From the Desk of Principal Franks
Monday, November 12, 2018 7:30 AM


November 12, 2018


“Thanksgiving isn’t just a day…It’s a way we can live our lives every day.” – Karina Mayer

Dear Armatage Families,

Happy November .  I hope you enjoyed the beautiful fall that we had and are now bracing for winter.  This would be a great time to begin digging out the winter coats and paraphernalia.  The kids will go out to recess unless it is raining or the wind chill dips below -15 degrees.  Bundle them up as we have about five months of cold ahead.

New Front Door

As many of you can attest to, the new security door is a bit challenging the first time you try to negotiate how to enter the building.  Therefore, I thought it might be worth a brief tutorial as many kids (and adults) are having a difficult time getting into the building.  Below is a brief “How to” work the system.

  1. Upon entering the main lobby, there is a black box with a lit doorbell to the right of the door by the office.  Please push the button once and wait.
  2. Mary (or whomever is at the desk) will wait for the signal to appear on a desk monitor.  Upon seeing the light, she will push an enter button in which you will hear a click.  It may take a few seconds especially if she is on the phone, so please wait patiently.  If you continue to push the button, tap the handicap button or try to push the door without the click, the system automatically resets and the process has to start over again. (We did not design the system ).
  3. When you hear the click, use the door handle and push the door open.  

The new system does not allow us to buzz someone in without ringing the doorbell.  We appreciate your patience and hope you understand that we do not have ability to buzz you in even if you knock.

Kindergarten Emergency Cards

Last spring during kindergarten open house, some families completed a registration card and left it in the theater while others took it home to complete.  In the midst of construction and change in clerical staff, we do not have a card for all kindergarten students, in fact, we only have a few.    We are going to send home a new Emergency card with all of our kindergarten students and ask that parents fill it out even if you have already done so in the past.  

In advance, thank you for helping us ensure we have contact information for all students.

Immunization Exclusions

In order to attend class in Minneapolis Public Schools, students must show that they have had the required immunizations or are exempt.

Armatage would like all students to be up to date on their shots by 11/26/18.

After this date, your student may not attend school.

If you have questions, do not know where to go for shots or do not have health insurance, call the Health Services at 612.668.0850 for assistance.

Lisa Skelton, Health Services Assistant.

Armatage Health Office


Reading Corp

Last Wednesday, I met with several people from Reading Corp to talk about our current program and the need to recruit more members to work with our students.  Reading Corp is a federally funded program that provides 1:1 reading help to students who are behind in their reading skills but do not qualify for special education support.  The secret of their success: trained tutors that help PreK and elementary students build literacy skills in ways that really work. Solid evidence about how children learn informs their program from beginning to end.

Armatage applied for and qualifies for (3) members to support our school.  However, we only have 1 of the positions filled and are looking for additional members to join the Armatage team.  

Below is a blurb they asked me to include in this letter.

Interested in helping our students succeed? It’s not too late!

We are looking for Reading Corps tutors to start with us in January, 2019!  You can work with Armatage Montessori School  students every day during the school day and help them become successful readers! 

Reading Corps provides comprehensive training in strategies proven to help students build reading skills. Tutors are paid a living allowance and are eligible for up to $2,255 to pay tuition or repay student loans. Tutors 55 or older may gift the award to their child or grandchild. Tutors may be eligible for free health insurance and child care assistance. 

Learn how you can get involved by visiting and finding Armatage under the school drop down.  You can also help by telling a friend or family member (grandparents make great tutors, too!) about openings at our school and statewide! Positions start in January for the 2018-19 school year. Send questions to or call 612-666-9763.

Data Meeting

For the last two weeks, Carey and I have been doing data meetings with classroom teachers and specialists.  It is an opportunity for us to dialogue with them about their teaching practices, materials and students.  The questions asked focus on data, interventions and resources.  We are also discussing differentiation and how they are meeting the needs of each individual child as well as the collective group.  

We will do follow up meetings in February to look at which students are on target / or are needing additional support. 

Paper Drive

On Friday morning, I met with a group of parents who were discussing some building issues, one of which was our increasingly diminishing supply of copy paper.  They suggested that I ask parents for donations.  Please know how much I appreciate everything you do to support our school and your ongoing generosity!  If you are interested in donating (white) paper, feel free to either purchase reams of paper or provide a monetary donation and we will order it through our district supplier.  You can also order paper through Amazon and have it shipped directly to the school.  In advance, thank you so much for your support!

Do You Have a Talent / or Interest

Armatage Montessori School is amazing! I am fortunate enough to be able to tell our story to anyone willing to listen and share what makes us the best of the best!  One of our greatest assets is YOU!  Our parents, grandparents and community members are one of the cornerstones to our success.  As many of our strong volunteers are starting to prepare for their exodus from Armatage this spring, we need to fill their shoes with equally as strong and dedicated volunteers who want to see Armatage continue to thrive.  Thus, I am asking you to consider giving of your time and talent to our school.  There are endless ways to help i.e. supporting our literacy efforts by reading with children through our Reading Partners program, joining the PTA and participating / or leading a school event, taking responsibility for one of the many hallway bulletin boards that remain blank or a plethora of other opportunities waiting for you.  Last week a parent stopped by the office to see if there was a way to help the school and she is now one of our “official” tour guides.  Yes, it is that easy to be recruited.  Please consider giving of your time and talents to help make Armatage a great school for children to grow and learn.

Here Comes the Bus

Armatage has been selected by the district to take part in a pilot project entitled Here Comes the Bus.  By participating in the field test our families can take advantage of this powerful communication tool that allows insight to the real-time location of their student’s bus. This will aid families by helping them know when the bus is approaching the bus stop and providing peace of mind knowing where their child is while on the bus.

The district believes Armatage would be an asset for the field test phase of this project because our school community is active and engaged with MPS. They will be seeking feedback and believe this will help identify any concerns before the District-wide launch. In addition, all buses serving Armatage have the GPS-tracking hardware installed, which is crucial to the field test. 

There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, November 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the theater. Representatives from Transportation and IT will be on hand to provide detailed information and to answer questions.



Tour Season

Tour season is well under way.  Between October and the end of January, our tour guides lead 60+ tours.  It is an opportunity for our parents to tell our story.  HOWEVER, you are our greatest resource.  If you know friends, neighbors or family members etc… looking for a school for their children, please be an “Unofficial” tour guide and tell them our story  / or encourage them to sign-up for a tour.  There are four tours a week in order to accommodate people’s very busy lives.   If you have questions about the tours, Dana Gustner, a fifth grade parent is the lead of this committee.  She is looking for folks to be trained in order to take the baton when she graduates with her son Brody this spring.  

Thanksgiving Vacation

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!  There will be no school on Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23.  Enjoy the time with family and friends.



Joan Franks, Principal