Mill Falls News
December 11, 2020
Important Dates
at a 

Mill Falls Families are asked to share what they can for people who are experiencing food insecurity during these uncertain times. We have placed a box outside our main doors for contributions. Donations will be delivered to the NH Food Bank by Mill Falls Staff. Thank you!

Material Pick Up
for Remote Learning

Early Release 
@11:15 for the start of December Break

December Break

School Resumes 


We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contributions from the following corporate partners: 












 Love & Care

We began the week with many of our families still recovering from our first real winter storm. Many lost power, and/or their internet connection. We hope that everyone is now back up and running, safe and warm! The snowy weather inspired Ms. Melissa, our Art Teacher, to have the children create snow owls this week in art. Check out some examples below. 

Speaking of safety, we have seen a VERY significant uptick in COVID cases across the state due to uncontrolled community spread. The state's epidemiologist reported yesterday that there have been 2000 new cases diagnosed just in the last week. We hope that all in our Mill Falls Community continue to remain diligent, practicing good hand hygiene (wash your hands often), physical distancing (stay 6' apart), socializing outside whenever possible, traveling only when you must, avoiding crowds, and wearing masks when you are in populated public places. While news of the vaccine dominated the airways this week, it will be some time before we will feel the impact of this new line of defense. Being careful helps us care for ourselves and one another. Together we will get through these very difficult times. 

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And earlier today we mailed our Year End Annual Appeal - our fundraising request which goes out each December to raise funds in support of our small but mighty public Montessori school. While COVID has impacted many of us economically, if you are in a position to make a donation to Mill Falls, we hope that you will do so as part of your year-end giving. Please see more information below, or click here for a link to our donation page

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We also want to draw your attention to two other areas of giving... 
  • We are currently running a Holiday Food Drive. Donations have been slow to come in, but we hope to collect some additional goodies from our school community this week! The food collected will be brought to the NH Food Bank, as our Mill Falls Food Pantry is currently suspended while we are in remote learning. There is a box out front by our main doors for your to drop your donations. Thank you!
  • Additionally, we added some information about the program being run by our new neighbors here at 100 William Loeb Drive - Catholic Charities. They have set up a relief fund for families struggling in the time of COVID. Please see information below in our COVID & Community Resources section. 
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This week our Lower Elementary Students have continued their study of the season's holidays. The focus this week has been Kwanzaa. This morning, Ms. Tana shared a wonderful creation by one of her students with me. Her student, Ellia, was so creative in her Big Work project this week. Ellia took the 7 Principles of Kwanza and applied them to her own life. She came up with this idea all on her own. Enjoy:

 Holiday Food Drive

Holiday Food Drive
Nov. 30 - Dec. 21

In these uncertain times, many across our nation are facing food insecurity at alarming rates. As part of our long-standing partnership with the NH Food Bank, we are hosting a December Food Drive. 

We ask those in our community who are able to share non-perishable, healthy items, do bring them to school. We will collect them and bring them to the Food Bank before the December Break. Some food ideas include: 
      • Peanut butter
      • Canned soup
      • Canned fruit
      • Canned vegetables
      • Tuna fish
      • Canned beans
      • Pasta 
      • Rice
      • Healthy Snacks
To view the flyer for our Holiday Food Drive, please click here.

 Year-End Giving

Grit. Creativity. Outside-the-box problem solving. Humor. Love of Learning. These are the words and phrases that best describe our Mill Falls Community this year and they are what has helped us survive 2020 and Teaching & Learning in the Age of COVID.
Since our founding in 2012, we have been proudly fulfilling our pledge to create a nurturing educational environment that instill in our students a remarkable love of learning.

"We see the figure of the child who stands before us
 with his arms held open, beckoning humanity to follow."
~ Dr. Maria Montessori

This year, things have looked so different from usual - teaching and learning has taken place not just at school, but in the homes of our students and staff, spread across the state. Our staff, students and families have leaned into to the many challenges. To support this work during this extraordinarily complex year, we have have had to make significant financial investments in technology, materials and staffing, as well as health and safety improvements. 

We depend on contributions to help us bring Montessori public, and lift up tomorrows leaders by supporting their education today!

