LIFE AT VMS: Reflection
by Ann Clark, Head of School

This year, we are all finding unique ways to enjoy the holiday season. Reflecting on this unprecedented year, I’m grateful to lead this dedicated community and witness the strength in each and every one of us as we come together and provide a peaceful and engaging educational environment for our students. Thank you for your support along this journey. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of the children and, through their actions, a positive impact on the world. The middle school community service project is a prime example of this - see their article in this newsletter. We appreciate your partnership in creating this strong and inspiring community. Please take a moment to read the following message from our Covid Liaison. In addition, enjoy making recipes from the Literary Cookbook from our middle school students with your family this holiday season. We wish you a safe, joyful and restful winter break.

With Gratitude,
Ann
A NOTE FROM VMS COVID LIAISON
Thank you for your continued dedication in practicing Covid mitigation protocols to keep our community safe. We have had students and staff on campus since June and had just one case that caused us to temporarily close a classroom cohort. This positive case followed the Thanksgiving Break. As we approach the Winter Break, we count on everyone to continue the commitment throughout the holidays.

During this critical time with surging Covid-19 cases in California, our county health department (ACPHD) is appealing to all of us to stay diligent, as community spread is one of the biggest concerns in this rise of cases. The ACPHD is reminding everyone of the following mitigating practices that are vital to slowing the spread of Covid-19:
  • Wear face coverings while in public places or while interacting with others not in your household.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Practice physical distancing with those not in your household.
  • Avoid social gatherings with those not in your household.
  • Travel only for essential purposes.

If for any reason you think you have been exposed to a potential risk, the ACPHD asks that you please stay home (keep your child home) for 14 days from exposure. If your child is exhibiting cold/Covid-like symptoms, including cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, fever, or headache, please consult your pediatrician. Either a note indicating symptoms are unrelated to Covid or a negative Covid test result is required before returning to school.

There are certain thresholds established by governing health agencies that must be met in order for us to stay open as a school. Please be aware, if we have a positivity rate that goes above the acceptable limit, we would be forced to close the entire school temporarily. Of course, no one wants this to happen. Our school community is so important for the children and all of us. Let's pull together in this exceptionally challenging stretch and have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season. As always, feel free to contact me with questions.

Angela Zellmer
VMS Director of HR and Covid Liaison
MIDDLE SCHOOL LITERARY COOKBOOK
This year, middle school students formed several book clubs and participated in a variety of related cultural activities. Some book clubs chose to focus on the role of food in creating the novel’s setting, character identity, symbolism, and plot development. The discussions were as rich as the recipes compiled and shared here. In creating this cookbook, they discovered new stories and cultures. Enjoy making these recipes with your family! 
TUITION ASSISTANCE APPLICATIONS
VMS is committed to providing tuition assistance for families that are dedicated to the Montessori program but need additional financial support. You can now complete a tuition assistance application within your FACTS account using FACTS Grant & Aid. Click this link to get started using your FACTS account log-in information:

Applications must be completed by January 15 to have your tuition assistance application reviewed in time for re-enrollment, the week of February 1-5, 2021.

After completing your application, you will be asked to upload your 2019 tax return.

Please email Elyssa Bishop with any questions: ebishop@valleymontessorischool.com
Thank you to those who have already contributed to our 2020 Annual Fund! We need each and every family to participate as annual donations are essential for our operating budget and serve as a strong show of support for our exceptional programs. It’s exciting to see parent participation is growing for this important fund for VMS! Here are the percentages per program level:

Toddler Families     81%
Primary Families    70%
Lower Elementary  69%
Upper Elementary  83%
Middle School        82%

Let’s keep the momentum going through the end of the year and reach 100% participation in all levels. Together, we make a huge impact!

We truly appreciate the generosity, commitment and kindness of our VMS community! 
TEACHER APPRECIATION
In this most unusual year, many families have asked how they can show appreciation for their teachers during the holiday season. Some Covid-safe options include:
  • Email a note or video to your teacher. Notes of appreciation from you or your child are priceless!
  • Email an e-card/gift card to your teacher.
  • Send a card/gift card by mail to the school: 1273 N Livermore Ave. Livermore, CA 94551
  • For those who have tangible gifts, drop them off in carline or in the contactless drop off basket at the front of the main building.

All items should be received by Tomorrow, 12/17 labeled with the teacher's name and classroom. Also, please do not include any perishable items or cash. We will be sure to get the gifts to the teachers! For a list of teachers by classroom and their email format, click here.

Thank you for showing appreciation for our amazing teachers - an act of kindness goes a long way!

With Gratitude,
Parent Volunteer Alexis Corbett and the VMS Engagement Committee
MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In the spirit of the season, the Middle School community chose to partner with the Sutton Girls, a family that is deeply involved in meeting the needs of the less fortunate in Livermore. The students collected more that $1500 in gift cards to help pay bills, provide gas, buy groceries and essential items, as well as holiday gifts.

Here is a note of thanks from the Sutton Girls:
Thank you to the students, parents and staff of Valley Montessori School for sharing your joy with our community. Together their compassionate hearts have raised over $1,000 in gift cards that we will happily be distributing to families in need this holiday season. 
We are so grateful and blessed to have had your support in our efforts to not only give these individuals and families a little less weight off their shoulders but to also have offered hope in days to come.
Winter Break is Monday 12/21 - Monday, 1/4.
School resumes Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
Enjoy the season with your family!

Valley Montessori School
1273 N Livermore Ave Livermore CA 94551
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