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All School News

List of 20 news stories.

  • 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
  • Austin Moves to Stage 4 11/20/20

    Dear Parents,
     
    Yesterday, Austin Public Health (APH) moved Austin-Travis County into Stage 4 of its COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines.  
     
    In Stage 4:
    • Higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should stay home, except for essential trips such as buying groceries or seeking medical care.  
    • Lower-risk individuals should avoid social gatherings, any gatherings greater than 10 people, and non-essential travel. 
    • Businesses and restaurants asked to voluntarily reduce capacity to 25-50%.
    • Recommend schools limit attendance at sporting events to players, coaches, and parents.
    With the holiday season quickly approaching, the Austin Montessori School Risk Management Team is working to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities. After much consideration, we have decided to move our Upper Elementary and Adolescent communities to At-Home learning for a period of time after the Thanksgiving and Winter Holidays. 
     
    For Early Childhood and Early Elementary children who will return to in-person learning after the holidays, we again ask that families adhere to the APH holiday guidelines. The CDC and Austin Public Health advise against travel and against gatherings with people who do not live with you during this holiday season.  Should you have plans to travel or gather with individuals outside of your immediate household during this season, we request that you self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.  
     
    At-Home Learning for Upper Elementary and Adolescent Levels: The goal of the remote learning period for our older students after the holidays is to avoid a risk of community transmission and increase the chances that in-person learning will remain an option for the remainder of the school year. Austin Public Health is encouraging everyone to minimize social gatherings during the holidays; however, we anticipate increased exposures in a time when local transmission rates are rapidly increasing. We also recognize that many colleges will be sending students home, which could increase family exposure. We hope this quarantine period after the holidays will serve as a "contact break" to mitigate risk. For this to work, we ask for your commitment to follow APH's recommendations: to continue being vigilant by practicing good hygiene, maintaining physical and social distancing, and wearing face coverings to prevent the disease from spreading to help keep each other safe. Avoiding gatherings outside of your household is especially important this holiday season. The City of Austin’s COVID-19 holiday safety recommendations can be found here.
     
    Why are only Upper Elementary and Adolescent Levels moving to At-Home Learning?: The analysis of data around infection rates has consistently shown that younger children are not infected with the virus at the same rates as older children, adolescents, and adults.  New research has shed light on the reasons. Children have lower levels of the receptor that SARS-CoV-2 needs to invade cells in the lung. These receptors have been shown to begin to increase around the onset of puberty. This is one explanation for why the rates of infection in children appear to increase around the age of 10. In light of this research, the increase in infection rates in the Austin area, the coming holiday gathering risks, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to move to remote learning for this population.  We also considered the school's ability to take this prudent measure while continuing to provide a positive and effective learning experience for the children in those communities.  
     
    Return to In-Person Learning
     
    Upper ElementaryUpper Elementary communities will begin At-Home learning on Monday, November 30, and return to in-person learning on Monday, December 14, 2020. At-Home learning will resume after the Winter Holiday break on January 6, 2021, with in-person learning resuming on January 11, 2021.
     
    Adolescent: Due to the logistics of the model at Gaines Creek, the adolescents will be in distance learning for all three weeks between Thanksgiving and the Winter Holiday break. Remote learning will resume after the Winter Holiday break on January 6, 2021, with in-person learning resuming on January 11, 2021.  At-home learning will follow the model used at the beginning of the school year. Guides from the Upper Elementary and Adolescent communities will communicate with families by Saturday, November 28.  
     
    Early Childhood and Early Elementary:  Our Early Childhood and Early Elementary programs will return to in-person learning on Monday, November 30, 2020. To make this as safe as possible for all, we again ask that everyone adhere to the APH holiday guidelines. The CDC advises against travel and gatherings outside the household during this holiday season. Should you have plans to travel or gather during this season, we respectfully request you self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.  
     
