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The NewGate School

 

A Blueprint of our Fundamental Values and Beliefs

  

The mission of the New Gate School is to cultivate a love of life in an atmosphere that inspires academic excellence.

The Blueprint

This blueprint is a document setting forth in writing our fundamental values and beliefs. The school’s leadership and board make a formal public commitment in writing to make no decision that is not consistent with the school’s Blueprint of Core Values. We make every effort to live according to these principles.

NewGate is an independent, international, Montessori school, that serves as The Lab School of The Montessori Foundation. It serves both its own students, and Montessori schools worldwide through its role in curriculum and program development, embodiment of principles of best practice in Montessori education, and Montessori educational leadership professional development. The school's educational leadership is provided by senior leaders of the staff of The Montessori Foundation.

NewGate's goal is to nurture intelligence, curiosity, and imagination while supporting and developing each student's' unique talents. Its ultimate mission is to prepare students for both university and life.

NewGate teaches universal values and instills a global perspective, responsible citizenship, and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit. The aim is to graduate young people who are balanced between their knowledge and character: life-long learners, critical thinkers, and active leaders in their local community, their country, and the world.

 

Our program rests on four pillars

 

 1 The cultivation within our students of a passion for excellence in everything they do, both in and outside of school.

 

 2 The development of a strongly held set of universal values, which include self-respect, respect for others, honesty, integrity, responsibility, empathy, compassion, kindness, peacefulness, a sense of concern for others, warmth, and a love of community.

 

 3 The development of a global perspective and sense of international understanding.

 

 4 The commitment to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

 

 

 

1. Educational Program

 

 1.1. There are several areas of focus that define the fundamental nature of our school:

 1.1.1. The Montessori approach to learning

 1.1.2. International education

 1.1.3. Preparing students for both university and life

 1.1.4. Helping children understand, appreciate, and feel at home in the natural world  

 1.1.5. Family-friendly school

1.2. The Montessori approach to learning is the framework of our educational program.

 1.2.1. We understand that Maria Montessori’s methods and materials are a logical system based on fundamental principles, not a rigid system. We are committed to applying the words, wisdom, and practical advice of Maria Montessori as the lens through which we select, design, and evaluate our program and curriculum.

1.2.1.1  We will reference the International Montessori Council criteria for the definition of authentic Montessori programs as approved by the IMC Board in March of 2009.

 1.2.2. The nature of  children and the learning process

 1.2.2.1. We affirm that education begins at birth and continues throughout life. 

 1.2.2.2.  We believe that, while people may be born with special gifts, one's experience, attitude, and diligent effort define much of what we call giftedness. Intelligence and talent are not rare among human beings, nor is are they fixed at birth. We do not accept the Bell Curve prediction of aptitude and intelligence to be an accurate portrayal of what children can achieve with the right stimulation and support.

 1.2.2.3. We believe that the vast majority of people have the intelligence and natural ability required to learn everything that they need to lead full, happy, and productive lives.

1.2.2.4. Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Wisdom is common sense and good judgment. We affirm that wisdom can be cultivated.  In order to achieve this goal, self-esteem, human dignity, and emotional well-being, as well as the ability to communicate and cooperate effectively with others, must be valued as highly as academic and outward material success.

 

 1.2.3. We approach learning by seeking to understand and respect our students' unique individual personalities, learning styles, and interests. We guide them through our curriculum at their own pace, designing our program to accommodate a wide range of individual differences.

 1.2.4. We strive to cultivate in our students an innate love of learning, a wide range of interests, and an openness to new ideas and possibilities.

1.2.5. We teach our students to learn from their mistakes. We encourage them to learn from both success and failure, and to accept the outcome as non-threatening feedback on their progress and personal growth.

1.2.6. We nurture our students' emotional well-being and self-confidence, recognizing the link between their sense of self and the fulfillment of their academic potential. 

 

1.2.7. We encourage children to celebrate life, focus on the positive,and develop the spiritual side of their lives according to their individual beliefs.  

1.2.8. We seek to help our students understand and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

1.2.9. Our educational approach is centered around the stages of human development.

1.2.9.1. Our faculty engages in an ongoing study of child development. They  keep abreast of current research on brain development, observing students daily, and evaluating our curriculum and programs on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are developmentally appropriate.

1.2.9.2. We strive to design and adapt our classroom programs to meet our students' varied styles of learning.

1.2.9.3. We establish and follow an individualized educational curricular framework of basic academic achievement, leading each student to the next level within the school.

