How to Prepare for School: Fall 2021 Edition

What should you expect?  And who decides?

The Maharishi School Leadership Team make the hard decisions that keep our school in a constant state of improvement. They provide a vision for our future and take the action necessary toRichard Beall execute that vision. When it comes to issues such as the covid pandemic, our Leadership Team gets its cues from a lot of different authorities:

  •        Iowa Governor Reynolds
  •        Iowa legislature
  •       Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  •       Public Health officials
  •       Maharishi International University
  •       Our Board of Directors

Sometimes that input is informational; other times the decisions are made for us, like when the Governor closed in-person schooling in March 2020 or disallowed mask mandates in May 2021.

 

leadership team covid masksWhere do we get information from?

Our Leadership Team is monitoring CDC sources daily for COVID-related developments as we consider our options for 2021-22. We strongly recommend reading the Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools as a guideline.

In this guide you will find that the CDC recommends:

  • In-person learning
  • Vaccination
  • Masks for vaccinated persons

PLEASE NOTE: We have not adopted these recommendations at this point. Everything is still under consideration.

 

What can we prepare for?

At present we can foresee three different types of scenarios for the fall:

 

Scenario One: COVID cases decline, vaccination rates climb, masks become unnecessary. We’re pretty much back to “normal.”covid masks kids in mask

 

Scenario Two: COVID variants prove threatening, some precautionary measures continue, like mask wearing and social distancing.

 

Scenario Three: An upsurge of COVID cases, perhaps due to a variant, requires stronger preventive precautions, ranging from online-only classes to mask wearing mandates.

 

In other words, stay tuned. A survey will be sent to you in early August to solicit your perspective on the situation.

In the meantime, we are open to your input and will respond to questions, to the best of our ability.

 

 

To read about our Coronavirus guidelines, click here.

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 and Instagram.

Newsletter Team Introductions

Meet the team

While the entire CCLS class contributes to the newsletter there are three main editors who decide the content for the newsletter—for example, the funnies, puzzles, and articles.

Faeven Gebremariam

My name is Faeven Gebremariam, and I am a sixth-grader at Maharishi School. I have been at Maharishi School all my life, and I learned Transcendental Meditation in fifth grade. I love to dance, sing, bake, draw, read, hang out with friends, and play the violin too. We worked hard on this newsletter, so I hope you enjoy reading it!

Antariksha Sharma

My name is Antariksha Sharma, and I’m in 7th grade. I like to read, dance, cook, and have fun. I want to become an Emergency Surgeon and an Oncologist when I grow up. One of my favorite quotes is: “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” – Winne the Pooh.

Dharma Sumithran

dharma newsletterMy name is Dharma Sumithran, and my family and I moved to Fairfield a few months ago. I learned Transcendental Meditation and joined

the seventh grade in Maharishi School. I like to dance, bake, read, and play the flute. I have enjoyed making this newsletter, so I hope you like it!

 

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Quilt Tales; Warming Ourselves with Positives of 2020

By Dharma

dharma newsletterDid we ever think there were many positives in 2020? Probably not. Well, in our classes for CCLS, we realized that there actually were: 2020 was an extraordinary and positive year in many ways for all of us. The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders came together and started to work on a quilt. The purpose of the quilt was to show that even though 2020 was tough, because of Covid 19 and other events such as the wildfires in Australia, the US elections, and the stock market crash, we learned and grew a lot.

The process of making the quilt had many steps. First, everyone was given a square, and we needed to think deeply about what was important and meaningful to us, and what positive experiences we got out of 2020. Then we drew and colored a picture that represented our experiences on the fabric.

Next, an accomplished quilter, Roseline Woods, and a proud parent of a middle school child, Danielle Wallace volunteered to help us quilt the cloth squares. We got to use regular sewing machines and a special sewing machine to write our name, grade, and where we were from, on the cloth. Then Ms. Woods took all the squares and put them together to form one coherent quilt. The quilt now hangs in our school corridor, available for people to see and reflect upon.

