May Newsletter 2018

Miles for Maji


Every day, ‘til the beginning of the night

I will walk six hours for the rest of my life

My head is cloudy and my feet are bare

And my mother walks with an empty stare


I try and look at life with an optimistic lens

I appreciate my family and every one of my friends

I could do great things and so much more

But opportunity isn’t waiting at my door


My eyes are tired and my legs are sore

I have so much more than this to live for

I am only so young and I have so much to learn

But water is a priority and my number one concern


There is something we all need, that some may call water

It helps me, my village, and the future of someone’s daughter


Now there is this certain organization that really is worthwhile

They definitely made an important change, I even saw my mother smile

Though I’m very thankful, something still wonders my brain

Maybe there will be a day there is no need

To Save The Rain



Isa, age 12

Letter from Save the Rain 

On behalf of those who will benefit from your hard work and dedication to service, we are sending our deepest gratitude. Our hearts are full, and we feel so very blessed to have each and every one of your students and faculty members be a part of our tribe. It is quite miraculous when a community comes together to solve a problem. Tackling the imbalance of abundance and scarcity in the world can seem like an overwhelming task. The global water crisis is not a small feat to tackle, but as your efforts have shown, together anything is possible. Your school heard the call to action and stood tall to say, "we will make a difference," and that you have. Each step taken, each drop of water collected, every penny raised to build rainwater harvesting tanks has changed the world forever. For that, we simply can't thank you enough.

Everyone who participated or who viewed the video has been forever changed; we are all inspired by you. Your community raised enough funds to support over 300 children receiving access to clean water for the rest of their lives and the lives of their future offspring, opening the doors of endless possibility. These children now have the opportunity to reach for their potential and grab it, thanks to each of you believing they deserve it.

The funds the MEC community have raised will be designated to helping the people of the Makiba ward, an area most heavily affected by the global water crisis, home to 33,000 people.

Your children are the next generation of leaders in this country, and your staff and parents are certainly doing their part to prepare them. These kids have experienced something most adults haven't. The empathy shown and the commitment to do the project justice was just remarkable. We cried as we watched the live stream, and we keep going back to watch clips just to warm our hearts. You have set the bench mark for what a Miles for Maji event should look like; we will certainly use your school as a model for future planning.  

 You are what is good in the world.


Asante Sana (Swahili for thanks a lot),

All of us at Save the Rain


Thank you to the students, staff, and parents for making the MEC Miles for Maji event one of the greatest things we have accomplished as a whole community. The impact of this event will not only be felt in Tanzania and in our local communities, but will forever be in our hearts. 

Thank you for your overwhelming financial generosity toward MEC Miles for Maji and Save the Rain. As a community, we raised $5000. We raised enough funds to support over 300 children receiving access to clean water for the rest of their lives and the lives of their future offspring. We collected 3,508 pounds of bottled water, which will be going to rural Arizona communities that do not have access to clean water.

Special thanks to all the parents who took the time to come out to our Miles for Maji event to cheer on the students and/or support the classroom teachers by walking with the students.  We felt the love and support. You can still watch the video of the event on YouTube. Go to YouTube, search for Pete Chenen, then click on MEC Miles for Maji.

Thank you, also, for your generous donations to our annual food drive for St. Mary's Food Bank. Once again, you came through for our local community members in need and exceeded our goal. Thanks to parents, teachers, and students who pitched in to help load the truck (in 10 mins) just before morning carline started. 

An additional thank you for supporting our school, teachers, and children during this critical and exciting time in education. Special thanks to Michelle Karamesic, Marrie Lambson, and Lyle Cady for providing coffee, fruit, and special treats on Thursday, April 26th. 

Thank you in advance for your support, whether through donations, spending, or service, to our Family Mercado. We have no doubt it will be a big success. Our community proves time and time again that we can do great things together. 

Finally, thank you for an incredible year full of tremendous growth and enriching adventures.  We recognize that we have asked a great deal from our parent community this last semester regarding service and financial donations. We would never be able to give our students a global education and live up to Maria Montessori's expectations of us without that support.

With great respect,

Cassi Mackey, M.Ed, Principal

Family Mercado 

Friday, May 11th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Bank opens at 5:00 pm

The Family Mercado is a school-wide community event to help raise money for classroom needs. Each classroom will be creating products and services for your enjoyment. There will be creative crafts, groovy games, fabulous food, marvelous merchandise, poppin' prizes and movin' music. Each class will keep 100% of the earnings from their stores. 

Presales for Mercado Money (fake money that is required for spending at all booths), an exchange of dollar-for-dollar, can be purchased through the office with cash, credit/debit card or check. On the night of Mercado, presale purchases of Mercado Money can be picked up at the will-call table. If you choose to wait until the night of Mercado to purchase money, please bring cash, if possible. The line for the bank will move more quickly, which will give you more time to shop. 

It will be a fun-filled evening. Hope to see you all there!

