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Urgent News

Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Laura Hertzler

Head of School

July 25, 2020

Dear Keystone Families, 

 

Please find our updated Safety Protocols HERE. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you soon.

 

 

 

July 18, 2020

 

Dear Elementary and Adolescent Parents,

As we approach our first day of school, we would like to thank you for your messages of support. The staff and administration have worked throughout summer to ensure the best possible beginning to the year online. In order to properly prepare for the start of the year, please take note of the information below.

MEET THE TEACHER - Please save the date for our Meet the Teacher appointments for students new to Keystone and returning students moving up to a new level (1st, 4th and 7th grades). The Zoom appointments will be available Monday, July 27th – Thursday, July 30th from 2:30pm – 5:30 pm*. Invitations will be sent out later next week.

CLASSROOM MEETING - Please save the date for our first classroom parent meeting of the 2020-21 school year! The Zoom Adolescent meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28th at 6:00pm and Elementary is Thursday, July 30th at 6:00pm.

TAKE HOME PACKETS - Each student will receive a take home packet before school begins of support items for our distance learning. Details for individual pick up of these packets will be sent out soon.

CLASSROOM ASSIGNMENTS - Our welcome back letter with classroom assignments will be sent by Thursday, July 23rd.

DISTANCE LEARNING FORMATS - Our distance learning will take place via Zoom and an additional platform to share follow-up work. Each classroom guide will share the details of guidelines, instructions and expectations during their classroom meeting.

CONTINUED DISTANCE LEARNING - We will be sharing more details next week for those wishing to have their student(s) continue with distance learning when the campus is able to reopen.

TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANCE - Please respond to this email if your student(s) will require a computer for distance learning so we may make arrangements.

DISTANCE LEARNING SCHEDULE - Please see below for details and the schedule for the first two weeks of distance learning.

SPECIAL EDUCATION/READING SUPPORT - The Special Education and Reading Support teachers will coordinate scheduling with the Lead Guides. They will communicate your child's schedule with you directly.

Thank you again for your support, patience, and grace as we prepare for another wonderful year at Keystone. Although a remote start is not how we typically welcome our student body, we are still very excited for our time together to resume. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our very best to help.

Sincerely,

Laura Hertzler                                    Stefan Linder
Head of School                                  Associate Head of School

 

*Monday’s “Meet the Teacher” is from 3:30 – 5:30 pm

 

Lower Elementary

At the beginning of each week, the students will receive a list of works and activities that they can work on individually. The children are expected to be available during school hours so we can maintain a schedule as normal to our on-campus experience as possible. The schedule of the specialists (Spanish, Art and Music) will stay the same as when the children are on campus; the schedules will be distributed before the beginning of the school year. Teachers will have available office hours to meet with parents via Zoom. More detailed information will be provided at the first classroom meeting.

Monday - whole class meeting

Monday - Friday

8:15am - 11:30am – lessons

11:30am -12:30pm - lunch break

12:30pm - 2:45pm - lessons/specials (Spanish, Art, Music)/individual & small group meetings

Upper Elementary 

At the beginning of each week, the students will receive a list of works and activities that they can work on individually. The children are expected to be available during school hours so we can maintain a schedule as normal to our on-campus experience as possible. The schedule of the specialists (Spanish, Art and Music) will stay the same as when the children are on campus; the schedules will be distributed before the beginning of the school year. Teachers will have available office hours to meet with parents via Zoom. More detailed information will be provided at the first classroom meeting.

Monday - whole class meeting

Monday - Friday

8:15am - 12:00pm – lessons

12:00pm -1:00pm - lunch break

1:00pm - 2:45pm - lessons/specials (Spanish, Art, & Music)/individual & small group meetings

Adolescents

At the beginning of each week, the students will receive a schedule that highlights the week’s workshops, meetings, and presentations. As a general rule, the weekly schedule will be consistent. The children are expected to be available during school hours so we can maintain a schedule as normal to our on-campus experience as possible. The schedule of the specialists (Spanish, Art and Music) will stay the same as when the children are on campus; the schedules will be distributed before the beginning of the school year. Teachers will have available office hours to meet with students and parents via Zoom. More detailed information will be provided at the first classroom meeting.

Monday morning - whole class meeting

Wednesday afternoon - student/advisory meetings

Monday - Friday

8:15am – 2:45pm - workshops/meetings/specials (Spanish, Art, & Music)

12:00pm -1:00pm - lunch break

 

 

July 15, 2020

Dear Toddler and Children’s House Families,

As we approach our first day back to campus for the 2020/2021 school year, we would like to thank you for your messages of support and your patience as we planned for the start of school. The Staff and Administration have worked all summer to ensure a safe return to campus for our students, and we are so eager to see the children!

