Charles Ellis Montessori Academy, September 28, 2020

To Educate The Whole Child for a Whole World

"Here is the essential principle of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge." Maria

Flying Solo

My first home as a young child was in Ballyarnett, a government housing estate on the outskirts of the walled city of Derry, Northern Ireland. Fields & commons surrounded the estate and a favorite memory is hiding inside the huge hollow of a dying oak. At that time, unbeknownst to me, my parents were faced with a huge decision, whether to uproot everything and move to another part of the country or stay put and weather the tribulations of sectarian violence that was escalating around us. I am sure it was a difficult decision to leave their friends and neighbors and with three children under the age of 8, to give up all that community support. Many years later, I was faced with a somewhat similar but less precarious situation, making the decision to leave loved ones and a new career, for another shore across the wide Atlantic; America, the great unknown.

With many decisions the unknown can leave us immobilized by fear or it can ignite an adventurous hope that propels us forward. For many of us this past week, decisions were fraught with the anxiety of the unknown, but wherever your decision has taken you, please know that you are not flying solo. Like Amelia Earhart, you have many people on your "team". Together we will chart a course forward, engineer the learning environment, fuel curiousity and wonderment in our children, and land safely on the other side of this vast unknown.

On a side note; the field where Amelia landed her aeroplane on that famous Trans-Atlantic flight was Ballyarnett!

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Important Dates

September 8-October 16- SCCPSS MAP Assessment Window

September 16-30- Voting for School Council Open

September 30- Deadline to Apply for Free/Reduced Lunch

September 30- Deadline to Purchase Technology Protection Plan (TPP) for District Chromebook.

October 5- Start of District Hybrid Model

October 5- School Council Meeting (3:30pm)

October 9- Fall Break for Staff/Students

October 12- Staff Planning Day- No School for Students!

October 14- Deadline to Submit PTA Reflections Project

October 27- PTA Role Model Reader Day

School-Wide Grace & Courtesy Emphasis


  • When I do something in my own special way, I am being creative.
  • When I make something new that no one has ever made before, I am being creative.
  • When I find a way to help myself or someone else fix a problem, I am being creative.

District Return to Learn Plan

Per the SCCPSS Board Meeting on Wednesday, September 16th, please see the final approved plan for the Phased Return to Learn. For all information, please see the district website www.sccpss.com. The Phased Return to Learn Plan can be accessed at this link.

SCCPSS MAP Assessments

*UPDATE* The District has postponed MAP assessments for K-2nd grade. Only Ellis 3rd graders are left to take the MAP assessment. Your teacher will let you know when your student will take the assessment. If you have any questions, please contact your classroom teacher.

The SCCPSS-mandated MAP assessment window is open September 8th-October 16th. In an effort to mitigate the loss of instructional time and normalization in the virtual learning environment at Ellis, we will begin the assessments with our Erdkinder and Upper Elementary students the week of September 8th. You will receive information from your teachers with the exact days/times. All families should review the following information in preparation for their child's assessment, as appropriate:

MAP Grades 3-8 Remote Testing Guidance for Parents

MAP Grades 3-8 Guia para evaluacion remota para familias

NWEA Disable Pop-Up Blocking

NWEA MAP Quick Videos

Disabling Pop-Up Blocking on District Chromebooks for MAP Assessment

The instructions in the "NWEA Guide for Disabling Pop-Up Blocking" (above) does not work on District Chromebooks because student accounts do have the access needed to do this step. If you are on a district Chromebook signed in with a student account, follow these steps:

  1. Login to itsLearning with your student's account.
  2. Click on the "Map Test Site" tab (in the purple bar or under the "More" tab).
  3. If you get an error that says "Oops! Where's My Test Window?", you will see a red box with a white "x" pop up in the browser bar.
  4. Click the red box with the white "x" and select the option that says ""Always allow popups from https://test.mapnwea.org/" (or something to that effect).
  5. Even if you continue to get the "Oops..." error, another window will open that will allow you to login to MAP (either for the practice test or the actual assessment).


Device Distribution- Phase 3

We have completed distribution of devices to everyone who filled out the Student Technology Survey (Phases 1 and 2).

If you are still in need of a device, you must fill out the Student Tech Needs Survey (Phase 3), which is located on the homepage of the Ellis website.

If you have received a device from the District and you plan on purchasing the Technology Protection Plan provided by the District, please pay for that by September 30th using School Cash Online and email the signed paperwork to Ms. Lisa.

If you have any questions, you can email Ms. Lisa (lisa.odonnell@sccpss.com).

