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Learn More About the Education Savings Accounts (ESA) in Iowa

What is the ESA?

The Students First Act, introduced by Governor Reynolds and signed into law on January 24, 2023, supports the success of every K-12 student in Iowakindergarten by makes state funding available. The bill establishes a framework and funding for education savings accounts, which may be used by eligible families to cover tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses at accredited private schools in Iowa.

How does ESA work?

Parents who choose to enroll their eligible children in an accredited private school will receive an amount equal to the per pupil funding allocated to public school districts for the same budget school year. Funds will be deposited into an education savings account (ESA) to be used for tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses as specified in the legislation.

The state has signed a contract with Odyssey to manage program administration for Students First Education Savings Accounts, including applications, financial transactions, compliance, fraud prevention and customer service. Odyssey was selected through a competitive bid process based on its ability to first gradesecurely administer funds, provide families with direct customer service and support and offer the state real-time insight into the program’s effectiveness.

The Office of the Governor, Department of Education, Department of Management, and Office of the Chief Information Officer are working with Odyssey to implement the technology platform. The state plans to begin taking applications during the month of May, but a specific date has not yet been announced. Details regarding the application process will be provided later this month to help families prepare to apply. Applications will be due on June 30, 2023, for the 2023-2024 school year.

 

Who is eligible?

Students First ESAs will be available based on the following eligibility:

Year 1: School Year 2023-24 

  • All entering kindergarten students
  • All students enrolled in a public school
  • A student enrolled in a private school with a household income at or below 300% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines, $90,000 for a family of four

Year 2: School Year 2024-25

  • All entering kindergarten students
  • All students enrolled in a public school
  • A student enrolled in a private school with a household income at or below 400% of the 2024 Federal Poverty Guidelines that will be updated January 2024

Year 3: School Year 2025-26

  • All K-12 students in Iowa regardless of income

Find more details, here.

 

 

 

What is Destination Imagination?

Destination ImagiNation, Inc., the world’s largest creativity and problem solving organization, inspires participants in all ofDI team 2022 its programs to learn the process, art, and skill associated with problem solving. 

DI is a place where kids take what they know and what they are good at, and learn to apply it to solve challenges, working together and cooperatively with a team and pushing the limits of imagination to best not their competition, but themselves.

Up to seven participants work together as a team for up to 5 months to create their unique solution to a Team Challenge.  Every year 6 unique and new challenges are put out in 6 different areas: Technical, Engineering, Fine Arts, Scientific, Improv and Public Service. Frequently, challenges also incorporate history, culture, literature, math, science, technology and the arts. 

Teams also learn and practice “think on their feet” skills for the Instant Challenge portion of the competition.
Destination ImagiNation helps young people learn in a fun and supportive environment, and the valuable skills they have acquired will be with them for a lifetime.
competition DIParticipants learn unique and critical life skills including teamwork, critical and creative thinking, project management, resource management, mutual respect, research and presentation skills and, as all challenges must be strictly team-solved, self-reliance. These skills make Destination ImagiNation participants more valuable to their communities and as future employees.

Maharishi School Teams

This year Maharishi School has 5 teams.  We have 3 Elementary teams, 1 Middle School Team and 1 Upper School team.  2 teams choose to solve the Engineering Challenge, we have 1 Fine Arts team, 1 Improv team and 1 Technical team.

We are the only DI teams in Iowa so we compete in Illinois.  Our first competition was a Regional Competition, Saturday, March 4th, in Pekin, Illinois. Our teams did very well, and we’re preparing for the  bigger State Competition on March 25th in DeKalb, Illinois.  There they will compete against the best teams from the 4 Regional Competitions that Illinoiis holds.