    BinaxNOW Rapid Testing for Staff: Through the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Austin Montessori School is now a certified COVID testing site. This designation, allowable for independent schools and other groups, allows us a monthly allotment of COVID tests for use with our school community. This program uses BinaxNOW tests, which provide results in 15 minutes and are administered using a nasal swab in the nostril's front area. These tests have been shown to be highly accurate, with accuracy rates of 97-98% for symptomatic individuals.  In an ongoing effort to keep our in-person communities safe, we will be using the tests to screen all in-person staff for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus following the Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday Breaks. Our rapid test allotment allows us to conduct weekly rapid test screenings for staff between Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays. After the holidays, we will test staff on a bi-weekly basis. We also have the capacity to test children who develop symptoms at school with parental permission or request. 
     
    I want to thank everyone for your collaboration and partnership so far this year. I am truly humbled by how our community has united to develop and adapt to essential safety practices in and outside of the classroom. It has been a joy and a privilege to be on campus, living, and learning together. 
     
    We still have a long way to go, and continued support will be critical to keeping our community healthy in the weeks ahead. Your support means more than you know. 
     
    As always, please stay safe and well. 
     
    Kind regards,
    Grae
  • AMS Biweekly Bulletin ~ November 17, 2020

    Dear Parents and Staff,
     
    Please click on the link below to view the AMS Biweekly Bulletin.  For the time being, we are switching from a weekly to a biweekly format.
     
    Regards,
    Austin Montessori School
     
     
  • Notification of COVID-19 Case in the Community

    Dear Parents,
     
    In keeping with the school’s plan for responding to COVID-19, we are notifying all families that today, a child in our community has been lab-confirmed to have COVID-19.  This child was last present on the Sunset Trail campus on October 30, 2020.  The child was in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure outside of the school.  Out of an abundance of caution, the parents sought another COVID-19 test following the quarantine period.  Due to privacy requirements, we will not be releasing the name of the individual or details that may identify him or her. 
     
    We are working closely with Austin Public Health on this matter and after careful review, we have determined that the COVID-positive person did not come into contact with any children, staff, or areas accessed by students or staff.   Operations at all campuses will continue as usual, and we will keep you apprised of further updates. 
     
    If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Dawn Michal or me.  
     
    Best Regards, 
     
    Grae Baker
  • AMSPA Gratitude Week 2020

    Dear AMS Community.
     
    Over the last few years, the PA has enjoyed supporting the celebration of "Gratitude Week" just before the Thanksgiving holiday.  The tradition revolves around taking a moment or two to share our words of kindness, respect & appreciation with another.  Since COVID precautions preclude AMSPA from providing tangible thank-you cards and supplies on campus, as we have in recent years, we instead encourage everyone in the community to take a moment to send their thoughts of gratitude via email, traditional mail, or brought to school with your child.  We encourage you to share your gratitude with members of our beloved AMS community, as well as your family and friends beyond our school community.
      
    The Parents Association would like to take a moment to thank our incredible staff, guides, and AMS Board.  The virtual and on-campus functioning of our school is no small feat!  There have been countless hours put in by every staff member to successfully adjust to the difficult times presented to us.  For your time, love of learning, and support of our children and families during this time - We Thank You!  
     
    If you would like to mail a letter to any of the three campuses of AMS, you can use the school address:
    5006 Sunset Trail
    Austin, TX  78745 
     
    If you would like to email your message to a specific staff member, you can find their email address in the myAMS directory.  If you know the staff member's first and last name, all AMS staff email follow the same pattern of the first name with last name initial @austinmontessori.org.  For example, if Maria Montessori were employed by AMS, her email address would be mariam@austinmontessori.org.
     
    Feel free to reach out to the AMSPA if you have any questions or thoughts you would like to share.
     
    With Heartfelt Appreciation,
    Austin Montessori School Parents Association
  • GC Curbside Coffee Shop 11/20/20

    Mode: Edit | Preview
      
     
    Join us for a Gaines Creek
    Curbside Coffee Shop
     
    Friday, November 20
     
    7:30 - 8:15 am Reserved for Gaines Creek Parents
    8:15 - 9:45 am Greater AMS Community 
     
    5677 Oak Blvd., Gaines Creek Adolescent Community
     
    Dear AMS Community,

    The Gaines Creek adolescents are eager to invite you to the first Curbside Coffee Shop of the 2020-21 school year on Friday, November 20! The students will be carefully preparing breakfast items and 
    specialty drinks to deliver straight to your vehicle. 

