Looking Ahead to Reopening
by Ann Clark, Head of School

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership as together we face the challenges and weekly changes of the global pandemic. We understand how difficult the shelter in place order has been for families and our staff, including the strain of not knowing what to expect when school resumes. Today, I will outline what we know and our intent for reopening and will continue to communicate more information as it develops during the next few weeks.

Summer
We are reopening the VMS campus for summer and preparing our Essential Worker Childcare Program. Yesterday, families received an email describing the Reopening Policies and Procedures established for the program in our current Covid-19 environment. We are implementing these significant measures to keep students, staff, and families safe while there is still risk of Covid-19. Registration began this morning. If restrictions change and space allows, we will open the program for the balance of our community. We will also modify the safety measures in accordance with CDC and State Licensing guidelines.
 
The 2020-2021 School Year
Our intention is to open and start the school year on the VMS campus August 17, 2020. How this will look still needs to be determined, but we are preparing for a variety of scenarios that are possible under current projections. We are closely monitoring government recommendations and are collaborating with a large community of independent schools to share insights and best practices.

As we plan for various scenarios, we are fortunate to have many aspects of our existing program that will allow for possible modifications. If the requirement continues to require smaller class groupings, we are fortunate to have at least two Montessori teachers per class in toddler through upper elementary to allow for adjustment at these levels. We have options to make changes to our facility if needed, as our classrooms are spacious, with a generous number of restrooms and windows.

We have established summer policies and procedures that we will use during the fall that can be modified depending on updated safety measures in accordance with state and local guidelines. Addtional measures we will take include utilizing the following:
  • hand washing/sanitizing stations
  • hospital grade filters for our air and heating system
  • sanitizing machines and foggers
  • additional staff to keep up with the daily and repetitive cleaning of the school indoors and outdoors, including playground equipment
  • individual student work tables to support social distancing

If rolling closures are required, we will be prepared to reinstate online-remote learning, with intent to simultaneously offer the VMS Essential Worker Childcare Program on campus. We are planning to provide additional accommodation for the early childhood families which we will detail when solidified.

Again, exactly what school will look like is uncertain. We do know, we will do everything we can to offer the highest quality Montessori program possible for all our students to thrive. Our VMS community is strong and we will get through this together!
 
This global health emergency has created the need, and opportunity, to focus on what is most important. For Valley Montessori School, that includes fulfilling our mission to support children’s development, and the health and well-being of our community. Those priorities will guide our decisions as we continue to navigate this time of change. Thank you for your continued support and understanding…more to follow.

With Gratitude,
Ann
This fund was created to help members of the VMS community experiencing financial hardship due to the global pandemic.
Thank you to those who are in a position to contribute and have done so already! The fund for our families is growing!
Graduation Approaches!
VMS 8th Graders, parents and staff are preparing for the culmination of their journey at VMS. Last week, Gretchen and the Middle School teachers teamed up and hit the road surprising all 27 graduates at their homes with a congratulations yard sign! Here's a first look at these students!
While graduation will be a bit different this year, our hope is to provide a fun-filled day to celebrate this milestone! Below is a timeline of the events for June 9th - Graduation Day!

12pm  Zoom Lunch for all 8th grade students and teachers
We will be providing lunch for everyone to enjoy “together” from their own homes! Students will select their order ahead of time and it will be delivered prior to the lunch date.

5pm  Graduation Parade!
The graduates will be in the center area of the VMS parking lot, at a safe social distance from each other, and the parade will rotate around them. All VMS families are invited to participate in the parade by driving through our parking lot via a designated route to congratulate our 8th grade students. Music will be playing, horns will be honking, and signs will be waved to celebrate these 27 graduates!

5:45-6:15pm   Announce each graduate and pass out diplomas

6:15pm  Dismiss everyone to go home!

8:30-10:30pm Drive-In Graduation Movie (8th Grade families only)
VMS has rented a huge movie screen to watch the graduation video, speeches and all, for 8th grade families ONLY! This is our opportunity to bring this graduating group together to celebrate in the safest way possible. Each graduate will be in their car with their family so all families can watch graduation together, Drive-In movie-style.

9pm   A link to The Graduation Video will be sent to the entire VMS community!

Cheers to celebrating the VMS Class of 2020!
FREE Parenting Video Series!
Since shelter-in-place began, parents have shared their top concerns, such as...
  • Juggling 3 jobs at once (childcare, home management, and professional work)
  • Structuring the day for success (routines, routines, routines)
  • Getting the kids on board with various expectations (interrupting work calls politely, doing chores, solving problems without hitting and screaming)
  • Handling meltdowns, tantrums, and power struggles 
Each week, I've shared my TOP TIPS for stressed-out, overwhelmed parents to get more calm, confidence, and ease in these unprecedented times. 

Pick a video, share a video, like a video, and let me know what you're going to try next. We'll take one step, make one change at a time, and we'll get to that calm, connected place with our kids... together. 

Love, Vanessa

PS Share the love!  If you know someone who could benefit from this weekly digest of tools and strategies, PLEASE SHARE this email or this link:  https://weeklyparentdigest.gr8.com/  

Here's the list of Vanessa's YouTube Videos:
© Copyright 2020 Vanessa Callaghan www.vanessacallaghan.com
Follow Raising Our Resilience on Facebook  and Instagram

#VMSDistanceLearning
Have photos to share of your student learning at home? Send them to news@valleymontessorischool.com . Then follow us on Facebook to see all the latest photos from VMS!
Valley Montessori School
1273 N Livermore Ave Livermore CA 94551