1.2.9.4.  Although our program is designed to allow children to learn at their own pace and explore areas of personal interest, we have also established  key benchmarks that we expect most children will meet by specific age levels.

1.2.10. We promote active, rather than passive, learning.

1.2.10.1. We promote spontaneous, self-initiated learning by encouraging students to explore their personal interests.

1.2.10.2. We use hands-on, "experiential" learning whenever possible, rather than lecture and drill.  This includes such things as concrete manipulative learning materials, experimental discovery, seminar discussions, independent library research, field investigation, or computer simulation. 

 

1.2.11. We facilitate the transition from concrete learning to abstract reasoning and practical application.

1.2.12.  Our goal is to help children develop a sense of order and become self-motivated. As necessary, we provide students with “just enough" external structure and support to help them  develop an inner sense of order for themselves.

   1.2.13. We strive for a balance between freedom, order, and responsibility.

   1.2.14. Although we seek to provide an environment open to students with diverse learning styles, we also need to consider whether our school is able to meet  a student’s needs, while maintaining the integrity of our educational program.

1.2.15. We nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination.

 

1.3. We are an international school.

 

1.3.1. We embrace a global perspective as a philosophy for building a diverse community grounded in knowledge that leads to understanding and acceptance of all peoples.

 

1.3.2. We recognize that contemporary society must embrace pluralist beliefs to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by an ever-growing world population that is integrating well beyond traditionally established cultural borders. We celebrate diversity in our community and acknowledge the unique contributions of all individuals.

 

1.3.3. We seek to develop within our students a global perspective and international understanding, weaving international education through our curriculum at every age level, through:

 

1.3.3.1.   the study of foreign languages;

 

1.3.3.2  the study of physical, cultural, and economic geography;

 

1.3.3.3. correspondence, international travel, and student exchange programs with other Montessori schools around the world (age-appropriate);

 

1.3.3.4. encouraging families to share their cultural traditions, travel experiences and traditional festivals.

1.3.3.5. utilizing our international families as a tremendous teaching resource.

1.3.3.5. incorporating an on-going experiential program of international cultural education.

1.4. We prepare students for university.

 

1.4.1. We expect our students to be well-educated in the core academic disciplines.  

1.4.2. At all levels, we consistently emphasize  the importance of careful work and pride in accomplishment.

1.4.3. Competition: We encourage the development of respect for natural abilities. While we allow people to experience failure by separating the deed from the doer in all things, from earliest times we seek to minimize any negative effect on self- esteem that failure or lack of natural ability in an area might have.

1.4.3.1.We believe that it is neither necessary, nor appropriate, to encourage unrestrained academic competition among students as a means of motivating them to learn.

1.4.3.2. We are certainly not opposed to competition. We simply believe that a spirit of friendly competition should come from children.

1.4.3.3. We cultivate each student's ability to accept success with grace, and disappointment with dignity and resolve to build on the experience. 

1.4.3.4. We ensure our students’  right to choose whether or not to participate in competitive activities.

1.4.3.5. We stress the principles of good sportsmanship.

                          

1.4.4. Success: We design our educational program to maximize each person's academic and personal success. We strive to encourage people to build on their strengths and personal learning styles and learn from their mistakes.

1.4.4.1  Academic success: We encourage skills that support independent and successful learning, critical thinking, cooperative projects, reflective reading, problem solving, library research, use of technology, techniques for effective study, test-taking strategies, and techniques for focusing attention.

1.4.4.2. Personal success: We consider it equally important that our community members be successful human beings who can establish healthy relationships and achieve happiness in their personal lives.

1.4.4.2.1. We teach our students to pay attention to and respect feelings, both their own and those of others.

1.4.4.2.2. We help our students to learn to resolve conflicts effectively and fairly, and to express their feelings in a healthy manner.

1.4.4.3. We teach our students group dynamics and interpersonal communication skills.

1.4.5. Assisting students with university applications process. Students will have an understanding of what needs to be done to complete the admissions process for university and other professional schools.

 1.4.6.  We offer an international college preparatory curriculum.

 

1.4.6.1.   Language, Literature and Communication: We teach students to read and write with facility. We expect them to read voraciously and write with enjoyment. We explore all forms of human communication. Recognizing that we live in a time when the various forms of mass media have a profound impact on our lives, we develop in each person the ability to understand and filter this influence. We also believe that by developing a student's ability to use these forms of communication, we strengthen self-confidence and enhance the ability to convey thoughts and feelings more effectively .

