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    Summer 2021

    Dear Wonderful ECMCS Families,

    For new and returning parents, welcome to East Cooper Montessori Charter School, the school that is truly chosen with your head and your heart. While your toes are in the sand, we are busily preparing for the school to reopen in approximately one month! Grab a cold lemonade and get ready to check off your back to school list. Everything included in the Summer Mailing is important to read, digest, and understand. However, this letter also includes some upcoming highlights or changes that all families should pay close attention to. We could not be more excited to enter our 19th YEAR of offering high quality Montessori education in Charleston County!

    Transformation of Space & COVID Updates

    We are excited to unveil a whole new ECMCS! Yes, we have said those same words almost every year since the inception of ECMCS, but this time we have put our physical space back to pre-Covid conditions and are looking forward to doing what we do the Montessori way. Family sign-up for weekly classroom snacks will return (more information is in the family handbook), birthday celebrations with parents will return, the Middle School Friday pizza business will return, dress code expectations will return, and digital content homework will remain in place. Required volunteer hours are on hold another year but we certainly look forward to welcoming parents and volunteers on an as needed basis. Breakfast & lunch will still be at no charge for families for the 2021-2022 school year.  Per Governor McMaster, masks will not be required for students or staff and ECMCS will support your family in whatever choice you make. 

    Meet and Greet Is Back!

    We are excited to welcome parents and students in for a meet and greet on Tuesday, August 17th, the day before school begins. Covid protocols regarding cleaning and sanitation are still in place and families will be in their classrooms to meet their teacher, see their child’s locker/cubby, pick up your carpool tag, and meet a few new friends. More information is included below regarding times and what to expect for the event. This is not required but encouraged for any new family to the school or any student moving up levels.

    Classroom Based Events

    We look forward to welcoming families for the Meet & Greet event first in August and then Back to School Night shortly thereafter. For safety purposes, we will not convene in the Grand Hall for Back to School night and families will go straight to their classroom. See more details below about our Important Dates for the 2021-2022 school year. 

     

    Trips

    Lower Elementary

    At this time, Camp St. Christopher for Lower Elementary students is still on hold as they do not offer a spring trip for students. Around town field trips will resume, for example, a trip to see a play downtown. 

    Upper Elementary

    Our Upper Elementary students (4th-5th) will attend Camp Green River Preserve Wednesday, April 27-29. A camp information Zoom meeting will be held in the spring of 2022. 

    Middle School

    Our Middle Schoolers (6th-8th) will attend Chattooga for Ziplining, Rafting & Camping on Wednesday, September 29-Friday, Oct 1. More information will be shared at Back to School Night regarding requirements and precautions given the pandemic. A $100 deposit is due by August 30th.

    7th Grade - Montessori Model United Nations: February 15-19th 

    YES! MMUN is live and in-person! Cost is approximately $1500 (each family is expected to bring in a $500 business sponsorship to offset the student cost for the trip). A parent information Zoom will be held August 30th at 5:30. Non-refundable of $250 deposit is due no later than September 3rd. http://montessori-mun.org 

    Technology Updates

    All students in grades 1st-8th will be issued a school-owned device. We no longer offer a Bring Your Own Device option at ECMCS. See the Technology Acceptable Use Policy of the Family Handbook and Code of Conduct. Students may bring cell phones or smartwatches to/from school; however, they must be stowed in the silent or off position and placed in a teacher designated area (i.e. locker). Students are not permitted to use personal communication devices on school property. Lastly, student digital content subscriptions such as Dreambox, Seesaw and Canvas will still be in use and utilized for additional practice for homework in lieu of specific homework assignments or workbooks. 

    Building Enhancements

    This would not be a summer if ECMCS was not completing facility enhancements projects. The first project was to return our beloved Montessori environments to pre-Covid status which was done on the last day of school. The annex received a replacement of all the Smartboards last December and the main building received all new Promethean Boards as the first summer project. The courtyard is getting the final phase of a makeover that began last year to include new synthetic turf, shading, and furniture and umbrellas. The nurse's clinic, STEM Lab, art studio and many other classrooms are receiving new beautiful built-in maple cabinetry. The theater program is moving into a blackbox room and out of the Grand Hall to make room for the newly added chorus program on the stage. Lastly, the Middle School space is expanding with new furniture and additional square footage to accommodate our newly added 6th grade students. Stay tuned for information about the playground enhancements that will happen next!

    Student Absences Change

    ECMCS now proudly serves approximately 420 students! When students are absent, an email is the preferred method of communication versus contacting the Front Office directly. Please email your child’s teacher AND “attendance@montessoricharterschool.com” whenever your child is absent. A doctor’s note is preferred if your child has an appointment. Please do not email the teacher only as the front office has to officially record lawful and unlawful absences. 

