Growing Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 7: September 13, 2020

Mother Nature's Whisper

Dear GMA School Family,

Crisp air, rustling leaves, orange and gold tinting the tips of the trees, we are beginning to witness the whisper of Mother Nature. Just as the world begins to unfold into color, our students are also transforming right before our eyes. This year, as we experience school in so many different settings, one thing remains the same: change.

Change is our world’s constant, prompting us to develop and evolve, to continue to thrive, learn, and grow. What have you noticed this week at home? What were your students’ “AHA!” Moments?

Growth can be scary, uncomfortable, and challenging, but in the end, just like the season before us, it can be so glorious. By fostering the love of growth, students remain steadfast in their learning and can stretch their thinking to new heights, becoming lifelong learners. Some good questions to pose after school are, “What was something that really challenged you today? How did you work through it? And most importantly, what did you learn from it?” By embracing the areas of growth, your child can hone in on areas to practice and you can help reinforce the growth mindset.

This past week and next, your child will be taking the NWEA MAP tests for reading and mathematics. These tests are adaptive and probe new thinking. One of my favorite comments came from a first grader this week. I asked her what her favorite part of the day was. She smiled and replied, “I got to do some really cool new math problems on the computer test, and they kept getting harder and more fun!” She obviously has already learned the joy from a challenge and the satisfaction from doing something new.

At GMA, we love being able to individualize the learning journeys for our students, personalizing those “just right” next lessons. This year, as your child sets goals for the year, celebrate the small steps of success and the bumps that make them stronger along the way. Before we know it, the seasons will have changed, and the new buds will be all abloom.


Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

Of all things, love is the most potent.

-Maria Montessori

Dates to remember

Upcoming Events

9/16, Hot Box Dine to Donate

9/21 Peace Day

9/30 Super Hero Run

10/7 Fall Concert, 7 p.m.

10/12 Picture Day

10/22-23 Fall Break

sunshine spreaders!

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You are my Sunshine!

You are my Sunshine!

Who is your sunshine? How do you brighten someone else’s day?

At Geist Montessori Academy, our mission is to empower children to be the best that they can be by maintaining a stimulating and prepared environment that fosters independence, concentration, curiosity, kindness, community, and the lifelong love of learning. We believe that we are better together: an inclusive school family that embraces peace, and respects self and others. Collectively, we aim to continually grow and are committed to challenging students to become collaborative problem solvers who are compassionate contributors to our wondrous world.

Each week, staff members are celebrating the sunny students who embody GMA’s mission statement. These children go out of their way to help others, show kindness, and build up our school community. They strive to be the positive rays, lighting the path, and bringing out the best in self and others.

We are so very pleased to celebrate our first sunshine spreaders of the year:

· Rashad Mitchell is a good friend and shares lessons.

· Shayla Anderson is respectful, very responsible and always looking for the best in others.

· Jasper Sterley is such an amazing mentor to new students in the classroom community.

Fun at work

Growing our thinking!

Please select your Learning option for second nine weeks

In order to plan for the upcoming nine weeks, we need your family's learning preference commitment by September 17. We realize that it is an early decision, but we need to proactively make the necessary staff changes to accommodate the various learning platforms.

Thank you for helping to keep our GMA school family safe!

Learning Option Selection for 10/12-12/18

Dine to donate on September 16 and help contribute to our GMA PTO

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NWEA underWay

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This past week and next, your child will be taking 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’ first quarter progress reports.

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

It's time to fly in the fun! It's the ... GMA Super hero Run!

Dear GMA Family:

As most of you know our Superhero event is typically held in person. However, due to unforeseen circumstances with COVID we are keeping safety a priority. Each child will make their own personal pledge this year to support each other while staying healthy!

Our goal is to keep everyone safe and hope next school year we will have a fantastic in person Superhero Run! Virtual and in person students are all encouraged to dress up as superhero characters or real live people, such as doctors, nurses and teachers, as they are all heroes during this pandemic. The students may dress up on Wednesday, September 30th!

This year we are asking families to send their pledges electronically to keep everyone safe. You may send in a check to school labeled PTO or use Paypal. This information will be found on the second page of the Superhero Pledge Sheet. We prefer donations to be completed by September 30th, so we can plan our future events. However, donations may be sent year round.

Any questions please reach out to Jessica Gray (VP Fundraising):



Are you ready for adventure?

