Ivy School Leadership Update

As we shared with you in the past newsletter, we just completed our annual site visit, as well as the presentation of our annual report and request for the renewal of our charter to the Oregon Department of Education.  Mary Zigman, Kim Carlson, and Jenna Manchester worked extensively with us to complete these projects and we are extremely grateful to them for their help and their continued support of Ivy. Some of you may have seen them on campus last week as they were here for both the site visit and the renewal presentation.  Now that we are moving forward with the next steps in the renewal process, their work for Ivy has been completed, although we will continue to rely on them for occasional assistance as necessary.  Mary will not be returning to her former position at Ivy as she has taken on a new project in Florida to remain near her family there.  We all wish her the best in her new endeavors.  We will complete the rest of this school year utilizing the leadership team that we have already assembled:  Rebecca Keith Ed.D., Interim Head of School; Amy Stuhr, Student Support Coordinator, Morris Campus; Anne O’Neal, Student Support Coordinator, Prescott Campus; and Karie Breyne, Business Manager.  The board will continue to evaluate this model and will be deciding on exactly what format we will utilize in the future.

The Ivy School’s Future Vision

It’s hard to believe, but February is already upon us and it is time to begin concretizing our vision for the 2015-2016 school year.  We are leaping from our focus on renewal to concentrating on our goals and direction for Ivy’s future.  Although everything is not yet finalized, the leadership team and Ivy board want to share our plans with you, as we know that what we are going to be offering will affect your planning and we want you to be able to make well informed decisions.

The board and leadership team have been working together to try to find ways to move Ivy towards more fully fulfilling our vision and mission in several ways.  First, we will be offering three upper elementary classrooms next year that serve 9-12 year olds, which better aligns us with Montessori’s developmentally oriented planes of development.  If your student is a 4th or 5th year student this year, s/he will have the option of staying within the same classroom for next year, with the addition of new 4th years students (the 3rd year students who will be moving up from Prescott).  If, on the other hand, your 4th or 5th year student is interested in a change, you can apply for a space in the new upper elementary classroom.  Re-enrollment forms will be going out next week so you can make your preferences known.  We will certainly take your input under advisement, however, spaces will be allotted on a first come, first served basis.  If you have a strong desire for a specific classroom, return your forms promptly.  We will keep the numbers of 4th, 5th, and 6th year students as balanced as possible within each classroom.

Second, we are formulating a thorough curriculum plan for our middle-schoolers that features a morning meeting to focus on emotional, psychological, and philosophical development which will foster reflective, critical thinking, and metacognition; increased regular opportunities for work in the community, fostering civic responsibility and an opportunity to be a change agent; a regular opportunity for work in a rural environment, fostering a renewed relationship with the natural world and the satisfaction of hard, physical labor; and an individualized focus on developing the math, reading, and writing skills that will prepare our students for high school.  We are also going to be increasing the number of hours of instruction for all classes, lower elementary through middle school, as required by the new ruling of ODE, but we are not certain what that will look like.  We only need a few more hours per year which can be implemented with a minimal impact but the new middle school program may require more of an increase.  We will let you know as soon as possible.

Most of all, we are tackling the challenge of the less than optimal amount of space in our current environments.  We are excited to be working with parent and former board member Laurie Simpson who will help us design and create more usable space within our existing campuses for the short term and will assist us in a search for an appropriate building in which we can eventually house the entire K-8 program that we would like to institute within the next few years.  This includes considering a possible addition to the Prescott campus or use of structures in the immediate vicinity.  Laurie is an architect who specializes in creating spaces for K-12 schools among other fabulous projects.  If at all financially possible, for the short term, we are looking at reducing class size to allow more square feet per child, as Montessori work requires movement and the use of floor space.  Although we would love to start a Kindergarten program soon, we are currently projecting that the earliest it could begin is the 2016-2017 school year.

Other plans include improvement to the outside environments and garden space at both campuses, continued work on the outside classroom at Morris, increased community partnerships, and a coordinated Montessori curriculum spanning both campuses.

We have enjoyed a positive, supportive relationship with the PTA this school year.  They have done a magnificent job raising additional funds for Ivy and we are very appreciative of everything they have done.  If you have not already done so, please consider joining the PTA and they will help you find a variety of ways to support the school.  One significant way that you can support Ivy is through participating in this year’s capital campaign.  Expect information about all the events we have planned to help us keep Ivy on the sound financial footing that we need to insure its longevity and continued growth and improvement.