    Due to COVID-19 precautions, our Coffee Shop will operate quite differently than in the past. Please carefully read through the details provided below. 

    All guests will be required to sign-up for a curbside pick-up appointment and then pre-order and pay for their goods in the online store. Please reserve your pick-up appointment and place your orders by Monday, November 16 at noon. In addition to breakfast items and beverages, there will also be fresh farm produce, bottled herbs, greeting cards, and chicken eggs available in the online store.

    There will be three 45-minute windows available for curbside pick-up with a limited amount of appointments for each one. Please kindly reserve the first window (7:30-8:15 am) for Gaines Creek Parents. The next two windows (8:15-9:00 am and 9:00-9:45 am) are available for the Greater AMS Community

    Guests are asked to enter into the parking lot along Hwy290 West just after Oak Blvd, where Gaines Creek students will greet them. We ask that all customers remain in their vehicles and wear masks while their orders are delivered to their cars. Servers will be wearing face masks, face shields, and gloves. 




    We look forward to serving you! 
    The Gaines Creek Community 
     
     
    Enjoy our new video!
     
  • Holiday Safety and Travel Survey

    Dear AMS Community:
     
    I hope this finds everyone safe, healthy, and in good spirits.  First, I’d like to thank you all for everything you’re doing to keep our school community healthy.  Each family’s commitment to our protocols and safety measures is what is keeping AMS a safe place during this ongoing crisis.  With the Thanksgiving and winter holidays fast approaching, we respectfully ask that everyone review the Holiday Gathering Guidelines provided by Austin Public Health and Austin Montessori School’s Holiday Travel Policy.  Under current conditions, we plan for our campuses to be open as scheduled after the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. 
     
     
    HOLIDAY TRAVEL
     
    To ensure we continue to operate as safely as possible, the AMS Operating Plan stipulates that children who travel by commercial air should self-disclose and quarantine for 14 days after air travel.  To aid us in preparing and planning for learning support for children who must quarantine, we are requesting that all parents complete the AMS Holiday Travel Survey.  As you make plans, please review the travel recommendations from the CDC.   
     
     
    OPERATING PROTOCOL CLARIFICATION AND FAQ
     
    For your reference, we’ve compiled a quick reference guide from our operating plan based on frequently asked questions related to illness and quarantine requirements.  
     
     
     
    To minimize the spread of COVID-19 and ensure everyone has a safe and healthy holiday season, Austin Public Health has offered the following guidance for gatherings.
    We recommend avoiding all high-risk activities and being cautious with all medium-risk activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Celebrating virtually or with members of your household is the best option this holiday season, but if you still choose to gather traditionally, follow Austin Public Health guidance to do so safely.
     
    Safety Measures
    • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities - avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, and fully enclosed indoor spaces
    • Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy (i.e. extra masks and hand sanitizer)
    • Consider avoiding contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before the gathering
    • Minimize gestures that promote close contact (i.e. hugs and handshakes)
    • Maintain physical distancing and masking around people you do not live with
    • Avoid singing, chanting or shouting, especially when not masking or physical distancing
    • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between uses 
    Low-Risk Activities
    • Celebrating with members of your household
    • Decorating your living space
    • Hosting a virtual gathering with friends and family
    • Preparing traditional recipes and delivering them in a no-contact manner
    • Watching holiday-themed movies or shows
    Medium-Risk Activities
    • Hosting a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors
    • Attending an outdoor gathering
    • Visiting orchards and tree farms where hand sanitizer is used before touching objects
    • Having an outdoor parade or movie night
    High-Risk Activities
    • Participating in traditional caroling or other door-to-door activities
    • Attending crowded, indoor gatherings
    • Going on hayrides with non-household members
    • Traveling outside your community for gatherings and events
     
    If you have any questions about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Dawn Michal, Director of Operations.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the travel survey.  This information will help us keep our community safe while providing support for everyone involved.  Take great care.
     
