Mission, Vision & Values
Missoula International School (MIS) inspires principled global citizens and lifelong learners through a challenging bilingual education from preschool to eighth grade.
We believe our community of learners will impact the world in positive ways as we embrace international friendships, share information and ideas in multiple languages, and forge creative solutions through cross-cultural dialogue.
- We value an academic culture that nurtures individual responsibility and inspires members to work together and serve the local and global community.
- We value the transformation that takes place when members of our community— students, families, faculty, staff, and friends learn and work together.
- We value relationships that connect people to each other.
- We seek connection with people of diverse perspectives in multiple languages.
- We recognize that learning languages connects people across cultural borders and enhances individual capabilities.
- We value a safe and nurturing environment that promotes freedom of expression and a culture of creativity.
- We recognize that the process of inquiry inspires creativity and critical thinking.
- We recognize that taking academic and artistic risks develops confidence and nurtures a well-rounded individual.
At MIS, diverse perspectives, cultures, backgrounds and identities are integral to our school culture and educational program. Therefore, we actively recruit, welcome, and nurture an inclusive community of students, families, trustees, faculty and staff. We honor, value, and celebrate our similarities and differences, recognizing that a commitment to equity requires us to continually challenge and evolve our curriculum, policies, perspectives and practices.
Missoula International School does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or national origin.
Founded in 1995, the Missoula International School (MIS), a nonprofit, independent preschool through eighth grade school, offers unique and challenging 21st century educational opportunities for students in the greater Missoula area. In 2009, MIS became the flagship school in the Northwest as a Primary Years Program (PYP) International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and in spring 2019, MIS became and authorization Middle Years Programme IB World School, the first in our state. The school provides an inquiry based learning environment through an IB education in a full Spanish language immersion environment within a multi-age setting. Full language immersion has been proven to increase cognitive development, literacy, cultural understanding and self-confidence. This approach, along with class sizes that allow for individual attention and deeper relationships within the school community, results in inquiring, knowledgeable, confident and caring global citizens.
MIS is accredited by the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS). Such accreditation requires a school to undergo rigorous self-evaluations of curriculum, programs, employee procedures, facilities and finances. Every eight years, schools in NWAIS are subject to evaluative scrutiny by peer educators. These schools are required to follow prescribed principles of good practice in administration and operation.
- Provides value due to the thoroughness of the process
- Offers assurance of quality education and accountability for families
- Assesses a school’s effectiveness in delivering on the promise of its mission
- Advances mission-driven initiatives and helps to ensure the school’s future capacity
- Is recognized by other agencies, regionally and nationally
For parents, accreditation means that the school they’ve chosen is truly focused on providing an enriching and safe learning environment for students. Parents can be confident that the school is consistently working to provide a unique and valuable experience for their children both now and in the years to come.
NWAIS accredits member independent elementary and secondary schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. NWAIS is a member in good standing of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Commission on Accreditation and has voluntarily agreed to abide by the Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices and to submit to a thorough ten-year evaluation of its accreditation procedures by the Commission. Additionally, NWAIS accreditation has been recognized by NWAC, a division of AdvancED and the states of Washington and Utah. For further information on NWAIS, visit their website at www.nwais.org
In addition to accreditation with NWAIS, MIS is a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), an internationally acclaimed educational organization renowned for its focus on academic excellence and emphasis on active world citizenship. The IBO includes a Primary Years Programme (PYP) for primary grades, a Middle Years Programme (MYP) for middle school grades, and a Diploma Programme for the final years of high school. Founded in 1968, the IBO currently works with 1,044,000 IB students at 3,459 schools in 143 countries. MIS is proud to be the first IB World School authorized to provide the PYP in the US Northwest. Spanning preschool to fifth grade, the PYP provides an educational framework for MIS teachers and students to complement the language immersion philosophy. The PYP promotes integrated, inquiry-based learning and allows MIS teachers to build upon the natural curiosity inherent in children. MIS’s middle school emerges under the curricular framework provided by the IBO’s Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP is designed for students to develop the knowledge, understanding, attitudes, and skills necessary to participate actively and responsibly in a changing world. MIS is an official candidate school for the IB Middle Years Program.