Making the quilt helped us understand 2020 more deeply and find joy in it. We learned that everything has a plus side; it just takes a little time, effort, and intention to find it.

Poem inspired by the Quilt by Dharmanewsletter quilt middle school

Twenty-twenty is now long gone,

And in all of us, new qualities were born.

In the pandemic, the new “out was in”,

Giving us time to learn, and be with kin.

At home where we had to be,

Our creativity we could see.

We did and we discovered

Things that had to be uncovered.

We tried and we failed,

But each time, determination prevailed.

In the ups and downs, we were crafting history,

And when this time ends, we can share the victory.

The principle Dharma chose to represent in her quilt piece and poem is

Harmony exists in diversity

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Better Sleep, Better Life Part 2

By Kate, Kyran, Poojita

newsletter middle school

When you don’t sleep it can make your attitude change. For example, you could get frustrated or mad. It doesn’t only affect you, but it affects other people. For instance, if you don’t sleep enough, you can get lazy and get on other people’s nerves. For example, if someone asks you a simple question or is trying to talk to you, you might answer in a rude or unmannerly way.

To read part one of this feature click here.

 

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Better Sleep, Better Life

By Rahini, Yo, and Faeven

Sleep is an important function of the body that helps us rest and recharge for activities ahead. Enough sleep also wards off chronic diseases.middle school newsletter Your lifestyle could damage your body.

Many people take sleep for granted. Sure, you might need to stay up a little later to study for important schoolwork, but if you can, try to avoid staying up all night by not using your electronics or watching TV. It can seriously impact your health, both physical and mental, in the long term.

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Gratitude

By Phoenix, Antariksha, Max, and Makayla

A simple “Thank you” can mean much more to someone than we actually think. In CCLS this year, we learned many valuable lessons, including how to clearly express our emotions, be clearer with our words, and connect with other people.

One big takeaway was one lesson on gratitude, for being grateful leads to your understanding of how to be a better version of yourself. One point that really stuck with us was that a “thank you” couldn’t be forced. It has to be genuine because the person receiving the “thank you” would be able to tell our emotions. Properly expressed real gratitude could really make someone’s day.

middle school kids

Other people aren’t the only ones we can express gratitude to. We can express thankfulness to ourselves, nature, and opportunities for anything that we think is deserving. Before this class, we might have thought that thanking an object was a bizarre practice. Who does that, right?

But the truth is that when we go out of our way to recognize somebody, it makes us feel good about ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an object or a person. Just that we can appreciate someone else without expecting anything in return except for the feeling of fulfillment we get.

Being grateful is a human thing, here is what some 7th graders are grateful for:

Makayla, for the new shoes she got for Christmas; Max, for his parents allowing him to build a PC; Phoenix, for being able to win level 44 of a game; and Antariksha, for the opportunities in America she has in her life.

Consider being grateful for any of these things: pets, family, education, travel, fun, sunny day, technology, laughs!

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

From the Desk of the CCLS Middle School Teacher

Written by Josephine Ruffin

It was a great joy to be offered the opportunity to teach the CCLS class in Maharishi Middle School this year. You might ask: “What is CCLS?”

The Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills course (CCLS) has grown out of the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI). All around us in Nature and in human life, we see patterns of orderliness or intelligence. Every field of knowledge studies some aspect of orderliness in Nature. Maharishi’s Science of Creative Intelligence is unique because it studies intelligence itself. Like any science, it has a practical aspect and a theoretical aspect.

First, students learn and practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

Then they study other sciences and arts appropriate for their level of development and connect them to their experience of pure awareness.

For example, in CCLS class they studied the art of giving and receiving an apology. This raises their awareness of the importance of letting an individual know when you recognize you have done something wrong, and that you are genuinely sorry. This clears the path for moving forward, healing, and improving relationships. It shows how our words and actions can nourish the fine feeling level. This demonstrates the Life Principle: Purification leads to progress.

They also studied the life science of AyurVeda (Ayur means life, Veda means knowledge). This included selecting the appropriate diet and exercise regimen for themselves, sleep, meditation, and how to detect imbalances in their body by taking their own pulse.