Please take time to review the attached safety protocols for the school year. These procedures have been designed with the intent to keep our children as safe as possible while allowing us to return to our classrooms. We fully understand the difficult decisions you are making as parents as you weigh the benefits of a return to school against the rise in COVID cases in our area. 

In order to effectively plan and prepare for the first day, we will need to know if you are planning to send your student back to campus on their scheduled start date or if you intend to keep them at home. We are asking you to inform us of your decision regarding your students no later than Monday, July 20th. Please reply to this email with your decision, and I will coordinate with our business manager, Kristin Morgan to make any updates to your FACTS accounts.

While Keystone is able to hold in-person class for the Toddler and Children’s House we will not be offering an online option for these classes. The time and effort required to lead the classrooms and implement the new safety protocols will not allow the class Guides the time to host online lessons in conjunction with in person classes. If, for some reason, we must close campus, Keystone will make every effort to support our students remotely as we did in the Spring. For more details on a remote plan, should it become necessary, please refer to the safety protocols.

For those of you who are planning to return to campus, please save the date for our first Classroom Meeting of the year! The meeting will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, July 28th at 6:00 pm. You will also be receiving information on how to sign up for your Meet the Teacher appointment next week. Meet the Teacher appointments will also be on Zoom and will take place Monday, July 27th – Thursday, July 30th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our community will continue to communicate with care and understanding as we approach the start of the school year. We appreciate your grace as we welcome the beginning of another year at Keystone.

Sincerely,

Heather Bonacorda

Director of Admissions and Marketing

Keystone Montessori

 

 

July 3, 2020

Dear Elementary and Adolescent Parents,

Thank you for taking the time to review our safety protocols and completing the survey regarding our return to campus for the 2020-21 school year. 

 

Q: “After reviewing the protocols for the start of the school year, do you anticipate your child returning to the campus in August?” 

A: 58% - Yes, 38% - Unsure, 8% - No

The administration and classroom guides met to review the 149 responses we received. All of your comments and concerns were read and we appreciate your thoughtfulness in your feedback. We have taken your responses into consideration as we plan for the upcoming year, always keeping the best interests of our students and staff in mind.

Keystone Elementary and Adolescent students will begin the 2020-21 school year online August 3rd. Keeping the original start date will allow us to begin our important work of community building.  On August 17th, when we reopen the campus for Elementary and Adolescent students, Keystone will offer an online learning option meeting State standards. We have approval to provide this option from the AZ Department of Education and AZ State Board for Charter Schools. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we move forward as a community. With grace and compassion, we will remain strong in our mission to provide the very best for our children and school family.

Sincerely,

Laura Hertzler                                   Stefan Linder
Head of School                                 Associate Head of School

 
 
 

 

June 25, 2020

 

Dear Keystone Families, 

All of us here at Keystone Montessori are looking forward to receiving the students back onto campus and have been busily working to welcome them for the 2020-21 school year! The guidelines that were put forth by the AZ Department of Education were extensive. The Keystone staff and administration spent countless hours looking at each recommendation, weighing it against our Montessori principles, and working together to design a plan that will address the safety of our community. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused all of us to give pause. The disruption to our regular routines and plans has affected us in different ways. It is our hope that by reopening campus, we can begin to give our children a sense of normalcy. Keystone has developed a plan that contains our very best efforts to implement a measured response that holds the safety of our students and staff above all else. As you know, we are in a very fluid situation and Keystone will adjust the safety measures as necessary.

Our community stands together in times of joy and in times that require strength. The entire Keystone staff extends our deepest thanks to each of you for your messages of encouragement and your patience as we worked to design new policies in response to this situation. Thank you for your continued support as we prepare for a joyful return to campus with a renewed sense of gratitude for our school family.  

Please carefully review the following safety measures for the reopening of the Keystone campus. This document is the overview of our plan and a more detailed Student/Parent Handbook Addendum will be distributed as soon as possible. We will also be sending out a survey to obtain information about each family’s plans for the fall. Parents of children who will be starting next week will receive a separate communication tomorrow, June 26th, with more detailed instructions and information. 

As always, please know you can reach out to us if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your attention and help as we approach these changes together with grace.

In Health and Peace,

Laura Hertzler
Head of School
Keystone Montessori

June 3, 2020

Dear Keystone Families, 

We are pleased to share an update regarding the reopening of Keystone Montessori School. Your support and understanding through the end of the school year has been a source of strength for each of us, and we are looking forward to welcoming the children back to campus. 

On Thursday, May 28th, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman jointly announced the reopening of Arizona schools in August for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and they also stated summer programming may resume with special health precautions. On Monday, June 1st the Arizona Department of Education released their guidelines and recommendations for the reopening of Arizona schools. Some of the proposed recommendations include performing health checks when students arrive on campus, maintaining social distancing when possible, using hand sanitizer, and working to ensure children who are ill stay home from school. 

