Ms. Arlene Gets An Unexpected Letter

One of our teachers, Ms. Arlene Dreitzer, received an unexpected letter from a former student recently.

Dear Mrs. Dreitzer;

Greetings to you from Washington, D.C. I hope that you and your family are well. I have wanted to contact you for quite a while to express my sincere appreciation for your influence and role in my life … you were my 6th grade teacher at P.S. 235 in Brooklyn, NY! The other day at work I was called into a “brainstorming” meeting — you came to my mind immediately because you were the person who introduced me to brainstorming nearly 30 years ago. The great memories from our 6th grade class came flowing back: the “Bear Necessities” vocabulary wall; The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck; Animal Farm; and how could I forget Damn Yankees, our class play! So many years have come and gone, but you stand out as one of the best educators that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Indeed, I started out with the aspiration to teach! I was a student teacher in a middle school in Harlem and used Lord of the Flies as my first text! (Thanks for paving the way.) I later turned to international development and am working and living in Washington with the World Bank. I’m so grateful for the chance to express my thanks and affection to you, dear Mrs. Dreitzer! “Many women have done well, but you excel them all!”

Says Ms. Arlene: “I believe I had this student in 1983. I taught in a magnet public school for gifted and talented children. I recall that it was a 6th grade class of 40 students and I taught every subject. The school was called The Lenox School or P.S. 235. The program was called the Soar Program and students took an entrance exam to attend.”

Ms. Arlene has been at Foothills Montessori for eight years as a Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Reading Specialist. She has 41 years of teaching experience, a MS in education, and has completed an additional 30 credits above her Master’s degree. She loves literature, etymology and teaching, and has made a positive mark on many students throughout her long career as an educator. We are so lucky to have Ms. Arlene at Foothills Montessori.

Introducing “Window Wednesdays”!

Every Wednesday we will spotlight one of our Classroom Blog posts to give you a little glimpse inside our busy classrooms. To kick it off, let’s look into the window of E1. (This news is a little bit old, as we are just getting back from the holidays.)

[h4]Inside E1 — Week of December 21[/h4]

  • Two students win the Scripps Spelling Bee
  • We make snowflakes to send to Newtown, Connecticut
  • For our Element Personification project, we create comic strips, children’s books, clay models, stop motion videos and more to make the elements come to living, breathing life!
  • We make muskets and try out for the state militia as part of Thrilling Thursday in history class


Simply click on the link below and enter your password to see the rest of the posts and more fabulous pictures. We hope you enjoy!


(If you forgot your password, please contact the front desk at 702-407-0790. And if you haven’t done so, remember to Subscribe to your child’s classroom blog — you’ll get instant updates sent to your email inbox and never have to worry about remembering to log in!)


Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert, discusses how we need to revamp our educational paradigms for the 21st century.

Superwoman Was Already Here

Montessori advocate Trevor Eissler claims that “Superwoman Was Already Here,” and her name was Dr. Maria Montessori.

“The Light in Their Eyes”

Montessori advocate Trevor Eissler illustrates how Montessori creates a special “light in their eyes.”

Superwoman Was Already Here

Have you seen the popular documentaries Waiting for Superman and Race to Nowhere? Both films address the public school system and its perceived shortcomings — one discusses unions and bureaucracies, while the other takes aim at the high-pressure tests/grades/homework culture.

Of course, every large-scale system has its weak and strong points, and its always good to look at ways to improve. Trevor Eissler, a longtime Montessori parent and advocate, has created a series of videos about how the Montessori approach can help solve some of these endemic issues. In one, he asserts that “Superwoman Was Already Here.” Check it out and see if you agree.

Students Vote for Presidential Candidate

Last week, the students at Foothills Montessori School held their first mock election on Tuesday, November 6. The PTO set up an election booth in the amphitheater so students could vote in privacy. After exiting the polls they received an “I VOTED” sticker to wear with pride.