We also created a colorful quilt to focus their attention on the positive aspects of 2020 when Covid-19 had such an impact on their lives. They related their experience to a principle of Creative Intelligence and illustrated it on a cloth square. These were then integrated into a quilt.

They learned the anatomy of an effective email—the receiver, subject, salutation, body, and closing—and how to connect with the consciousness of the recipient to uplift them and inspire them through communicating at a profound level.

This quarter we are working on connecting with cities and countries, to reinforce the principle: “The world is my family.” Our students have connected to those in Maharishi schools in Canada and Australia. They discovered how similar our experiences really are.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter that the students have created. Special thanks to the editors: Antariksha, Dharma, and Faeven.

Maharishi said to the press: “Watch, and report what you see.

josephine teacher maharishi school

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Consciousness, Connections & Life Skills (CCLS)

What is CCLS?

This subject, originally called SCI or the Science of Creative Intelligence, has been part of the school since its inception and has gone through many changes over time. Eight years ago, there was a major overhaul of the curriculum based on alumni response. In 2018, the curriculum underwent a further change with the addition of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and Comprehensive Health lessons to the curriculum. The name of the subject changed from SCI to CCLS (Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills) to reflect this change. To expand on the name: Consciousness (the understanding and experience of consciousness through Transcendental Meditation), Connections (between different areas of life; interdisciplinary), and Life Skills (practical skills useful to everyday life, including SEL and sexual health).

The mission statement of the school is: To create an innovative, consciousness-based educational environment, where students think deeply and become creative,project period maharishi school compassionate, contributing citizens of the world.

There are four components of CCLS that directly teach to this mission statement: SCI (Science of Creative Intelligence), SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), the Comprehensive Health Curriculum (called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility), and Positive Discipline. We also have incorporated Restorative Justice talking circles.

What is SCI?

SCI (Science of Creative Intelligence) is the study of creativity and intelligence and principles found in everyday life that allow us to make connections between different fields of study and human experience. SCI deals primarily with the experience and understanding of consciousness.

  • The experiential part of this subject is that all the students practice Transcendental Meditation as part of curriculum every day in the morning and afternoon. (Students begin practicing TM starting in 4th grade. From ages 4 to 10, the students practice a simpler technique that is preparation for sit down meditation. Included in this program is a series of yoga asanas (postures) and a simple breathing exercise which serves to prime the nervous system for meditation, pranayama.
  • The theoretical or intellectual component involves an examination of the nature of consciousness, the relationship of consciousness to the physical world and the laws of nature. This exploration of consciousness is age-appropriate and occurs at all grade levels throughout the school, beginning in Preschool with more concrete activities and becoming more complex and theoretical in upper school.

What is SEL?

SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) in our Upper School consists of five main competencies as formulated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). SEL is implemented differently at various grade levels, including the Preschool, Lower School, Middle School and Upper School.

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior.
  • Self-Management: the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.
  • Social Awareness: the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Relationship Skills: the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
  • Responsible Decision-Making: the ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.

Comprehensive Health Curriculum

We use the K-12 curriculum from Advocates for Youth called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility. This curriculum includes age-appropriate lessons that cover a wide range of health areas, including relationships and consent, STDs and contraception, dating abuse, etc. In Preschool, the students are taught early consent, boundaries, and becoming comfortable with using anatomically correct words to describe their bodies. In upper school, we do a couple lessons a month and design our own slide presentations to supplement the materials.

Positive Discipline

Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. It teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for children and adults. In the summer of 2018, the school adopted Positive Discipline as part of our professional development program and invited a specialist to provide in-depth training. Our overall goal for positive discipline is to culture mutual respect between peers and adults, and to make sure all children are heard, respected, and intrinsically motivated.

  • In Preschool, the focus is on conflict resolution, but also includes understanding feelings, recognizing their own voice, making sure every child is heard, and maintaining boundaries, with class meetings or circles to facilitate communication.
  • In Lower School, the emphasis is on classroom management and conflict resolution.
  • In Middle School, communication skills and conflict resolution are the main focus.
  • In Upper School, many aspects of Positive Discipline (such as effective communication and problem-solving skills) are covered in the SEL curriculum and practiced in the classroom. Upper school also utilizes Restorative Justice talking circles and practices, which are much in line with Positive Discipline.

