April 3, 2020
Dear Keystone Families,
We appreciate the continued support from our families as we have begun to transition into a new way of learning. On March 30th Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced the extension of Arizona school closures through the end of the school year. The announcement was not surprising, but certainly sad as we had hopes of returning to campus this year! The staff and faculty has been working to support our students each day, and we will continue for the remainder of the school year. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance. We all miss seeing the children each day on campus- it is much too quiet! Please stay healthy and we will continue to communicate with all of you while we keep our community connected and learning!
Head of School
March 25, 2020
Dear Keystone Families,
What a week! It has been both very busy and much too quiet on campus. The staff has been in and out as they prepare lessons for Learning from Home and my heart is full seeing them even if it is for just a short time each day. We are diligently keeping our social distance while we work! The highlight of the week was overhearing some of the first Zoom meetings. The sound of the children talking, laughing, and sharing brought some joy to campus. Thank you for your continued support this week. Please find some updated information below!
- The Keystone Board of Directors met tonight, and will have an updated communication out to each of you by the end of the week.
- If you have not done so, please follow us on Social Media. Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KeystoneMontessoriAZ/ Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/keystonemontessoriaz/ We are keeping our social media platforms a “positive place” as we go through this time together and we are sharing daily updates from our families as they implement Learning from Home. If you have any good news, photos, or updates you’d like to share with the community, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Each class is continuing educational support and Zoom meetings. Please watch for all emails through SchoolCues for updated information from your student’s Guides.
- Please feel free to email your Guides with questions! They are happy to help in anyway they can. We ask for your patience in allowing them 24-48 hours to get back to you. They will respond during school hours.
- We want to support you! If you have a small business we can support, please email email@example.com and she will work with you to promote your business on our Social Media pages and share information with our community. Also, please click here for our business directory. The businesses in the directory are all supporters of Keystone, and we hope you will frequent as many as you can during this time.
- Did you know we have a YouTube channel? I began posting “Bedtime Stories with Ms. Laura” so I can keep in touch with the children too! You can find a direct link to our YouTube channel on our website in the upper right hand corner of the Home Page.
- The Keystone Montessori 25th Anniversary celebration has been postponed. While we are very sad to reach this decision, rest assured as soon as we are able, the planning will resume and we will celebrate together!
- As you know, from the last Board of Directors communication, Keystone will not be collecting tuition payments beginning in April while the state mandated physical school closures continue. We have no way of knowing if the closure will be extended and the staff is working tirelessly to support all of the students for as long as we need to! Learning from Home has been a success thus far and we will continue to provide the best possible support using any and all resources available.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation for the members of our community who have reached out to let me know they fully intend to continue making their tuition payments to support us during this time. I understand the ramifications of this situation are affecting all of us in different ways. The decision to donate your upcoming tuition payments allows us to support all of our staff and specialists while the campus is physically closed. I am humbled by your generosity, support, and good wishes.
We all miss the children very much, and can’t wait until we can all safely be together at school again. In the meantime, be safe and know we are thinking of you all!
Head of School
March 20, 2020
Dear Keystone Families,
We would like to thank you for the outpouring of support the office has received in the past week. The Keystone Board of Directors deeply appreciates your patience, understanding, and flexibility.
On Wednesday, March 18th, the Keystone Board of Directors and members of the Administration Team met via conference call to reach decisions for our community as we adjust to and prepare for the continued response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Shared below are the first steps we have taken per Gov. Ducey’s decision to physically close Arizona schools through March 27th and on behalf of our community. We are doing our best to ensure the continued support of our students, staff, and the future of Keystone Montessori.
- On Wednesday night, the board unanimously voted to continue to compensate every Keystone employee through the end of March. As you may be aware, Keystone employs a large number of hourly paid staff. Every member of the Keystone staff is invaluable to our institution. During this time of uncertainty, the administration and Board will continue to do our very best to care for the people who care for your children.
- The state-wide closure of our schools on such short notice made it necessary for the staff at Keystone to work long hours quickly, thoughtfully, and collaboratively to support our students remotely. Tuition payments and extended care payments that have been made for the month of March will not be refunded due to the ongoing efforts of the staff who continue to work through this closure, which was mandated by Gov. Ducey. If you have particular tuition questions, please contact our business manager, Ms. Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In an effort to prepare for what may come, the Administration and Board also discussed the possibility of further school closures in Arizona. Should the governor physically close schools for the remainder of the school year, tuition payments for Toddlers, Children’s House, and Elementary Extended Care will not be collected for the months of April and May. Keystone Staff is currently preparing more robust continued education for your children in the event of a prolonged physical school closure. At this time, we have no confirmation, but are planning for as many possible outcomes as we can.
