Senior Pranav Chhalliyil Attending World’s Largest International Pre-College Science Competition

On May 12th – 17th the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of the Society for Science & the Public, and the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, will be held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Maharishi School Senior Pranav Chhalliyil will be attending Intel ISEF for his fifth consecutive year. Pranav was also recently named Honorary Grand Champion at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa, and received an award for 6 years of participation. A total of 5 students are representing the State of Iowa as finalists at Intel ISEF.

Pranav’s project is titled:  “DNA Sequencing of Soil Microbiota From Mulching – A Novel Rotational Fragment Farming for Efficient Agriculture”

“The idea for this project came from my previous research experience on the oral microbiota,” Pranav said,  “which triggered a curiosity on the soil microbiota when I had interesting observations while gardening. I found a higher yield of flowers and vegetables, as well as a higher tolerance to winter frost in perennials after introducing mulching in my home garden.”His project uses DNA sequencing to look at the thousands of bacteria and fungi species which brought diversity in the soil and increased soil fertility.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) unites the top young scientific minds, showcasing their talents on an international stage, where doctoral-level scientists review and judge their work.

Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $5 million in prizes at Intel ISEF. The competition focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the world’s next STEM generation.

Millions of students in grades 9-12 worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs. The winners of these events go on to participate in 420 Society-affiliated regional and state fairs, from which the top projects are selected and receive opportunity to attend Intel ISEF. Each affiliated fair may send a pre-determined number of projects to Intel ISEF to compete in 22 different categories.

Intel ISEF alumni have gone on to receive some of the world’s most esteemed academic honors, including the Nobel Prize, Breakthrough Prize, three National Medals of Science, and six MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and have been involved in some of the most groundbreaking scientific research.

Congratulations to Pranav and we wish him the best of luck!

To learn more about what makes Maharishi School students like Pranav so successful click here.

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Announcement! New Lower School Director!

Our New Lower School Director

We are excited to announce our new Lower School Director. The last time this happened was in 1991. George H. W. Bush was President and Hopson Hall (our main building) was only two years old. Now, after 28 years of service as the Maharishi Lower School Director, Laura Bordow is changing positions to become our Development Director and her successor is being named.

We conducted a nationwide search for the Lower School Director position through the National Association of Independent Schools and to more than 10,000 contacts in the TM organization. It was gratifying to receive inquiries from across the nation—and even internationally—from educators who admired our School’s mission, achievements, and community setting.

Lynn Shirai Lower School Director Maharishi SchoolAfter a number of interviews and hours of consideration, we selected the person we feel is most qualified and committed to guiding the Lower School to its next level of excellence and sparkle: Ms. Lynn Shirai.

Lynn is a familiar face to many of you. She earned her teaching license from Iowa Wesleyan and taught 1st and 2nd grades at Maharishi School for five years. She was then tapped to serve as the Dean of Students in the Upper School, where she gained administrative experience.

She built on that skill set in several responsible positions in social service agencies and returned to Maharishi School in 2013 as the Lower School Teaching Resource Specialist. She is currently teaching our 3rd grade Reading and Writing classes and has been offering tutoring in the community.

Lynn also received a Montessori 3-6 Certificate from the North American Montessori Center in 2018. That was an especially important attribute because we want to explore the possibilities of adding Montessori elements to our Lower School following on the successes that we see in our Children’s House Preschool.

Lynn’s comments:

“Understanding the history of Maharishi School, the success and promise that is inherent in Consciousness-Based Education, and the knowledge that the education of a child must begin with the whole child, it is my privilege to honor those leaders that came before and have provided a solid foundation for our Lower School.

Thank you for having the confidence in my ability to move the Lower School forward, make changes where needed, and allow my concern for the overall education and well-being of the children to be my goal as Lower School Director.

Introducing Montessori in grades 1 through 3 is one of my top objectives in the coming years. Also, planning a rich learning environment where students are able to take advantage of before and after school programs and field trips that enrich and broaden their educational experiences are my goals for the near future. Parent and community participation will be sought, in hopes of creating a full and diverse Lower School culture.