MIS is a nonprofit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of parents and community members. “The board is the guardian of the school’s mission. It is the board’s responsibility to ensure that the mission is relevant and vital to the community it serves and to monitor the success of the school in fulfilling its mission” (NAIS Principles of Good Practice for Boards of Trustees, 2003). The board entrusts the daily operations and management of the school to the Head of School. In the conduct of its official business, the Board acts as a whole; individual trustees, including the Chair of the Board, have no authority to act unless specifically authorized to do so by the Board as a whole. The dates and times of the monthly board meetings are available on our website. All parents are invited to attend these meetings.
Under the leadership and direction of the Head of School, Julie Lennox, the administrative team at MIS is responsible for supporting the day-to-day operations and business operations of the school.
Teachers define the quality of our school. We employ teachers who offer our students a stimulating and nurturing experience. Our Spanish immersion teachers are fluent in Spanish and English and come to Missoula from places such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela and Guatemala, as well as the United States. Your child’s teacher is your first point of contact about your child’ educational experience. They are available to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your child’s education at MIS
J1 Visitor Exchange Visa – Teacher
Many of our teachers come to MIS on J1 Visa as part of the US Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program. Through J1-VISA vendors such as International Teacher Exchange Services, the Cordell Hull Foundation and the Amity Institute, MIS has brought international faculty to Missoula since 1999.
J1 Visas are non-immigrant visas and are not a “path to citizenship.” They are cultural exchange VISAs. The intent of the J1 program is that international teachers work and live in the United States for 3 years with the possibility of a two year extension. Therefore after a maximum of five years they must return to their home countries to share their knowledge and experience. While occasionally teachers on a J1 Visa have changed their VISA status and stayed longer, this is a difficult, expensive process with no guarantee of a positive outcome. Faculty joining MIS are very aware of J1-Visa regulations and the fact that they must return to their home country when their Exchange VISA expires.
Like most international schools around the world, MIS strives to have an international teaching community to deliver our excellent academic program in a language immersion environment. While it is always sad to say goodbye to teachers, MIS recognizes the value of this ongoing cultural exchange and is pleased to work with the Department of State every year to welcome new teachers to the USA. For more information on the J1-Visa program please visit http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/teacher.
J1 Visitor Exchange VISA – Intern
Every year MIS hosts Amity Interns. The Amity Institute sponsors interns who are either recent graduates or attending university in the field of education to work as intern teachers in US schools. MIS relies on host families to provide room, board and a positive cultural experience for our intern teachers. For the last several years Amity Interns have worked closely with our K/1 teachers and students to support the early literacy process and enhance the immersion environment, while also gaining experience with students in 2nd to 8th grade. After their internship is up in June they often travel around the USA before returning to their home country to pursue work in the field of education. If you would like to learn more about the Amity Intern program please visit http://www.amity.org/2013-2/new-cultural-exchange-page/
If you are interested in hosting an Amity Intern please contact Jeff Kessler, Assistant Head of School.
Student Social & Emotional Development
The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. The learner profile provides a long-term vision of education. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of all IB schools and teachers, uniting us in a common purpose.
The IB Learner Profile provides the framework for success within the MIS learning community and defines the characteristics we hope our community will carry with them throughout their lives- both on and off the school campus.
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.
They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.
Each of the IB’s programmes is committed to the development of students according to the IB learner profile.
The profile aims to develop learners who are:
MIS utilizes a social and emotional curriculum called Responsive Classroom. Responsive Classroom integrates with our IB Framework and brings further coherence to the social and emotional curriculum at MIS from preschool to middle school. Faculty and staff receive professional development in Responsive Classroom and there are opportunities for adult education as well. Below are the guiding principles of Responsive Classroom.
- The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
- How children learn is as important as what they learn.
- Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy and self-control.
- Knowing the children we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
- Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.
- How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.
The Responsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. Seven principles guide this approach:
For more information on Responsive Classroom please visit https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/
MIS uses the “Kelso’s Choice” conflict resolution curriculum beginning at preschool. Kelso’s Choice is designed to empower children to resolve conflicts through a series of nine choices. The first step in Kelso’s Choice is to identify if a problem is “big” (requiring the help of an adult) or “small” (able to be solved by child with the help of Kelso). At the beginning of the school year MIS teachers will review the tenets of Kelso’s Choice and weave them into the fabric of their classroom community. Parents are encouraged to become conversant with the curriculum as well. Visit the Kelso website at https://kelsoschoice.com/free-resources/for-parents/.
MIS envisions a learning environment that is welcoming, motivating, satisfying, and productive. All students deserve the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. This opportunity is enhanced when the school environment:
- Provides a safe and supportive learning environment in which the opportunities for students to learn and teachers to teach are maximized.
- Develops a sense of responsibility for one’s own actions and behaviors.
- Fosters a love for curiosity and lifelong learning.
- Provides opportunity for students to develop a positive vision of themselves through the values of the IB Learner Profile.
- Individualized teaching and learning provides the lens to approaches to discipline.
- Provides a safe place for students to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Promotes active communication.
The word discipline is derived from Latin root disciplina, meaning “learning.” The MIS community teaches children to take care of themselves and to take care of each other and their classroom. The foundation of the MIS Discipline Policy is the IB Learner Profile. The goal is to ensure student safety and to increase responsible behavior by working to reflect the characteristics of the Profile in all interactions. Clearly defined behavioral expectations are discussed, taught, modelled, practiced, and reinforced consistently in the classroom and throughout the school Behavioral expectations are developmentally appropriate. The expectations emphasize safety and reflect the School’s values in a holistic manner. Teachers engage students in problem solving and seek to understand the needs and values of students in order to bring their best out in each individual.
MIS students are expected to respect the rights, feelings, and opinions of all staff members and fellow students. Students are always expected to conduct themselves in an orderly, polite, and safe manner. The IB Learner Profile and Attitudes form the framework for expected behavior. Children can and should be increasingly responsible for their own behavior.
We respect the rights of students to make choices and to experience the consequences of those choices. Students are taught planning, decision-making, and problem-solving skills to develop their abilities to make sound personal and academic choices. Expectations for student behavior are an important part of our ongoing curriculum development, focused around social and emotional development and building community. Student expectations are emphasized at the beginning of the school year and reinforced throughout the year to include:
Respect yourself and others, the school materials and the environment.
Guideline #2: SHOW RESPONSIBILITY
Take responsibility for your actions, your belongings, and your learning.
Guideline #3: SHOW SELF CONTROL
Keep your hands, feet, and objects in your own space. Use kind words and actions.
Guideline #4: SHOW INTEGRITY
Demonstrate honesty in your thinking, your words, and your actions.
Logical and appropriate consequences guide our teachers’ response to behavior. Logical consequences are respectful, realistic and related to the behavior. They help students restore self-control and self-respect through actions.
Logical consequences include:
- Example: An older child uses a negative tone when speaking to someone. The teacher says:
“Use the rewind button and say it again,” when students need to practice using an appropriate tone of voice.
- Example:A student pushes to get a place in line. The teacher says:“I see you push people in line. You’ll have to get out of the line and wait in the back with me, until you show me that you know how to line up safely.”
- Example: A student refuses to work with a partner. The teacher says: “Take a break, I want you to think about one thing that will help you work with your partner. Come back when you have figured that out, and when you are ready to cooperate.”
Reparation – e.g. “You broke it, you fix it.”
Breach of contract – “If you’re not responsible, you lose a privilege.”
Take a break – “Stop and think.”
Serious or recurrent misbehavior is addressed individually and involves the classroom teacher, the student’s family, and the Head of School and/or Assistant Head of School. Problem solving, active listening, conflict resolution, making amends, and reflecting on individual choice form the basis of all discipline.
The safety of all students is the number one priority. Bullying behavior violates the standards and expectations of MIS and stands in direct opposition to the goals and the IB Learner Profile. Any reported incidents of bullying will be thoroughly investigated and a plan for resolution will be developed and monitored closely by MIS faculty and staff.