Important Family Mercado Reminders

  • LEAP will close early at 4:00 pm on Friday, May 11th
  • Mercado Bank will be open at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 11th 
  • Mercado officially opens at 5:30 on Friday, May 11th 
  • Mercado pre-sales is going on from April 30-May 10. We highly encourage you to take advantage of pre-sales to ensure that you will not get caught up in a long wait for money the night of the event. You will have more time to shop and have fun.
  • Money is nonrefundable.
  • We suggest you bring cash the night of the event for faster service at the bank, though we will accept checks and run credit cards.
  • Please do not go home with any Mercado Money in your pocket; it represents real money and will not be counted toward class funds raised if you take it home. 
  • Please ONLY park at Sun Valley school. If you park on Robin Lane, YOU WILL GET TOWED. If parking on campus, please do not block anyone in. Please do not park in our handicap space unless it applies to you.
  • All playgrounds will be closed due to dust and safety.  They will be roped off. 
  • For safety reasons, we are asking parents to leave strollers, wagons, etc. outside the front gate. We will have an MEC staff member at the gate at all times.
  • Please be mindful that we will have recycle bins, bins to dump liquid, and regular trash cans throughout campus. Please use each only according to their designated usage. This process will help us so much with our clean up, plus keeping waste down while taking advantage of recyclable items. 
  • We ask that you are mindful of the long day it will have been for students, staff, and volunteer parents and leave shortly after 7:30 pm, unless you are on a clean-up crew.  We love that you want to hang out and socialize, but it makes cleaning up harder and longer. It is also dark by this time, and it is a concern for children to be running around without proper lighting and/or supervision. Thank you for understanding this request. 

Thoughts from our Head-of-School

The Arizona Education Association and Arizona Educator’s United voted last Thursday to coordinate a teacher walk out in support of the Red for Ed movement.  As Head of School and the Charter Holder, I reflected on the history of Montessori Education Centre.  We started out as a private school, in 1986 with less than 40 students. In 1996, the second year that Charter schools existed, we opened our doors as a Charter school.  We have continued to grow over two decades into two campuses that serve approximately 500 students.  In all these years, we have canceled school two times. Once, after a microburst blew down the power poles onto Southern Avenue from Gilbert Road to Val Vista.  More recently, when we had 1000-year rains and we experienced flooding up to our knees on our campus.  

My commitment is to the children and maintaining consistency for them in being able to come to school each and every day.  I am privileged to work with wonderful staff that provide much needed love and Montessori experiences for each child. As a community, we felt that we were able to support awareness for the needs of schools, staffs and students across the state of Arizona while still caring for the needs of our students by remaining open. Staff that wished to were able to hold signs in support of Red for Ed along Southern Ave. 

I appreciate the support that we received from many parents through emails, notes, treats and words of encouragement.  I appreciate your awareness of the power that education can have in bettering our society. It would be my hope that through the efforts of individuals striving to bring attention to the needs of schools and children that we can end up supporting the children of this state as Maria Montessori has expressed; “The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken.  If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature.”

Tammy Whiting, Head-of-School

You Can’t Say Goodbye to Something That Has Become a Part of You

Moving to Arizona 14 years ago was a huge transition for our family. One of my top priorities was to find a Montessori school I liked, so the change would be less stressful for my kids, then aged 8, 6 and 3 (they were accustomed to the Montessori method as they attended a Montessori school in Missouri). We visited the area a year before we moved, toured two Montessori schools, and decided Montessori Education Centre would be a good fit for us.

At that time, I hadn’t imagined how MEC would become such an integral part of our family for a decade and a half. But, as the kids grew, the school became woven into the fabric of our family history. Our family grew, as well, when we welcomed a forth child after moving here. We attended multiple Mercados, Show Me Nights, Art Walks, end-of-the-year performances, and chaperoned field trips. I relished the time in the car with the kids after picking them up from car line, listening to the stories of their daily “works.”

It was rewarding watching the kids grow within, as well as into their next phase of development and subsequently, classroom. They went from using sandpaper letters, pin maps, and metal insets to bead chains, binomial and trinomial cubes, and land and water forms to atom work, math lab, reading lab and creating beautiful and insightful poetry. Although they were in different classrooms for lower elementary, we did have 2 in the “big classroom” when there was still a big classroom.

However, each of our 4 kids have been with Cassi and Pete for upper elementary. Yes, we have had a child in her classroom for 11 years! (There was an overlap of one year for 2 of our kids and a gap before the forth. I found their ideals and teachings matched and complemented what we were trying to instill at home. Often, I found myself using “Cassi-isms” in situations that warranted a little extra “teaching.” Each of my kids have heard me utter, “is this how you want to show up in the world?” and urged them to “hold the rope” for each other as they would in their classroom. We have talked about the possibilities they create for themselves with certain actions or inactions.

I love that our school values not only the role of academics in the students' lives, but also the importance of a strong community, compassion and kindness to others, local and global responsibility, and imparting within each student the confidence to make a positive impact in this world. Like many, I struggle with change. I have often joked that one of the reasons I love Montessori is because the kids have the same teacher for 3 years, or, in our case, 11 years!! It will be a big change for me not to drop off and pick up in car line each day, and I will miss MEC terribly. But it is with much gratitude that I say goodbye (or maybe just, see you later!) to a school that is so much more than a school and is the foundation for so many kids that I believe with my whole heart will grow to achieve, discover, create and do magnificent things in this world.

Dana Sampson, Montessori parent for life

Important Dates

Parent/Teacher Conferences are Friday, May 4th. No school.

Mercado Money Pre-sales are Monday, April 30 through Thursday, May 10.

Yearbook forms are due Thursday, May 10th. Forms are available in the office. 

LEAP closes at 4:00 pm on Friday, May 11th 

Family Mercado is Friday, May 11th from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Bank opens at 5:00 pm.

Last day of school is Friday, May 25th.


Toddler and Preschool Deposits for 2018-19 are due Tuesday, May 15th.

Summer Session 1 Tuition is due Tuesday, May 15th.