 

1.4.6.2.   Research Skills: We teach our students the skills of investigation and research using the library, Internet, public records, and primary and secondary source materials. We also emphasize interviewing skills. We seek to have our students learn how to organize the information that they compile into increasingly sophisticated reports and presentations. As a result, textbooks will play an insignificant role within our educational program.

 

1.4.6.3.  Mathematics: Our approach is based on Unified Mathematics, an international approach to organizing studies in Mathematics that integrates topics in arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, statistics, logic, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Whenever possible, we help students to grasp the underlying concepts of math through the use of concrete apparatus and through application of mathematics to real-world tasks.

 

1.4.6.4. Science: We guide students not only towards scientific facts, but the process, history, and true nature of science. We want them to understand that science is not the subjects that scientists study, like the nature of atoms, but the process of studying the world, with the goal of arriving at conclusions about what is probably true, and what is probably not. Its end product is simply reliable information. Students study science every year. Our curriculum is consciously integrated, incorporating topics from botany, zoology, physical science, machines and technology, astronomy, geology, earth and environmental science, weather, and the medical sciences.

 

1.4.6.5.  Foreign Language: As an international school, our students normally study a modern foreign language every year. Our goal is for them to have a sufficient level of fluency in a second language by graduation to meet the standards of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Years Program.

 

1.4.6.6.         Cosmic Studies: Dr. Maria Montessori developed an approach of  introducing major topics about our world in such a way as to inspire a sense of wonder and to ignite the young child's imagination. These are the Great Lessons: How the universe began and our solar system was formed, the coming of life on the Earth, the story of early humans and how people met have their basic needs.

 

1.4.6.5.  Economics: Our children will live in a world in which economics is a constant basic element of their lives. While money is not the most important thing in our lives, the stress that follows a lack of sufficient money to pay one’s bills can have a negative impact on everything that is important. Our goal is for our students to both understand the principles of economic freedom and to feel comfortable with personal financial decisions and business matters. This includes an understanding of basic concepts of small businesses, manufacturing, wholesale and retail distribution systems, a wide range of businesses and industry sectors, credit institutions, and international trade. We encourage our students to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, whether or not they choose to run their own businesses.

 

1.4.6.6.    Geography: As an international school, we want our students to develop a global perspective and an international understanding by guiding students in world geography (physical, cultural, political, and economic) at every level of the school.

 

1.4.6.7.    History: We develop a strong historical perspective through the study of prehistory and history, following an anthropological orientation into fundamental needs of humankind and the cultures, lifestyles and technology of the past. We cultivate an appreciation of family and community heritage. History sets the stage for integrated learning at every age level.

 

1.4.6.8.    Anthropology and Mythology: As part of our nature as an international school, we teach students the basic elements of anthropology, addressing the question of what makes us human, the nature of culture, and how cultures have attempted to explain or illuminate the great questions of life through story, myth, and cultural archetypes.

 

1.4.6.9.    Major World Religions: We believe that our students should be familiar with the traditions and basic beliefs of the world’s major religions. While we do not teach religion, nor advocate any particular belief system, we encourage students to explore questions raised by religious teachers and develop the spiritual side of their lives.

 

1.4.6.10. Architecture: Our students should understand the patterns of architecture found around us, how buildings are constructed and designed, and develop an appreciation for the timeless beauty of well designed spaces. We also want to help them to understand and appreciate the importance more sustainable building design.

 

1.4.6.11.   Civics and Law: We strongly believe that our students should understand how government works at the local, state, and national levels. Equally, students need to understand the role that they can play as citizens in shaping consensus, advocating their point of view, and making informed decisions before they vote. They should also understand how the legal system works and have an informed working knowledge of and respect for the law. Our goal is to lead young men and women to keep informed about current issues and to play an active and responsible role as citizens of our nation.

 

1.4.6.12.    Visual and Performing Arts:  Our program places great emphasis on the Arts. Our program fosters an appreciation of art, music, and drama.

 

1.4.6.13.    Physical Education, Health, and Athletics: We encourage our students to understand, appreciate, and adopt healthy lifestyles that include exercise, proper diet, and intelligent choices regarding personal health. We encourage student interest in sports and activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. We appreciate the value of team sports and the contribution that participation in them can make in our students' lives.

 

1.4.6.14.    Peace Education: Human relations and conflict resolution skills, nonviolence, leadership training, cooperative teamwork skills, and communication skills are all important elements in nurturing our students. Peace Education is as significant as any other curriculum area.

 

1.4.6.15   Partnership Education: Partner Education considers other broad themes in human history, such as the structure of human organizations that as based on principles of partnership in contrast to those of domination, the roles and rights gievn to women, children, the history of slavery, and social justice.

 

1.4.6.16.    Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Skills: Woven into the tapestry of all the curriculum areas is the ability to be innovative, to think outside the box, and to develop solutions with respect for ourselves and others.

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1.4.7. Academic standards. In all cases we set our expectations high, not asking individuals to do more than that of which they are capable, but consistently stressing at all levels the importance of careful work and pride in accomplishment. The reward is not in the quantity of work achieved but the satisfaction of work done well for its own sake. We carefully build a supportive environment for students to move steadily toward the pursuit of excellence with an unhurried mind.

1.5. We prepare our students for life.

1.5.1. We make a concerted effort to empower students at our school to help them learn how to make responsible choices for themselves, assume increasing control over their lives as they mature, and discover how to make a difference in the world around them by their positive efforts and contributions to others.

1.5.2. Our goals for students are for them to be open-minded and compassionate, to gain a sense of themselves and others, and to understand and appreciate the diversity of the human spirit.

1.5.3. To facilitate the development of independence and a sense of engagement with the community we strongly encourage participation in day-to-day classroom management, care of the environment and decision making. We seek to help each student see the value of commitment both to the school community and to the community at large

1.5.4. We want students to love learning and to value knowledge, creativity, and humor.

1.5.5. We encourage our students to be responsible, critical, and caring members of a pluralistic society, and to recognize that they have the power and resources to effect change and to pursue their goals.

1.5.6. We respect the fundamental human needs, rights, and dignity of each person, no matter how young, as a full and independent person who is engaged in the ongoing process of development. We model and encourage basic values: kindness, honesty, warmth and openness, respect for each person's uniqueness, tolerance, cooperation, good sportsmanship, and nonviolence.

1.5.7. Both with our children and with each other, we model and encourage acceptance of differences in culture, race, and beliefs. Likewise, we model respect for people who are different from us in ability, thought, ways of doing things, as well as in their dress and physical appearance. Balanced with high self-confidence, our children are not threatened by or judgmental of superficial differences among people.

1.5.8. Practical Life skills: To facilitate and encourage a sense of independence, we deliberately teach a wide range of practical life skills appropriate to each child's level of development. We regard this as a vital element affecting the design of our entire curriculum. These practical life skills include the following:

 

1.5.8.1. Eye-hand coordination and the use of simple tools.

 

1.5.8.2.Grace and courtesy: appropriate ways to handle situations kindly and the ability to control one's’ body, movement, and behavior.

 

1.5.8.3.Practical economics: the value and use of money, including, economic literacy, how to earn money, and how to manage spending money.

 

1.5.8.4.Technology: the safe use of technology as an academic tool as well as understanding the practical applications of technology in everyday living. Technology includes, but is not limited to: telephones, computers, classroom audio-visual equipment, household appliances, and in some instances more complex tools.

 

1.5.8.4.1.   Computers: We use the computer as a fundamental tool for learning, not only as an element of contemporary practical life, but also as an aid in the development of logical planning and problem solving.

 1.5.8.5.Transportation: As appropriate at each age level, the safe use of alternative means of transportation other than a parent's car, such as hiking and bicycling, public transportation, and personal transport (students' driver's education).

 

1.5.8.6. Communication: the appropriate use of the various methods of technology for personal and mass communication; from writing letters to using the telephone, using the word processor, preparing the newsletter, speaking before an audience and designing audiovisual presentations. We encourage the use of new technologies as means of peaceful and productive communication and learning. 

 

1.5.8.7. Care of ones environment: how to clean and set tables, do dishes, cook, sew, iron, classroom care of the environment from dusting shelves, emptying dishwashers, plant care, materials care, restocking of supplies and the like, infant/child care, and laundry.

 

1.5.8.8. Health and Safety: the development of sound safety habits, nutrition and hygiene, along with the acquisition of first-aid skills and as developmentally appropriate CPR.

1.5.9. Discipline

1.5.9.1.        Ultimately our goal is for students to willingly accept personal responsibility for their behavior, attitudes, and experience. The enormous reward that comes with accepting personal responsibility is the freedom to choose and create the type of person they wish to be, and the life they wish to lead.