Elementary Level:

Fine Arts team:  3rd place, 

Team Manager: Moss Cook

  1. Gus O’Connor
  2. Myka Wallace
  3. Hazel Cook
  4. Scarlett Kranz
  5. Harlo Olsen

The Fine Arts Challenge this year requires : 

  1.  Research well-known stories from any genre, culture, medium, and time period. It is up to your team to determine what it means to be well-known. 
  2. Choose one researched story.  Create and present a Flipped Tale. For this Challenge, a Flipped Tale is a team-created story that is inspired by the researched story but focuses on a New Main Character.
  3. For this Challenge, a New Main Character is a character who existed in the researched story but who is not the main character of the researched story.

Improv team:  3rd place

Team Manager:  Whitney Schutten

  1. Chunni Bregenzer
  2. Prithvi Kalra
  3. Keya Thakker
  4. Fuji Aikar
  5. Isabel Everett

This year the requirements for the Improv Challenge are:

Use up to 2 minutes of Preparation time to create an improvisational Skit about an Underdog preparing for and/or participating in a Competition. Incorporate an Expert into the Skit. Enhance the Skit with Trash Bags and Rubber Bands. Use up to 5 minutes to present the Skit to the audience and Appraisers, incorporating a Complication.

Engineering team:  4th place, and highest Instant Challenge score of our Elementary teams

Team Manager:  Amandeep Negi

  1. Ryder Schuldt
  2. Ishaan Desai
  3. Lyra Montgomery
  4. Mehar Negi

This year the requirements for the Engineering Challenge are:

  1. Research roller coaster design.
  2. Design and build a Roller Coaster that will be assembled and then tested during your team’s Presentation at the tournament. For this Challenge, a Roller Coaster is a structure that supports and guides a tournament-provided golf ball along a single, continuous track. 
  3. Design and create a Launching Mechanism that starts moving the golf ball along the Roller Coaster track.
  4. Test how far and how fast the golf ball can travel along the Roller Coaster track.
  5. Team members must do all designing, cutting, shaping, and assembling of the Roller Coaster and Launching Mechanism.
  6. Create and present a skit telling the story of the roller coaster experience

Middle Level:

Engineering team:  1st place

Team Manager:  Mark Wilkins

  1. Ayaan Desai
  2. Sohani Singh
  3. Pranit Ruia
  4. Eliana Alsenosy

Requirement the same as the 4th grade Engineering Challenge

Secondary Level:destination imagination trophy winners 2023

Technical Team:  1st Place

Team Manager:  Celeste Siemsen

  1. Miles Siemsen
  2. Trent Hefner
  3. Uma Wegman
  4. Eva Marie Quevedo Rubio
  5. Jace Wallace

Requirements for the Technical Challenge this year are:

  1. Design and create a Puzzle that will be assembled during the Presentation.

For this Challenge, a Puzzle is a set of separate, physical pieces that create a single unit when assembled.

  1. The Puzzle must have a minimum number of pieces, according to your team’s competition level:
  • Elementary Level teams must have at least 6 pieces.
  • Middle Level teams must have at least 10 pieces.
  • Secondary and University Level teams must have at least 14 pieces.
  1. Designate one piece of the Puzzle as the Crucial Piece. For this Challenge, a Crucial Piece is the most important piece of the Puzzle. It is up to your team to determine why the Crucial Piece is the most important.
  2. Design and build all pieces of the Puzzle using your own ideas and skills. Your team may incorporate commercially produced items, but for scoring, Appraisers will only consider your team’s changes and/or additions to those items.
  3. Each Puzzle piece and the completed Puzzle should be visible from 25ft (7.62m) away.
  4. Create and present a story about how at least one character’s understanding changes at a Pivotal Moment. For this Challenge, a Pivotal Moment is an event or point in the story when something important is revealed, discovered, and/or learned.
  5. Integrate the Puzzle, the Crucial Piece, and Puzzle assembly into the Presentation.

 

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Ready to apply? Click here.

