Hello! I have exciting news and a somewhat urgent request to make of you. The Montessori school that Sula and Bea have attended for the last six years just bought a proper school building. We close in a month! I'm asking everyone in my circle to help us by donating at least the cost of a scone to fund their school's purchase of this building. That's $7. Thank you!
For friends and family who would like to give a little more for these lovely little humans' education, a $22 donation to our Capital Campaign Cash Drive will get you a photograph of Sula and Bea every month for a year.
For close friends and family who would like to make a one-time $120 donation to this Cash Drive, I will send you a photograph of Sula and Bea every WEEK for a year and I will include an update on what they're doing.
For a $100 donation, Ursula will draw an original page of a graphic novel for you. (Limit TWO drawings.)
For people who can help us with a $125 donation, I'm offering to come to your house (in the Portland area) and teach you and up to three friends a Foam Rolling class to address muscle pain and tension. I will also throw in some salve or liniment, why not? (Limit of FOUR Foam Rolling Classes available.)
For my friends or clients who make a donation of $505 or more, I'm offering a Family Massage Package. I will come to your house on a Saturday to give a bodywork session to everyone in your family. (Four 90-minute massages or five one-hour massages.) If there are fewer people in your family, I can give two massages and then teach a two hour bodywork class. Everyone should be able to make a decent omelette and everyone should be able to give a halfway decent massage. (Limit of THREE Saturday Massage Sessions available.)
For anyone who would like to make a donation in the thousands of dollars, The Ivy School is offering naming rights for certain spaces in the new school. We also have a Donor Wall for anyone donating $1000 or more where your name can be inscribed for the life of the Ivy School.
If it's easier from your mobile phone, you can skip this whole GoFundMe campaign and send money to me directly through Venmo or Paypal. Also: no fees! My personal paypal email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my venmo handle is @AnaHelena
ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE AS IVY SCHOOL IS A 501(c)3 non-profit. The EIN is 20-4681686 but if you need a tax receipt, it's better to write them a check. TheIvySchool.org is where you find that information.
Wait a minute, why am I asking you for money, and all in a hurry?
Most of you know that Ursula and Beatriz attend a public Montessori school called The Ivy School. You also know how important this school is to us. We sought out this school when Ursula was in Kindergarten at a fantastic school which, unfortunately, wasn't serving her. She had attended Reggio Emilia preschool for the first few years of her life, so we thought she'd have an easy transition. After three months in Kindergarten, she said she hated school. She wanted to quit school --at five years old. It was the Humpty Dumpties: every student had their name written on an egg and if the student was bad, the teacher turned their eggs upside down. This broke my little empathetic child's heart.
At the end of the school year, Ursula's teacher said she would probably have Ursula tested for learning disabilities because she couldn't fill out the worksheets fast enough or move on to the next one in a timely manner. So when we lotteried into the Ivy School, it felt as though we had literally won the lottery. Ursula thrived! She could focus for three-hour work cycles every day, work with Montessori math materials, and collaborate on bigger projects with her peers. She's written a book every year since the 4th grade: the first one was 113 pages long, and the second one, called Into the Woods, is 87 pages long. She doesn't think she'll be able to finish the book she's writing this year until September.
Beatriz began attending Ivy as soon as she could, in the 1st grade, and has also had great success at school though more with the social learning aspect of the Montessori Educational method. At the Ivy School, the emphasis on the Social Contract means that respect for one another and for the school and the environment is of utmost importance. There are things that aren't perfect about it, but the respect that the teachers show the children and that the children reflect back is what is most valuable to me.
I will tell you one story that I have told before but it is important. Often enough, older kids apply to Ivy because things aren't working out at their home school. When a student moves from a classroom where they're given assigned desks to a classroom that has no desks, it's a big shift. There's an adjustment period while older students learn the Montessori method. Choice, making choices, is a big part of the program as is Restorative Justice. At the beginning of this year, a new student had some problems adjusting. He got into fights a lot. I heard about it from Sula. One day, he got into a fight with another student and they fell into the door and broke the glass out of it. Ursula was upset. The next morning, the class held a meeting where everyone talked about how they felt about what had happened. Some kids were scared, others were angry. Both kids heard first-hand how their actions effected the other students. No one was suspended or punished. They were held up by the community to the standards of the community, and the behavior changed. The students felt good about how they handled the situation by confronting it directly and immediately.
Even though both children are at the same school, they attend school on campuses that are 40 blocks apart. Ursula attends the Upper Elementary campus and Beatriz attends the Lower Elementary Campus. Of course, this is a hassle for everyone who has two children at Ivy and it is also incredibly wasteful. Instead of being able to buy one quart-bottle of half and half, we have to buy two pints. Instead of having one front desk person, we have two, etc etc
There just wasn't enough room in the building that was purchased 10 years ago to house all the children who wanted to have access to a FREE public Montessori education, so Ivy rented space from a church for the Upper Elementary. That space has been a good placs for us. Students grew an amazing garden through our Garden Program and had outdoor play at the local park, but they really didn't have enough place for all the amenities one wants in a school. Until now!
We bought a school two weeks ago! We are in escrow. This building will house all of the 1st through 8th grade students and has room for us to expand and create a Children's House so we can offer Kindergarten. It will also have: A library! A gymnasium! An art space! A rooftop garden so the children can keep growing vegetables! A full, industrial kitchen where we're planning to create our own school lunch program. We can expand in so many ways, now. But of course, it comes with a high price: 5 Million dollars.
Many people are being priced out of Portland, and our school will be no different if we don't secure this building now. Luckily, we have some equity in the building we bought ten years ago and there is room to expand our enrollment. BUT, we need to meet a very big fundraising goal of raising $500,000 in the next 30 days. The thing is, I know we can do it! I have 700 friends, and many family members and if everybody pitched in, we could raise $7000 in two weeks. So if each of you could just see it in your hearts to buy Ursula and Beatriz the equivalent of a sweet treat, we would all be eternally grateful. Seriously.