March Newsletter 2018

Our Montessori Responsibility

Standards and standardized tests are not new to MEC. In fact, standards and tests have changed three times in our long history. We don't have an issue with standards. Our students prove to us time and time again that they can rise to anything put before them. We have an issue, however, with being told when a child should know certain concepts and how their understanding should be measured (i.e. standardized tests).

One of the reasons that many of us have chosen Montessori for our children or for our careers is because we value an educational model that puts the children's social, physical, academic and emotional development ahead of the statistics that try to tell us how our children compare to other children. We know this distinction to be true, yet we still find ourselves, at times, getting swept up in the anxiety of standardized testing. It is in these moments that I refer back to an article written by Phyllis Pottish-Lewish, an Association Montessori International (AMI) pedagogical advisor. What follows is an abbreviated version of this article:

"It is once again time for Montessorians to remind ourselves why we need not and should not compromise our pedagogical principles to accommodate these new educational 'insights' any more than we have had to for such educational fads in the past.

Standards? Dr. Montessori gave us very clear directives and guidelines to aid children in their development. If we follow these clear directive assiduously, then easily we can succeed in our efforts to assist in the construction of the individual. Thus, as Montessori teachers, we must always be vigilant and thoughtful in regards to our children and measure these decisions by our guiding principals. This is our responsibility as Montessori teachers. We must muster the courage to defend and uphold those principals we know to be true, since, all too often, we are faced with so many influences that are foreign to our approach, but that are adopted by the public at large. 

Dr. Montessori’s method is tried and true, as evidenced by the last century of individuals who have been the recipients of the implementation of her ideas who developed into enterprising, creative, artistic, inventive, and flourishing people. In the face of today’s proposed educational reforms or those that might arise in the future, we should not waver or abandon our standards and beliefs. We know what works, and it has been working successfully for decades."

by Cassi Mackey, MEd, Principal

World Water Day

World Water Day, March 22, is a reminder to focus attention on the importance of water.  This year's theme is Nature for Water, exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

Damaged ecosystems affected the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home, affecting their health, education, and livelihoods. 

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal #6 commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030, and includes targets on protecting the natural environment and reducing pollution. We, as a Montessori community in conjunction with Youth Service America (YSA), have been doing our part to contribute to this goal. 

Although we will not be doing a school-wide event regarding water until Global Youth Service Day in April, the LEAP students are in the process of making water droplets that will contain important water facts. These droplets will hang from our ceiling in the office. They will be up during the week of March 19. We encourage you to take action regarding water on March 22!


Top 12 Water Savers

Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth and soap-up your hands while washing

Use a dishwasher, if you have one. If you wash dishes by hand, use a small basin instead of running the water

Take shorter showers

Water lawns during the cooler times of the day. Make sure minimal water runs off onto sidewalks or paved driveways

Wash only full loads of laundry

Avoid using toxic chemicals around the home

When you're waiting for tap water to get cold or hot, collect the running water to water plants

Dispose of motor oil, paint, and other hazardous chemicals properly--not down the drain or in the trash

Fix any leaks around the house

Don't flush trash down the toilet

If you was your car at a carwash, choose one that recycles its water

Spread the world about water conservation


by Cassi Mackey, MEd, Principal


Our love to the students, staff and parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida during this heartbreaking time. Although they are not our students, they are ALL of our children.

To the students of MSD for finding the strength during an unimaginable heartache to rise up and lead, calling for conversation, action, and safer schools. 

To the faculty and staff at MEC for understanding the great responsibility that comes with protecting the whole child. You all do it so valiantly.

To the parents for trusting us with your children every day.

To the MEC community for so generously donating to the CFA gift bags. They went home with much needed items and a lot of fun toys and stuffed animals. They had enough items to share with their siblings.

To the MEC students for showing Grace and Courtesy to our guests from CFA. In fact, a new teacher from CFA could not get over how friendly, helpful, and respectful our students were.

To the MEC community for your generous gifts, cards, candy, etc. that you bestowed on our faculty and staff for Valentine's Day. We felt the love.

To Youth Service America (YSA) who loved our I Wish video so much they want to use it for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King's.

To Amy Roberts for donating a portable basketball hoop for Mustangs, although our students have also been enjoying it during P.E. and recess. 

St. Mary's Food Drive 

March 26th - April 13th

St. Mary's Food Bank desperately needs help now through the summer months. MEC will be collecting nonperishable foods. The most needed items are bottled water, canned tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits/vegetables, pasta, rice, cereal, beans, juice in plastic bottles, diapers, powdered infant formula, baby wipes and baby cereal (due to safety guidelines, the food banks cannot accept jarred or canned baby food). Please make sure the item you donate is not expired. 

Important Dates

Book orders are due Friday, March 9th. Please make checks payable to MEC (not Scholastic Reading Club). 

No School March 12th - March 16th for Spring Break.

AzMERIT Schedule

Tuesday, April 3rd (Writing)

Wednesday, April 4th (ELA and Math)

Thursday, April 5th (ELA and Math)

Things to keep in mind during testing week:
Stick with usual bedtimes and morning routines.
 Be sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.
Pack a healthy lunch with protein, vegetables and fruits.
Avoid making special plans the night before a test.
Please bring your child to school before 8:30 a.m.


  • Illness - Please help us keep our school healthy by keeping students home when they are ill. Your child may return once they are fever free (under 100 without medication), no longer vomiting, diarrhea free, and rash free (or not contagious) for 24 hours.
  • Toddler and Preschool - For the 2018-2019 school year, tuition will increase by $50 per month, and the enrollment fee will increase to $75.00 (one time annual fee).
  • LEAP - If you are picking up your child in LEAP, please stop at the front desk and let Roc's Ann know. Once she has called your child, please sign them out, then WAIT for them outside on the back patio. 
  • AzMERIT Testing - It is testing time again for all students in grades 3 through 6. Our scheduled testing time is April 2nd - April 6th. Our students will be testing each day 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. It is imperative that your child is present and on time for school on these testing days. They should also have a good breakfast and be well rested. PLEASE don't make doctor or dentist appointments for your children anytime during this week. Also, there are no cell phones allowed during testing time.
  • Montessori Summer Program 2018 - Session 1: June 4 - June 29 and Session 2: July 2 - July 27 (no school Wednesday, July 4th). Summer enrollment documents will be e-mailed Friday, March 9th. 


to donate to our Arizona State Tax Credit Program. This donation allows you to direct up to $400 for a married couple or $200 per individual to our Charter Extra-Curricular Fund. Donations can be made anytime; however, they must be received by April 17, 2018 to qualify for the 2017 tax year. 

New and Familiar Faces

We've all had visitors that we prepare for, look forward to, and expect a certain experience with, only to have the memories we take away from their visit be something wonderfully fortuitous, even serendipitous. In countless interactions between Children First Academy (CFA) students and MEC students, the memories that were made at this year's Valentines Mercado were new and welcomed expressions of friendship and exchange. Some of the CFA kids are old chums and some were experiencing their first visit; in either case, smiles and excitement belied the value of the time that all of the kids in attendance, including ours, were enjoying. Even the youngest were learning about balancing the bustle with business. They all moved around the space in harmony for two hours, friends guiding each other through an environment they all knew was designed for their enjoyment. Some were new friends from different schools; some were new friends from the same school; some were reunited friends from different schools; some were friends that are together regularly, having a time that, because of the nature of the day, wasn't regular...thankfully.

by Pete Chenen, Teacher