 

Middle School Empty Bowls Project

Empty Bowls

The core purpose of the Empty Bowl project, was for the students to raise money for local food banks as well as food for the bowls international community, while working on project management skills. While our 8th graders worked on various layers of the project to ensure its financial success—it was more than tallying up checks, counting dollars, and change—the event strengthened our community, celebrated the preparation of a variety of delicious soups in beautiful pottery made by the students, and raised community awareness about hunger and poverty, both locally and internationally.

The students set an ambitious financial goal of raising $5000 for the Empty Bowl Project but missed the goal by only $687.19! The students were able to inspire donations and ticket sales to raise $4312.81. This is the most significant amount raised since the Maharishi School began hosting this event.

After the expenses ($154.54) were subtracted, the total being donated to Golden Magnolia Sanctuary Fairfield and World Central Kitchen for Ukraine is $4158.27—51.5% and 48.5% respectively.

 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to create and set goals for a planned project.
  • Project Planning and Management Interpersonal skills.
  • Communication skills:  sending emails, add input to newspaper articles, outreach to potential guests.
  • Learn how to make ceramic bowls.
  • Experience one of their 16 Principles in real time: “Thought Leads to Action, Action Leads to Achievement, Achievement Leads to Fulfillment.”

 

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Top 10 Achievements for 1st Semester

Maharishi School Top 10

On January 12th we honored Maharishi in our traditional Founder’s Day celebration, by recognizing our successes of the past semester, and making wishes for the new year. Your support has given children access to the #1 ranked Private School in Iowa and the benefits of Consciousness-Based education. Thank you for helping our wishes become a reality.

 

  1. NEW UKRAINIAN STUDENTS
    The inquiries came last spring: four Ukrainian students, exiled from their home by the war, asked if they couldukraine students in front of dorm continue their education at Maharishi School. They were attracted to our academic reputation and development of consciousness programs. Within two months, generous donors from our community and across the country raised enough money to fund their living expenses and transportation. Later this fall, three of our seniors, including two Ukrainians, were awarded QuestBridge scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students, covering all of their college expenses.
  2. # 1 RANKINGS
    For five years in a row, Niche.com has ranked Maharishi School #1 in Iowa:
    * Best Private K-12 School
    * Best Private High School
    * Best Boarding School
    Our National rankings continue to improve:
    *Top 4% Most Diverse Private High School
    *Top 5% Best Private K-12 School
    *Top 10% Best Private High School for STEM
    *Top 16% Best College Prep High School
    For more details click here: NICHE #1 for Maharishi School
  3. BOARDING
    We currently have 22 boarding students in our residential life program, a 70% increase over last year. Ourboarding school multicultural dorm includes students from around the world: China, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Nepal/Bhutan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States and Vietnam. We are eager to fill our dorm to capacity for 2023-24!
  4. AP CLASSES
    Maharishi School earned another 1st place in the state this year… in the “AP Index.” We have the highest percentage of high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses of any Iowa school! Our students are enrolled in nine AP courses this year.
  5. CHILDREN’S HOUSE
    Enrollment in the Children’s House are steadily rising back to pre-Covid levels, with new applicants consistently rolling in. We continue to foster, through our Montessori-inspired curriculum, a multi-age classroom, where children can follow their individual interests, while still hitting the benchmarks of the Iowa Standards.
  6. LOWER SCHOOL
    This year the Lower School began their own Student Council, with Ambassadors of Responsibility, Respect, Solutions, Service, and Transcendence, each representing Maharishi School’s Core Values. The Student Council meets regularly to plan activities and initiatives for the Lower School, and they even go into the other classrooms to deliver news or well-wishes to the youngerstudent council students.
  7. CULTURAL PARADIGMS
    New this semester in Upper School, the Cultural Paradigms class was designed to explore the myriad ways of “being human,” through the lens of acceptance and adaptation to differences. Topics include an exploration of cultural values, race, religion, ethnicity, neurodiversity, plus challenges such as physical disabilities, Adverse Childhood Experiences—and the importance of removing barriers to create an equitable society. Pictured in photo is Rabbi Alex Green discussing Judaism. Students are recognizing that complex problems must be solved through collaboration with people who bring different abilities and perspectives to the table—so it is critical to learn how to leverage these differences and celebrate them.
  8. GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
    seniorsFacilitated by Anne Walton, the Senior class recently spent three days at a leadership training retreat learning what it takes to become genuine changemakers. Ms. Walton explained how this includes examining the impact of economics, public policy, community engagement, technology, and the importance of anticipating unexpected consequences, both positive and negative.
    Seniors will apply these principles of collaboration to solve complex problems in the newly created Global Solutions class that begins this month. Small groups of students have already identified their own global challenges, ranging from fast fashion to sustainable housing to support for refugees. These findings will be presented in a final capstone project, to be presented to the community in May.
  9. RAISE CRAZE SUCCESS
    Raise Craze was once again a HUGE success. Students asked friends and family to donate to Maharishi School, and as a way to pay their generosity forward, they performed Acts of Kindness for others. Raising $21,080, our students also performed 924 Acts of Kindness, and school-wide collected 425 pairs of shoes, helping needy people throughout the world.
  10. Maharishi School is deeply grateful for the support shown during our December “Season of Giving” campaign. Our Development Team together with your help, raised $30,000 through Giving Tuesday and Matching Funds.
Thank you all for your
wonderful support!
Cheers to your good health, happiness, and abundance in 2023!

 

 

Ready to apply? Click here.

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Ten Tips to Prepare for College

It’s not to early to be thinking about…
  1. Utilize AP courses to your advantage but don’t let AP pursuits come at a cost to your grand point average (GPA).
  2. Look for mentors in a field that you can see yourself doing, it helps you start making learning how to network while getting more comfortable at approaching adults that you admire.
  3. Volunteer in your area of passion or something that isn’t related to academia. This shows how well rounded you are and colleges will be looking for that type of individual who stands out in their hours clocked after school.
  4. GPA needs to stay up, in 12th grade there’s often this feeling of “coasting” or “senior-itis” but the truth is that if you let your grades slip during the last few years, your GPA will suffer in the end.
  5. Participate in clubs and school activities. This could mean joining the student council or asking your student council members about how you can get more involved.
  6. Do community service related projects or unique assignments that your teachers offer. If you don’t know where to begin always ask your teachers and they can guide you appropriately.
  7. Internships that are offered over summer break can be give you a huge advantage on your college applications as well as gaining useful skills for life.
  8. Develop strong relationships with at least one of your teachers, they will be the ones who write a recommendation letter for you to get into college so it’s good to have at least one teacher that you can feel closely aligned with.
  9. Start thinking about all of this in 9th grade. It’s not too soon to be considering these tips. Be sure you’re working with your college counselor who will keep you on track!
  10. Look below to find more specifics tips from our college counselor.

 

 

Freshmen preparing for college should plan to:

  •     Take challenging classes in core academic courses.
  •     Work with their school counselors to create a yearly schedule to meet graduation and college admissions requirements.
  •     Talk to an advisor or school counselor about taking Advanced Placement®* and honors courses.
  •     Identify interests and potential career fields through online resources, like this interest profiler, and by attending career fairs and other events.
  •     Get involved with community-based and leadership-oriented activities that best reflect their interests.
  •     Browse the College Scorecard to see what types of schools interest them.
  •     As they find and review them, bookmark resources for college planning.
  •     Start a running list of accomplishments, awards, and recognition’s to use when completing college applications and writing resumes.

Sophomores preparing for college should:

  •     Consider taking a practice test to prepare for the PSAT.
  •     Attend college and career information events.
  •     Start learning about funding for college, including scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs, etc.
  •     Consider the types of careers that fit their interests and what college majors they require.
  •     Reach out to school counselors and/or mentors to discuss occupational interests and college requirements.

In the Fall semester, Juniors should:

  •     Take the PSAT if they have not already. Students should generally take the test no later than fall semester of the eleventh grade to qualify for National Merit scholarships and programs.
  •     Attend in-person or online college fairs.
  •     Explore careers and their earning potentials in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

In the Spring semester, Juniors need to:

  •     Register for college admission exams—SAT, the SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT—and take practice tests. College admissions professionals recommend students have at least one standardized score before the end of their junior year.
  •     Research how to pay for college and what federal student aid may be available to you.
  •     Identify scholarship opportunities to pursue; note deadlines on calendar.
  •     Contact colleges to request information and applications.

During the Summer, rising Seniors should:

  •     Plan college visits.
  •     Narrow down the colleges under consideration.
  •     Make decisions required by colleges’ early-decision or early-action programs.
  •     Complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator.

In the Fall semester, Seniors will need to:

  •     Register for and take (or retake) the SAT and/or ACT, if not already done.
  •     Complete and submit college applications prior to deadlines.
  •     Request transcripts and letters of recommendation at least 30 days before they are due.
  •     Work with parents to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® form). Before each year of college, you’ll need to apply for federal grants, work-study, and loans with the FAFSA.
  •     Complete and submit scholarship applications prior to deadlines.
  •     Meet with a counselor to verify that they’ll meet graduation requirements on schedule.

During the Winter months, Seniors should:

  •     Review and make any necessary changes/corrections to their Student Aid Report.
  •     Finish submitting scholarship applications.

In the Spring semester, Seniors will need to:

  •     Visit colleges on their “short list.”
  •     Consider college acceptances; compare financial aid packages offered.
  •     Call college financial aid representatives with questions.
  •     Decide on the college to attend (typically by May 1) and contact its offices.
  •     Make informed decisions about student loans.

While some seniors think they’ve “made it” and can coast in their last year of high school, students preparing for college should recognize that college admissions officers will expect to see they’ve worked hard to keep grades up and stayed involved in school and community activities. Parents may reassure aspiring college students that they can still enjoy life and time with friends while remaining focused on larger goals.

 

Ready to apply? Click here.

Want to know more about our college counseling services? Click here.

Learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

The Four Prides at Maharishi School

Curious about the four Prides?

pridesThe Pioneer is our school mascot and we divided the pioneer into four different qualities, thus the four different prides. Trailblazer, innovator, adventurer, and visionary.

The Pride system at Maharishi School serves many purposes to unify the whole school from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Offering Pride related events serves as an opportunity for the students to collaborate, work on projects together and have school-wide teamwork. Not only do teams have to work harmoniously together but they also compete against the other Prides to earn points throughout the year.

We also wanted the Prides to work with our 5 core values (respect, responsibility, service, solutions, transcendence). Our students are able to earn points for their pride whenever they are displaying any of those core values. Again this gives them an opportunity to compete, earn points, to collaborate, and have a sense of achievement at the end of the year.

As the competition goes on, the points tally up and at the of the year is a big celebration to announce the winning Pride. The winners get to have their photo taken, their pride team name written on our Dean’s cup (which is a big trophy), and they will also get a pizza party, or a free dress day or gift cards.

 

After School Activities Log

While the school day is filled with a busy schedule of math, sciences, writing and projects, we understand that each child may have a desire to go more in depth into an area or personal hobby. Check out this list of fun after school activities that your child can get involved in right here in Fairfield.

[The views and opinions expressed by the following venues do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Maharishi School.] 