1.5.9.2.        In keeping with the true meaning of the word discipline, which is to teach, we prefer to model and encourage appropriate, kind, and considerate ways to behave in various situations.

1.5.9.3.        School should be safe. We cultivate a school environment that promotes and protects the physical and emotional well being of our students and staff.

1.5.9.4.        We guide students, before situations occur, in kind and considerate ways to behave kindly and appropriately in any given situation. We use positive reinforcement to encourage progress, acknowledge contributions, and strengthen character, rather than focusing on the rules and the consequences for breaking them.

1.5.9.5.   As necessary, we cue and remind students of appropriate behaviors before they forget. When behavior is inappropriate and a gentle reminder isn’t enough, we intervene and respectfully, but firmly, stop the behavior. 

1.5.9.6.        We will never permit the use of corporal punishment.

1.5.9.7.        We encourage and model ways to negotiate in conflict situations so that, whenever possible, everyone feels heard and that a person's feelings and needs are respected.

1.5.9.8.    We encourage self-discipline and self-motivation to influence students' behavior, rather than using external threat, humiliation, punishment or rewards.

1.5.9.9. We recognize that children's misbehavior often comes from a misdirected desire for attention, power, or from emotions such as anger, frustration, or discouragement. We, therefore, do not label children who misbehave as 'bad,' but stop inappropriate behavior and encourage appropriate actions.

1.5.9.10.        While we are normally successful with a very wide range of students, our school will not be able to meet the needs of every child. One of our greatest challenges is to be objective, compassionate, yet realistic in considering the needs of each child, and our ability to meet these needs. When, despite our best efforts, we fail to help a student to meet appropriate behavioral expectations set down within the school’s ground rules, we counsel the family with kindness and support to seek out another school setting in which the child can experience success.

1.5.10. Community Service:   We strive to help our students understand that the freedom and education they receive at NewGate comes with the responsibility to help others in the community, including those less fortunate but no less deserving. It is our goal that our students will understand the responsibility to change the world for the better lies with all of us, and that service needs to be part of everyone's life if we are to achieve this goal. Opportunities to perform community service, both locally and globally, might include such things as: our community at large might include adopting needy families at the holidays, sharing clothes and toys with children who cannot afford them, and volunteering at nursing homes, soup kitchens and hospital nurseries.

 

1.6. Our school teaches children to be at home in the world of nature

 

1.6.1. Strengthening our connection with nature and the environment is an integral part of NewGate.

 

1.6.2. We seek to instill in our students, parents, and staff, not only a reverence for the earth, its waters, and all living things, but also a sense of stewardship for the environment based on a conviction of our individual responsibility for the beauty of the land and the health of our ecosystems.

 

1.6.3. We believe that being at home in the world of nature is a fundamental part of  being a whole and healthy human being.

 

1.6.4. We consciously work to foster in each person a strong sense of belonging to the web of life. We accomplish this goal through:

1.6.4.1. Programs in outdoor education and field biology at every age level in the school, using the natural setting of our campus and the wide variety of natural resources available locally and distant. 

1.6.4.2. Programs in gardening and small animal care.

1.6.4.3. Programs in camping, canoeing and field ecological studies in natural wilderness settings.

1.6.4.4. We stress recycling and environmentally friendly packaging for lunches and all foods and products used in our community.

 

 1.7 We are committed to being a family-friendly school

 

1.7.1. In establishing policies and procedures, we attempt to remain sensitive to the needs, desires, and factors that might add unnecessary stress and pressures onto our families.

 

1.7.2. Also, in establishing policies and procedures, along with setting the calendar of school events, we attempt to avoid conflicting with the religious traditions and holy days of our families. We recognize that this at times may be virtually impossible considering our diversity, but at the very least every effort will be made to create a balanced and respectful approach to this issue.

1.7.3. In policy and procedures, we will make every effort to support non-traditional families, seeking to ensure that one and all feel honored and welcomed in the school community.

1.7.4. When we can, we will plan optional programs designed to offer support to our families, while often enhancing our educational programs. Some examples offered over the years have included optional extended day programs, summer programs, holiday care, after school studios, Friendly Friday programs, and care during class and community meetings.

  

1.7.5. From time to time, we will survey our families or hold special community meetings to explore how the school could be more family friendly.

  

  

2. Faculty

 

2.1 We carefully identify the duties and responsibilities of each position in the school.

 

2.2 We carefully identify the skills and knowledge, experience, educational philosophy, core values, and interpersonal skills needed to be successful in each position at our school.