- In regards to payment of the second half of Extracurricular Activity Fees, Ms. Heather will be in touch to collect or defer this payment dependent upon each families needs.
- The Board of Directors has committed to meeting weekly as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold. This will allow us to determine the best course of action for Keystone with the most accurate and current information. You can expect further updates from the Keystone Administration and the Board as we navigate this unprecedented situation. Our next meeting will take place via conference call, on Wednesday, March 25th at 6:00 pm.
At Keystone each decision made by the Board, the administration, the class guides and assistants are always guided by what is in the best interest of the child. This is a rapidly evolving situation across our neighborhoods, our country and our world. We appreciate your ongoing partnership and support as we make critical decisions to ensure the future of Keystone Montessori.
The Keystone Montessori Board of Directors
March 17, 2020
Dear Keystone Families,
On Monday, March 16th the Keystone Faculty, Staff, and Administration gathered together to discuss how to best support each other, our families, and our students in the coming weeks. The time we spent together solidified what we already knew about our Keystone Family. We are committed to our students with the whole of our hearts and we will do everything we can to continue to support each and everyone of them while we navigate these uncertain times ahead.
Please be advised that due to current health restrictions all school gatherings scheduled for the month of March are cancelled. This includes the community meeting, after-school activities, Social Season parties and the 25th Anniversary Party. We will keep you informed if and when we are able to reschedule these events/meetings.
From a larger perspective, we have taken a moment to think about reacting versus responding. The easiest thing to do right now would be to react. It requires the least amount of thought and may make people feel better in the moment. Reacting, however, has longer term and profound consequences - for the school, our staff, parents and even our regional community.
Responding with care requires patience, concentration and deeper thought, which can be difficult with the rate of new information and the uncertainty about this unprecedented national emergency. The Keystone Administration, Staff, and Board of Directors have, and continue to make decisions from a thoughtful and responsive place throughout this emergency. Additionally, the entire Keystone Staff has joined together to create a plan to support our students while the school closures remain in effect.
While we don’t mean for this to be overly philosophical, we do want you to know how we structured our thinking over the last 48 hours and how it influenced the suggestions we will share. We are thankful to each of you for your continued support, patience, and good wishes. Please know we will continue to share any and all information as it becomes available.
Keystone Faculty and Staff
March 15, 2020
Dear Keystone Parents,
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 spread, our goal remains the same - honest, open, and transparent communication with every member of our community and the continued care of each Keystone student. Please rest assured that each decision of the Keystone Administration and the Board of Directors is made with the best interest of our students and the entire community in mind.
Keystone’s Administration and Board of Directors met via conference call on Saturday, March 14th. The board voted to approve the initial Keystone school closure that was announced last Friday.
As of 4:00 PM on Sunday March 15, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman jointly announced the closure of all Arizona schools from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020.
The Keystone staff will meet on Monday, March 16th to discuss all scenarios to support our students and continue their learning during this closure. Your Guides will reach out to you by Tuesday to share information on how your children can carry on with their studies. We have been working diligently to create a plan for each level at Keystone.
The Keystone Administration and the Board of Directors will be meeting on Wednesday, March 18th to discuss the long term fiscal impact of the closure for Keystone and our families, the possibility of re-opening Keystone for child care as soon as possible for our working families pending approval from the State, and to determine best practices for the continued cleaning and disinfecting of our campus. We will also determine the best course of action for all upcoming Keystone events and gatherings, including the March community meeting, transition observations, class trips, and all after-school activities. An updated communication to all families will follow with information on how we plan to move forward.
We would like to thank you for your support, words of encouragement, and your patience as we navigate these unchartered waters. Please know, we will continue to keep you informed as changes arise. In a recent communication with the staff, I shared this quote and I feel it is appropriate for us all.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world. - Mister Rogers
Head of School
March 13, 2020
Dear Keystone Community,
Pending Board approval, we have made the decision to close Keystone Montessori beginning Monday, March 16th through at least Friday, March 20th due to COVID-19 national and state emergencies that have been declared. There are no current cases of COVID-19 identified among the Keystone Community, but out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students and staff, we have decided to be proactive and close the school while we monitor this quickly-developing situation. We have not made this decision lightly and understand that this closure may put a burden on families. Keystone’s Board of Directors will be meeting Saturday afternoon to discuss the length of the closure.
We understand that you may have many questions and concerns and we will do our best to address them. The Keystone Administration and Board of Directors will work collectively with state and county health departments in the coming days to address these concerns to help maintain the safety and education of all our students. We will also be addressing any cancellations/postponements of events, meetings and trips in separate communications.
Thank you for your support and understanding in these unprecedented times.
Head of School