March 5, 2021
Dear Villa Community,

I hope our teachers will have time over spring break to relax and refresh. They have done a Herculean job keeping their students safe, happy, and learning and deserve some time off. 
 
COVID – 19 Data
 
Symptoms:
             Infants – 1 student
             Primary – 3 student
             E1 – 1 student
             E2 – 3 student
 
Close Contacts:
             Primary – 1 student
             E1 – 1 staff

Words from the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools Regarding State Testing, for Grades 3-8:
 
It is imperative that our school tests as many students as possible, as the data from the 2020-21 assessments will be used in a number of ways, including:
  • To gauge the educational attainment of Arizona students;
  • To draw comparisons to prior years and identify the extent of learning loss that has occurred, as required by Executive Order 2021-03; and
  • To identify schools and school districts for the school year 2020-2021 that demonstrate a below-average level of performance.
 
Additionally, along with the performance data provided by the Arizona Department of Education for the 2020-21 school year, the Board may consider utilizing percentage tested as one component of the revised expansion eligibility criteria for FY 2022.
 
We are currently in the process of scheduling our testing days and times to include our remote learners. We will set up testing rooms specifically for those students and will follow mask, cleaning, and social distancing protocols. More information to come.

Villa Montessori’s Public School Tax Credit Campaign

April 15, 2021, is the deadline to make your contribution to Villa Montessori’s AZ Public School Tax Credit! A tax credit is the ONLY way you get to decide where your tax money goes. If you owe on your AZ state taxes, you can make a donation to Villa and it counts as a reduction on your tax liability. For example, if you donate $400 your state tax credit would be $400. You get the tax credit and Villa students get new books, playground equipment, shading, health care supplies, gardening tools, music and band equipment, and much more. Do it for the kids!  Thank you, everyone! (Scroll to the bottom of this email for more information.)
Not Out of the Woods Yet – from MCDPH

Public Health strongly urges everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, to continue taking precautions to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19. While community transmission is lower than it was a few months ago, the virus is still spreading widely in our community with hundreds of new cases reported each day. Only about 373,000 out of an estimated 4.5 million people in Maricopa County have been fully vaccinated. We still have a long way to go before we’re out of the woods. Until then, please:
  • Limit contact with people outside of your household.
  • Wear a mask and keep six feet of distance when you are around people outside of your household. Remember, outside is safer than inside.
  • Stay home when you’re sick, and be cautious even if you feel well in case you’re asymptomatic.
  • Follow quarantine guidelines if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Get a flu shot if you haven’t already.
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn.

Get more information on preventive measures and what to do if you’re sick at Maricopa.gov/COVID19.

Voluntary Quarantine After Spring Break
 
If you have had any chance of exposure to the virus due to travel, get-togethers, etc., we are asking that you voluntarily quarantine for the week of March 15. Charter students in grades 1-6 will be provided classwork for that week to do while at home. Parents can come and pick up packets in the main office. Please remember your mask! Kindergarten parents can request a packet from their child’s teacher.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
 
Here’s what we’ve done to date:

Board of Directors –
  • Wrote a parent letter outlining the Board and school’s commitments towards anti-bias, anti-racism (Aug. 25, 2020)
  • Hosted a Town Hall presentation with Eric Bailey for the entire Villa community (Nov. 19, 2020)
  • Established a Board committee to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments (Feb. 10, 2021
  • Hired a diversity training consultant (Feb.)
  • Board training scheduled (mid-Mar.)
  • Researching grants to financially support initiatives (on-going)
  • Coordinating with other schools to share lessons learned and leverage resources (on-going)

Professional Development for Staff and Administration –
  • Required staff viewing of Eric Bailey’s Town Hall presentation (Jan.)
  • Staff completed 2 sessions of Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism training from the American Montessori Society (Feb.)
  • Staff sharing resources with each other for internal PD (on-going)
  • Administration participating in numerous webinars and weekly Montessori Town Halls involving conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion (on-going)

Staff Advisory Council –
  • Appointed a liaison to lead the Staff Advisory Council
  • Staff completed a survey to identify top DEI interests (mid-Feb.)
  • Staff to receive a survey to capture their experience regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion at Villa prior to a staff focus group scheduled for April 5.

Parent Advisory Council –
As many of you are aware, we had a small group of parents meet a few times last fall to have conversations around anti-bias/anti-racism. We invite more of you to become involved and have created a Google form to capture your contact information, how you would like to be involved, and any resources or suggestions you may have to share. You can access the form here.
 
Walkers

I want to reiterate that only students who live in the neighborhood should be using the walker/biker gate for dismissal. Elementary siblings of our middle school students may walk over there to join them in their carline. Some of our elementary students are walking to vehicles parked on surrounding streets and neighbors are complaining. We would like to maintain the good relationships we have with our neighbors so please help with this. The carline may look daunting but it moves quickly and is usually done by 3:15 p.m.
 
In Closing
 
I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing break. It seems unbelievable that there will only be 10 weeks of school left upon our return.

Margo
If you've already redirected your Arizona State taxes, thank you! 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 Public School Tax Credit Campaign. All of our students directly benefit.
 
For more information on these Tax Credits visit the Arizona Department of Revenue’s Website or see ARS §43-1089.01 for more information on the law.
 
Thank you for your continued love and support! 
Villa Montessori School | Website