Woodinville Montessori School Weekly Newsletter, June 21, 2017—ANNUAL WRAP-UP EDITION
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They learned, they grew, they became—
joyful ceremony lauds first WMHS grads
Congratulations, first graduates of Woodinville Montessori High School’s four-year program Ivy, Emery and Isabel, and Head of School Mary Schneider!—Photo by Louis Ziob ‘15
We sent our class of 2017 into the world in true Woodinville Montessori School style on June 15, in a joyful, personal commencement before their families, close friends and many staff members.
Due to the size of the only suitable space, Elementary Club House, attendance was limited.
As guests arrived, the grads and WMHS students processed to the EC, LE, UE, front office and Secondary spaces around campus. Faculty and staff representatives waited at each place to join the procession to Club House. Read more, and see more of Louis Ziob’s photos on this week’s Secondary page.→
Thank you, farewell & congratulations!
We said goodbye to Oak teacher Janis Hummel, who retired on Tuesday, and to Woodinville EC Program Director Lea Aemisegger in the school year’s final faculty meeting. We also recognized years of service, other staff who are leaving and summer birthdays. See more photos in the gallery.→
By Head of School Mary Schneider
We are so grateful to all of our faculty and assistants for another year of dedication, hard work and constant thought about the children they are serving. Their work is not something that ends when they clock out for the day or even for the summer. It is impossible to understand and appreciate the amount of heart and mental energy that teaching staff expend on their students unless you know them all as well as we do. Equally important are all the members of the Admin and Facilities teams and the Board of Trustees who are less visible, but so valuable to the school. Our parents and friends who volunteer round out the picture of the kind of supportive community that allows the school to do what it does.
We wish our staff and each of you a wonderful summer and lots of time to rejuvenate and recharge as individuals and as families. Great memories are made from doing things together, and the best ones involve exploring our own amazing Northwest. It is so worth the effort even though traffic has made the getting there a much greater ordeal than it used to be.
Staffing changes for the upcoming year
You may already know about these changes for 2017-2018. No listing means no changes.
Administrative: Sunita Pailoor will be Associate Head of School. She will continue to direct the Secondary program while more fully immersing herself in other aspects of school leadership, including working with the Board of Trustees. Sunita, like many others on our staff, started at WMS as a parent in 2000, volunteered, became more interested in Montessori education and came to work as an assistant in 2002. She initiated work on her AMS Elementary I-II credential at the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific NW (MEIPN) and served her internship in 2003, becoming a lead teacher in 2004. She split her first year between Middle School and Upper El, taught Lower Elementary for one year, then Upper Elementary for seven years. After a one-year stint away from WMS to help establish a Montessori program in public school, she returned to WMS as Director of Secondary Programs. Sunita has been traveling to Houston, Texas, the past two years to earn her AMS Montessori Administrator’s credential with an emphasis on the Secondary level. She has also participated in the two-year NWAIS Pathways to Leadership program designed to prepare women for leadership roles in independent schools. Sunita is a faculty member of MEIPN, the AMS training course held at our North Creek campus.
Miki Shema (formerly Miki Heye; facing the camera in the photo) will replace Lea Aemisegger on July 1 as Director of the Woodinville campus. Miki’s long history at WMS began when she moved here from Texas and was hired to teach EC in 1995, continuing until June 2012. Since then, she has worked for us as a substitute teacher, completing her Infant-Toddler Montessori credential and internship in the Fig classroom. She has participated in a remarkable array of ongoing professional development offerings during her year as a teacher and will begin the director’s training required by the Department of Early Learning this summer or fall.
Janis Hummel is retiring after 20 years—12 in Woodinville’s Oak classroom—as a Montessori educator. Janis is looking forward to more time with grandchildren and family here and in Alaska and to reading, gardening, traveling and all the things there is too little time to do when you work as hard as teachers work. Aneta Lasek-Czerwonka will be the new Oak class teacher. Aneta has an AMS Montessori Early Childhood credential, a master’s degree in Linguistics and Polish Literature from Poland and has been an EC teacher for eight years. Aneta also teaches for MPEIN at our North Creek campus. Oak Assistant Heather Wood is leaving to pursue a career in nutrition education.
Lea Aemisegger will retire as Director of the Woodinville campus on June 30. She has been involved in Montessori education for 23½ years, starting at WMS in 1993 when she enrolled Peter and John Williams in EC classes, followed by Russell in 1996. Montessori-credentialed at both the EC and Infant-Toddler levels, Lea owned and operated Little Willow toddler program in her home from 1995-2005 while her children attended WMS. Lea will continue as a faculty member of the MEIPN Infant-Toddler program. She is looking forward to becoming thoroughly knowledgeable about all the wineries in Woodinville in addition to traveling, gardening and reading. Watch for her the next time you are wine-tasting!