The Department of Education statement is involved and extensive and the entire Keystone staff is working as a team to evaluate these guidelines in their entirety. The Keystone administration and staff are currently developing best practices to ensure the safety of our students while maintaining our Montessori environments. Our full team is concentrating on how our return to campus will look and feel for our community. 

As decisions are reached and plans are put into place, we will distribute more detailed information the week of June 22nd.  A separate email to share information on our return to campus for the month of July will be sent to the families of returning students currently enrolled in the Toddler and Children’s House All Year program and Elementary Transition Camp by early next week.

Thank you for your patience as we develop new procedures for our students to ensure their safety. We are so thankful for your kindness as we prepare for a joyful return to campus. 

Sincerely,

 

Laura Hertzler               Stefan Linder
Head of School             Associate Head of School 

 

May 16, 2020

 

Dear Keystone Families,

We are so grateful for your continued support throughout the end of this unusual school year. The Keystone community has been a constant source of inspiration for the staff with your messages, updates, and your participation in all of the Learning from Home activities!

As the school year draws to a close, we want to share some updates regarding Keystone and the timeline of our return to campus. We are all anxious to welcome our students back to school. With an abundance of caution, The Board of Directors has voted to remain closed for the month of June to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  We are planning for a possible return to campus in the month of July for our Toddler and Children’s House students enrolled in the 2020-21 All Day/All Year program. Currently, we are updating our safety protocols with guidance from state health officials and will communicate with you in the month of June on the exact timing of the reopening of our campus.

The transition class for incoming first grade students has been rescheduled. Plans are underway for a rescheduled date the week of July 20th.   More information will be sent out to the families of incoming first grade students as the details are finalized. If you have not yet enrolled your incoming first grade student in the transition class, and would like to participate in the rescheduled dates, please notify Ms. Heather at heather@keystonemontessori.com and she will assist you.

As always, we are thankful for your words of encouragement and your endless support. It is our hope to return to school with a happy, healthy community as soon as possible! We will continue to keep you informed with updates from campus as the summer begins.

In Health and Peace,

Laura Hertzler
Head of School
Keystone Montessori School

 

 

April 3, 2020

On March 30th, Gov. Ducey and Supt. Hoffman jointly announced physical school closures through the end of the school year. While the Keystone Staff is saddened by this development, we support the need to ensure the safety of our students and families. Every member of the Keystone staff is working to support our students remotely and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep our community connected and learning. 

 

 

March 29, 2020

 

Dear Keystone Families,

The Keystone Board of Directors continues to be grateful for your support and understanding during this uncertain time. We would like to acknowledge the time and effort each member of the Keystone staff has poured into supporting the children as Learning from Home continues. We also acknowledge your efforts in integrating educational activities into your homes and schedules.

The Keystone Board of Directors met on Wednesday, March 25th via conference call. Below, please find the most recent updates from the Board regarding COVID-19 and its impact on Keystone Montessori.

  • Continued School Physical Closure: On March 20th, Gov. Ducey and Supt. Hoffman jointly announced physical school closures through Friday, April 10th. Keystone will remain physically closed at this time and will share any updates on continued school closures as they are received.
  • Tuition Payments: Beginning in April, tuition payments will not be collected as long as the state mandated school closures remain in effect. The Board thanks the many families who have reached out to tell us they intend to continue making their tuition payments during the closure to help Keystone remain operational. The faculty and staff are working diligently to support Keystone students at every level from Toddlers to Adolescents. Those families who are able to support us with continued tuition payments are directly impacting our ability to support the Keystone staff as the closure continues.
  • Staff Support:  The Board of Directors voted unanimously to continue to pay our teachers and staff as Learning From Home continues into April.
  • Extracurricular Payments: The scheduled final payment for Elementary and Adolescent extracurricular fees for the 20-21 school year has been extended by two weeks to Friday, April 10th. Ms. Heather will be sending out a letter with a link to make your second payment. You are welcome to contact her directly if you have any questions.
  • Learning From Home: We are grateful to our teachers, staff and our community as we all make this transition to Learning From Home. If you have any questions please reach out. We enjoy hearing about your stories and successes! Please share them with us at heather@keystonemontessori.com.

The Board will meet again on Wednesday, April 1st. We will continue to share as much information as possible as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Keystone Board of Directors

 

 

 

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 heather@keystonemontessori.com.
  • 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 heather@keystonemontessori.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!

Sincerely,

Laura Hertzler
Head of School
Keystone Montessori

 

 

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 business@keystonemontessori.com.
  • 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.

Sincerely,

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. 

Sincerely,

Keystone Faculty and Staff

 

 

March 15, 2020

Dear Keystone Community,

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

 

In Peace,

Laura Hertzler
Head of School
Keystone Montessori

 

 

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.

Sincerely,

Laura Hertzler
Head of School
Keystone Montessori 

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention