Board Games Wanted!

From Ocean, adolescent Spanish guide:

The Intro Spanish class will be building Spanish-language board games for our next unit, to explore both Spanish-language grammar and culture. We'll use these games for years to come! I am so excited to begin this new unit.

We are in need of old board games (to take apart!). Anything you no longer use at home, especially games that have lost pieces or broken, would be SO appreciated! The more source material for us to work with, the better the final products will be!

Please deliver the games to my Spanish classroom (207) or to the front desk (clearly labeled "FOR OCEAN"). Gracias!

GIVE TO GRS WEEK!

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GIVE TO GRS WEEK! Our new gymnasium will allow students space for movement-based work and non-competitive play. Donations to the Capital Campaign help support the installation of a bouldering wall, gymnastics mats, a trampoline, sound panels for music and dance programming, as well as traditional sports equipment for basketball, volleyball and other sports.

Become a sustaining support of the Capital Campaign at the Builder level ($42/month) to receive a personalized paver on our new campus. Text "grs" to 71777 or visit www.greatriverschool.org/give.

Give to GRS Week!

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Give to the max to support Great River School as we kick off our Give to GRS Week!

If you've ever wondered, "Wow! How does a public school have the resources to (pick one: go on week-long camping trips/teach students about sustainable agriculture/provide skill-building intensives from community experts)???", it's because our amazing community steps up every year and provides financial support.

We're asking all supporters to donate at www.greatriverschool.org/give to ensure our award-winning programming continues for generations to come.

Check our Facebook page for daily updates!

Donations and volunteers needed for conference days!

Conferences will be taking place on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30, and there are two great ways families can help. Please remember that GRS asks each family to contribute 20 hours of volunteer time per year, and consider singing up to help!

Email peg@greatriverschool.org with any questions. Thank you!

1. We're looking for parents to help staff the first ever book fair at GRS! The book fair will support the development of elementary classroom libraries—families can purchase books directly for the classrooms from teacher wish lists, or they can purchase books for themselves that will add credit for GRS to make book purchases. The fair will be held during the two days of conferences, Thursday and Friday 11/29 and 11/30. Please consider signing up for a slot to help support this important initiative that will directly impact elementary classrooms! Volunteers will receive a brief training video to view.

2. With the new kitchen still in process, we're not able to offer our traditional (and beloved) show of appreciation to faculty and staff with community-made meals during conference days. Instead, this fall GRS will be bringing in food to sustain the teachers during their long conference days. But we still need some donations, along with help setting up, serving, and cleaning up after these meals! Please consider signing up to donate or for a shift for Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, or Friday lunch—see the signup for times.

PEG Meeting Tomorrow!

Please join us for the upcoming Parent Engagement Group meeting this Monday, November 12th at 6:30-8:00. Come to meet some new faces, get to know your PEG classroom ambassador, and learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities. We are also excited to welcome Head of School Sam O'Brien who will speak on Executive Functioning and the Effect of Montessori on Home Life. You will also hear from elementary and adolescent parents on their experiences integrating the Montessori philosophy at home. Childcare is available in the Clear Lake classroom for ages 5 and up, or bring your children (any age) right into the meeting. Meeting will be held in
the Performance Space.

Upcoming PEG Meeting!

Please join us for the upcoming Parent Engagement Group meeting next Monday, November 12th at 6:30-8:00. Come to meet some new faces, get to know your PEG classroom ambassador, and learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities. We are also excited to welcome Head of School Sam O'Brien who will speak on Executive Functioning and the Effect of Montessori on Home Life. You will also hear from elementary and adolescent parents on their experiences integrating the Montessori philosophy at home.

Childcare is available in the Clear Lake classroom for ages 5 and up, or bring your children (any age) right into the meeting. Meeting will be held in the Performance Space.

Sign up now for Grades 6-8 LIST League basketball

Practice begins Wednesday, November 14! 

Please contact voyageurs@greatriverschool.org if you are interested in joining basketball or have any questions. We can only field a team if enough students sign up before the season starts.

Details:
Coach: Laura Stickney
Cost: $120 (team fee and T-shirt), scholarships are available
Practices: Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30 pm at Hancock Recreation Center
Games: Friday afternoons/evenings in various locations
Sign up: Please fill out this form to register for basketball.

The first practice will be held on Wednesday, November 14. The first game is Friday November 30. 

Picture Re-Takes and Make-Ups - Monday, November 12th

Picture packets and student IDs were delivered to students in elementary classrooms and adolescent advisories early this week. 

If your student missed our first picture day (October 8th), they will have an opportunity to retake pictures in the morning on Monday, November 12th.

This day also serves as the re-take day for students who do not like their first picture and would like to try again.  If they already ordered pictures and want a re-take, they must bring the originals back with them to give to the photographer.

If you have any questions, email office@greatriverschool.org

Coffee & Conversation!

Reminder that the first Tuesday of the month is a time to have coffee and conversation with Jean Peters, Elementary Program Director, in our coffeeshop space. This is an informal, monthly time to chat about Montessori pedagogy and ask questions about our program.

Come grab a mug with us from 8:30am-9:15am tomorrow morning!

Upcoming PEG Meeting

“The greatest gift we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

Join us for the upcoming Parent Engagement Group (PEG) meeting on Monday November 12th 6:30-8:00pm in the new Performance Space. 

This month we will be learning about the role of executive functioning in the Montessori classroom, presented by Head of School, Sam O’Brien. Elementary parent Sinead Carolan will also speak about how to best support Montessori learning at home. Please come with questions and inquiries to make the most of this informative night. 

What is executive functioning, you ask?

The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.

Please join us at the PEG meeting to learn more about the importance of these life skills and how Montessori education aligns with its development. Childcare is available in the Clear Lake classroom!

2019-20 Enrollment Application Now Available

The application for enrollment next year at Great River School is now available. 

Applications do not carry over year to year, so even if you are currently on our waiting list, you will need to submit an application for next year to be included in the enrollment lottery for 2019-2020. The deadline for inclusion in the lottery is Friday, March 1st. 

Complete the Application to get on the list for next year! 

The 2018-19 waiting list still stands. Should a spot open in any particular grade level mid year, we will offer off the current year's waiting list.

Thank you for you interest in Great River! If you have any questions, please Email enroll@greatriverschool.org.

Great River Enrollment Team

Winter Sports! Grades 6-8 LIST League Basketball begins November 14

Interested students in grades 6-8 are invited to sign up for basketball. The co-ed team will be coached again this year by Laura Stickney. 

Cost: $120 (team fee and T-shirt), scholarships are available

Practices: Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30 pm at Hancock Recreation Center

Games: Friday afternoons/evenings in various locations

Sign up: Please fill out this form to register for basketball.

Questions? Contact voyageurs@greatriverschool.org

The first practice will be held on Wednesday, November 14. The first game is Friday November 30. 

LIST League offers sports for middle schools in the Twin Cities. The mission of LIST is to introduce students to these sports in a manner that is intentionally co-ed and cross grade-level. Participation and fair conduct is encouraged over competition. LIST also encourages teams to practice only once or twice a week, with games every Friday. Students are exposed to the experience without it becoming overwhelming or all-encompassing.

Elementary Parent Observation

Hello Elementary Families!

Next week we will be opening our classrooms for parent observation. Please sign up for a time to come and observe! Observations will be for 30 minutes unless otherwise arranged. If you are not able to observe during scheduled times, please reach out to set up an alternate time.  Scheduling ahead of time helps us maintain the learning environment and limit the number of observers at any one time. Each spot is for one adult -- please do not bring anyone else with you to observe.  

When you come for an observation, please sign in at the main office, located on the north side of the school on Energy Park Drive.  You will be greeted and shown to your classroom and the observation chair. Please review the list of general guidelines and read about some specific items to look for in a classroom before you arrive. Teachers are not available during your observation to answer questions. If you have any questions about our curriculum or your observations, please reach out to me or your child’s classroom guide - we love to talk Montessori!

The children are aware that parents will come and go without disturbing their daily routines. If you are the parent of a child in the classroom, you may or may not observe a normal day of activity for your child. It is difficult for some children to manage their emotional attachment to you and sustain their independence in the classroom simultaneously.  It is helpful with younger children to talk about how you are coming to observe and that you will leave and they will carry on with their regular day.

Students might approach you and introduce themselves or offer you a refreshment.  Feel free to say hello and let them know you are here to see their work. It is appropriate to say accept or decline any offer of refreshment.

Distractions can disrupt the natural rhythm and flow of children’s work, so we ask you to review and observe the following guidelines:

  • Please turn off your cell phone!

  • You will be shown to an observer’s chair.  Please stay seated in the observer’s chair for the duration of your observation.

  • Children may come up to you.  Please do not try to engage them in conversation.  A polite “Hello” and a direct response to who you are is sufficient.(“I am a parent observing your work!”) Montessori children realize and understand that observers come to watch them work.  If they approach, let them know that you are here to watch them do their work. You can ask them to return to their work.

  • Avoid speaking to the teacher or assistant.  Please write any questions on the back of this sheet or a separate piece of paper and a teacher or administrator will reply by phone or email.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Big Canoe After School

Please be aware that Great River's Big Canoe Club uses the elementary playground for supervised play time most days after school. Students who are not enrolled in Big Canoe should not join the group to play without being directly supervised by a responsible adult present on the playground.

Students who are unsupervised on the elementary playground after school will be noted on Big Canoe's attendance sheet and their families will be charged the drop-in price of $30. 

Contact bigcanoe@greatriverschool.org with any questions!

School Meal Orders

Make sure to pre-order lunches & breakfasts for your students at least 1 school week (5 days) in advance. 

For instructions on how to set up your account, click here for instructions on loggin into EZParentCenter. If parents/guardians are unable to make payments online, cash and/or checks (made payable to Great River School) may be dropped off at the front office. Make sure to include the student name(s) and PIN number(s) in an envelope along with checks/cash. Daily cash purchases are also accepted.

If you have any questions or needs, feel free to contact Mary Hunn, Nutrition Services Director, at mhunn@greatriverschool.org.

Halloween Communication

Dear Elementary Families,

Next week, October 31, is a time when many families celebrate Halloween. As our elementary community grows, we are working on developing meaningful traditions in each classroom around seasonal celebrations. 

This week, your student's individual classrooms may do extra science experiments, share a seasonal healthy treat, or learn about cultural practices that reflect the children's interests; however, we will not be inviting children to come in costume or bring candy into school. 

We appreciate your partnership in meeting this request. 

Enjoy the autumnal changes!

Jean Peters, Elementary Program Director

Sam O'Brien, Head of School 

Call for Donations!

Hello All,

My name is Nadine McNiff.  I serve as a lower elementary teacher at GRS.  I also do work, whenever possible, to serve families and individuals dealing with homelessness.  Currently, this includes working with a cooperative of groups and individuals to provide for those at the Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment in South Minneapolis.  You can read more about the work, needs, and plans for this community in the links below. My goal is to serve this community, in small part, with resources they need as the cold weather arrives.  A list of current needs is below. If you are in a position to donate it is appreciated. My goal is to bring GRS donations on November 11th. You can contact me at nmcniff@greatriverschool.org to coordinate drop off in my classroom, before or after school.  

Current needs are listed below:

  • bundles of firewood

  • duct tape

  • contractor garbage bags

  • batteries (AA)

  • bungee cords

Thanks for listening,
Nadine McNiff


Links:

A Brief History and FAQ (Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors)
https://www.franklinhiawathacamp.org/

Organization Organizing Support Efforts/Cold Weather Plan (Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center)
https://www.miwrc.org/

Frontline Volunteers Perspective (Natives Against Heroin)
https://www.franklinhiawathacamp.org/blog/welcome-to-the-camp-blog-just-say-nah