News

2021

  • October

    Virtual Coffee with Grae and Frances ~ Friday, Oct. 15

    Please join us for a virtual coffee with Grae Baker, Head of School, and Frances Fitzpatrick, Director of Elementary Programs, at 9 am this Friday, October 15th. Grae and Frances will present on 'Reading with Children' and answer any questions on this topic, child development, the Montessori pedagogy, and Austin Montessori School. Please register here, and a Zoom link will be sent to you.
     
    We look forward to seeing you!
    Read More
  • August

    Happy Birthday, Maria Montessori!

    Sonal Bowness, Director of Communications
    All around the world, Montessori schools are celebrating the birth of Dr. Maria Montessori, who was born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy.
    Read More
  • Arrival and Departure

    Dawn Michal, Director of Operations
    Good afternoon, AMS Community:
     
    We are excited to welcome our children back to school in the coming days.  In preparation for the return to school, I’ve included below some helpful arrival and departure guidelines.
    Read More
  • Community Operating Plan 2021-2022

    Good afternoon, Austin Montessori School community:
     
    Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!  We are very excited to welcome our children and adolescents into their communities in the coming weeks.  To all of our new families, I extend a hearty welcome!  I’m delighted that you’ve chosen to join our wonderful community.  In the coming days, you will receive a welcome letter from your guide with important information, including the schedule and link to your community’s “Back to School” virtual gathering.
     
    Currently, we find ourselves in the midst of a third COVID-19 surge in the Austin area largely due to the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.  While we are encouraged by the overall vaccination rate in our area, the lack of clear and consistent guidance and/or mandate from our government officials has led to more variable community behaviors than we experienced during the previous two surges.  In order to provide as safe a community environment as possible for your children and adolescents we ask that each family please abide by the stage-based guidelines issued by Austin Public Health (APH) and overall guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Additionally, in light of the new surge, the lack of a vaccine for children under 12, and in accordance with new recommendations from APH, the CDC, and the AAP, we have issued new operational guidelines for the near term.  Please read our 2021-2022 Operating Plan thoroughly.  Notable protocols for Fall 2021 include:

    • All staff working with children are required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.  
    • All children and adolescents in our Children’s House, Elementary, and Adolescent communities are required to wear masks while indoors at school regardless of vaccination status.  Note that the addition of Children’s House children to the mask requirements is a change from last year and one that we hope is quite temporary.  Children in our Youngest Children’s Community are not required to wear masks but the adults will wear masks indoors.  
    • Following any commercial air-based travel, children are required to quarantine for 7 days and provide a negative test result on or after day 5.  We have the capacity to test children and adults in our community here at school should you choose. 
    We will discuss these protocols and answer questions at your respective “Back to School” nights for your classroom community and at a “Coffee With Grae” next Friday, August 13, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.  You can attend this virtual coffee by clicking this Zoom link.  Thank you all in advance for your continued support, flexibility, and adaptability as we continue through these challenging times together.  
     
    Below you will find a link to an updated AMS staff list for the 2021-22 school year.  We look forward to working with you all in partnership to provide the best possible developmental experience for your children.  Everyone, continue to stay safe, and please reach out to me or Dawn Michal, Director of Operations, if you have any questions.  I look forward to seeing you all soon!
     
    Kind regards,
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
    Read More
  • June

    2021-2022 Start of School Checklist

    Dear Parents,
     
    Updated class rosters are available now in the myAMS portal.  Please review the checklist of items for you to complete in myAMS and Magnus in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year.  
     
     
    CHECKLIST FOR THE 2021 - 2022 SCHOOL YEAR
    • UPDATE YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT INFO
      • Click your name, click Profile, edit fields using the yellow pencil icon
    • UPDATE YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS
      • Click your name, click Settings, click Privacy
      • Edit information you allow other people (parents, etc) to view about you.  
    • UPDATE YOUR FAMILY CONTACT INFO and EMERGENCY CONTACTS
      • Click on the Children tab (upper left corner), select your child’s name, click the Contact Card tab, edit fields using the yellow pencil icon.
      • Update emergency contact information for each child. Please list multiple contacts the school can reach out to in an emergency.  This is also where you include contacts who have permission to pick up your child.
    • COMPLETE REQUIRED FORMS IN MAGNUS HEALTH
      • Click on the Resources tab, click the Magnus Health icon, and follow the steps.
      • Magnus will soon begin sending reminders for requirements that need to be updated or completed for the 2021-2022 school year.  New children will be required to complete all of the forms. Returning families will need to update all of the forms prior to August 1st. Returning family instructions can be found here.
      • If you are having difficulty navigating the Magnus system, entering data online, or downloading forms, or if you have any other questions, please contact customer support at Magnus Health SMR by phone at 877.461.6831 or by email atservice@magnushealthportal.com
    • VIEW BULLETIN BOARD FOR YOUR CHILD’S COMMUNITY
      • Each community has a Bulletin Board where important information is made available such as:
        • Contact information for your child's guide
        • Class Roster
        • Downloads for Summer activities 
    • VIEW THE 2021-2022 CALENDAR
      • A calendar view is available by logging into myAMS and clicking the Calendar tab at the top of the page.
      • A printable, one-page calendar with holidays and in-service days can be found for Regular year and All Day All Year programs here.
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SMART TUITION BILL?
      • If you have any questions regarding your Smart Tuition bill, please contact Sandy Bartholome sandyb@austinmontessori.org, 512-892-0253 ext 12) in the Business Office. She will be your point of contact throughout the summer and next school year.
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT myAMS?
      • Contact Dawn Michal dawnm@austinmontessori.org
    Read More
  • April

    All Parent Gathering: Parent(ing) during a Pandemic: the Gift and the Challenge

    Presented by Jinny Gonzalez, Director of Early Childhood
    Tuesday, April 27, at 7:30 pm on Zoom 
     
    All parents and caregivers are invited to join Jinny to discuss:
    • Parent(ing) Self-Care- Radical Love and Acceptance 
    • Why are Boundaries Important and Why are They Challenging to Hold?
    • The Intuitive Parent - Guiding from Within
    • Regenerative Practices for Self-Nourishing
    Whether you are a parent of a toddler, elementary or middle school child, or a caregiver, all adults must engage in a journey of self-inquiry to raise children with courage and an open heart.
    Read More
  • Operations Update and 2021-22 School Calendar

    Greetings, AMS Community:

    Happy April!  I hope this finds you all well and enjoying spring.  I’m writing today with updates to our operating plan and calendar information for the 2021-2022 school year.

    Operational Protocol Updates
    With the number of cases in Austin falling significantly (Austin is currently in Stage 3 trending towards Stage 2) and the significant increase in vaccine availability, the AMS Risk Management Team and Board of Trustees have approved two significant operational changes that will take effect Monday, April 12, 2021.  First, we will remove the pony walls from our elementary environments allowing each community to be a single cohort.  While we still can’t mix the communities, at least each individual community will be whole again.  Secondly, we are increasing the allowable cohort size at Gaines Creek from 15 to 20.  So, while there will still be two cohorts on campus, this allows all of the Gaines Creek students to return to campus for in-person learning.  As a result, we will be discontinuing our virtual learning program for the adolescents.  

    Calendar
    The 2021-2022 school calendars have been published and are linked here.

    Please reach out to me if you have any questions about any of the above.  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

    Kind regards,
    Grae
    Read More
  • March

    Spring Conference Days - Thursday, April 8 & Friday, April 9

    April 8th and 9th are designated conference days.  There will be no school for children in the traditional school program; ADAY programs are in session as are the Youngest Children’s Communities.

    Need to schedule your conference?  Links to the sign-ups have been emailed to parents and can be found in the March 30th Biweekly Bulletin.
    Read More
  • Spring Calendar Change

    Good afternoon, AMS Community:

    We’re modifying our spring school calendar to provide more 5-day weeks after the disruption related to the recent winter storm.  Monday, March 22, 2021, formerly an in-service day, and Friday, April 2, 2021, formerly a holiday, will now be regular school days.  On these days our school will operate according to our normal school schedule.  Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

    Best regards,
    Grae
    Read More
  • Operating Plan Updates

    Grae Baker
    Good Afternoon, AMS Community:
     
    I hope this finds everyone well and enjoying our warming temperatures.  I’m writing today with operational protocol updates the school has adopted since Austin moved from Stage 5 into Stage 4 (we’re now trending towards Stage 3) of COVID-19 guidelines.  Please note that these protocol updates were approved by our Board of Trustees last week and are not in any way related to Governor Abbott’s announcement yesterday of loosening COVID restrictions across the state beginning next week.  We will continue to use the guidance of the CDC; consult with Austin Public Health (APH) and the Texas Education Agency; and use our discretion to determine our safest operational protocols.  The only changes to our operational protocols are outlined below and are now included in our full Operating Plan.
     
    Children’s House Cohorts
    Since late fall, we have been targeting the mid-spring semester as a potential transition point for our Children’s House cohort sizes if conditions allowed.  Last week our Board of Trustees approved increasing the cohort sizes in Children’s House to 22 children.  We will continue to prepare our physical environments so they are conducive to distancing and continue to follow the protocols in our operating plan.
     
    Resume Extracurricular Activities
    During Stage 5, per recommendations from APH, we asked families to pause any gatherings outside of the household, including after-school group activities (sports, dance class, etc.) in order to attend school in person.  Children who participate in activities outside the household can now attend school in person.  We simply ask that everyone continue to follow APH standard COVID guidelines of wearing a mask, social distancing when possible, etc.  See the update to our Operating Plan.
     
    Travel 
    Children that travel by commercial air, bus, or train are asked to self-disclose and quarantine for 7 days after travel if they have no symptoms and have obtained a negative COVID-19 test on day 5.  Children who do not obtain a negative COVID-19 test are required to quarantine for 10 days. As you make plans, please review the travel recommendations from the CDC.  
     
    Vaccinated and COVID-19 Recovered Persons
    Vaccinated persons or those with natural immunity (recovered from Laboratory-diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 Infection) will be required to follow all of the protocols in place in our school operating plan with the exception of quarantine. 
     
    Quarantine guidelines per the CDC guidelines for Vaccinated Persons:
    Vaccinated people with exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
    • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine) 
    • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
    • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
    Quarantine guidelines per the CDC guidelines for Recovered Persons:
    People who have recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 do not need to undergo repeat testing or quarantine in the case of another SARS-CoV-2 exposure within 90 days of their initial diagnosis
     
    We ask that all members of our community continue to adhere to the Austin Public Health guidelines regarding COVID-19.  Please continue to wear masks, socially distance, and, during Stage 4, avoid gatherings larger than 10 outside your household.  Thank you all for your continued support and vigilance during this time.  Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.
     
    Kind regards,
    Grae
     
    Read More
  • February

    AMS Annual Book Drive: February 9th - 11th

    It’s time for the AMS Annual Book Drive; let's show our libraries a little love! We hope you will choose to donate a book or books to your community library, the Children’s Lending Library, or the Elementary Library.

    Once again, the book drive is online!  You will be able to select the items you would like to donate and pay with a credit card. All the books have been pre-purchased. This year, we will not have the books on display in the campus offices. Hopefully, the displays will return next year.
     
    New this year is the option to donate money to your community for your guide to select additional items now or in the coming months. Donations can also be made to the Elementary or Children's Lending Library. Monetary donations will need to be a separate transaction from book purchases. Please include how the funds should be distributed in the "Optional Note" field during the check-out process. Thank you!
     
    How to participate:
    1. Click here to view available books.
    2. Either scroll down to the community or library you would like to browse or click on “Shop All” at the top of the screen and select a community/library.
    3. Click on the book/CD/print you would like to donate and then click on “Add to Cart”  (if the book has already been purchased, the book will show “Out of Stock”).  Each day, as items are donated, they will be manually removed from the online store to make it easier to see what books are still available.
    4. Select either “Continue Shopping” or “Check Out.”
    5. When you finish shopping, you will enter your credit card information.  Please note, you will be asked to provide your shipping address but the items will not be shipped to you.
    A bookplate will be placed in each donated book with your child(ren)’s name(s) and year donated.
     
    Your support of our libraries is much appreciated. On behalf of the children, the guides, and myself - a heartfelt thank you.

    In gratitude,
    Read More
  • AMSPA Parent Zoom Coffee ~ Wednesday, Feb. 3

    We hope to see you this Wednesday, February 3rd, at 9:00 am for our PA Parent Zoom Coffee. All AMS parents are invited to connect and come together (virtually). We have missed seeing other parents and hope to connect with you. Please join us using the link below. If you can not attend, the PA is planning a virtual happy hour gathering in March that will be held in the evening.
     
    Click here to join the PA Parent Zoom Coffee.
    Read More
  • January

    Re-enrollment Contracts Available in myAMS

    Dear Austin Montessori School families,

    Today begins our re-enrollment period for current AMS families for the next school year. We are pleased to invite you to re-enroll your child at Austin Montessori School for the 2021-2022 school year. It is our heartfelt desire that your family remains a part of our school community.  

    We are eagerly anticipating improving conditions with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the spring and summer and expect to be operating at or near our typical operational configurations and protocols by the fall. That said, we are also preparing for modified operational protocols if necessary. For our families in our All-Day/All-Year communities, we hope to operate with our normal schedule in the fall, so you will receive a full All-Day/All-Year contract for your child. If we need to continue operating with a shorter day for a period of time, your tuition will be adjusted accordingly. Optional, after-school programs will not be billed in SmartTuition until we are certain we can provide these programs in the fall.  

    Your re-enrollment contract is now available in your myAMS portal. To properly plan for the 2021-2022 school year, we must receive your completed re-enrollment contract by Monday, February 15, through myAMS. As you may know, we are limited in the number of openings available for new applicants in many of our communities. We wish to preserve our current families' spaces by enrolling your children first, followed by those children who withdrew for COVID-19 related reasons. 

    After the contract deadline, spaces that are available at each level are offered to qualified applicants in the waiting pool. If an enrolled family is not prepared to sign their child's re-enrollment contract by the due date, the contract expires. Extensions to this date are not available. If a currently enrolled family decides they would like to re-enroll their child after the contract has expired, the family must contact the Admissions Office. A re-enrolling child will receive priority admission if space remains available. If you have specific questions regarding your enrollment contract, please contact Sveta Pais (svetap@austinmontessori.org). 

    Prior to signing the contract, we ask that you review our Parent Community Handbook and Partnership Agreement. Please submit the completed contract in myAMS and the $300 registration fee due for each application submitted (maximum $600 per family). A copy of the completed contract will remain in your myAMS portal in the "Files and Forms" section. 
      
    Thank you for making Austin Montessori School your home. We are committed to providing the best possible developmental environment for our students. 

    Sincerely,

    Grae Baker
    Head of School

    Sveta Pais
    Director of Enrollment Management
     
     
    Read More
  • Re-Enrollment Events: Upcoming Introductory Presentations

    In anticipation of re-enrollment contracts being sent out, I invite you to virtual presentations for parents of children who are anticipated to move to a new level in the 2021-22 school year. These presentations are intended to ensure that you have the information you need to make an informed decision to re-enroll your child at Austin Montessori School.

    Click on the event title below for more information and to register. A Zoom link will be sent to you upon registration.
     
    6:30 pm, January 21st: Introduction to the Upper Elementary
    6:30 pm, January 28th: Introduction to the Early Elementary
    9:00 am, January 29th: Introduction to the Children's House
     
    Questions?  Contact Sveta Pais, Director of Enrollment Management, at svetap@austinmontessori.org
    Read More

AMS News Archive

< 2021
Austin Montessori School is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex or gender, disability, or age in providing educational services, activities, and programs. Austin Montessori School complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), as amended, which incorporates and expands upon the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended; and any other legally-protected classification or status protected by applicable law.