The primary students were able to vote for their favorite color of M&Ms, while the elementary and middle school students had a chance to vote for their choice for President. The red M&M won by a landslide but the Presidential race was a little tighter.

It was a wonderful opportunity for these young voices to be heard and feel that their opinion matters! Long live red M&Ms!


FMS Goes Around the Globe

Last week, the classrooms at Foothills Montessori School were transformed into regions from all over the world for our 12th annual International Children’s Day (ICD). The children dressed up in traditional costumes representing diverse cultures and had their passports stamped as they traveled to Germany, India, Bolivia, China, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Hungary, Austria, and throughout the United States.

We learned all about the rich heritage, history, geography and traditions of these places while sampling regional cuisine and playing interesting educational games.

We would like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the parent volunteers who helped set up, clean up, and create such an unforgettable journey for our students. We loved getting a taste and glimpse of what the wide world has to offer!

For TONS of amazing pictures and more ICD stories, visit Classroom News (FMS Parents only).

A Week at Catalina Island

Upper El has returned from their annual trip to the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), and they sure had a blast! Students had close or hands-on encounters with eels, sharks, seals, algae, bison, deer, sting rays, squid and more! Amy Sandqvist, co-owner of FMS and a long-time FMS parent, was along for the (sometimes nauseating) ride. Here is her day-by-day synopsis:
[h4]Day 1[/h4]
After a long nauseating boat ride, we arrived and went straight for a snorkel. The water was 68 degrees! We met a sea hare and he felt like pudding. We also saw a bat ray and loads of fish. In the evening, we did a squid dissection in the dining room. Ooey, gooey, slimy, and great fun!
[h4]Day 2[/h4]
“Initiatives” (cooperative team building): We balanced all 20 children on a giant seesaw without rocking it, built bridges, climbed through “spider webs”, etc. The CIMI counselors complimented the FMS students on how quickly they solved the challenges. The children beamed as the counselors shared how impressed they were with their ability to take turns listening, their leadership skills, and how polite everyone was throughout the process. Then we hiked and learned about local flora and fauna and about the geography and history of Catalina Island.
Afternoon snorkel: After taking turns leaping off the pier and doing all kinds of fancy flips into the water, we snorkeled for almost two hours. We saw bat rays, shovel-nosed guitar fish, halibut, garibaldi, senorita, sea hare, leopard sharks, kelp forests and more.
Night snorkel: Lobsters and other invertebrates showed up in the evening. It was a wee bit freezing getting out of the wetsuits — thank goodness for hot cocoa!


[h4]Day 3[/h4]
All day kayak! We kayaked in pairs out in the ocean where we met seals and sea lions. We spent a good part of the day at the beach, walking and studying the tide pools. We caught two eels — they have very scary teeth! We kept the smaller one and named her Eelinor. We scarfed down our lunch on the beach before going out to play “kayak football.” We had boat challenges to see who could keep their boats upright while standing, trading places, and doing the chicken dance. Finally, we chased after but never caught up with a pod of dolphins. We wanted to play with them too!
Then we did some on-the-spot long division (ask the kids!) and made like Spiderman on the rock climbing wall. Needless to say, we fell into our beds exhausted!
[h4]Day 4[/h4]
We spent our day in labs: algae lab, fish lab and shark lab. Our budding zoologists were eager to touch everything and soaked up lots of information. Only one school gets to feed the sharks, and our school was chosen! We spent the afternoon in the ocean mammal lab and learned about seals, sea lions, otters, whales and dolphins. The evening was spent around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, telling jokes and playing telephone.
[h4]Day 5[/h4]
More labs: ocean lab, physics lab, plankton lab and invertebrate lab. We snuck in one more “long division lab” (ask the kids!). Finally, we had lunch on the boat and headed home. Whew!

Congratulations Erica Sherlock

Erica Sherlock, Grade Level Head and Middle School Teacher of Math, Science and History has been chosen to be featured as our first Staff Spotlight. Congratulations Erica!

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”coolblue” ]Meet Erica[/button]