The times have changed, and so our school must give our children the tools they need to successfully meet these changes, while remaining established in themselves as happy, mindful, and courageous young people.”

We warmly invite you to a reception to welcome Lynn to the Lower School Director’s position on Thursday, April 11th, at 3:30 pm. She will share more of her thoughts and plans for the coming year and looks forward to your input. If you’d like to send congratulations, comments, or ideas, you can contact Lynn at lshirai@MaharishiSchool.org

 

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

5th and 6th Graders Student Gardening

Last week, our 5th and 6th graders had the opportunity to study the ins and outs of gardening by doing two activities for the greenhouse class! They continued on their square foot gardening project Friday, and 6th grade visited Crow Creek on Saturday.

The big project this spring is square foot gardening. Students are following a four step process: discover, dream, design, destiny. The discovery part of this project was researching different kinds of plants. Then students drew inspiration from many types of gardens to dream up ideas for their own gardens, and brainstormed plants they would like to grow. They moved into the design stage where they edited their plant lists to species that do well in our climate and are easy to grow. They are working on gathering all the materials that they will need for their square foot gardens including high quality compost.

Of course plants need soil, water, and sunlight, and so every garden design must start with the soil. This week, the first implementation step, destiny, is to build worm bins to make a home for red wrigglers — a species that has especially beneficial microorganisms in its gut and thus in its manure. Students collected cardboard and newspaper to create a moist and delicious environment for the worms, as well as egg shells to keep the pH from getting too acidic. They are looking forward to building their worm bins and starting seeds!

On Saturday, Greenhouse teacher Lacie Teal led the 6th grade class on a walk to Crow Creek where they collected water samples. These water samples will be sent to a lab for testing to help monitor the health of the creek ecosystem. The saturation of different chemicals, such as nitrogen, will be measured by the lab tests. These measurements will show what types of pollution are present or if the creek is clean which will tell us how wildlife, like frogs and fish, could be affected. We will update you when we get the results!

 

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Shristi Attends University of Iowa Hackathon

Shristi attended the University of Iowa Hackathon for high school students at North Liberty High School. This is the first hackathon of UoI for high schoolers. There were seven teams: five teams with four students each, one team with three students, and one all girls team of two students – Shristi and a 9th grader from North Liberty High School whom Shristi met the previous day and formed a group.

All teams were given time from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm to work on their projects and show to the judges at the end of the day. It was a fierce competition because other teams had senior and experienced programmers in their teams who worked on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence projects for this competition.

Suresh Sharma, Shristi’s father, had this to say:

“I was not expecting anything from Shristi’s team because they were competing against bigger and experienced teams. Shristi’s team was clueless when they started and in the beginning had no idea of the project, but finally, they came up with a very creative idea of creating an interactive map of major historical events during a specific period. Seeing the competition I was not expecting top three positions from Shristi’s team. I thought that if they were lucky, they might get a third place. When they announced the award, I was shocked and delighted that they got first place.”

Shristi and her teammate got first place because of the creativity, innovate thinking, and programming skills. It was a simple idea, but the judges hadn’t ever seen this type of thing before because it didn’t exist. The judges strongly encouraged Shristi to keep developing this idea and pitch this to Smithsonian. It was great and very satisfying to see Shristi’s progress.

 

-by Suresh Sharma

 

 

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

First of Its Kind for Maharishi School – Esports Victory

ESports Victory

Sage Cenatori is a true pioneer for the Maharishi School, recently bringing home the first place trophy from a tournament held at the WACO high school in Wayland, Iowa. This trophy is unique, not just because it was 3D printed during the competition, but because it was for an Esports tournament. Esports are video games that are played professionally and are generally watched by large audiences online and in person. Over 100 Universities and Colleges now offer athletic scholarships for budding Esport stars such as Sage, and many high school leagues have sprung up all around the country.