We are excited about continuing and refining the distributed model of leadership that we adopted for this school year; we’re certain you have all enjoyed having a student support coordinator at both campuses and hope that having a leader dedicated to maintaining a Montessori focus, despite the numerous pressures pulling in other directions, has been reassuring.  We look forward to input from all of you and appreciate you sharing your ideas, resources, and concerns.  Please know that our doors are always open and you are welcome in the offices and the board meetings anytime.

In closing, we would like to thank all of the dedicated parents who have helped us with projects we have engaged in this school year and those of you who will help us complete those undertaking that are still in the works.

Rebecca Keith, Ed.D.
Interim Head of School

PTA Meeting and Recap Coffee This Week

Please join us Wednesday, February 4th, at 6:30pm at the Morris Campus for this month’s general PTA Meeting.  We will be discussing the progress of the Prescott play structure, the spring raffle, future school spirit evens, and possibly forming a field day committee.  You do not need to be a PTA member to join us.  All are welcome.  There will be no childcare provided for this meeting.

If you are unable to make the meeting Wednesday night but want to remain connected to school happenings, a PTA member will be hosting a Coffee Recap Thursday, February 5th, at 8:30 at the New Seasons on Williams.  Come on out and mingle with other Ivy parents.

Would You Like Ivy to Offer Spring Break Camp?

IvyCare is looking into interest in running a Spring Break Camp for families who need childcare during the break.  The camp would include a field trip, a movie day with popcorn, an organized craft, cooking, and science projects!  We would love to offer this service to our families!  This short survey will allow us to find out how many families would sign up for a camp like this.  It is quick and easy.  Just click on this link and answer a few questions.

We Want Your Photos for the Yearbook!

The Ivy Yearbook is truly YOUR creation, as we depend on the photos that YOU take in the classroom and at Ivy events to create a book that will capture memories of the 2014-2015 school year at Ivy for your child to enjoy for years to come. We’re ready to start working on those great event and classroom pages and we can’t do it without your help!

We’re happy to accept the photos any way you’d like to get them to us.  Want to send by email?  Send to the Yearbook team at our very own email.  Want to pass them off on a CD, DVD, or portable or flash drive?  Drop it off in the office at either Prescott or Morris and send us an email to let us know it’s there (we’ll get your drive back to you promptly).  Want to use Flickr or another photo sharing site? Email us the link!  Have a TreeRing account and want to upload there?  Great!  Have photos trapped on your computer, camera, or smartphone and don’t know quite how to best get them off?  No problem!
Contact us and we can meet up and do it for you.

Here are some past events we’d love to include: Camp Wi-Ne-Ma, the Swifts Picnic, the Compass Green visit, International Children’s Day, Monster Bowl, the Winter Concert, the Ice Skating Party, MS 7 and 8 College Tours, Classroom Field Trips, Going Outs, and Great Everyday Work Cycle Candids. We’ll be looking for photos of upcoming events also, so keep snapping those great pics!

Thank You for Your Help With Ivy Parent, Cassondra! 

Cassondra has been home for almost two weeks now.  She says physical therapy is hard, it is slow going and painful (she doesn’t like pain meds). Despite that, she is a trooper and has elected to go to PT two times a day, three days a week to speed up her healing!  She is getting stronger every day and plans to be back to her old self really soon.  She is awe of the love and support of her community.  “It is remarkable.  All the food has been great and enough for both Taylor and me.  It has been very helpful because therapy is hard.  I am SO grateful.”

Cassondra is able to focus on her recovery and her family because of the generosity of the Ivy community.  Thank you, thank you all so very much!

Summer Garden Care Needed

Are you around this summer?  The Ivy School students have worked very hard to create a community garden at the Morris Campus.  We are looking for volunteers to help keep the garden maintained and beautiful over summer break.  We are also looking for volunteers to help provide care for our 4 ducks and chickens.  If you are able to help in any way we would greatly appreciate the help. Once you sign up, students will contact you for training.  To sign up, please click on this link and choose a date(s).  Thank you!

Pictures From Morris

Bee Keeper Committee preparing our bee hive for spring with Andy, a professional bee keeper.

Bunny Care committee preparing a hutch in preparations for our upcoming bunny adoption​​

Worm Composting Committee

And a big thank you to all who have helped us with our Greenhouse project

“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”

 ~Maria Montessori~