 

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 and Instagram.

The Sisterhood of the Girls Who Code

Starting a Girls Who Code Club in Fairfield, Iowa

Girls Who Code (GWC) is an international non-profit organization whose programs educate, equip, and inspire girls with computing skills they’ll need to pursue 21st-century career opportunities. Maharishi School student Shristi Sharma has been a self-taught coder since the 4th grade when she heard about a GWC club that had opened in the local public high school. Even though there were only 3 other kids at the time Shristi says, “It was the first time I had found other girls who were also doing something that I was interested in, and the club became a way of making new friends for me. When the club shut down I was very sad that I couldn’t continue to find this support group. That’s when I asked myself, why can’t I start my own club?”

Shristi found out that you have to be 18 to start a club and at this point, she was only 13 but felt strongly that she had the skill set necessary to teach coding. 

girls who code club maharishi school“I did something which is pretty uncharacteristic of me. I cold emailed the founder of GWC, Reshma Saujani, who is a huge celebrity in the tech world. I told her how even though I was too young, I had the skill set necessary to start my own club, and that there was a need for it because there wasn’t a single club within a 50-mile radius of Fairfield.”

Shristi’s desire to have a community of female coders, coupled with her exceptional ability to code, got the founder’s attention. She responded to Shristi’s email and gave her the contact person that would help bypass the rule of being 18 to start a club.

“I got to start my club! Our first supervisor was Sophia Blitz who was our math teacher at the time and also had software engineering experience, so it was a lot of fun. Now my co-facilitator is Anne McCollum, a Computer Science professor at Maharishi International University.”

Learning How to Lead

The club not only attracted girls from Maharishi School but some were traveling from surrounding towns to attend, as well as home schools and the local public school.

“I enjoyed meeting people from all around the area, we are open to anyone willing to travel. There’s a saying in the GWC organization, be a guide on the side, not sage on the stage. I took that to heart during my first year of teaching because it’s not about me lecturing them as much as it’s a collaboration. We teach each other and learn together.”

Each year the 6th-12th grade girls have a goal to create a project that benefits the local community in some way, while the 3-5th grade girls learn the fundamentals of computer science. Once they decide on a project they learn the necessary technology to build it.

“The first year we wanted to raise awareness about food insecurity and how much food goes to waste. We made an IOS Apple game, it was very simple. You have a trash can on the bottom of the screen, then there are fruits and hamburgers falling from the sky. The goal is to make sure the fruit doesn’t fall into the trash and every time you lose you’re faced with a statistic or fact about what you can do to decrease food insecurity and increase sustainability.”

“I had never made an IOS app before so I had to teach myself Swift, which is a programming language. Then I had to teach the other girls how to use it as well. We had to get verified and pay a $99 setup fee. Through GWC I learned about how to write grants and how to get funding.”

The Culture of Girls Who Code

For the 18 girls this year, it’s more than just a club. It’s a sisterhood. Not only do they learn complex coding languages but they celebrate holidays, and sometimes throw a party just because they feel like it! Shristi explains, “I’m a big foodie and I like to have snacks at every meeting. I think food brings people together, so every week we have a fun snack. It’s a club and extra circular but it’s become more than that. In GWC you find a group of friends. You meet people who you would never usually talk to. I’ve learned a lot about how to manage and work with different people.”

“The whole reason I’m doing this club is that; I’m a self-taught programmer and I understand how difficult it is to get yourself up and running on your own. I’m doing it because I like coding and I enjoy it, it’s a hobby of mine. As a girl in coding, you’re on a different playing field and it’s not always equal. There’s a lot of discrimination and prejudice. I’ve faced some of that too. GWC is about having a community of female coders that can support each other while learning a challenging subject.”