It is our hope that those of you who are in a position to do so, will prioritize Mill Falls in their year end giving. When you contribute to Mill Falls, you are supporting respect, inclusiveness, equity, integrity, diversity, responsibility and student independence. 

Remember to apply for matching funds
if your employer supports it!

 ** IMPORTANT UPDATE** Family Tech Support

This year, Ms. Jody is serving as our Family Tech Support person. 

She is now available by email, Zoom and now BY PHONE, too, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (note, she is not available on Wednesdays). 

Jody can be reached by email at techsupport@millfalls.org

She can be reached on Zoom (for live chats via the waiting room one at a time) from: 
10am-12pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Meeting ID: 440 672 8787   PW: 356575
**NEW: Ms. Jody can NOW be reached by phone at: (857) 228-8286

If Jody cannot answer your question, she will reach out to our team to get an answer for you. 

Academic questions? These should be sent to your child's classroom teacher(s).

 Support Mill Falls While You Shop & Gift!

SCRIP - Terrible name, great idea...
It comes down to this: 

Support us, while you shop!
Today was our deadline for ordering physical gift cards, but you can still order e-gift cards and support Mill Falls at the very same time! A portion of each card you order will be donated to our school. 

Shop, gift & support Mill Falls by clicking here: 

Mill Falls Enrollment Code:

Please email MFCS Parent Organizer Jenna Bridgett:jpbridgett@gmail.com 

 Share Your Images & Stories from Learning at Home!

To keep us connected while we are teaching and learning at a distance, we hope you will share your images and stories of the children learning remotely so that we can feature them in future newsletters. 

Please share your children's daily work as well as Big Work Wednesday Projects, which we can share in our newsletter. 

Send your photographs, brief stories (remember sharing humorous moments will help keep us all healthy!), and quotes to Ms. Meryl at: stories.pictures@millfalls.org.
Please be sure to send the photos at small to medium resolution, and send along a description / story about what is going on in the photos. Thank you!

 Health & Wellness Reminders in the Age of COVID

Health & Wellness Reminders:

**NEW**Please click here to review information from the NH Department of Health and Human Services:

(due to exposure to COVID)

(due to a positive test for COVID)

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Holiday Season Advice from the NH State Epidemiologist & the NH Health and Human Services (HHS) Department:

At this week's state-wide school partner meeting with HHS, the following guidelines were shared in relation to the upcoming holiday season:
    • Don't travel if you don't have to;
    • Avoid public transportation;
    • Avoid gathering in groups with people not already part of your immediate close household contracts;
    • Travel restrictions around the region and country are changing. So you may either have restrictions applied to you in another state, or be subject to quarantine when you return to NH or both!
* * *

People exhibiting symptoms or thought to have been exposed to COVID, should seek testing to assist in our overall ability to limit and track COVID spread. 

Which Test Should You Get?
  • PCR testing (the test that generally takes a day or a few days to get back) is the recommended test to get if you feel you have been exposed to COVID, but do not have any symptoms. Is is the most sensitive of tests - the current gold standard - and can also be given to those with symptoms. 
  • Antigen testing, what is being also being referenced as the rapid test, should ONLY be accessed if a person is experiencing symptoms related to COVID. The rapid test is far less sensitive, and so it may not catch cases if used on people who are asymptomatic. 
Dealing with Test Results

If the COVID test is positive, the patient will need to isolate at home for at least 10 days, including the final day without fever (and fever reducing medication). We strongly advise family members to also seek testing, as they will be considered 'close contacts' by the Health Department.

If you or anyone is your household is found to be a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, you or your household member will need to quarantine at home for a minimum of 10 days, ideally 14 days, after that close contact. Again you and your household members are strongly advised to seek testing. Remember, while no one can test out of close contact quarantine, the testing is to help trace and limit community spread!

If testing is not accessedthen you or your child will need to stay home for 10 days including the final day without fever (without fever reducing medication). 

If the COVID test is negative
, please keep in mind that you or your child should still remain at home until there is an improvement of symptoms and no fever or vomiting for 24 hours, as per usual health and wellness protocol.