    Kind regards,
  • AMS Biweekly Bulletin ~ November 3, 2020

    Dear Parents and Staff,
     
    Please click on the link below to view the AMS Biweekly Bulletin.  For the time being, we are switching from a weekly to a biweekly format.
     
    Regards,
    Austin Montessori School
     
     
  • ST Arrival/Departure 10/27/20

    Dear Sunset Trail Community Families:
     
    I'm writing today with an urgent appeal.  As I'm sure many of you have noticed, we are experiencing a heavy amount of traffic congestion and unsafe conditions during arrival and departure times on Sunset Trail.  We have staggered arrival and departure times at adjacent communities to help alleviate some of this challenge.  To assist us with this,
     
    PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE AT YOUR COMMUNITY BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE TIME.
     
    For your reference, the arrival and departure schedule for each community on Sunset Trail is listed below.  Thank you very much for your assistance with this; it will help create safer conditions for our children and families as they arrive and depart from school.  
     
    Kind regards,
    Grae
     
     
    Arrival/Departure Schedule:

    Youngest Children's Communities
     
    Hummingbird Garden
    Arrival: 8:05 - 8:20 am
    Noon Departure: 11:50 am - 12:00 pm
    Departure: 2:45 - 3:00 pm
     
    Butterfly Garden
    Arrival: 8:20 - 8:35 am
    Noon Departure: 12:00 - 12:10 pm
    Departure: 3:00 - 3:15 pm
     
    Children's House
     
    Redbud Cottage
    Arrival: 8:05 - 8:20 am
    Noon Departure: 11:50 am - 12:00 pm
    Departure: 2:50 - 3:05 pm
     
    Laurel Cottage
    Arrival: 8:15 - 8:30 am
    Noon Departure: 12:00 - 12:10 pm
    Departure: 3:00 - 3:15 pm
     
    Cypress Cottage
    Arrival: 8:05 - 8:20 am
    Departure: 2:50 - 3:05 pm
     
    Magnolia Cottage
    Arrival: 8:15 - 8:30 am
    Departure: 3:00 - 3:15 pm
     
    Juniper Cottage
    Arrival: 8:05 - 8:20 am
    Departure: 2:50 - 3:05 pm
     
    Elementary
     
    Heartsong Community
    Arrival:  8:15 - 8:30 am
    Departure: 3:15 - 3:30 pm
  • Community Photos 10/26/2020

    Dear Parents,
     
    If you placed an order for 2019-20 community photos with delivery to AMS, the photos have been delivered.  Sunset Trail orders are now available for pick up from the main office. If you would like a contact-less pickup, please call Lois, and she will leave your photos on the porch.
     
    Great Northern photos will be sent on the bus this afternoon and will be available beginning tomorrow.  Gaines Creek orders will also be sent to the campus today and given to the adolescents to take home.
     
    If you have any questions about your order, please contact Heyday Photography directly at photoheyday@gmail.com.
     
    Thank you,
    Austin Montessori School
     
  • AMS Special Town Hall

    Dear Parents and Staff,

    Thank you for attending the AMS Special Town Hall. If you were unable to participate in the meeting, links to the recording and slides are below.

    We hope to see many of you at an upcoming virtual 'Coffee with Grae' gatherings. Grae will be joined by Frances Fitzpatrick, Director of Elementary Programs, in November, and by Jinny Gonzalez, Director of Early Childhood Programs, in December. Please register here.

    As always, don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything I can do for you.

    Warm regards,
    Sveta Pais
    Director of Enrollment Management
     
     
  • 2020 Election Message of Hope

    Greetings, AMS community:
     
    In light of the ongoing election, I have recently received queries from parents regarding the appropriateness of including children in political discussions. Beginning around the age of six, children's developmental forces enter a new stage where the powers of reason and abstraction begin to flourish. This begins the period of the "acquisition of culture," so children will actively seek out to know as much about the goings-on in our world as they can. So, engaging children aged six and older in service and political campaigns is appropriate as long as it is positive and balanced. Keep in mind that these new capacities for reason and abstraction are emergent characteristics, so the manner in which we respond and include the children in these conversations should vary accordingly. For instance, a seven-year-old may be satisfied with a simple explanation or a response to a question on any subject matter, whereas a nine or ten-year-old will have more complex and nuanced considerations.
     
    Children under the age of six live in the moment and cannot abstract ideas like older children can and should be protected from exposure to political campaigns. All children need to feel their parents' hope, love, and determination, especially during difficult times. As a parent myself, I often wonder how this can be achieved. I have drawn much inspiration from the words of our school's founder, Donna Bryant Goertz, and ask that you take the time to absorb and reflect on her important message below.
     
    Best regards,
     
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
     
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     
    Beloved Community,
     
    I write to you today with thoughts of both good news and bad news in mind. First, the bad news: as you know, is that we are in the midst of times that test us to the brink. Indeed, times that call on us, as we live on the edge, to monitor our hearts, minds, and souls for the sake of our well being, but more so for our children. We breathe our way forward. Not only do they see and hear everything, but they also absorb our inner lives and form their own accordingly. This climate has the potential to deviate the formation of our children's sensibilities and the development of their compassion, patience, intelligent reflection, carefully measured responses, and energetic resolve necessary for growing healthy lives, functional relationships, and just, civil, and gracious communities. 
     
    Now onto the good news! Although these times test us, they can also inspire us to rise to the challenge and dig deep to find ways to evolve and transform ourselves to respond instead of react. Our children learn not through our perfection but our mighty intention. These times call for our community as a whole and each of us individually to monitor our hearts, minds, and souls for our children's sake.  

    Through studying the principles and methods of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, we can prepare our minds and spirits to wage campaigns of fiercely held ideals non-violently, respectfully, and energetically. We will each find our way for keeping ourselves sane and healthy during these times, keeping our compassion, patience, resolve, and responses measured and powerful of soul. And we will fall far short, but we will get up and grow. And our children will see our mighty intention and our powerful struggle. They will see our compassion for ourselves, for them, and others. Yes, hard times can even help us grow the hope and courage to better thrive during easier times. And our children will absorb both our process and our being, and they will follow our lead. Our children's gift to us is the challenge to be our best selves. Our gift to them is our daily struggle.  

    -----------------
     
    Political Parties, Campaigns, Elections

    Children bring such unexpected benefits to us adults. Because of them, we remember to vote, take action for our earth, think and feel more deeply about our community, and act on behalf of the whole human family. Because of our children, we struggle to discover common ground, develop insights into other cultures, and find better ways to reach consensus and resolve problems. We search our souls with one another for the meaning of freedom and the means of its practice because of them. Because we have children, we are called to think beyond our immediate lives and our lifespan. Suddenly everything and everyone on our earth are more precious. Our passions, desires, and ideals, our principles, habits, and goals, and our virtues as well as our faults, are all charged with relevance. Because we live with children, we think and feel in a new way. When extreme situations confront us, when we are stunned by complexities and provoked to react, the reality of our children brings us to weigh and measure carefully through the prism of our highest and best selves. 
     
    In this season of campaigns, our children bring us toward spiritual and emotional health so that when we speak of candidates, we evaluate issues and policies rather than attacking persons; we evaluate principles instead of insulting parties; we evaluate individual methods rather than entire campaigns. 

    Some say we have become a society with such short attention spans, fractured focus, and quixotic moods that only rage, revenge, and hatred can motivate us. But we have our children to keep in mind, so let us bring forward our informed love for them to guide us in our focus, perseverance, and action. 
     
    Donna Bryant Goertz
    Founder, Austin Montessori School
     
     
  • Fall 2020 Individual Photos

    This year we welcome our new school photographer, Carli Rene.  Carli comes highly recommended from our long time photographers at Heyday Photography.
     