Fig: Theresa Heiden completed her Infant-Toddler Montessori credential and internship year this spring, moved to Bainbridge Island last weekend, and is ready for the birth of her first child. Theresa also ran the successful parent-infant program this year and we are sorry to see her leave. Miguel Ceballos, a WMS parent, will fill the assistant opening. Miguel is considering the infant-toddler training and we are thrilled to have a male in this role.
Early Childhood assistants will shift classrooms, but teachers will remain the same. Dunitha Yelamali will begin work at MEIPN on her AMS Early Childhood credential this summer and will move from Dogwood to Pine classroom to intern. Nicole Ahern will move to Aspen as assistant. Katie Hounwanou will become one of our floaters. We are hiring a new assistant for Dogwood.
Upper Elementary Team: Kaitlyn McElrath and Taylor Westphal will be lead teachers in Cedar with a full-time assistant. Teresa Lee is no longer working at WMS and we appreciate her nine years of service to the school. Jeni Lancaster and Rachel Ellis will continue in Cypress with Laila Kabani back full time.
Faculty recognized for years of service
WMS recognized these faculty and Admin members on June 20 for their years of service: Tara Cox, Maple EC teacher, 15 years; Bryce Aktepy, learning support specialist and ID Lab coordinator, 10 years; Nancy Kestek, Elementary Program Director, 10 years; Laura Webb, Magnolia teacher, five years; Tricie Hunter, CFO, five years; Ally Noble, Douglas Fir teacher, five years; Priya Takkilapati, Dogwood teacher, five years; and Carlos Valencia, secondary teacher, five years. Additional staff will be recognized in the fall when everyone is back on campus.
Third-years perform closing ceremony
The third-year pupils performed the traditional closing ceremony before the start of Field Day on June 14. The ceremony was moved ahead one day due to the weather forecast. See more photos in the gallery.→
Balloon keep-away was one of the events Cedar co-teacher Kaitlyn McElrath organized for Field Day. Ginkgo students ran and monitored all the games, which also included obstacle courses, all kinds of races and a photo booth. See more photos in the gallery.→
- Monday, June 26
- Summer camp session 2 begins
- Looking ahead to fall
Thursday, Aug. 31
- New student & new parent visits
- Tuesday, Sept. 5
- First day of the 2017-2018 school year
Summer schedule notes
All faculty are off until Aug. 28 and are not checking school email. Admin staff work regular hours all summer, except for individually-scheduled vacations. The exception is the Admissions staff which is working part-time (individual’s schedules are posted in their email and voicemail messages).
Woodinville summer office hours, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. North Creek summer front desk hours, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
A final wish before summer
By HOS Mary Schneider
We all love and are totally dependent on technology, yet every teacher can tell you we are seeing and dealing with very real challenges as a result of screen addiction. At the risk of nagging, we implore you to place clear and strict limits on the amount and content of screen time your children have over the summer, as well as during the school year. Too much screen time affects focus, motivation and executive skills. If you want your children to do their best in school, you simply must make sure that there is more time moving around inside and outside, more time building, imagining and making, and more time at the public library picking up books that actually get read, than there is time spent in front of screens.
If you are not limiting screen time because your child gets moody, anxious, angry or violent every time you make them turn it off, or because you need them to stay plugged in so you can focus on your own screens, please read these articles on the effects of too much screen time:
Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain or
Why Technology is Irresistible OR READ the 2017 book by Alan Alter, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.”
“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I”ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of “Originals” and “Give and Take”
Author donates books
WMS Librarian Emily Schlieman was delighted to receive a thank you-gift from author and songwriter Eric Ode: a gracious note and a selection of his children’s books. Thank you, Eric!
Summer camp starts new session every Monday
Summer camp is underway, with a new session starting every Monday through mid-August. There may be some openings, for WMS students aged Toddler through Upper EL. Register your child for the camp level matching the program they will attend in the fall. Read the camp brochures here, or go directly to Camp Brain to register. For more information, please contact Elementary Camp Director Theresa Kirby, EC Camp Director Lea Aemisegger or Toddler Camp Director Judy Samudovsky.
ID Lab receives grant
The Norcliffe Foundation has awarded WMS a $15,000 grant for use in the Innovation and Design Lab. “The Norcliffe Foundation has a long history of supporting education in the Puget Sound region,” said Director of Development Guy Tobin. “We are thrilled to have them recognize our school with this generous grant.”
Scheduled summer communications: mid-July, all-school email; mid-August, all-school email; Aug. 30, first Grapevine newsletter of the 2017-2018 school year. Remember, you can always check on the online calendar here.
Lead Family Alliance
Would you like to get a little more involved in the Family Alliance beginning in the fall? We’d sure like to hear from you if you see yourself making a bigger impact on building community and helping ensure the success of events large and small in 2017-2018. All skill levels are welcome and a role can be crafted around your availability.
At the Peace Pole
Welcome to the Grapevine newsletter. The Grapevine is published every Wednesday afternoon during regular school weeks. We welcome your submissions of photos and articles that are about or directly relevant to WMS students, subject to approval by the Director of Communications and Marketing. All submissions are due by 4:30 p.m., Mondays. We do not accept advertising.