Student Schedules Update - School-wide Asynchronous Wednesdays

Now that the school year has begun, we are continuing to review our instructional schedules and the impact of the virtual environment. Developmental teams are tweaking Wednesday schedules to;

  • mitigate excessive screentime for students,
  • comply with district directives,
  • allow staff to participate in required district trainings and curriculum planning.

Consequently, Wednesdays will become a day for asynchronous learning so that students can complete assignments, reach out to their teachers for additional support if needed, and engage in classroom projects. Teachers will not be leading live instructional lessons on Wednesdays, but will continue to post the expectations for the instructional day. As schedules are adjusted, your teacher will reach out to you with the date of implementation and the instructional components of Asynchronous Wednesdays.

Virtual Meeting Procedures

New Ellis Safety Procedure Effective Immediately:

For your student's safety, in order to be admitted into a virtual meeting/lesson, your student's first name and last initial/last name must be displayed. If the teacher does not recognize the username of the participant, the teacher reserves the right to refuse admittance to that participant into the meeting/lesson. If your student is not able to attend the live meeting/lesson, they will have an opportunity to watch the recorded session at a later date. Thank you for helping us with this safety measure.

Technology Assistance

Click here for technology troubleshooting tips from SCCPSS.

Click here for more information on low-cost internet access for qualifying families.

SCCPSS Smart Buses equipped with internet access will begin to run on September 1st. More information including a schedule can be found on the SCCPSS Website.

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Counselors' Corner

In School Counseling instruction, students are learning about diversity, different cultures, and we are talking about our favorite family traditions. We are reading Different Cultures with our younger students. With our older students, we are discussing how our own cultural facets impact our view of the world.

Let us know if you or your child needs anything. We are here for you! tinyurl.com/charlesellisschoolcounseling

School Council Elections- Voting Now Open!

The establishment of a school council is intended to bring parents and the community together with teachers and school administrators to create better understanding of and mutual respect for each other's concerns and to share ideas for school improvement.

Please use this form to elect 3 parent members to serve on our school council. Elections will remain open from September 16 - 30th. Voting is only open to parents/guardians of current Charles Ellis Montessori Academy students.

Ellis PTA

Join the PTA, donate, or purchase Ellis Spirit wear at this link.

Visit the PTA Website.

PTA Reflections

It's time to "fall for the arts" with our annual participation in PTA Reflections. This year's theme is "I Matter Because..." and submissions are accepted from every student (PreK-8th Grade).

Find out more information about Reflections on the PTA Website at this link.

Submission and entry forms are due to Amanda Fanelli at ellisreflections@gmail.com by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Please email Amanda to set up a time to drop-off art that cannot be emailed.

From the Clinic

Dear Charles Ellis Montessori Academy Parent/Guardian:

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! I am looking forward to when the students will return safely to our school building. It has not been determined exactly what to expect, but as always, the health and safety of the students, faculty and staff are my focus. There are several ways you can assist me.

First, please reinforce with your student good handwashing of at least 20 seconds (~length of singing the ABC song once or the Birthday song twice), at least six feet of social distancing, proper wearing of face masks over the nose and mouth, not touching the face, and coughing/sneezing into the bend of the elbow. Please continue to be a good role model for your student.

Second, please complete the Student Medical Questionnaire regarding his/her medical conditions and/or allergies at this link and return as soon as possible. This information will be an initial communication about the needs of your student. For a student with certain medical conditions, the necessary paperwork requiring the student's physician to complete (i.e. Action Plans) will be sent to you, as needed, to have them in place when the students return to the building. To ensure the proper care of your student, the information will be shared with the faculty and staff who interact with him/her and needs to be updated annually. Please complete a separate questionnaire for each of your students at Charles Ellis Montessori Academy. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Nurse Chris


912-395-5470 Ext. 71213

Nutrition Services

SCCPSS School Food and Nutrition has received several waivers to provide nutritious meals to our students while the district is using the virtual model and will partner with the district's Transportation Department to deliver meals to our families safely. The USDA is providing additional flexibilities in an effort to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to include allowing school nutrition programs to offer meals at no cost to children ages 0-18 until December 31, 2020.

For more information on meal delivery dates/times during virtual learning, visit the SCCPSS website.

If you qualify for free/reduced lunch, please fill out the application below in case we are able to come back to school full-time at some point this year. Applications for free/reduced lunch must be submitted every year. The deadline to submit an application is September 30, 2020. Click this link to submit an application.

Ellis Montessori Academy Website

District Website