 

2.3 We take great care in our hiring process to find new members of our faculty and staff who bring the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience, values, and personality to succeed at our school.

 

2.4 We will clearly communicate to all members of the faculty and staff our expectations, personnel policies, and benefits and professional development opportunities that may be applicable to their positions.

 

2.5 In evaluating the school's programs and performance of each member of the faculty we will be as objective and positive as possible, encouraging individual initiative, self-evaluation, and continuous professional growth.

 

2.6 We consciously follow fair and equal employment practices in hiring, assigning, promoting, and compensating both teaching and non-teaching staff members. We endeavor to employ persons solely on the basis of the factors necessary in the performance of the job and the operation of our school without discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, race, national origin, gender, and any other factor on which discrimination is prohibited by the laws of the jurisdiction within which our school is located.

 

2.7 No official of our school will seek to induce a teacher who is under contract at another school to break that contract. [There is nothing deemed improper if a member of the teaching or administrative staff of one school independently approaches another school about possible employment.]

 

2.8 Our school will not offer employment to a member of the faculty or staff of another school without communicating with the Head of the school at which he or she is presently employed or committed for the upcoming school year to request a frank evaluation of a candidate's qualifications. This information will be considered absolutely confidential.

 

2.9 Our school will take all reasonable and lawful precautions to maintain the confidentiality of records and information concerning teachers and other staff members who are applying for employment at another school, in accordance with the rights of the individual.

 

2.10 Any materials brought to School by a member of our faculty and staff, purchased with his or her own funds, shall remain his or her property.

 

2.11 Any teacher-made educational materials produced by a member of the faculty and staff during the term of this Agreement using school materials and supplies shall be considered the property of the school. However, faculty and staff members may use school materials to make a duplicate set of these materials for his or her own professional library.

 

2.12 Should a faculty member develop any new curricula, teaching techniques, teaching aids, or any other educational materials during the course of his or her employment with the School, he or she grants to the School a perpetual license to utilize said materials or ideas in its educational programs with both children and teacher training.

 

2.13 Any teaching aids, materials, or curricula developed by the School, as well as any mailing lists of the School’s students and families, represent the proprietary property of the School. No member of the faculty will be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, or disseminate said materials to a third person or a competitor of the School without first obtaining the Head of School's written approval.

 

3. Facilities

 

3.1 We will deliberately seek to create a lovely campus that communicates to our students that the buildings and grounds are expressions of our love and commitment to their education and success.

 

3.2 Whatever the size of our enrollment, or the age levels encompassed in our programs, our buildings and grounds will support the implementation of our educational program and institutional mission as ideally as possible.

 

3.3 Buildings will not be constructed for the sake of having space.  Consistent with this blueprint, each will be carefully considered in terms of need, ideal space and configuration, and integration into the pattern language developed for our master plan.

 

3.4 As a Montessori school, we set a high priority on our campus having access to natural habitat, as well as areas for gardening and outdoor education.

3.5  We strive to keep our buildings and grounds free from toxic substances and environmental irritants. Whenever possible, pesticides and cleaning products will be found that are non-toxic and which do not induce allergic reactions in students or staff members.

 

3.6 The school will consciously follow safety procedures designed to protect students and staff.

 

3.6.1 All power tools, fuels, paint removers, and other hazardous substances will be kept under lock and key

 

3.6.2 No lawnmowers or other potentially hazardous machinery will be used anywhere in the vicinity where children are present.

 

4 Finances

 

4.1 Our school honors its financial commitments.

 

4.2 We strive to always operate on a balanced budget.

 

4.2.1. We are committed to building a contingency/reserve fund.

4.2.2.  Annual budget include a  contingency/reserve line item.

 

4.2.3. We work to maintain a balanced operating budget without depending on income from fund raising projects.

 

4.3 Tuition is set on the basis of what it costs to do the job right and meet the fundamental beliefs and values embodied in this blueprint.

 

4.4 We are committed to making NewGate more inclusive by pursuing funding sources and endowments to offer financial aid for families who are unable to completely fund their child's education themselves. We set aside a portion of our tuition income every year to help support the school’s financial aid assistance program.

 

4.5. We communicate accurate information about the financial state of the school in an annual report to the community and, from time to time, on a more frequent basis.

 

4.6. We expect all of our families, as members of our community, to honor their financial obligations to the school in a timely and responsible manner.