 

 

  • Horseback Riding – Either private for $45 or groups of two for $40 each (depending on students experience). Lesson run two hours from start to finish. If you have any more questions or would like to sign up please email Tara at tesands@me.com
  • Tennis – Coach Lawrence Eyre offers group and individual tennis lessons for ages 4-18, please contact him at 309-221-3376
  • Dance Class – The Iowa Dance Collective offers a huge variety of class from ballet, jazz, tap to hip hop, acro/tumbling and more! Click here to view the weekly schedule and here to view prices. To get in contact with Tyler you can email him at tyler@iowadancecollective.com or call 319-280-1262 for more informaiton.
  • Ground Zero Martial Arts– offers youth boxing, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. Click here to visit there website and see the schedule of classes. Or call instructor Nick Ulin at 641-919-6386
  • Driving Lessons – Safer Driver Solutions in a driving school in Iowa that can help you get a driver license. They also support kids learning to drive with autism, ADHD, anxiety and executive functioning disorders. Click here to learn more.
  • Art Lessons – Bill Teeple is the owner of ICON gallery and can be contacted for art classes at iconbillteeple@gmail.com or (641) 919-6252
  • Photography – Carolyn Waksman has many photography workshops throughout the year, to get in touch with her you can email at cwaksman@barclayhedge.com or call 641-472-8427
  • 4-H & Youth/ Iowa State University – Iowa 4-H Youth Development is the premier youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Providing research-based education to K-12 youth, Iowa 4-H focuses on Healthy Living, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Leadership and Civic Engagement, and Communication and the Arts. Click here for more information.

 

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Ukrainian Students Share their Rich Culture with Food

Ukrainian students Their story

Mariia, Sviatoslav, and Olena are Ukrainian students who fled their homes with their mothers and siblings. Their fathers have stayed behind to fight in the war. They were living as refugees in Turkey and western Ukraine with nothing more than what fit in their backpacks Ukrainian foodwhen they left. Like all Ukrainian students, they are looking for safety and escape from the trauma of war – and a chance to continue their education. These three teens have reached out to Maharishi School because they want to complete their high school in Iowa – a peaceful, safe environment.

They made it!

ukrainian

Thanks to the generosity of all the donors who contributed to their GoFundMe (and to Paul Winer and Carol Chestnutt for opening their home to the students),  Mariia, Olena and Sviatoslav have all successfully joined the Maharishi School boarding program this year. In celebration of their arrival they shared a very special treat with all of the new boarding students, a traditional feast from their Ukrainian culture.

ukraine food

The meal included two borscht’s, one vegetarian and one with beef. Grated potato pancakes with a cream-based mushroom gravy poured over, and lastly they made varenkyk (boiled dumplings similar to pierogi).

All of the new boarding kids got a taste of Ukraine with this delicious spread, perhaps we will see a cooking club in the Maharishi School’s future.

 

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What is CCLS?

In addition to our students’ practice of Transcendental Meditation, we have a unique course that distinguishes our Consciousness-consciousness educationBased Education approach.

It’s called Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills. As the title implies, the course has three interrelated aspects:

1) Consciousness: deepening students’ understanding and experience of consciousness

Topics: practice of Transcendental Mediation, yoga, pranayama (breathing technique), advanced TM techniques, brain coherence, theories of human development and higher states of consciousness, collective consciousness, and research on consciousness.

2) Connections: exploring underlying, universal principles and qualities that are common to the structure and functioning of all aspects of life—their academic subjects, in nature, and in themselves

Topics: 16 Life Principles, 50 Qualities and 16 Values of Creative Intelligence.

For example, we see how “Life is found in layers”: whether in the earth’s crust, our government, the analysis of literature, a math theorem, or one’s family and personality.

This is one way Maharishi School cultivates both horizontal and vertical thinking: making connections between all the details on the surface of life and with the big ideas at their basis.

3) Life Skills: developing social-emotional awareness and skills as a foundation for their personal and academic growth.

Topics: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Comprehensive Health, Positive Discipline and Restorative Justice


Social and Emotional Learning curriculum in our Upper School consists of 5 main competencies as formulated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

  • 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.

Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. 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 Middle School, communication skills and conflict resolution are the main focus.
  • In the 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. The upper school also utilizes Restorative Justice talking circles and practices, which are much in line with Positive Discipline.

 

Ready to apply? Click here.

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