 COVID & Community Resources

Emergency Assistance: Catholic Charities New Hampshire is providing emergency assistance services to New Hampshire residents experiencing hardship. Their Crisis Fund supports urgent needs such as emergency financial relief for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet, assistance for food-insecure homebound and disabled seniors, and access to teletherapy for low-income individuals seeking mental health counseling, among other areas. For more information, please call 603-669-3030 or visit: https://www.cc-nh.org/lp/our-response-to-covid-19/

Family Support Hot Line: Waypoint Family support can help with anything from where to get Covid testing or child care. Call: 800-640-6486 M-F 8:30-4:30

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Free COVID Tests: Families who live in the Greater Manchester area may call the Manchester COVID-19 Hotline to arrange for a free testing appointment. East and West Side locations available. This is NOT an antibody test. The hotline is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Call: 603-668-1547. Testing appointments are required.  

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Seasonal/Holiday Art Project Ideas
Every Tuesday, Blick Art will be offering fun and festive project demonstrations. Click here for details.

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The NH Audubon at Massabesic Lake has some very engaging programming and fun activities linked to the natural world. Visit their website for details!

 Laura's Corner

Student & Family Support
Below is some information from Ms. Laura W. about supporting students who are learning from home. 

The Importance of the Prepared Environment:

Fostering Student Independence During Remote Learning

A Deeper Dive into the Importance of Independence

The Power of Accomplishment

* * *

Tea with Laura

October 30,2020: The Importance of the Prepared Environment
Click here for the link to the video

December 4, 2020: Fostering Independence When Learning Remotely 
(only 8 minutes due to ZOOM malfunction)

Have a subject you'd like Laura to discuss during an upcoming Tea with Laura? Please send your ideas to her at laura.wrubleski@millfalls.org.

 Montessori Moments From Near & Far...

Please enjoy some photographs from this week here at school and some sent in from families working remotely:

Accent and All! One of Ms. Mindy's Denali reading groups read a non fiction book about Steve Irwin. They talked about facts vs. opinions and ultimately discussed whether they thought Steve was a scientist or a showman. Sadly, the real Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while scuba diving. His passion for conservation lives on. This week, Ms. Mindy and her son Eli - who is an acting student and this year is also a paraprofessional here at Mill Falls - recorded the following, wonderfully engaging video. Enjoy!

* * * 

Below: Two views of a math lesson with Ms. Becky

Below: During a staff meeting this week, Ms. Laura's son popped on, 
wearing her computer glasses!

* * *
Art Class This Week: Whoo Likes Winter? 
Winter is here and so are the Snowy Owls all the way from the Arctic Circle, living in southern Canada and northern United States until Spring. In today's art class, Ms. Melissa and her students discussed interesting facts, while students drew and named their Snowy Owls.
Melissa shared a great video about a Snowy Owl, named Baltimore, on his long journey from the Arctic Circle to Baltimore, Maryland and back home again: https://safeshare.tv/my/safeviews/ss5fd154ef18c2a/play

Here are some of the students' creations!


* * *

Big Works Wednesday featured the ongoing study of December holidays with a focus this week on Kwanzaa for our Lower Elementary Students. For our Upper Elementary Students, most continued their work on their family heritage project. Still others enjoyed cooking or creating holiday cards. 

Above: Family Heritage Project - Totem Poles. Grace (right) shared: "I was told to find an animal that represented each one of my family members. So I created a totem pole of each one made of clay. I am now working on my writing piece to go with it."

Below: Christian cooked a Pear Clafoutis - a french dessert that his family loves! Clafoutis batter cooks up like a flan and is really easy and really tasty. His family likes to make it with blueberries and pears and sometimes cherries, but like pear the best!

Below: Tilda, Lillian and Simon (not shown in this pic) wrote 14 personalized holiday cards for the patients at a nearby nursing home where their cousin works. They hope their messages of love and holiday cheer will bring some happiness during these times of isolation for those in the home, due to COVID. 

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Has anyone seen this guy?
A fun piece of writing by Upper Elementary Student, Reece. 

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Thank you in advance for continuing to send in Remote Learning photographs and stories! This will help keep us connected as we teach and learn from afar.