 

 

5 Recruitment and admissions

 

5.1 Admissions: A Montessori student can never be replaced, and our school is just as focused on creating a strong sense of community as it is on finding students who will benefit from a fine Montessori education. Our primary goal in the process of admissions and recruitment is to find families for whom the school will be the right match. We seek families who share common values and goals with the school, and who, after careful consideration and exploration, have concluded that our school is something that they want very much for their children, for the right reasons. We try to help each family determine whether our school is the right match with their values and goals, and the school setting that will work best for their individual child.

 

5.2. In making admissions decisions in the early years, we give strong preference to families who we believe are committed to keeping their children in the school at least through the elementary years.

 

5.3. Hopefully the children whom we admit in the early years will graduate from our school. Ideally it will be so much a part of each family's life that eventually the children of our graduates will attend our school as well. We want to be a family tradition.

 

5.4. In the admissions process, we consciously treat parents with respect as partners in exploring whether or not we would be the perfect match for their child.

 

5.5. We do not try to "sell" prospective parents on the idea that our school is right for them and for their child. Instead we attempt to help them grasp the true nature of the school and what it has to offer, and allow them to weigh all the factors out as they consider whether our school is indeed the right match for them and their child.

 

5.6. We welcome prospective parents with open arms and make it as easy as we can for them to learn what our school is really all about:

 

5.7. We hold open houses at least once a week and gladly schedule individual tours during school hours if for some reason the normal open house time is inconvenient.

 

5.8. We make a list of the names and home phone numbers of Ambassador parents available to prospective parents who would like to speak with another family.

 

5.9 We arrange frequent and convenient times when prospective parents can observe in our classrooms.

 

5.10. We spend as much time with prospective parents as possible in order to answer their questions, address their concerns, and assist them in determining whether it feels to them as if our school would be a good match for their child.

 

5.11. We consider applications for admission on a case by case open admission basis. We will do our best once an application has been received to arrange for the student's visits and evaluations, gather all of the information needed to evaluate the application, and schedule all meetings and interviews in the most timely manner possible. We will endeavor to make and communicate all admissions decisions to the families as quickly as possible.

 

5.12. Our school does not discriminate in matters of admission on the basis of race, creed, religion, national or ethnic background/origin. We consciously teach children to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the global community. We regard a mix of backgrounds and abilities as a positive and important element in our community.

 

5.13. We represent our school truthfully and accurately to the general public and internally to our parent community.

 

5.14. We will promptly consult with parents should it ever become clear that a student is not benefiting from the school's program, or if the school is not the best program to meet his/ or her needs.

 

5.15. Our school recognizes each family's right to visit and consider other schools and to hold preliminary discussions regarding admission without feeling compelled to notify the school, which that their children presently attend.

 

5.16.While we welcome inquiries and interest in our school, we will never knowingly attempt to recruit/enroll an individual student away from his or her current Montessori program who is presently enrolled in or committed to attend another Montessori program.

 

5.17. Before filing an application for admission, we ask that families advise their children's present schools and authorize in writing the release to us of their children's academic records and student recommendations upon our request. 

 

 

6 Building Community

 

6.1 We cultivate a close-knit community of students, educators, parents, and friends of the school.

 

6.2. We recognize that a Montessori school is more than a place of learning; it is a community of children and adults that has a significant impact on our students' capacity to learn, grow, create, develop, assimilate values, and relate peacefully and respectfully to other people and to the natural world.

 

6.3 We treat all students, families, teachers, and staff members, and all people with kindness, warmth, and respect.

 

6 4 We consciously work to build a constructive partnership between the family and school in support of each child's educational development.

 

6 5. Within reasonable guidelines established to ensure the integrity of our educational program and the privacy of other students' records, parents are welcome to visit the school to observe their child in class or to review his or /her academic progress.

 

6 6 We believe that every member of our community has a fundamental right to be treated with respect, regardless of age.

 

6.7 We place a primary emphasis on building relationships partnerships with families as early as possible in order to help parents recognize the uniqueness of their child. We also work together to support parents' ability to parent incorporate Montessori philosophy into their family life.

 

6.8. We are an extended family community whose participants are supported at all levels by all others in the community.

 

6.9. We consider input from community members in our decision making processes.

 

6.10. Parenting Center: We encourage parents to participate in programs that can help them to refine their parenting strategies, to facilitate the development of independence, responsibility, self-confidence and self- respect in their sons and daughters and in themselves. We recognize parenting as an extremely difficult, rewarding and valuable job for which we have had little preparation and for which in the modern world we get little support. We are committed to find ways to provide support for families from birth through adulthood by the creation of a parenting center to include parenting classes, and  ongoing support groups, and a parenting library.