The Tournament

The recent tournament at WACO hosted 32 students from 8 different schools at their state-of-the-art Esports Arena. Students competed in a game called Fortnite which involves strategically building and battling their way to be the last player alive. Competitors have to protect themselves from their opponents while posturing for the high ground in a small arena. The battles are short, generally lasting about 5 minutes, but the action is blazingly fast.

Taking Home the Trophy

Drew Ayrit, the tournament organizer said Sage “dominated” the competition as Sage went undefeated through the bracket. Sage took home the first place honors along with his trophy and a specially designed gaming chair from Bytespeed who sponsored the event.

There was a clear buzz around Sage throughout the tournament as spectators and fellow students huddled close to watch as Sage methodically and creatively outsmart and outplay his opponents. Reaction times and hand-eye coordination are only part of the skill set necessary to be victorious. Much like traditional sports, there is a back and forth between opponents as they learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and decide how to approach each strategically unique situation. No battle is the same and creativity and flexibility are essential to be victorious.

Number One Challenge 

After the tournament, Sage said that “the fear of losing” was his number one challenge and that he didn’t just get used to it or learn how to deal with it but clearly “overcame” it throughout the course of the day.

Sage comes home with a well-deserved victory, and the Maharishi School adds another avenue for showcasing the creativity, intelligence, and mental toughness of their students. Congratulations to Sage for this pioneering accomplishment and hopefully this is the first of many trophies to be brought home to the Maharishi School.
– written by Owen Blake

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Commitment to Iowa Scholarship

Private School can seem unattainable or unaffordable. We understand. We have some suggestions about how to make private school more affordable on another blog post. We are also really excited to tell you about a scholarship we offer to individuals who already live in Iowa and want to come to Maharishi School – our Commitment to Iowa Scholarship.

COMMITMENT TO IOWA SCHOLARSHIP

The Commitment to Iowa Scholarship will be awarded to a limited number of eligible applicants entering the 6th-12th grades. The award is based on both need and merit; the need is assessed by Financial Aid Independent Review (FAIR) and merit is evaluated based on the student’s application, GPA and prior school records. This scholarship can be awarded up to 4-years, based on the availability of funds, will cover up to 25% of tuition (minus a $300 deposit) for students in grades 6-12. To continue receiving the scholarship, the student must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and remain in good disciplinary standing. The parents of students receiving the Commitment to Iowa Scholarship must reside in Iowa. The parents must also commit to either volunteer at the School 40 hours/year or fundraise at least $400/year.

The CTI donor will support up to $50,000 in scholarship funds each year.

Apply

If you would like to apply for the Commitment to Iowa Scholarship, please contact a member of our admissions staff below.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Pranav Chhaliyil named as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar and Ms. Barbara Hays, the Teacher of Merit.

On January 9, the Society for Science & the Public named the top scholars of the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, recognizes and empowers the most promising young scientists in the U.S. who are creating the ideas and solutions that solve our most urgent challenges. The Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have announced Pranav Chhaliyil as one of the 300 high school seniors named as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars. Pranav is a senior at the Maharishi School, Fairfield, Iowa to receive this great honor. His mentor and teacher Ms. Barbara Hays also was nominated as the “Teacher of Merit” by Regeneron.

The selection as scholar is a great honor, and signifies talent and promise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These scholars join a distinguished group of alumni that includes Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, entrepreneurs and innovators who, were named among the top 300 competitors in this program as seniors in high school.

Regeneron Science Talent Search scholarEach scholar, selected from 1,964 entrants, receives a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 going to his or her respective school, resulting in $1.2 million in total scholar awards from Regeneron.

The scholars, who hail from 184 American and international high schools from 38 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and two countries abroad, were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 2,000 students. Each of the 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000.