    Review 360 Notification System

    Charleston County School District utilizes a digital communication tool called “Review 360” to share any behavior or discipline concerns with families. ECMCS piloted it last year but will use it fully for the 2021-22 school year. It is a template that allows teachers and administrators to quickly communicate an issue with a family. For example, if a student was using inappropriate language in art class, the teacher will quickly log in and click a few buttons to send parents a notification. This tool will be used to improve communication happening in real time versus a teacher writing an email to a parent at the end of the school day, that evening, or even the following day. 

    Peace Projects and Birthday Celebrations

    Service-learning and community Peace Projects have been a part of the ECMCS culture since the school began. Considering Covid precautions, we are taking a school-based approach to Peace Projects this year. Rather than volunteering at specific locations, we invite families to support various organizations in need by donating funds or supplies during the month of their child's birthday. For example, the charity for September is Lowcountry Orphan Relief. Our faculty has a list of needs for the organization and those are shared with families by level. For example, all Primary students are being asked to donate diapers. If my child’s birthday is in September and they’re in the Primary class, I would donate diapers to this charity in honor of their birthday. At the end of each month our Middle School students will drop off the donations to the charity. 

    After School Enrichments & Sport Opportunities

    We offer a wonderful array of After School Enrichments (ASE) by a combination of vendors and teachers. The enrichment opportunities and registration will be disseminated by early August along with fall sports team registration as long as there are volunteers for coaching (see the form link). 

    New sports teams are coming to ECMCS!  Joining a sports team can be an enriching and rewarding experience for children of all ages, and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide that experience for our students this coming school year . We will be competing in leagues and tournaments in Archery & Basketball in the late fall. Golf, Tennis, and Volleyball are spring sports. In order for our sports program to be successful, we are going to need your help. Each team we put together will require two parent volunteers.  The more volunteers we have, the more opportunities our students will have to compete.

    We need parent Coaches/Assistant Coaches in the following areas:  

    • Basketball (Upper El and Middle school)
    • Tennis (all levels)
    • Baseball (Middle School)
    • Volleyball (Middle School)
     

    Fill out the Volunteer form if you are interested in being a volunteer coach. Contact Coach Laughton for more information. laughton@montessoricharterschool.com

    More details will follow once the school year begins. 

    Parents, it's up to you

    To ensure that you and your children are prepared for the first week of school, please carefully review the enclosed information. It is critical that each family, new and returning, familiarize themselves with the Family Handbook and Code of Conduct. Parents can click on each heading below to directly link to the form that is due.  Forms are also available on our website under the For Parents menu. All forms and fees are due by Friday, July 30th. As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,
    Jody Swanigan, Principal             
    Nikki Hollander, Assistant Principal
    Lisa Klus, Montessori Instructional Coach & Administrator

     
     
     

    FEES - Available on the School Webstore

    Registration Fee - $45 (all students)

    Registration fees are used for consumable materials such as personalized student dictionaries, educational magazines, science equipment, art supplies, supplemental reading materials, class reference books, math manipulatives, etc.

     

    School Supply Bulk Order - $35 (all students)

    Additionally, in order to simplify and reduce the cost of school supplies for parents, we are once again ordering supplies in bulk resulting in a cost of $35.00 per child. In our research, parents usually spend approximately $50.00 per child so we hope parents are excited about the savings and not traveling to multiple stores to get everything on the list.

    Backpacks should NOT have wheels and should fit in a cubby 10.5" wide x 12.5" deep x 20" high.
     


    Please note all Middle School students (6th-8th grades) need to purchase their own earbuds and zippered binder.
    7th and 8th grade students only should select their own planner.


     Technology Fee - $20 (students in K - 8th grades)

    This fee covers instructional software and programs that students can use at school, and in many cases at home and a device surcharge. Information regarding specific learning programs that students will have access to for home and school will be shared at Back to School Parent Information Night.


    Preschool Practical Life Fee - $20 (Primary students - ages 3-4)

    This fee covers our preschool practical life consumable activities, including food preparation works, flower arranging works, consumable sensory works, etc. 

     

    If you qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch and are unable to pay the registration fee, please contact Billy Koll (billykoll@montessoricharterschool.com) in the business office.

    Click Here to Pay Fees
    A Note about Free and Reduced Meals
    As noted above, school meals will be free for all students again this year; however, we do encourage families to complete the Free and Reduced Meals application because ECMCS provides other discounts to families who have applied and qualify for FARL. Those discounts include registration fees, the base school picture package, field trips, Middle School Pizza Biz on Friday, and a yearbook for the family. 