Virtual learning is rich with opportunities for your child to investigate things that interest them and explore this beautiful world. If you’re looking for some adventure without leaving the comfort of home, check out these super cool virtual field trips!

Counseling Corner

GMA Families!

Hello GMA Families!

Over the next week or 2, I will be in every classroom teaching students about school safety and how to prepare for emergency situations. I created a video to show the information that students, staff, and parents should know about. The video I created was too long for 1 full video on YouTube, so I split it into 2 sections. It is important for us all to know the safety procedures so we can all collaborate together and know what to do if an emergency arises. The program we use is called the Standard Response Protocol developed by the I Love You Guys Foundation. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the information. Safety first!

Here is the link to the first of 2 safety videos: Part 1

As always, please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help!

Thank you!

Michael Skiles

Geist Montessori Academy

School Counselor

317-813-4626 EXT: 104 - This article has important information about the basics of self-care. It is a great resource for tips and understanding why self-care is so important for everyone. - This article is more specific for pandemic related self-care and talks about knowing the "turbulence" that is created in our bodies and how to help wind back down as we go about the day. - Knowing how to use self-care is critical. This article does a great job of explaining the do's and don'ts of self-care. Using self-care efficiently and effectively can make a huge difference in every day life.

FREE Reading Resources

FREE Reading Resources

New! Implementation Toolkits Offer Support to Student Literacy Growth in Remote and Blended Learning Environments

The National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL) and OSEP have released a toolkits to help schools and families join efforts to support children’s literacy growth in remote or blended learning environments.

Literacy Toolkit

substitute teachers needed

Do you love learning and making a difference in students' lives? If so, we need YOU!

Substitute Permit Requirements

Individuals applying for Substitute Permits at GMA must have at least 60 college credit hours:

Once these requirements are met, applicants should apply via the Indiana Department of Education's Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS).

Application Process

  1. Each school employer will recommend individuals for Substitute Permits through the application process. The superintendent or his/her designee will verify the applicant's employment and application through LVIS(link is external). Each application for a Substitute Permit must be submitted and paid through LVIS(link is external).
  2. The Office of Educator Licensing will issue the Substitute Permit in the applicant's name and the school employer’s name. The applicant may print a copy of the permit by logging into the applicant’s LVIS account.
  3. The Substitute Permit is valid only for the requesting school employer unless the school employer has a reciprocity agreement for use of substitute teachers with another school employer.
  4. Substitute Permits are valid for three years. The validity period begins on the date the applicant pays for the permit application in LVIS.
  5. A Substitute Permit is not renewable. Once it expires, an applicant must apply for a new original Substitute Permit.
  6. The fee for a Substitute Permit is $15.00 + $1.32 processing fee.
  7. A license or permit that is valid on the first day of school in the school in which the license holder is employed is considered valid for the duration of the school year.

money grows on trees for kindergarten Families

Hi Parents of 2033 Graduates!

As a kindergartner, your child has the opportunity to sign up for the Hancock County Promise. The Hancock County Promise GIVES you FREE MONEY for your child!!! Yes, that is correct FREE MONEY for your child!!! I know, you are thinking there is a catch....NO!!! There is NO catch!! If you sign-up, you get a FREE CollegeChoice 529 Direct Account for your child and we will deposit $25 of free money into the account!!! Attached is more information about the Promise. We want 100% of kindergartners enrolled.

You can find more information about the Hancock County Promise at or by reviewing the Family Enrollment Guide linked HERE or the Roadmap 2020 linked HERE.

How do I take advantage of this FREE money, you ask? HERE is a link to the video of how to create your Hancock County Promise CollegeChoice 529 account. HERE are STEP by STEP instructions. It is very only has 6 steps to complete!

If you have more questions you can contact Hancock County Chairperson, Scott Shipley at 317-485-3100 or

We are growing together: Join a GMA committee today

GMA is growing, and we are so excited for your partnership to better our school community. Please sign up and help us grow for the better: Growing Together Committee Sign-ups.

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:

Thank you for helping to keep our students safe!

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: 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!

building a strong foundation: the Montessori Way

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GMA School Calendar

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Virtual or LIve, GMA always thrives!

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"Children of the World" Virtual Choir

Children of the World, featuring GMA students!!!

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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

growing together for the better!