November Newsletter 2018

"Joy, feeling one's own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul."

- Maria Montessori


Maria Montessori was years ahead of the game in so many ways. In the above quote, she expresses something so basic, but with such simple eloquence. Her words hold an important lesson, and we all should be her students. This time of year, we reflect on what brings us joy, as Thanksgiving is a holiday specifically set aside for appreciation and love. Yet, we should be focused on these values every day, not just for our own well-being but also for the souls of our children. Children learn by example. If the adults in a child’s life are practicing appreciation for self and others, the children are more likely to feel appreciative of themselves and others. If we, as adults, feel we are useful and capable, so too will our children. Just like on an airplane, if we put on our own oxygen masks first—if we start by appreciating and truly loving ourselves—then we can attend to others in life affirming, if not lifesaving, ways. May we all feel Joy.

by Vari Sheppard, Primary Lead Teacher

Courageous Conversation

We practice courageous conversations at MEC. The purpose of Courageous Conversation is to create a safe space for meaningful dialogue about issues regarding your child. Our desired end is to understand each other’s perspectives and work together to best serve the child. We know that this is not always a one step quick-fix but rather a complicated process requiring vulnerability, humility and commitment.

Guidelines to having a successful conversation:

  • You are on the same team with your child’s teacher, working together in partnership for the good of your child. Be prepared to collaborate. You can expect your child’s teacher to keep your matter private, to address it promptly, and to be professional.
  • Raise your concern as early as possible; don’t delay. However, if you are feeling emotional, you might wait until you feel calm enough to talk.
  • Raise your concern directly and privately with the teacher. If needed, administration will get involved only after you have had a conversation with the teacher first.
  • Decide if it’s best to have a phone conversation or to set a formal meeting time. Email or text can be misinterpreted in so many ways. A phone call or meeting is easier to navigate and more productive. If you are truly upset about something, we would rather you seek us out and schedule a meeting.
  • Please refrain from having the conversation in front of other staff, parents, or children. Please be mindful that the front office is a public space and issues and concerns should not be discussed in this space. The office staff can help you get in contact with the person most appropriate to address your concerns.
  • Please refrain from getting other parents involved in your concerns. This tactic is not beneficial to a collaborative, trusting partnership.
  • If appropriate, your child may be a part of the conversation.
  • Be respectful, kind and open to new perspectives.
  • Be clear about what you want to discuss. Focus on the things that genuinely affect your child.
  • Ask for clarification. Once you have all the information, you can assess the situation in a more thorough manner and ask follow up questions.
  • Think about what you want for your child; what would be an acceptable outcome? Is it in alignment with the Montessori philosophy.
  • Keep the conversation about your child. Please do not generalize or ask questions about other children. Teachers have to adhere to strict privacy laws and often cannot answer questions about other children. Please trust that teachers will address concerns with the other students involved, and with their parents, directly.
  • Bring ideas and notes to the conversation. Be prepared to ask questions and to listen.
  • Choose words that promote partnership:  “Can we talk about how Sue can build some friendships?” shows you are working in partnership, whereas, “Why isn’t Sue making friends?” may sound like an accusation.
  • Finish the conversation with an action plan. This step gives you an opportunity to check in again at the later date to evaluate progress.
  • Finally, congratulate yourself. It can be tough and emotional work advocating for your child, but it’s one of the most important things you can do

I was fortunate to be asked to do a webinar for the Montessori Foundation Family Alliance called Transforming Your Parent-Teacher Relationship...Through Courageous Conversation.  Above are some highlights of the the sessions, but if you would like to see the webinar in its entirety please check out I hope you find it helpful. If you have any feedback or questions, please reach out. 

by Cassi Mackey, M.Ed., Principal

Lessons Put to Action

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."    -by Margaret Mead

Our students and staff were committed to doing our part to change the world during Mercado on Friday. Because of our lessons on recycling, over-consumption, composting, and waste, we ended up only producing 2.5 bags of trash.  This was incredible accomplishment for approximately 350 people.  Well done!

Special thanks to our students and staff and especially to Karen, Nikki, Stacey, Jera, Treyen,  and Cody for being elbow deep in the trash to save things that could be recycled or composted, which included cleaning cups and plates in order for them to be recycled and composted. You guys were the heroes of the day. 

by Cassi Mackey, M.Ed., Principal

An American Hero


An American hero

A sight to behold

Our pride and glory

Our freedom fighters

But they are getting old


A veteran, a leader

A symbol of strength

So proud and loud

Saying, “I stared death in the face.”


Living a humble life

But ready for change

Thinking, I’ll fight for what’s right.

I’ll fight not for my country,

but for the human race


A fighter still

But not with a gun

With words

With heart

The war has almost been won


by Emma Moreno, age 12

With Gratitude

  • Thank you for supporting your child and their classroom by purchasing items for the Mercado. 
  • Thank for being willing to have courageous conversations with the teachers to help facilitate the best course of action for your child's success.
  • Thank you for coming to carline with a patient attitude and kind words for our staff.
  • Thank you for showing your child your commitment to their education by getting them to school on time.
  • Thank you for following the Grace and Courtesy agreement for MEC.
  • We are so grateful that we get to spend our days with children we love and staff we admire.

Dates to Remember

Book Orders are due Friday, November 9th. Please make checks payable to MEC, NOT Scholastic.

UNICEF Boxes are due Thursday, November 8th. We accept change, cash, and even checks payable to UNICEF.

Veterans Day - No School Monday, November 12th. 

Thanksgiving Break - No School Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd.

MEC Barnes and Noble Book Fair - Friday, December 14th from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm.

Upcoming Events

MEC Barnes and Noble Book Fair - Our book fair this year will be held again at Barnes & Noble on Val Vista just south of I-60 in Dana Park. It will be Friday, December 14th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. From books and music to educational toys and games, we'll earn a percentage on any purchases you make during our book fair, except gift cards. Purchases made at the Barnes & Noble Café also count toward earnings! There will be craft tables, story telling, cupcake decorating, and, of course, a classroom wish list table. 


  • Please show kindness and consideration to our faculty during carline. Our goal is to keep our students, faculty, and parents safe during this process. 
  • Please do not park in the fire lane (red curb) unless you are quickly dropping off or picking up children.
  • Please call the office at (480) 926-8375 by 10:00 am to let us know if  your child is absent that day. If you let a teacher know in carline that your child will be absent or tardy, you MUST also call the office for the absence to be excused. 
  • Any changes for pick up at the end of the day need to be called in by 1:00 pm. If you are late picking up a child in carline, they will be dismissed to LEAP after carline is over.
  • We will not retrieve your child from their classroom or LEAP prior to your arrival to pick them up. 
  • If you have a change of address or phone number, please notify the office a.s.a.p.
  • Account balances are due on the 15th day of each month. 
  • Please label your child's lunch box and jackets with first and last name. Our lost and found is located in the office restroom behind the curtain. If the item finds its way into the bin and has a label, we will return it to the child. If not, on the first Monday of every month, we donate unclaimed items to Goodwill. 
  • Please help us to keep our school healthy by keeping students home when they are ill.  Your child may return once they are fever free (under 100 degrees without medication), no longer vomiting, diarrhea free, and rash free (or not contagious) for 24 hours. 
  • Inform your classroom teacher if you are aware that your child is arriving to school with a rash, sores, bug bites, etc. This will eliminate teacher concern and questions. 

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