    To apply for free or reduced-priced meals, click the button to the application below. This is an annual application. If you qualified last school year, you will have to apply again.  If you are a SNAP recipient, you will have to complete the application for free or reduced-price meals as well.
    Free and Reduced Meals Application
     

    Forms

    School Nurse Information Form - DUE JULY 30th - NO EXCEPTIONS. We need time to process medical information for a safe restart to school.
    Emergency and Health Information Form
     
    Policies Agreement Form - must be filled out for each family (you do not need to complete one per student, just one per family please). DUE JULY 30th
    Policies Agreement Form
     
    AfterSchool and Dismissal Plan - must be filled out for each family. DUE JULY 30th
    AfterSchool and Dismissal Plan
     
    Returning Student Information Update -

    Changes to Student Information: If you need to update your child’s PowerSchool information (for example, email, physical address, emergency contacts, etc.) you will need to edit their “Student Information.” Please email the front office for your child’s student ID and edit your information using the link below or on our website on the Parents menu.

     

    Please note: all report cards are emailed via the PowerSchool system. There is a conflict between PowerSchool and hotmail email accounts. If you have a hotmail account, please consider opening a new email account to add to your child’s student information portal so that you can receive their report cards quarterly.

     

    Please note: If families are experiencing a separation, please let the school and/or guidance counselor know so that we can support your child. Additionally we will need to ensure both custodial guardians receive electronic information such as report cards. We will not be aware of this need unless you inform us.

    Student Information Update
     

    FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

    New families are encouraged to park and walk their child into school on the first day. If your child takes medication, you are required to drop medications directly to the nurse.  Additionally, we will be hosting a welcome coffee event after drop-off for new families in the Media Center. Stop by, have a cup of coffee, meet other new families, and ask any burning questions.

    ECMCS has a very unique, fun start to the school year with a welcome back party on the Myrick Rd. Entrance. Middle School students choose music, make signs, and dress up to welcome students back for the new year! If your child prefers a quiet entrance, the Rifle Range Rd. entrance will be calm and peaceful.
     

    PLEASE NOTE: All 3k students (non-ECMCS staff) will begin on Monday August 23rd.

    Important Dates 

     
    JULY
    Friday July 30th - ALL FORMS & FEES DUE
                 Class lists will be shared with families

    AUGUST
    August 11-16: ECMCS closed to all families to prepare for the start of school

    Meet & Greet for families: Tuesday, August 17th
    Note: This event is not required but encouraged for any new parent or student to the school or a student moving up levels in the school

    Primary & Middle School 11:30-12:30
    Lower & Upper Elementary 1:30-2:30

    First day of school for 4k-8th: August 18th 
        Note: All 3k students (non-ECMCS staff) will begin on Monday August 23rd 
    Note: 3K Old Drop Off & Pick Up Times - 7:50-8:00am, Pick-Up 11:50-12:00
    Note: We plan to offer Afterschool starting on August 18th

    First day of school (August 18th) New Parent Welcome Coffee in the Media Center 8:15am    

    Families new to the school are welcome to attend a drop-in to meet with school administrators, ask any questions, and meet other families.

    Back to School Night: Wednesday August 25th 5:00-6:30
    This is an adult only event and families will be based in their classrooms, not in the Grand Hall. Details regarding Camp Chattooga for Middle School will be covered at this event.

    School Pictures: August 30-September 3rd (schedule will be shared in Office Notes)    

    Photographer Stephen Wright with Stephen Wright Portraits will take class pictures and individual pictures of all students.  The exact schedule outlining which class is photographed on which day, as well as the make-up day, will be provided via Office Notes.  A proof will be returned in approximately 3 weeks.  Package prices range from $27-$65.

    Click here for a list of additional important dates throughout the year.

    ECMCS follows the CCSD calendar for holidays, professional development, and report cards. We also adhere to CCSD weather-related closings and makeup days. ECMCS also uses a Google Calendar for parents to subscribe which CAN BE FOUND HERE.
     
    ECMCS Google Calendar
     

    Arrival and Dismissal

     

    On Time Arrival vs. Tardy

    School begins at 8:00 am. School-aged students can arrive as early as 7:30 am and should be inside the building by 7:55 am. Any student arriving through the front door at 8:00am or later will be tardy.  Students arriving at 8:00 am or after must be escorted by a parent to the front office (Rifle Range Rd entrance) to sign in.  Complete “Attendance and Tardy” information is located in the Family Handbook/Student Code of Conduct.

     

    Morning Drop-Off

    A detailed drop-off and pick-up map can be found in the Family Handbook/ Code of Conduct linked in this Summer Mailing. Parents may drop off at the roundabout facing Rifle Range Road -OR- the school entrance facing Myrick Road.  Either location can be utilized for morning arrival.  To expedite the flow of traffic, parents may only make a RIGHT HAND TURN when exiting back onto Rifle Range Rd when exiting the morning drop-off circle.

     

    A staff member will be in the carpool line to greet families from 7:30-8:00. If a staff member isn’t there, walk your child into the office at Rifle Range Rd. Should you need to enter the school, please park in the designated parking lots (not in the carpool lane).

    Afternoon Dismissal

    There are two dismissal locations (Myrick Rd and Rifle Range Rd) which are designated by specific classrooms. The cars assigned to the Rifle Range location are Primary, Ms. Krissie, Ms. Stephanie, and Mr. Scott/Ms. Anna Getsinger. All other families using the Myrick Road location, enter from Chuck Dawley Blvd.  Families may not access the Myrick Road carpool pick up line from Rifle Range Rd.  This is to ensure that cars only make a left hand turn into the school entrance on Myrick Rd.  Right hand turns into the school entrance on Myrick Rd will not be permitted during afternoon dismissal.

     

    When exiting afternoon dismissal, families must turn RIGHT onto Myrick Road heading back towards Chuck Dawley Blvd. Making a left hand turn out of the carpool lane onto Myrick Road heading towards Rifle Range Rd is not permitted.

     

    Please be a courteous carpool driver and do not block driveways or pull over into the grass of our neighbors.  Note: Do not arrive for afternoon pick up before 2:55 PM. Carpool the first week of school is always bumpy as we have new families joining us and learning the system. Please be patient. We are always superstars by the 2nd week of school and it is smooth sailing from then on out.

    Silent Dismissal System

    Carpool will begin at 2:55 and end promptly at 3:15. Each family will receive two “Carpool Tags” on the first day of school to place on the visor of your car. If you have your tag from last year, it will work this year, so you don’t have to get a new tag from your child’s teacher. This tag has a number linked to each student, and as the numbers are entered by an ECMCS staff member, students are dismissed to their afternoon carpool location. You must have a tag to have the student released. If someone other than the parent or guardian is picking up your child, the parent or guardian must send an email to dismissal@montessoricharterschool.com designating the approved person to pick up.

    Lunch Choices

     

     

    School Lunch:  ECMCS serves CCSD breakfast and lunch every day. Click here to see what’s cooking in the CCSD kitchen. There is a salad bar, hot lunch choice and a chicken sandwich daily. Breakfast and lunch are FREE through the 2021-2022 school year. 

     

    Lunch box: If students choose to bring a packed lunch, they should practice opportunities for independence by packing their own lunch. A microwave is not available for students to heat up lunches. Candy, sodas and fast food delivery lunches are NOT permitted in lunches. Please keep in mind that if your student forgets his or her lunch, our philosophy of fostering independence supports having the student order a hot lunch that day. Lunch cannot be accepted in the front office past 9:30.

     

    Middle School Student Pizza Business: The Middle School students organize, collect orders, and manage the pizza lunch option every Friday. Pizza comes with a veggie and drink. The cost and start date will be announced in Office Notes.  Cash only.

    Create Meal Payment Account
     
     

    AfterSchool

     

     

    • AfterSchool is offered Monday-Friday from 3:00pm-5:00pm
    • $210 per month (with the exception of the month of August which costs $105)
    • $16 per day for drop-in.

    Please fill out the After School Form in the Forms section to let us know your intention for using the program. In addition to guiding our staffing needs, new families will be contacted by Billy Koll, Finance Manager to set up an account with our AS payment system. More information about AS is available on the After School tab on the website.

     

    Afterschool Enrichment Programs – begin the week of August 23rd.

    Please note that some programs are available per semester (18 weeks) or per quarter (9 weeks). However, some programs may fall on holidays or other school closings and that is taken into consideration when planning the class.  Therefore, there may or may not be 18 sessions in a semester or 9 sessions in the quarter. Parents enroll in Enrichments on the ECMCS “Afterschool Tab” of the website once they are available within the first week of school. Sample enrichment classes can include Theater, Robotics, Archery, Science, etc. Other opportunities may become available and parents will be notified through school-wide Office Notes.

    Summer Reading

    Visit the Students menu on our website for Summer Reading assignments for each level.

     

    Mobile App

    Last but not least, you can stay in touch with us this very minute by going to your app store to download the CCSD app . Search Charleston County School District and download the FREE app. Once you download the app click on “Customize Your App” and select the schools you want to follow.  The app is updated with the latest calendar dates, payment systems, nutrition information, social media links, directory of faculty and much more. 

     

     

    We're looking forward to an amazing year!!

    The ECMCS Team