Dear FMS Families;
A few months ago we sent out a survey asking for your feedback on various aspects of Foothills Montessori School. As you can see, the responses were overwhelmingly positive, with the average response a 4.4 out of 5 in every category across all grade levels. We enjoyed reading the comments from the “What do you like most about FMS” section, and made a word cloud which might show up on future staff T-shirts!
We want to thank you for taking the time to give your input. We are paying special attention to your suggestions for improvement and expansion as we prepare for the 2013-14 school year. Here are just a few of the areas we are focusing on:
1) Parent-Teacher Communication. Many of you expressed the desire, especially those with children in the Primary grade level, to receive more ongoing feedback about your child’s progress. As you know, Montessori students don’t leave much of a “paper trail” nor are measured as frequently with tests, grades and other rubrics like those in public school. This can make it difficult for you to understand in which subjects your child is excelling and in which he/she may be struggling. Also, younger children are sometimes unable to fully explain their day-to-day activities. We hope the teacher blogs have provided a window into their world and strongly encourage you to subscribe to their classroom blog (so you get automatic email updates when new posts are added) if you haven’t already done so. However, we understand that while the blogs can provide an overall snapshot of classroom activities, they do not provide individualized feedback about a particular child’s academic and social progress. Therefore, we have been working on a pilot program via Google Apps that will allow teachers to track and share information about your child that will only be visible to that child’s parent. We are experimenting with various ways technology can be used as a tool to communicate more information about your child’s weekly and monthly progress. We are also upgrading our email system and emphasizing the importance of one-on-one communication.
2) Technology. Technology in the classroom is a hot topic these days and one that is on the minds of FMS parents and staff as well. Survey responses showed that you are overwhelmingly in support of adding more technology into the FMS curriculum, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. Over the summer we will be updating our bandwidth capabilities as well as our hardware and software infrastructure as we move forward with this new agenda. Typing classes, MS Office basics, and Adobe programs are some of the new subjects we are considering integrating into the curriculum. We discussed this subject at length at our most recent in-service and are committed to moving forward in a way that will ultimately prepare our students for 2020 and beyond.
3) Parking/Drop-Off Issues. We encourage staff and parents alike to drive with courtesy and to not linger in the drop-off and fire lanes. We know there is limited parking and that the morning drop-off can be hectic as parents rush to get children to school on time and themselves to work. We are planning to have more staff members monitoring the parking lot during these times to keep traffic flowing and make sure everyone is safe and can continue on their way with a smile.
4) Safety/Security. After the unfortunate incidents that occurred in Newton last year, many parents were understandably concerned about school security protocols. We have an extensive safety and security system in place, which includes an alarm system with panic hardware and surveillance cameras. We also reviewed all safety and emergency procedures with our staff. Other options are also being considered.
First and foremost on our priority list is creating the best school possible for your children. As you know from last month’s State of the School Address, this has always been and always will be our utmost goal and the guiding principle on which all decisions are based. As we weigh options for improvement and expansion, your opinions are invaluable, and we hope to hear more of your ideas and suggestions in the future. Your commitment and involvement is integral to our mission and your input is always welcome.
We will be making more announcements at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Until then, we hope to see you around campus, on our website and Facebook page and at upcoming school events.
All the best,
Head of School
Foothills Montessori School is a private Montessori school serving families in Henderson, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.