Pranav’s Findings

Pranav from his 7th grade had been involved in scientific research on oral microbiome. Last year he conducted research on the effect of sugar causing dental damage and was curious to know if white sugar or unprocessed brown-sugar made any difference. To his surprise, he found that eating unrefined sugar is good for preventing systemic diseases like eating unrefined starches like whole grains. The balance of good and bad bacteria of the oral microbiome was significantly disturbed with white sugar. However while eating unrefined sugar, which is rich in polyphenols, prevented biofilm formation in the tooth.

“I actually invented a new mouthwash that’s rich in polyphenols and it includes my previously developed Nano charcoal. Middle school children volunteered to be his subjects for the research involving DNA sequencing of oral microbiota. The subjects who ate porridge that contained the white sugar got protection from the early colonizers by using the mouthwash.” He plans to commercialize the product as a healthier alternative, Pranav explained.

We Are All Proud

“We’re very proud of him, he set a great example to other students because he is not only highly achieved, but we see the support that he gives to his peers here at the school as well. He has kept his feet on the ground. So, just deep pride,” said Dr. Richard Beall, Maharishi School Principal.

Pranav has some words of advice for students. “Never belittle your small ideas that popup in your brain. If you think how it will help others, it will magically self-develop and will impact the lives of many people more than you can think of. “I always believe that in order for you to succeed, it’s important for you to also give back,” said Pranav.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Dr. Beall Addresses Cold Weather Concerns

Dear Maharishi School Community,

How cold is it?

I’ll spare you the lame jokes. But the prediction for temperatures next Tuesday-Thursday is no laughing matter. If it holds true, they will be the coldest consecutive days in my 30+ years as a school administrator.

The question is, what will we do about it? Will there be school those days if the windchill is far below zero?

Of course, schools all over Iowa will be faced with the same decision. I’ve been in contact with the superintendents of nearby school districts and other independent schools in the Midwest. Their policies vary widely, from a fixed policy of a windchill temperature of -18 to nearly -40 degrees for delaying or canceling school…to flexible policies depending on specific conditions that day.

Like them, our Maharishi School administrative team is up early checking conditions on inclement weather days. Twice last week Terry Weiss was on the roads at 4:30 am. By 6 am we are checking all the weather sources (weather.govweather.comaccuweather.com), texting or calling each other, and consulting with other schools’ decisions.

Public schools have bus routes to consider, with students standing outside waiting for pick-up. Maharishi School is different. Most of you live in or near Fairfield. We do have some families several miles outside of town, but they are driving in, not waiting for a bus.

When the situation is purely cold and wind, we consult the accuweather.com “RealFeel” wind chill ratings. You can compare these to the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart: https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart.

The danger is exposed skin for prolonged periods of time. Most of our students, faculty, and staff have a relatively short exposure–walking from their cars to the buildings. That should be possible for short times, less than 10 minutes in severe cold. But we always strongly recommend wearing protective clothing: warm hats, gloves, boots, and even face coverings.

It’s hard–maybe impossible–to make a decision that is right for everyone. Parents told us this week what a hardship it was to have school delayed or canceled, forcing them to cancel appointments with clients, and jeopardizing their business. Others want school delayed or closed whenever the temperature approaches those low levels. We hear you all, and we are doing our best.

As the Iowa City Community School District states, “The District must make one decision that is appropriate for [all] students. We recognize that this decision may not always fit with individual circumstances. Therefore, we support parents/guardians making the best decision for their family. Parents/guardians may choose to keep their children at home if they are concerned about their child’s safety due to weather conditions. In this event, they must notify the school and the absence will be recorded as excused.”

Maharishi School holds to that same policy. Safety first, as decided by your family. But we hope to stay open as much as possible. We built two extra days into our schedule. Those have already occurred. Any additional full days closed will require make-up days later in the year.

So these are the factors that go into our decision making. We’ve decided on a hybrid for this year:

* The Children’s House will close when wind chills are expected to reach -20. This will be confirmed shortly after 6:00 am.

* The rest of the School will consider the overall conditions and announce the decision shortly after 6 am.

