15 minutes on Wednesday and are designed to check in with the student on their social and emotional wellbeing. If there are specific topics you would like for me to discuss and/or work on with your child, please let me know. I can work with students on specific skills or just check in and make sure everything is going okay during these trying times. These meetings are not required! 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.

I will be continuing with in person classroom guidance lessons this year and will be focusing on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is the process through which students acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. One of the major goals of SEL is to improve student attitudes and beliefs about themselves, others, and school. Creating a positive attitude about oneself can have so many benefits for the student's academic, social, and emotional wellbeing.

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! We will see you soon!

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.

A Year to Celebrate! By: Ms. Karen

Dear Parents,

We love to celebrate birthdays here at Geist Montessori Academy! In a Montessori classroom we help celebrate by having a birthday rotation! This is done in the following or a similar manner:

The birthday child will bring in a picture of him/herself from newborn to current age. The child will stand in the middle of the circle next to a "sun" holding a globe representing earth. The teacher will announce that it is the child's birthday today. She will then say he/she was born on x date (i.e. August 10, 2015), and a picture of him/her as a newborn is shown. The class then says, "And the days passed, the weeks passed, the months passed, and then it was August 10, 2016 and ____ was one year old." A picture of him/her at one will then be shown. The parents will then be asked what the child could do at one, what did he/she like, etc. The rotation continues for each year until the actual birth date is reached. The class then sings happy birthday to the child.

The snack is then distributed to the class and while eating it, the students get to ask the birthday child questions to get to know him/her better. Some popular questions have included, "What is your favorite color?", "What is your favorite food?", "What do you like to do with your family?", "What is your favorite movie?"

Due to not having visitors in the classrooms, we are willing to Zoom chat the birthday rotation with the parents so everyone is included. We are asking that birthday snacks are individually wrapped items this year. Some suggestions are Hostess or Little Debbie snacks, small individual bags of Teddy Grahams, Goldfish, Veggie Chips, popcorn, etc. Please send the snacks in with your child.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your child's teacher to see what variation of the birthday rotation his/her class will do.


Karen Swan

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Calling all superheroes!

Notes from the nurse: COVID care connection

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.

As Monday approaches let us all remember how we can help to keep each other safe. We will be entering the school after students have been away for so long. I know at least 3 kiddos that are so excited to be returning to school, I bet you know a few too! On our first day back, all students will receive education with a fun lesson on safety and best practices related to covid-19. As the children and staff are warming up to the environment which they have been away from for so long, we will begin to navigate school through the lens of covid-19. Teachers will be monitoring students for social distancing, proper mask use, good hand hygiene, and potential covid-19 symptoms. We will develop new habits as a community this year and encourage each other while in the process. We will all have a part to play in keeping our GMA community safe. We truly are better together!

Now is a time we can all be superheroes!

“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.” Stan Lee, Into The Spider-Verse

Some things to remember and new possible questions you may have:

Coming to school safe:

Ø Use the daily screener to screen your children before leaving for school. If you can answer yes to any of the questions, please keep your child home and call the nurse line to report the absence.

Ø Make sure students are wearing masks before exiting the car. Anyone entering the building will need to have a mask on prior to entering the building.

Ø Consider sending students with an extra mask in case their mask is soiled during the day.

Ø Only critical or essential vendors will be permitted on campus.

Ø In the case of late arrivals, please enter the building to sign in your student one at a time.

Ø Give daily medications at home when possible.

During the school day:

Ø On Monday students will be educated on proper hand hygiene using soap and water or hand sanitizer, proper social distancing, and mask use.

Ø Water fountains will be turned off; water bottle fill will remain an option for students use.

Ø Masks will not be required during PE or recess, students will be expected and monitored to safely distance at least 6ft during these periods of the day. Students will be able to store masks individual, custom, breathable brown paper bags during these periods of the day.

Ø Students are to walk on the side of the hallway closest to their class door, the brown squares are separated nicely to use as walking 6-foot guides. The students know these guides well, just ask them about the lava floor!

Ø Students will have individual supplies in the classroom when possible, all other materials will be cleaned after use prior to another student using the same material.

Ø If students develop symptoms of covid-19 symptoms, they will be placed in isolation in the nurse clinic to reduce contact in the school, arrangements for pick will happen ASAP. Students will be required to stay out of school for 10 days unless they visit their own health care provider and have a doctor note that indicates they are safe to return to school, indicating a different diagnosis.

What if a student or staff member tests positive for covid-19?

Ø Please notify the school as soon as possible in the case your child tests positive for covid-19 in order that the school may complete contact tracing and notifying close contacts.

Ø Positive staff or students must isolate at home for 10 days from onset and be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and have a reduction in symptoms.

Ø A positive student or staff member must isolate at home for 10 days after the date the positive specimen was collected.

Ø Close contacts of the positive staff or student will need to quarantine at home for 14 days after the date of their last exposure.

Ø According to the CDC, a close contact is a person who spends greater than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a positive covid-19 person from the 48 hours prior to the positive person’s symptoms onset or positive test collection date if asymptomatic. While mask use decreases the risk of infection, currently it does not change recommendations for quarantine.

Ø Close contact siblings do not need to quarantine unless the sibling is also a close contact. If the close contact becomes positive, then the sibling would then be considered a close contact of their positive sibling.

Let us not forget that with our help and superhero mindset, we all have purpose and value, we will get through this year. My hope is that as our compassion for one another grows during this changing time, that our collective care for humanity will grow too.

“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” Maria Montessori

Montessori Resources

Whole School Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Special Needs

Online Learning Platforms

Primary (3-6)

Elementary (6-12)

Family REsources

Connecting All Staff to Montessori Principles and Guideleines During Montessori Professional Development August 4

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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!

new calendar

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Reopening Plan

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growing together for the better!

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!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

GMA Contact iNformation


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055