May Sands Montessori Weekly Update: 3/28/18

Symphony in Schools Program

Our Upper Elementary students will travel to Key West High School this morning for a performance by the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, as part of the Symphony in Schools program. We appreciate these enriching opportunities for our students, which are made possible through generous donations by supporters of the South Florida Symphony: https://www.southfloridasymphony.org/symphony-in-the-schools/  Here is a short video describing the program that the students will view today: https://vimeo.com/257770410

Montessori Conference Wrap-up

Our school was well-represented at the American Montessori Society’s national conference in Denver! Staff will meet after school today to plan for dissemination of what was learned at the conference, with an aim of continuing to improve our program.

Standardized Testing

Our Upper Elementary and Early Secondary students will participate in the state’s assessment program next week; the essay portion of the Florida Standards Assessment will be administered next Tuesday and Wednesday. Thanks for ensuring your student has a healthy protein-rich breakfast and is on time to school.

Blood Drive

Our next community blood drive takes place next Tuesday from noon – 4:30. In addition to a free screening and gift from OneBlood, donors will receive two service hours for their time.

Campus Tidy-up

Join me and our House & Grounds Chairperson, Craig Reynolds, from 9-12 on Saturday, April 7th  as we help beautify our students’ learning environment.  . One of the most pressing projects is wall mounting an 81-inch television in our Sea Star Classroom. We have the materials, we just need the human power! Can’t make it to the Campus Tidy up? Please contact Ms. Tonia to confirm your help with any of the following projects before 4/7/18:

Big/Team Projects:

  • Mount 81-inch television in Sea Star room (remove old television and dispose)
  • Dispose of tables and items on back walkway of bldg. 100
  • Label and organize MSMS Library (Bldg. 100)

General Projects:

  • Pull weeds around turf, near fence
  • Pull weeds in/outside of United St. along fence
  • Pull weeds in courtyard
  • Brush artificial turf, blow, and bag leaves

Ongoing Projects:

  • All classrooms: carpets need cleaning (we have materials)
  • Wash lunch tables

Please be reminded that all service hours must be completed by 20 April.

Outdoor Environment

Phase one of the climbing wall project is complete; over spring break, Eco-Scapes installed the padding and turf, and our House & Grounds Chairperson installed the climbing holds.  The last phase of the climbing wall project includes purchasing more climbing holds, which is expected this summer.  Our students are currently enjoying the added play space!

School Safety

 HB 7026 is new legislation that affects all public schools, including charters.  There are many questions about the mandates, primarily: how they will be implemented across all schools and how they will be funded.  Our school currently receives an annual allocation of $4, 944.10 that is dedicated to Safe Schools, and the bill text confirms there will be a revision in the allocation, but does not articulate details. Also, districts and schools will be required to ‘maximize certain third-party funding’ though the source of such funding isn’t named. The bill text mentions school grants but falls short of details.  In an effort to be ahead of the upcoming mandates, members of our school formed a task force to develop our school’s safety and security plan, and we are working with law enforcement professionals to ensure that we continue to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students.  I have included information from the bill text that is relevant for our school, below, which I will also share at our board meeting as a discussion item this Friday.

  • The new legislation requires charters submit a detailed safety plan to the district, which will be forwarded to the commissioner, to help fund training for school personnel in ‘youth mental health awareness’.
  • County sheriffs may establish a ‘Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program’ to replace the ‘school marshal program’ and train individuals – excluding classroom teachers – how to prevent or stop an assailant (see bill text for details, pp. 12-14). If you saw yesterday’s paper, Monroe County Sheriff Ramsey is also working to learn how to implement the mandates within the new legislation.
  • An app, “FortifyFL.”, will be developed to report suspicious activity.
  • A 16-member public safety commission will convene by June 1st to make specific recommendations on how school resource officers will be placed in schools, with considerations of school location, student population, and school design.
  • An Office of Safe Schools is created in the Department of Education and serves as support and oversight authority for school safety and security. They will publish a school security risk assessment tool for use in all schools, including charters.
  • Professional development including a School Safety Specialist training program will occur at the school district level.
  • Schools must make updates to and have required methods for posting student code of conduct (pp. 69-71).
  • School districts will implement a Student Crime Watch Program for anonymous reporting of unsafe or potentially harmful activities or threats.
  • All schools are required to conduct regular emergency drills and training, led by local law enforcement first responders.
  • Each school district will receive a minimum of $100,000 to distribute among all schools, including charters, to help fund expanding school-based mental health care, which will be distributed upon submission of a detailed plan for the use of funds (p. 89).