Posts Categorized: General

Alabama Accountability Act

Dear MSH Families,
You may have heard that MSH is a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) and can receive donations to fund school tuition for eligible students zoned for failing schools in our community. The Alabama Accountability Act allows taxpayers to donate a portion of their Alabama state income taxes to qualified SGOs so that economically disadvantaged children and those zoned for failing schools can have an opportunity to receive a quality education to prepare them for a life of success and empowerment. As parents and families invested and steeped in Maria Montessori’s philosophy, you understand that not all children can reach their full potential in the same environment. You may recall that Maria Montessori herself first pioneered her philosophy and method working with economically disadvantaged children in the slums of Rome in 1907. She understood then that in the right environment, all children could surpass the challenges they face whether from poverty or limited physical or mental capacity. The Alabama Accountability Act gives eligible parents and students a choice when it comes to education. Alabama is now one of 16 states in addition to the District of Columbia to offer a school choice program.

If you have questions regarding the Alabama Accountability Act, you can visit the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website.

If you are interested in reserving a portion of your Alabama state income taxes as donation to a qualifying SGO, please see the information below.

Individuals and corporations may receive an Alabama income tax credit equal to 100% of their donation, up to 50% of their tax liability. Corporate donations made by pass-through entities or by financial institutions or insurance companies do not qualify. The cap on individual and corporate donations combined is 25 million annually.

Reserving Tax Credits by Indicating Donations to Scholarship Granting Organizations

  • Reserving a tax credit requires the use of the Department’s online portal for taxpayers, My Alabama Taxes. Taxpayers who have not previously set up an account will need to Sign Up for My Alabama Taxes.

When signing up for MAT, individual taxpayers will need to select Individual Income Tax as their account type and then enter their Social Security number along with their Adjusted Gross Income from the prior year’s tax return in order to set up a My Alabama Taxes account.
OR
Taxpayers may use their existing My Alabama Taxes Account to reserve a portion of the available tax credit.

  • Once logged into MAT, a taxpayer will need to select SGO Donation from the menu on the left margin of the page and follow a short series of instructions/steps to record their donation and reserve their portion of the credit.
  • Individual taxpayers needing assistance with signing up for My Alabama Taxes Account or with reserving a tax credit may call (334) 242-1099 or (334) 353-9770.
  • Corporate taxpayers needing assistance with signing up for My Alabama Taxes Account or with reserving a tax credit may call (334) 242-1200.
December 15, 2014 6:54 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Are We Meeting Our Mission?

Are we meeting our mission?

As a parent you make up the Montessori Society of Huntsville.  By choosing MSH, you asserted that you value education and want the very best, most authentic learning experience for your child.  Whether your initial tour was with Tinsley, Jennifer, Adriane or me we hope that we expressed our MSH mission clearly.  You can find this mission in the parent handbook, on our website or hanging in every classroom.  We are grateful that you have chosen to join us on this mission.

The Montessori School of Huntsville educates children to prepare them for a life of purpose, integrity, and academic accomplishment.  We develop independent learners, critical thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders.

While this is a challenging mission, it is the imperative by which we make our decisions everyday.  We want the curriculum your child learns to be Montessori in nature, but not antiquated.  By incorporating brain gym, providing extracurricular activities like Soccer Shots and Engineering Club, and by utilizing web based (STAR) assessment, we are informing our practice with cutting edge educational research that addresses the needs of students of the current generation.

We encourage each child by maintaining our commitment to providing individualized lessons and meeting each child where he or she is developmentally, recognizing when they are sensitive not only to academic lessons, but also to social and emotional learning opportunities.  Our teachers are teaching your child, not subjects or age levels.

We want to reach out to you and need you involved from the most basic level of washing cot sheets all the way to taking on the mantle of board leadership.  You will often hear me say, “if you see something that needs doing, most likely you are the best person for the job!”  In every day, we hope you will experience us reaching out to you to know your child better and provide him/her the best possible education.  Our relationship with one another is vital to your child’s growth.  Your participation is vital to the school’s success.

Every day we want your child to experience art, music, movement, their own language and other languages.  While we may offer a structured lesson only once or twice a week, we are constantly working to learn new ways to inject those opportunities into the prepared environment, through independent follow-up work and by making your aware of community offerings.

To accomplish our mission we observe not only the students, but each other so that we can reflect and improve our practice.  We take our responsibility of preparing future leaders very seriously.  This week we will reach out to you with a satisfaction survey and we look forward to receiving your input on our success in this mission.

And always we want to embody the teaching of Dr. Montessori and faithfully execute our duties to our students while educating families and the communities about the benefits of a Montessori education.  You support our mission by participating fully in society meetings, parent education opportunities and by sharing your experience with friends, families and colleagues so that other children can benefit from our MSH mission.  As always, we are immensely grateful for your support in our mission.

policy review                                                                       book study

 

November 18, 2014 4:54 pm  |   Category: ,   |   Comments Off

Montessori Bridging

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.”  – Pauline Kezer

 

In schools everywhere May is poignant time.  Graduations mark milestones that are exciting for the student moving forward, but so bittersweet for the teachers and families who still see the student as a young child.  Here at MSH we are not sending our students out into the world, but instead we are bridging to new classrooms and new schools.  We still feel the same pride and love for those we serve and the sting of sadness as we must say goodbye.

This May we will bridge in other ways.  We say goodbye to our dear friend, Tinsley as she bridges from our assistant head of school to the world of parenthood.  While we know that being a mom is the most important job in the world, we already feel the loss that will follow when she says goodbye on May 23.  She is a cheerleader for MSH and the Montessori Method.  Although you won’t see her sweet smile each morning, you can rest assured she will be cheering us on and spreading the seeds of Montessori in our community.

You may have noticed a recent change at the reception desk at MSH.  I am excited to welcome Jennifer Stark to the role of Administrative Assistant.  She has already started in this position and I can see the great heights that she will help us reach.  After working as an extended care teacher and part-time office manager, we are happy to welcome her full-time to the administrative team.  We will put her degree in English to great use in the many hats she will wear in her new job.

In addition, we will have 2 more joining the team.  Karen Nielsen and Adriane Castro will both serve as part-time office managers.  Both bring so many wonderful skills to the position.  Adriane brings her experience as a registered nurse, along with an abundance of energy and enthusiasm.  Her focus will be ensuring all DHR, Health Department and other regulatory agencies’ standards are met or exceeded, as well as chairing the fundraising committee.  Karen brings her accounting degree and interior design experience and will focus on accounting, serving as librarian (a job she has voluntarily fulfilled all year), and chairing the legacy committee.  The legacy committee will have the daunting task of preparing for MSH’s 50th anniversary in 2015.

Change is part of life.  However, the seeds of learning, community and friendship planted here at MSH will continue to grow and thrive.  Time spent in a Montessori school ensures deep roots grown in the soil of creativity, independence and self-efficacy.  As our little saplings enter their new stages of life, we look forward to watching them bloom!

Allison MacKenzie, Head of School

May 5, 2014 7:55 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

MSH Financial Assistance

We are pleased to announce that we are going live with the Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) application process for the 2014-2015 school year! MSH has recently become a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) and has set an annual budget so that we may diversify our school’s demographics by allowing families who otherwise could not afford tuition to be able to receive a quality Montessori education.  We know that families who choose to send their children to our school make many sacrifices to ensure a bright and successful future for their kids.

If you will be a returning MSH family for the upcoming school year and would like to apply for financial assistance, you may submit your confidential FAST application between now and May 23. New families will be considered after May 23 through July 15. The cost of the application is $38 and is paid directly to FAST by either Visa or Mastercard. You will be asked to send in federal and state tax documents, and the application includes specific questions pertaining to your household expenses. Again, the information is completely confidential. FAST will use this information to make an Expected Family Contribution recommendation to MSH.

 

We are confident that working with FAST will be a great partnership, allowing MSH to offer need based scholarships through an efficient and confidential application process.

 

The link to the MSH application is on our website for easier access under the MSH Community tab. If you have additional questions, you may email Jennifer Stark .

https://www.ismfast.com/FastPage.php?id=e83fb1914e3153d21278330c5e7533f5

 

May 1, 2014 1:07 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

The Joy of Lifelong Learning

Almost daily on our family Facebook feed you see the wonder and joy of learning on the faces of our students. Our future is in such good hands with the young leaders developing here at the Montessori School of Huntsville. Last week I saw the same light shining out of some students who are a few years older, eight of our amazing teachers and staff who attended the American Montessori Society’s annual conference. Every day of the conference each of us would greet one another with a flurry of “I just attended the best workshop.” The theme of this year’s conference “Unity in Diversity” touched deeply on our mission here at MSH to “develop independent learners, critical thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders.” Just as our children immerse each day in a prepared environment in which they learn from both older and younger classmates, we were in a beautiful convention center surrounded by Montessori educators who were eager to share their experiences and their inquiries about teaching and learning.

With so much negative press about today’s schools and teaching, it is so refreshing to be in an environment where teachers are willing to give so freely of their time to hone their professional skills. Not only did these eight teachers give up four days of the their spring break, many of our other teachers have given weeks and weekends of time to further their Montessori training or have spent evenings at school participating in webinars and book studies to grow expertise in providing students with the best possible learning experience. I am so proud of their commitment and grateful to be part of this community. Our focus on perfecting our craft has been a hallmark of this year and fundamental to our continued advancement.

If you have time, engage with our teachers to discover what they have learned this year. Ms. Alicia will be happy to talk with you about the emerging concept of a natural playground. Ms. Harber would love to share the insights she’s gained from hundreds of hours of work she has dedicated to her work with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in North Carolina. Ms. Brandy can share such interesting details of how the toddler brain develops. These are only three examples of the myriad of learning experiences our teachers participated in this school year. I hope that you see the benefits of their lifelong learning reflected in the eyes of your child. Thank you for your support of these opportunities. We do it all with love for your children.

April 8, 2014 5:12 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off