Please check your preferred source for our school status (our website, emails, Facebook, exploreseiowa.com, or KMCD radio). Please ensure that your child has adequate winter clothing. And please know that we are doing our best to find the right decision for our entire school community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Beall and Maharishi School Administration

 

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Exciting News – Single Entry

A Note From Dr. Beall About Our New Single Entry System

Happy 2019! Along with the coming of the New Year, we are also—finally—ushering in our Single Entry system for improved school security.

That means beginning at 9 am each day, the only door that will be open for entry is by the Assembly Hall. All other exterior doors will be locked. There are a doorbell and intercom at the Entry door so Central Office staff can buzz you in.

Staff and faculty with keys to the exterior doors can use them at any time to enter the buildings, but are asked to never prop the door open.

The exterior door on the north side of Foster Hall will remain open into the foyer, where the interior door will remain locked. There is an intercom there, but ONLY to connect with MUM offices on the 3rd floor to buzz in visitors. Maharishi School students, parents, teachers, and staff should not use this entrance or call MUM for entry.

Other Security Improvements

A fence has been installed on the west side of Foster Hall to secure the courtyard.

And we have installed security cameras at each of the main entrances (Assembly Hall, Foster, Hopson Main Doors, and Preschool) which we can monitor 24/7 from any location.

Special Thanks

I’d like to express a special thanks to everyone who has been working on these components:

* Parent Sam Lieb, who donated the security cameras

* Becky Dye, our Chief Custodian

* Tony Hallen, our IT Manager

* Bill Graeser, MUM Locksmith

* Phil D’Agostino, MUM Telecommunications

* Terry Weiss, our Facilities Director, who oversaw the entire project

NOTE: All visitors to the school will be expected to sign in at the Central Office and wear a Visitor badge. If you are a frequent guest, we will prepare a permanent Volunteer identification badge for you. We appreciate your patience with this important initiative.

NOTE #2: The Single Entry door will open at 8am. Middle and Upper School students should not be dropped off earlier than 8am. Lower School students should not be dropped off earlier than 8:45am. If your family needs some special consideration, please contact your respective Division Director.

We hope these measures will enhance the security of our School inhabitants and that 2019 will be a peaceful, progressive year for each of you.

Best wishes,

Richard and the School Administration

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

How to Make Private School More Affordable

Private school can seem pretty expensive, and it is, but there are ways to make it more affordable. We rounded up our favorite suggestions, ones we offer new families in our own school. Here they are!

Scholarships

One way private school can be more affordable is by applying for scholarships within and outside of your school of choice. Many schools provide scholarships for things like exceptional creativity, specialized interest, or need-based scholarships. Inquire with the admissions director of your school to pursue these options.

Outside of your school, many companies partner with schools to provide scholarships. One scholarship program we suggest to our students is Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance, and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability, or national origin. One scholarship from Land’s End and Scholarship America is available here. 

Financial Aid from the School

Many schools offer income-based tuition on a sliding scale. When applying for schools, it is best to ask the admissions counselor about the tuition structure and financial aid options available to you through the school. Some schools may not offer a sliding scale tuition, and it is better to know that upfront before going through all the work of applying to the school if you cannot afford tuition.

In addition to income-based tuition, some schools offer financial aid. This financial aid may come in the form of scholarships or tuition reduction. Often times, you can find scholarship information on the school’s website. If you cannot find that information on their website, ask the admissions counselor.

Raising Money with Your Personal Network of Contacts

It may feel uncomfortable, but it is not uncommon to ask friends and family to help support sending your child to a private school. You can do this via fundraiser (selling baked goods, wrapping paper, etc.) or by asking for monetary donations. Once you collect the funds, you can use them to make a payment on your child’s behalf. 

If you have made the decision to send your child to public school, do not be discouraged by the price. Remember the reasons you selected this path of education and get creative! Always feel that you can reach out to the admissions staff for help. They want to see your child succeed too.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556