    An introduction to Carli:  Carli moved to Austin to study photojournalism at UT back in '04 but never finished her degree! She started her photography company, InkedFingers, instead! She's traveled from Tokyo to Israel documenting and sharing stories and hasn't paid a penny to advertise since '08. She feels so grateful to do the two things she loves the most in this lifetime: raise her daughter and get paid to create.
     
    Due to the present situation, our photo days are structured a little differently. We appreciate your understanding.
     
    Photos will begin shortly after arrival each morning, so please be on time.  We request that you not tell children in the Children's House in advance that their photo will be taken. If your child is absent, their photo will be taken in the spring unless a fall makeup day is scheduled.
     
    Monday, October 19
    Sunset Trail: Children's Houses (except Juniper Cottage) & Elementary Communities
     
    Tuesday, October 20
    Great Northern & Gaines Creek (adolescents on campus that day)
     
    Friday, October 23
    Juniper Cottage & Butterfly/Hummingbird Gardens
    Sunset Trail Make-Up Day
     
    Monday, October 26
    Gaines Creek (for remaining 1/3 of adolescents off-campus the prior week)
     
    Sunday, November 1 
    Quetzal Community (Families must sign up in advance, click here)
     
     
    Sibling Photos: Siblings in the same community will be photographed together on their scheduled photo day.  If you would like a sibling photo and your children are enrolled in different communities, please sign up here for a time on November 1. 
  • Flu Vaccine Clinic - Friday, October 23

    Dear Parents,
     
    A second flu vaccine clinic will be held at the Sunset Trail campus from 2 - 4 pm on Friday, October 23.  The clinic will be held in front of 4912 Sunset Trail, please park in the staff parking lot.  If you would like to participate,  click here to set up your appointment. Each family member receiving a flu shot needs their own appointment. Walk-ins will not be accepted, and the sign-up will be closed 48 hours prior to the clinic.
     
    The clinic is for ages three and up. Your insurance information will be required when you sign up for an appointment, and Passport Health will vet your insurance prior to the clinic.  If your insurance does not approve Passport Health providing the vaccine, the out-of-pocket cost is $45/person.  You will be contacted before the clinic about your insurance coverage.   B-12 shots will be available for an additional $25.
     
    All participants will automatically be marked in Magnus Health as completing the school’s new flu vaccine requirement; no additional action is needed.
     
    If you have any questions, please contact Sandy at sandyb@austinmontessori.org.
     
    Regards,
    Austin Montessori School
  • 2019 - 2020 Community Photos - Now Available with Free Shipping

    Dear AMS Parents,
     
    Good morning, and thank you for your patience during this time! 
     
    Community photos from last spring (2o2o) are now available for ordering for school delivery with no shipping costs. This gallery will remain available through next Friday, October 16, and photos will be delivered to the school to go home with your child the following week. 
     
    Click here to view the Gallery 
    Password: SpringInFall2020
     
    Please note that the Community Photos (images with the black border, community name, and year) are only available as 8x10 prints, and the 5x7 Silly Add-On Photos (images with no border or text) are only available as 5x7 prints and must be selected as an add-on to your 8x10 community print. The images are sized specifically and a Community Photo will not print correctly as a 5x7, nor will an add-on image print correctly at the 8x10 size. 
     
    To add your child's community photo, open the gallery and click on the header "8x10 Community Photos" and then scroll to find your child's community; click the image you want and then click the cart at the top right-hand corner of the screen ("Buy") and that will bring up your options; click the 8x10 Community Photo option and add it to your cart. 
    You can then use the arrow at the top left to go back to the community photo gallery, add another child's community photo to your card, or click the header above labeled "5x7 Silly Add-Ons" to add any of those images to your cart. Please note that a single 5x7 cannot be ordered alone; it must be added as an add-on to your 8x10 community photo print. 
     
    Please be sure you are adding your chosen image(s) to your cart in the correct size(s)! 
     
