Hershey Montessori School is being recognized by You Me Montessori in a multi-part series of articles that document our school history and accomplishments. The founders of the organization are from South Africa and the United Kingdom. All currently work in Kuwait in the education field. Their website viewers are from around the world. You can read these articles by clicking on the series title below, or follow our Facebook page to see each article as it is published.
We extend our gratitude to Leon Caesar and his team for their interest in Hershey Montessori School and for their work in sharing Montessori with viewers around the globe.
Hershey Montessori’s Upper School students recently held an Election Conference as part of their Humanities project. The conference brought students and experts together, virtually, to discuss issues around elections, specifically, reforming the election process and governance.
The students, led by Hershey guides John Buzzard and Jennifer Snead, connected with several adult experts, including Diane Silver from FairVote, an organization that champions electoral reforms to give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans; Cyndi Lucas of Citizen Congress, an app that lets users send their views to federal representatives and vote on bills, nominations, and questions introduced in Congress; Drez Jennings, a writer and expert on politics and media; and a former student of Buzzard, Sara Abdul-Rahim, Associate Director of Development at Georgetown University.
The conference was a collaborative effort that brought forth several issues that students were able to give voice to and engage in a critical thinking process that allowed them to express their ideas and concerns over the election process and governance.
Students were afforded the opportunity to give presentations that were followed by a question and answer session. A student action panel made up of students from all the schools also discussed how to take action and get their voices heard – a conversation that was facilitated by expert Cyndi Lucas and by Hershey student Kylie Golden-Appleton.
“We were thrilled with the turnout of students from other schools and the passion that they brought. The student action panel allowed the students to connect around their political ideas, and to find a community of young people eager to take political action. It felt like a way to take one of our responses to the COVID pandemic – working virtually – and make it a strength,” said Buzzard.
Hershey is pleased to provide students with experiential education opportunities that provide real-life skills and insights.
Both the students and experts gained better insight into these important, relevant topics and what our next generation of voters can do to improve them.
Hershey Montessori School has good news to celebrate. ISACS, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, has approved Hershey as a provisional member, which is the first step towards becoming an ISACS-accredited school. Hershey’s Steering Committee, which began its work in early 2019, is pleased to share this information with the Hershey community.
The Benefits of ISACS Membership
(From the ISACS website)
ISACS provides a wide variety of professional development programs for its members. Administrators and teachers are given opportunity to attend ISACS conferences, including the Annual Conference, Heads Conference, Leadership Academy in Partnership with the Kellogg School of Management Center for Nonprofit Management, and New Teacher Institute. ISACS also offers topic-specific workshops and convenient webinars for its members.
In addition to these benefits, ISACS staff members provide facilitated conversations with member schools on topics of governance, accreditation, and other areas. Members have access to the National Association of Independent Schools’ DASL tool for data reporting and benchmarking.
With Provisional Membership approval, Hershey may now begin the process for full accreditation that involves preparation of the self-study report and accreditation visit. Getting to this stage required submission of our Provisional Membership Application (PMA). The PMA provides ISACS with an assessment of an organization that ensures it currently complies with the standards for full ISACS membership. The PMA required Hershey to provide documented evidence of compliance across 52 standards for membership, including our current policies and practices; mission, philosophy, and goals; school community; programs and activities, student services; governance and administration, personnel; and residential programs. We submitted our PMA in February of this year, which was reviewed and approved by the ISACS board in May.
The impetus to pursue ISACS accreditation came from the growing needs of our school. When Hershey’s Upper School was added five years ago, our community became keenly aware that resources and support provided to independent schools by ISACS would support our plans for continued growth. Our leadership then surveyed teachers, staff, and board members for input on the decision to begin the accreditation process. Together, we concluded that membership in ISACS would be of great benefit to our school and community.
Hershey’s ISACS Steering Committee includes Paula Leigh-Doyle, Laurie Ewert-Krocker, Tania Bertolone, Jennifer Finan, Valerie Raines, and Saren Peetz.
We look forward to the added value this organization will bring to our community.
We warmly invite you to be our guest and take this opportunity to learn about our Adolescent program and curriculum from our staff and students, as well as take a guided tour of our campus.
Join us for a Saturday Open House on October 17, 2020 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Gain a greater understanding of Montessori education, how Hershey Montessori emphasizes the connection between school and family, school and student, and student and family, and learn why Hershey students love school.
Hershey Montessori School is dedicated to keeping the health and safety of both our school community and those interested in learning more about Hershey. Our Open House will be split into 2 registration times and pre-registration is required.
In keeping with CDC guidelines, upon arrival, visitors will be asked to take their temperature (a temperature of 99.9 or greater will result in having to exit the premises and reschedule for another time), use hand sanitizer, wear a face-covering/mask, and keep physically distanced when interacting with others.
Staff eager to welcome new and returning students to campus
Much of Hershey Montessori School’s staff and faculty spent the summer redesigning their campuses, classrooms, and education platforms. Their goal has been to ensure Hershey’s high-quality programs continue to serve students, staff, and families’ needs, while still maintaining an authentic Montessori approach.
Hershey is slated to reopen both campuses later this month with a redesigned face-to-face learning experience for all students. An enhanced remote learning option is also being offered to adolescent students. The on-campus designs are centered around small cohorts of students and implementing all recommended health practices, while enhancing the experience by availing of as much education in our outdoor environments as possible.
“The aspects we learned from last spring’s unexpected launching of remote learning created the opportunity to greatly enhance our remote learning experience,” said Head of School, Paula Leigh-Doyle. “Significant purchases of new technologies will allow for greater engagement and a more interactive experience for our students.”
The school recently released its Healthy Reopening Family Manual that provides insight to its plans and protocols for each educational level of the school. The manual also outlines health and safety protocols and various measures that have been implemented to ensure the well-being of Hershey students, staff and community. The highly-detailed plan is the result of collective input from faculty, staff, students, and parents through surveys and feedback, as well as the collaboration of Hershey’s Contingency Planning Team. The manual, already on it’s second edition, will evolve as new information and recommendations are brought to light.
Ohio’s governor is set to provide additional school guidelines on August 13th. Hershey will make an announcement to its school community on August 14th regarding any changes or additional information that needs to be communicated based on the outcome of the governor’s press conference.
We recognize the the state of uncertainty that we all have endured since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families are still seeking school options. Hershey is still accepting applications for fall enrollment. We are prepared, and we are excited to safely welcome new and returning students this fall!
An Interview with Hershey Montessori School Alumni
Hershey Montessori School delights in welcoming back its graduates and former students. We love to hear how they are tackling life and college after high school. We seek to know how their Montessori education helped shape and prepare them for the paths they chose. We love learning more about where they are today, and how their skills are helping them on life’s journey.
At the last alumni gathering, Hershey graduates shared with us what course of study they are pursuing and what university they are attending. We then asked them to speak to how they felt prepared for where they are on their journey. Below is what they shared.
Ilana Rosenheck ’18, Psychology, University of Cincinnati:“I think the farm, or Hershey or Montessori in general, has really prepared us for public speaking. We all did countless presentations and that really developed a confidence in all of us – or most of us. I feel like if we had an issue or a question, we all felt comfortable with going to our professors and talking to them just because we have that close relationship with the staff here. It’s something I feel like traditional schooling won’t teach their students.Hershey taught us about being a functioning adult. I feel like Hershey really prepared us for life.”
Cameron Zona ’18, Theater and Entrepreneurship, Lake Erie College:“Yeah, I have to agree. I was here on campus on Monday and I sat in on a class of Middle School students and they were giving presentations, and I was like ‘these presentations are better prepared and they have better public speaking skills than the students that are in some of my college classes.’ I was very impressed. I definitely think that it is something that when students graduate, they have a firm grasp on.”
Makenna Venaleck ’18, Chemical Engineering, Ohio University:“I don’t do a lot of presentations or public speaking in my area of study, but I will say that I felt very prepared to talk with my professors and have a little bit of an up because even though a lot of people in STEM are very good at math and science, they can’t really communicate what they are studying or how they are feeling or talk to their professors or to a potential employer. I went to the career fair and I felt very prepared because I could set aside ‘What are my skills? What are things that I am good at?’ and I could have a conversation with someone that maybe would employ me or was a professor. I felt very prepared for interpersonal communication.”
Erin Finan ’19, Journalism, Ohio University:“I think Hershey helped me (or Montessori) in a lot of ways, but especially when I went to college and I was trying to find my friend group. The people I connected with like at Hershey really helped me to know the kind of people I wanted to be around and know how to find my tribe. Taking that to college made it a lot easier to find people and know that these were the people that I wanted to spend time with and be around, and that I wanted to form my friend group with. I mean, college has more people so you have to adjust because of that, but you also have to know that there are people like you and for you at college that you’ll be able to connect with in the same way you connect with people here. You might have to look a little bit harder because it’s such a bigger environment, but like I said, Hershey helped me and a lot of us know who we wanted as our friends and the things we value. When we find those [values] in other people, it’s easier to make those connections.”
Elise Spintzyk ’18, Psychology, Ohio State University:“I think Hershey prepared us well because we had a lot of leadership opportunities. I think students who are looking to move forward into a graduate program or even to apply for a job are able to step into a leadership role. While you are in college that is something that is really important and important for your resumé. Already having had a leadership role with experience, I can bring that in as a freshman student when applying for a position on an executive board of a club, something in your department, or looking for a research position if that’s something you’re interested in. Those are things that you wouldn’t already be taking with you from most high schools. I think a lot of students haven’t had the opportunity to do so. When you step into those roles when you’re in college, you are very well prepared for them and you’re able to thrive in that position and keep moving forward.”
Thank you, alumni, for sharing how your Hershey Montessori School experience and skills have helped aid you in your college education and beyond. We are please that you were able to take leadership, communication, interpersonal skills, public speaking, real-life capabilities, and tools to navigate and find your way in the next steps of your education. We wish you all the best. We truly look forward to seeing you all again very soon!
Imagine a beautiful place filled with activities that are designed around your needs, calling to your curiosity and imagination. Picture a community where children are surrounded by people who understand, encourage and challenge their strengths. Envision a child learning each day, immersed in a culture of respect and a course of study based upon personal interest and engagement.
Serving children from birth through age 18, Hershey offers challenging, highly individualized programs that focus on the uniqueness of each child.
Hershey offers an exceptional experience on two campuses, including the truly unique, world class farm school.