GWC exists to close that gender gap in the technology profession. Shristi explained that while younger girls are excited and curious about STEM-related fields, that interest is diminished when they become a teenager and are told: “this is not a field for girls, it’s a guy thing.” The whole point of GWC is to overcome this challenge and flip that thinking so more women are normalized in programming.

“We need more women in programming. Especially women of color, because technology has taken over the world. It’s pervasive in every single field, and being able to code and create those technologies is an extremely useful skill to have. It’s also important that we have diversity represented in the room when we’re coding because if we don’t, then we can’t cater to those populations in the end. Products and tools are being made that are not taking into account the female perspective. So that’s why I feel it’s important to emphasize diversity and create an environment for younger girls to thrive. That way they can feel supported enough to pursue this as an actual career opportunity.”

What Shristi learned from GWC

“I’ve had to work with all sorts of girls over the last four years and it’s been amazing for me to open up my bubble. I’m a naturally introverted person. Through GWC I’ve learned to lead in a way that I’m not overpowering others but I’m also not letting things stray off course. Especially with the younger girls because I have to come up with creative lesson plans that are fun and engaging. Taking incredibly difficult concepts and breaking them down into simple step-by-step solutions is a skill I’ve had to learn. That has helped me help them be more interested in what they’re doing and have fun.”

“Because of GWC, I’ve become more confident in my ability to have an impact. For example, there was a girl at the beginning of the year who was ready to give up. I worked through the issue with her and calmed down her frustrations. Once I got her to a successful point with her work, she then turned to her friends to help them out. It was such a powerful moment for me because I helped her and her immediate thought is to then help her friends with the same problem. I love that I can have a domino effect in that way.”

“Moments like that encouraged my participation in interact which is a Rotary club for youth. We do community service projects in Fairfield and internationally. I also joined the Student Council in high school and am president this year, so I’ve taken on a lot of leadership positions. Because of what I learned in GWC, I now enjoy the idea of being able to make small impacts that can snowball and help people on a grander scale.”

Future projects for GWC

This year because of covid the Fairfield community has been missing our “First Friday Artwalks” in the town square. The older GWC club decided that their community impact project this year will be to create a website where local artists can upload what they’ve been doing to an online gallery. The girls will also create a 3D map. This way you can virtually walk around the square and click on all the various shops to see coupons and different ways that you can support local businesses during this time.

Shristi says that the girls are currently learning the necessary skills to be able to create this and she hopes to be finished with it by the end of this school year.

“Through this whole process, we are learning industry-level concepts that real software developers use when they’re working in their companies. The main goal is to go through that process. No matter the end results, no matter how polished or perfect it is, we are proud to have a product that reflects what all that we have learned throughout the year.”

 

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 and Instagram.

To learn more about Girls Who Code watch this video:

Hands-On Learning in Middle School

Sheila Higgins gets Middle Schoolers hands dirty with hands-on learning

In my experience, middle school students naturally resonate with the open-ended structure of hands-on learning. They’re more excited about, engaged with, and invested in the learning process when they’re given the freedom to actively create their own knowledge, rather than passively consuming it.  Hands-on learning is an immersive experience that enhances a student’s ability to think critically and take ownership of their inquiries. Hands-on projects offer a safe space to make mistakes and learn organically through trial, error, and iterative thinking.

I love this approach to teaching because it creates the conditions for play, which is such a natural (and important!) way of engaging in authentic learning. While a hands-on model can take many forms, it’s essentially “learning by doing”–a practice that not only develops competency, but also strengthens the
qualities of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration within the learner. Students retain more
information about experiences that are memorable; for instance, investigating Newton’s Laws of Motion becomes much more engaging–and impactful–when they are physically explored in the context of a design challenge…rather than a traditional textbook lesson. In my 8th grade class, students design Balloon-powered Race Cars for a competitive engineering experience. Through this, their learning becomes a dynamic process in which scientific principles are explored in a real-world, immediate context.
I believe that learning is a lifelong process. Through hands-on projects, I hope to cultivate a sense of wonder and empowerment in my students’ approach to school.
Click here to watch Sheila’s Middle School class in action!

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

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.