    While the system does ask for a shipping address for order confirmation, please know that ALL orders placed through this portal incur NO shipping fees and will be delivered directly to the school to go home with your child. 
     
    Please let us know if you have questions, and have a great week! 
     
    Best,
    Katherine and Natalie
    Heyday Photography
    photoheyday@gmail.com
  • Virtual Town Hall October 20, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

    Greetings, Austin Montessori School Community:

    I hope this finds everyone safe, healthy, and in good spirits. 

    I’m writing to inform you that our school will hold a special virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. This event will occur in conjunction with the launch of our Relief and Annual Fund. This meeting will thoroughly cover the school’s current state and our strategic, operational, and financial points of focus as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis. The meeting will contain a presentation and an open forum Q&A with community members. Please register here.

    Additionally, I would like to extend an invitation to virtual ‘Coffee with Grae’ meetings, which have been scheduled monthly for the rest of the year. Please register here. 

    Zoom links for both these events will be emailed upon registration. I hope that you will be able to join us.  

    Kind regards,
    Grae
  • Influenza Vaccination Requirement

    Dear Parents and Staff, 
     
    Beginning this Fall 2020, Austin Montessori School requires all students and staff to receive an annual influenza vaccination. Requiring a yearly flu vaccine demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protect the safety and health of our community. Obtaining the influenza vaccine is essential to reduce the risk of getting sick with influenza, reduce the severity of disease if one does get sick (including the risk of hospitalization) due to flu, and prevent influenza spread to others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the influenza vaccine will be especially critical to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness on the population, protect those vulnerable to severe illness, and decrease the healthcare system's overall burden.
     
    This new policy will follow the school's Immunization Policy. In essence, the flu vaccine is required for all students and staff, and records must be submitted via Magnus Health, confirming the vaccine has been received by December 1, 2020. As with our other immunizations, exemptions can be granted for medical or reasons of conscience. A notarized exemption form for exemptions for reasons of conscience or a medical exemption signed by a physician must be completed and submitted to the school by December 1, 2020. Please note that the school will not provide notary services for this form.  
     
    Below is a FAQ that I encourage you to read. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Dawn Michal, Director of Operations.
     
    Kind regards,
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
     
     
    FAQ
     
    To whom does this apply?
    The mandatory influenza vaccination program applies to all students and staff at Austin Montessori School. 
     
    When should I be vaccinated?
    When the flu season is about to begin, you should get the vaccine as soon as possible. It takes about two weeks to develop protection after receiving the vaccine. We require that all students and staff be vaccinated by December 1, 2020.  
     
    What type of influenza vaccine can students receive?
    Any age-appropriate licensed influenza vaccine for the current season fulfills the requirement. This includes injectable and nasal spray vaccine types.
     
    Where can I receive my flu vaccine?
    Multiple locations offer flu vaccines, including your healthcare provider, pharmacy, grocery store, among other places. Additionally, Austin Montessori School is offering two Flu Vaccination Clinics at the Sunset Trail campus where you can receive your flu shot. The first is Monday, September 28, 2020, and the second will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2020. 
     
    What about students who enroll later in the spring?
    Students enrolling after March 31 are not required to have a dose of the influenza vaccine for the current school year.
     
    If I am receiving instruction remotely, will I still need to meet immunization requirements?
    The school immunization requirements, including the seasonal influenza vaccine requirement, apply to all Austin Montessori school students, regardless of whether the school provides instruction in-person or using a hybrid or remote learning model.  
     
    Are there any exemptions to receiving the influenza vaccine?
    Per Austin Montessori School's Immunization Policy, a notarized affidavit of exemption for reasons of conscience or a medical exemption signed by a physician may be submitted via Magnus Health.  See the linked form below.  
     
    I already submitted an affidavit for immunization exemptions. Do I have to submit a separate affidavit to have a compliant exemption for the flu vaccine?
    Yes. All students and staff who have an existing exception for immunizations required by the Texas Department of Health State Services must submit an affidavit of exemption from the Influenza Immunization. 
     