 

6.11. The Ambassador Parent Program: We understand the special needs of new participants in the community and the necessity of a program to match new families with ones experienced in the community to provide support and information.

 

6.12. Support for Community Businesses: We will encourage and facilitate methods for members of our community to access the services of other community members.

 

6.13. Adult Development Programs: We encourage the establishment a program of adult classes and seminars on a variety of topics guided by community interest, in keeping with our commitment to a lifelong process of learning and personal growth.

 

6.14. Commitment to the values of the school: We expect all adult members of the school community to treat one another and the children in accordance with the core values of the school as embodied in this document.members of our community.

 

6.15. Class and Community Meetings: We believe in holding monthly class and community meetings to allow and encourage a free and open exchange of ideas and information.  Children are welcome to participate.

 

7 Administration

 

7.1 Our administration provides both educational leadership and business administration.

 

7.2 The primary role of the Head of our school is to articulate the core values and vision, provide academic leadership, take leadership in the admissions and recruitment process, build community and reduce attrition among students and families, recruit and coach faculty members and staff, oversee the financial health of the school and support fundraising, serve as the school's primary spokesperson to the larger community, and lead the process of internal self-evaluation and long-term planning.

 

7.3 The Head of School ensures that excellence and consistency with our values and vision permeate the school seamlessly from class to class, from level to level, and from one year to the next.

 

7.4 Naturally the Head of School supports the faculty and attempt to provide similar support and counsel to the school's families. However, the ultimate factor on which difficult decisions must be balanced is what is best for each individual child and what is consistent with the core values of the school.

 

7.5 When conflicts arise within the school, whether they involve parents, staff members, students,  or administrators or board, every attempt will be made to find the best and highest resolution of the issues under dispute that is most consistent with the school's fundamental values and is most oriented to a win-win model.

 

7.6 The administration of the school will ensure a smooth and timely flow of communication about important dates and information to parents, students, and staff, and board.

 

7.7 The administration follows a collegial model in working with faculty members and staff, inviting their input and participation whenever appropriate in important questions facing the school.

 

8 Governance

 

8.1 The Board of Trustees will always be comprised of people who share a deep sense of commitment to both NewGate and Montessori education. In all matters, they consider the overall best interests of the school over their own interests or over the interests of any constituent group within the school community.

 

8.2 The primary responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that the institutional identity, mission, and core values and beliefs about education that define the nature of the school are established and re-examined and refined and from time to time, reexamine, and if necessary refine, the institutional identity, mission, and core values and beliefs about education that define the nature of the school with the involvement of the community.

8.3 The school’s mission, institutional identity, and core values and beliefs will be set down in writing in a working community document called the "Blueprint."

 

8.4. Before beginning to consider voting on any motion made before the Board, the Board of Trustees will first consult the Blueprint to identify the underlying values and beliefs that would support whatever decision is made on the issue before the Board. The Board will only approve motions that are supported by the core values and beliefs that are consistent with the blueprint.

 

8.5 Before amending the blueprint, the board will formally request the school community review the proposed amendment and provide feedback.

 

8.1.5 The minutes of the meetings of the Board will reflect not only the motions passed, but the text of the underlying elements of the Blueprint and will cite the section of the blueprint that supports the action.

 

8.1.6  The major actions of the board will be communicated to the school community in a timely fashion. These communications will include the motions passed, including the text of the underlying elements of the Blueprint.

 

8.1.8 Concerned parents or staff members may request the opportunity to address their opinion to the board.

 

9 Fundraising

 

9.1 Every gift given to our school will be a voluntary gift, generously offered in support of our work.

 

9.2 We will not nickel and dime our families to death with petty fundraisers. We will limit fundraising activities to major programs, such as the Annual Fund and Spring Benefit.

 

9.3 While donations of funds, tangible goods, services, or real property are deeply appreciated, the school can never accept any gift that would require it to violate any of its core beliefs outlined in this document.

 

9.3.1 While individuals wishing to donate funds to the school are welcome to designate the use to which they may be used, it is up the Board of Trustees to establish policy about who will decide on behalf of the school if they can be accepted in light of the conditions established.

 

9.3.2 Only the Board of Trustees can accept a gift of real property or tangible goods on behalf of the school that would potentially require the expenditure of funds to repair or maintain.

 

9.4 The Board of Trustees should be a key element in leading and promoting the school's fundraising efforts.