February 5, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy February! I hope you are all doing well. I am excited to receive my second vaccine dose in a few days. Many of our staff have either received the second dose or are scheduled to receive it within the next few weeks. This is helping to formulate an optimistic outlook around here.

Valentine’s Day Gifts:
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Villa's auction committee will be selling Villa inspired Pura Vida bracelets in Villa’s school colors! This is one great way to show your student your love on Valentine’s Day and do some good in the world! Each bracelet sold helps fund our mission to "grow greatness in mind, body, and spirit" and helps create sustainable jobs worldwide. Hurry don’t wait, starting now till the end of next week there’s a special sale going on. Click here to purchase.

Super Bowl Sunday:
We have seen a definite decrease in COVID related symptoms and individuals testing positive this week at school. Let’s keep this positive momentum going! Here is an article on how to avoid making the Super Bowl a super spreader event.

COVID Data (as of this writing):
Staff
Primary – One moderate case
E2 – one awaiting results (close contact)
MS- Symptomatic awaiting results
Students
Primary/IT – 2 positive (outside exposure), 1 symptomatic
E1 – 0
E2 – 4 symptomatic, 1 home as a precaution
MS- 3 Symptomatic

Reportable Illnesses:
We have all been super focused on COVID related illness during this time. Please remember to alert the school should your child be diagnosed with some other communicable illness or disease such as an upper respiratory illness, strep throat, etc.

Resources for Parents:
Understandably, many of us have almost reached our capacity for coping with the COVID pandemic. I have included some resources for parents that you might find helpful. One excellent presentation I hope you will watch is from notMYkid, a local organization dedicated to providing children and parents with lifesaving programs, resources, and support. This presentation is titled, “Resilience and Parenting in the COVID Era”. Here is the link to a recording of that presentation. I highly recommend taking the time to view it.

Here is another link to a number of additional resources from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology. I hope these things will help.

Anti-bias/Anti-Racism:
This week we analyzed the data from the staff survey we distributed last week. We asked staff to identify their level of interest regarding a number of topics. The three topics with the highest level of interest are: Identifying and addressing micro-aggressions among students, modifying curriculum and developing student activities, and ensuring we have diverse representation in our staff and students. We plan on getting our first gathering scheduled as soon as possible.

We received a proposal from Eric Bailey late this week and we are in the process of reviewing it.

I have continued my own work by participating in webinars on equity, attending a weekly virtual Montessori town hall meeting focused on discussion around how to respond to hard conversations about race, and reading-related books and articles.

Students are celebrating Black History Month through the use of age-appropriate videos, books, articles, speeches, poetry, novels, etc. Through these activities, they are growing in awareness of the many accomplishments and contributions Black individuals have made throughout history and modern times.

Spring State Assessments:
To comply with the Arizona Department of Education, Villa is moving forward with plans to administer statewide assessments this spring. There are currently no waivers for test administration nor legislative action regarding statewide Accountability. Gathering information for students, schools, and our state is critically important to ADE, as it gives more insight into how students are performing today as compared to how students performed before the pandemic. Please note that all statewide assessments must be administered in person. Villa will follow all safety guidelines and keep up with our current COVID mitigation practices to create a safe testing environment.

We are currently working on a testing schedule but want to make you aware of the testing window. It is essential to the students' success for all families to be present and prepared for these upcoming assessments.

Grade 3:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – April 30, 2021

Grade 4:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – May 14, 2021

Grade 5:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – May 14, 2021
AzSCI Field Test – Science: March 22 – April 30, 2021

Grade 6:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – May 14, 2021

Grade 7:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – May 14, 2021

Grade 8:
AzM2 – Reading, Writing, and Math: April 5 – May 14, 2021
AzSCI Field Test – Science: March 22 – April 30, 2021

Chromebooks:
If you borrowed a Chromebook, headset, or mouse and are not currently using any of those items- please return them to the Admin Office at your earliest convenience. We need all devices possible available for testing purposes. Please be sure to label each device you return with your name, so we know to mark that item returned.

Commitment to Return Survey:
Please note that the last chance to return to in-person learning will be after Spring Break. The commitment survey will be emailed on Tuesday, 2/16, and will be due back on Friday, 2/19. We require a two-week notice for all students to return to prepare for testing and possible classroom layout changes.

Enjoy the weekend:
I hope you and your family will have opportunities this weekend to spend some time in nature, get some physical exercise, hug each other a bunch, and truly connect with each other.

Margo
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Villa Montessori Tax Credit Campaign-Thank you! ... For contributing toward Villa's 2020 AZ Public School Tax Credit campaign! So far we raised $64,975.34!!
 
In past years, tax credit funds were limited to a small number of ways the funds could be used. Recent changes in Arizona Law now permit greater use of these funds, such as Computers & Software, Library & Text Books, Health Care Supplies, Playground & Shading Equipment, Furnishings & Athletic Equipment, and Bond Principal/Interest Payments!! Which will allow us to use these dollars in broader ways to raise more for our classrooms! You benefit and Villa benefits.

This year has been very different, for everyone and for Villa as well. Generous contributions like yours make it possible for us to continue to serve an enriching, meaningful, authentic Montessori education and help us deliver the best possible experiences for all of our students. Thank you, again!

If you haven’t got a chance to re-direct your state tax dollars yet, there’s still time! April 15, 2021, is the official cut-off date to make your AZ Public School Tax Credit donation to Villa Montessori School.
 
To make the largest impact in our classrooms, Villa Montessori introduced “Three + Me” as our slogan to inspire Villa's community to encourage three loved ones, friends, and or neighbors to donate. Please consider asking three people to also support Villa's AZ Tax Credit Campaign. They benefit and all of our students directly benefit.
Go online and give your tax dollars today! https://www.villamontessori.com/donate
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, & American Express.
 
Please follow these 3 easy steps:
 
2.  Keep your receipt. 
3.  Claim your tax credit when you file! This means taxpayers may help Villa and reduce their state tax bill dollar-for-dollar at the same time. It’s that easy! Hurry! Don’t wait!
 
We thank you for your ongoing support!
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