     
    How do I submit proof of influenza vaccination or the affidavit of exemption?
    Staff and students should submit proof of meeting the influenza immunization requirements by uploading the proof of influenza vaccination or affidavit of exemption to Magnus Health.  
     
    How effective are flu vaccines, especially since virus strains keep changing?
    The flu vaccine is the most effective method to prevent influenza. The vaccine's effectiveness depends on several factors, including the accuracy of the match between vaccine strains and circulating strains and the recipient's age and health. The influenza vaccine does not protect against other respiratory viral infections that occur during winter months. Public health officials have a good track record of predicting the three main flu strains that will cause the most illness during each flu season. These strains usually change each year, which is why the vaccine is given annually. Even if you get the flu from a strain of the virus that wasn't included in the vaccine, having the vaccine can make your illness less severe.
    Source: Johns Hopkins University
     
    Why can't vaccination be voluntary?  
     
    Our highest priority must be to protect our students and staff, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research clearly shows that flu vaccinations vastly increase mass immunity and protect immune-suppressed patients. 
    Source: Johns Hopkins University
     
    If I get the seasonal flu vaccine in the fall, will I still be protected if the flu season continues into March or April?
     
    Yes. Protection from the particular strains included in the vaccine will last for the duration of the flu season.
     
    Is it true that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine?
     
    No, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine are either killed (as is the case with the shot) or weakened (as is the case with the nasal spray) so that they cannot cause the flu. Some people mistakenly confuse flu symptoms with the vaccine side effects, such as a minor fever.
    Source: Johns Hopkins University
     
  • 2020 - 2021 Parent Checklist

    CHECKLIST FOR THE 2020 - 2021 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 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 2020-2021 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 2020-2021 CALENDAR
      • A calendar view is available by logging into myAMS and clicking the Calendar tab at the top of the page.
    • 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
  • AMS Community Update 5/27

    Dear Austin Montessori Community:

    After considerable planning and deliberation, Austin Montessori School has decided to reopen our campuses on June 4, 2020, for all-day, all-year students, and as previously scheduled, on June 8, for summer camp students. Reopening AMS campuses entails some increased risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus for all concerned because attending school involves daily human contact among children and staff, who will then be in contact with others in their own homes. Our decision to reopen our campuses recognizes that (1) for AMS families and staff, that risk is balanced against the educational, social, economic and other costs of remaining closed, (2) our school must reopen with many new health and safety protocols to do everything we can to mitigate that risk to the extent possible, and (3)  each family and staff member must decide how to balance those risks, and whether to return to campus.
     
    Our classroom environments are designed to harness the developmental forces of each plane of a child’s development for the child’s own optimal self-construction through experiential interactions with the environment. Our ability to guide that development is diminished in the absence of a face-to-face learning environment. By reopening our campuses, we are aiming to fulfill the mission of Austin Montessori School, which is to guide the intellectual and character development of each child along a path towards his full and unknown potential, in ways that honor the complementary needs of the individual and the group.
     
    The AMS Operating Plan for Summer 2020 explains the policies and procedures we are employing to mitigate COVID-related risks at school. That approach is built around intensive new health monitoring and screening procedures, as well as new classroom/school day procedures designed to reduce the number of contacts during the school day and limit the group size and interactions. These procedures will not require young children to wear masks in the classroom (though guides will wear masks most of the time) or to observe the social distancing rules expected of older children and adults. We do not believe it is possible to enforce those restrictions with our younger children. Nevertheless, we believe reopening with these new protocols represents an important first step in responsibly living with this virus.
     
    In sum, AMS has concluded that reopening our campuses under these conditions is in the best interest of the community and that each AMS family will make its own decision about the balance of risk, and what is best for their children. The information in this document will provide clarity around the practices and procedures AMS has established to minimize exposure to our community but in no way warrants that COVID-19 or other communicable disease infection will not occur through participation in our programs. 
     
    As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our children and families are our utmost priority and we hope you will see that reflected in our new practices.  Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.  

    Kind regards,

    Grae Baker
    Head of School
  • AMS Community Update 5/8/2020

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