From the Desk of Principal Franks
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 9:00 AM


Dear Armatage Parents,

Happy spring!  I cannot believe it has actually arrived;

it has been a long time in the making.

Fundraiser for Foster

Thank you seems so trite when considering what Armatage parents did last Friday to support the 2019 – 2020 budget.  Through your generosity and support, the PTA raised approximately $25,000.  The money will be used for non-salary expenses in order to allow 100% of the district allocation we received to go to staffing.  Because of you, we did not need to cut any positions, which is HUGE for our school.

There are so many people involved in supporting this event and I worry that I may leave someone off a list.  Therefore, I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to the committee chairs and PTA for the extensive amount of time and effort they put into creating such a phenomenal event!   Because of the dedication of our parents, Armatage will have an incredible 2019 – 2020 school year.  Thank you so much!

2019 -2020 Budget

Last Friday, I submitted the 2019 – 2020 budget to the district for approval.  A few notable changes will be critical to our building next year.  They are:

  1.  The district has allocated a .5 Differentiation specialist (paid by the district)  to every K-5, K-8 and 6 – 8 buildings in an effort to help school and educators better teach to the needs and abilities of each student.  The person hired for this position will have the ability to understand a teacher’s readiness, interest and learning profile in order to provide the staff development necessary to increase the teacher’s ability to provide appropriately challenging curriculum and instruction for each student in the class- including advanced learners and struggling learners.
  2. We will be posting a .5 teacher tutor position to support classroom instruction.  This staff member will work with students needing additional support in reading.
  3. We will be posting a 20 hours educational assistant position to support classroom instruction. 

I am so excited for the 2019 – 2020 school year and believe Armatage Montessori School continues to be a fabulous place for children to learn and grow.

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment testing

The MCA testing is well underway.  Over the course of the next one and a half months, the 3rd – 5th graders will be tested in math and reading and additionally,  the 5th graders will also be assessed in science.  These tests allow the Minnesota Department of Education to look at all 3rd – 5th graders in the state of Minnesota  and determine growth and proficiency. 

It is so important the students are focused and do their best work.  Therefore, please make sure that your child/ren get to be early and have a healthy breakfast the day of testing.  You should have received testing information from your child’s classroom teacher. 

Carey Seely, A.P. is our testing coordinator this year and would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the testing environment or other test related information.  She can be reached at 612-668-3180. 

Safety First

I received a phone call from an Armatage parent who said she was almost hit (grazed by an SUV) last week while crossing the street in front of the building on 56th street after walking her child into school. Obviously, this was a very frightening experience!

Over the course of the last few months, the drop-off situation in both the front and back of the building continues to be more and more dangerous.  Thus, I feel compelled to reiterate the expectations for a safe drop-off and pick-up situation.

56th street:

  • No cars are permitted to enter the driveway between 7:05 – 7:40 a.m. / or until all buses have arrived.
  • There is no on street parking on 56th street
  • There is no drop off on 56th street as it creates a traffic jam in addition to creating a situation in which children are running across the street in front of moving vehicles.

Park Board Parking Lot:

  • When exiting the park lot, please do not turn left.  There have been a few fender benders and near misses as cars come around the bend when cars are turning left.

I really appreciate your help in making drop-off and pick-up a safe experience for our children. 

Pits and Alleys

We always know that spring is around the corner when Pits and Alleys is on the docket.  Monday, March 25th – Thursday, March 28th, every classroom will spend 1 hours in the big gym running, jumping, ducking, swinging and a plethora of other skills as they participate in the much loved Pits & Alleys.  Parents are certainly welcome to come and watch / or offer a helping hand.  The schedule is attached.


Tony Valentino, our on-site lunchroom coordinator is a member of The Sounds of Blackness.  Below are some of the amazing activities he has participated in as a member of the group. 

On February 20th 2019, Minnesota’s very own Sounds of Blackness, were awarded the “Beautiful Are The Feet” award honoree given by the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference because of the group’s lifelong achievement in music.


Since January of 1971, the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness’ tireless endeavors under the direction of Gary Hines, has included:

•Performing on five continents for everyone from homeless persons, prison inmates, and orphans, to Kings, Queens, Presidents, Ambassadors, Diplomats and Heads of State at such events as the Denver Summit of Eight, the World Music Awards, several Embassies and, five White House appearances.

•Worldwide benefit concerts and recordings that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for such causes as the United Nations Telefood Concert (Jamaica), The United Nations 50th Anniversary –“People/Children of the World”, The United Negro College Fund, Scholarship America, the NAACP, The Children’s Heart Fund, the Lupus Foundation, the Opportunities Industrialization Centers, Americorps, ‘Border Babies’, the National Urban League, Hale House, HBO Comic Relief V (For The Homeless), Hurricane Katrina and tsunami fundraisers; participation in Grammy in the Schools, and countless others.

•Theatrical Productions, Seminars, Master Classes, Workshops and Lecture-Demonstrations on African¬ American music, culture and history at every level from pre-school to post-graduate and, from the Smithsonian Institution to the Kennedy Center. They educate while entertaining at schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, men’s and women’s prisons, youth correctional facilities, half¬way houses, battered women’s shelters, synagogues, mosques, temples, churches, community centers, and corporations. Sounds of Blackness has partnered with corporations such as General Mills’ “Feeding Dreams” and United Health Care’s “Do Good, Live Well” programs, to support urban programs and people. General Motors, Northwest Airlines, Target Corp, 3M, IBM, A&M, American Family Insurance, the NBA, the NFL, CBS, Polygram, Disney, and NARAS. Sounds of Blackness has partnered with domestic violence agencies and actively participates in the struggle against domestic violence ¬ through music.

•Pioneering the world¬wide presence and proliferation of Inspirational Soul Music at radio, dance clubs, television, theater and on film –which has in turn substantially changed and continues to change the very face of each of those entities forever. Film soundtracks from Batman and Demolition Man, to Panther, House Party II, The Posse, Down in the Delta,Moses in Egypt, John Henry, First Kid, Mo’ Money, Justice, First Sunday, Precious, and The Apostle.

•Appearing/recording with or for Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sting, Santana, Eric Clapton, Usher, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid & Babyface, Sir Elton John, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Ashanti, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Bob Dylan, John Cougar, Patti LaBelle, Earth Wind & Fire, Shirley Caeser, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Kenny G, President Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Lena Horne, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, B.B. King, the Minnesota Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Duvall, Maya Angelou and many others.

•On at least five occasions performing for over one billion people: The 1992 & 1993 Grammy Awards, the 1994 World Cup, the 1996 Olympics and the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships.

•Winning a Grammy Award (1992), Soul Train Music Award, International Time For Peace Award, seven Stellar Awards, International Dance Music Awards, and being nominated for an Emmy, 8 and 5 NAACP Image Awards, among others.

•The Sounds of Blackness music helped fuel the presidential campaigns of President Barack Obama. The group’s self-¬titled CD The Sounds of Blackness and its first single “Fly Again” inspired the world and a new generation. The Sound of Blackness CD won a 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best World Music Recording!

•In 2015, “Black Lives Matter: No Justice No Peace” gave resounding voice and added depth to the powerful Black Lives Matter movement.  In 2017, “Royalty” has topped the charts at #14 and is stirring a young generation to believe in their majesty and ability to change the world.

Spring Break

Friday, March 29th is the first day of spring break for students.  Spring break runs through Friday, April 5th.  I hope you will be able to spend time with your kids making memories.  It would be great if you could build in some reading time each day with your kids.

Have a fabulous spring break! 

Joan S. Franks, Principal