Bullying is defined by the State of Montana code as:
- “Bullying” means any harassment, intimidation, hazing, or threatening, insulting, or demeaning gesture or physical contact, including any intentional written, verbal, or electronic communication or threat directed against a student that is persistent, severe, or repeated and that:
- (a) causes a student physical harm, damages a student’s property, or places a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student or the student’s property;
- (b) creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying a student’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit; or
- (c) substantially and materially disrupts the orderly operation of a school.
- The term includes retaliation against a victim or witness who reports information about an act of bullying and includes acts of hazing associated with athletics or school-sponsored organizations or groups.
MIS has a philosophical commitment to create and sustain a diverse and internationally-minded learning community that includes students from a wide range of backgrounds. Diversity makes MIS a stronger school and a stronger community. The Primary Years Program celebrates the unique learning styles of each individual student. As a student-centered curriculum, the PYP is designed to meet the developmental needs of each age level. MIS teachers work very hard to meet the needs of every student in their classes. Occasionally, a student needs a different level of support at school.
MIS has designed a Student Support Team (SST) protocol to ensure that all learning needs are met. If an MIS student requires extra support in a particular area of his or her education, MIS activates its SST process. At the first stage the SST process includes MIS teachers, administrators, and parents. In the early stages the team documents progress, interventions, and results; and then develops a plan. Depending on the student, the SST team will access Missoula County Public Schools’ Special Education services or other specialized resources to ensure that all students are able to reach their highest potential.
Community Values & Expectations
Optimal educational experiences for our children require interactive partnership among parents, educators and children. Both educators and parents anticipate that every school day is filled with learning, joy and positive feelings. In acknowledgement of the collaborative relationship between parents and educators, MIS recognizes these fundamental principles of communication:
- Mutual respect
- Ongoing and effective communication
- Commitment to gather information/data from appropriate sources prior to forming an opinion or making a judgment
- Recognition of the power of both the intent and the impact of words
- Effective listening, acknowledging the legitimacy of differing opinions
- Clearly defined lines of responsibility
- Well defined, clear boundaries
- Shared commitment to work together toward a solution
In an effort to realize these principles in our daily interactions as a school community, we hold the following expectations:
- Recognize that:
- Educators are trained professionals.
- Educator and parental perspectives may justifiably differ.
- Educators have multiple time commitments.
- Be ready to be heard by educators.
- Be ready to listen to educators.
- Hold discussion with educators at a time and place that permits full and confidential exploration of these issues.
- Direct concerns to educators.
- Be prepared to clearly articulate the issues.
- Provide an opportunity for educators to work toward a solution.
- Remember that comprehensive solutions may take time.
- Recognize that:
- Parents have a depth of experience with the student.
- Parental and educator perspectives may justifiably differ.
- Parents have multiple time commitments.
- Be ready to be heard by parents.
- Be ready to listen to parents.
- Provide appropriate time and place for full and confidential discussion.
- Ensure the concerns are well understood.
- Identify the issue.
- Establish reasonable expectations for solving the problem.
- Construct a written “action plan.”
- Confer to evaluate the effectiveness of the “plan.”
- Provide an opportunity for the parent to work toward a solution.
- Provide opportunities for every student to shine.
A strong community is built upon clear, direct, and active communication. When you have a concern, a question, or an idea, who can you talk to?
A basic element of successful communication is a belief in open, respectful and honest communications. To further this type of communication between members of the MIS community, please use the following guidelines as a way to seek resolution of issues or concerns of any type, including employment concerns.
For the best chance of resolving concerns, the concerns must be brought forward in a timely and direct manner. For example, if a member or group of our community has a concern, generally, it will NOT be helpful if that community member or group begins discussing the concern widely with other members of the community before giving the appropriate party a chance to resolve the concern. Such conduct may be counterproductive and result in concerns festering with no meaningful chance of resolution.
With the exception of Step 1, which allows for some personal discretion in terms of with whom to begin a resolution process, it is best that all other steps be followed in the order specified:
- Discuss the concern directly with the person(s) involved. While there may be circumstances where direct communication may not be desirable, often concerns are best resolved between those most directly involved in the matter. If for some reason, direct communication is not desirable, the party with a concern or question may proceed to step 2 below.
Example: A faculty member is concerned with a parent’s behavior in a parent-teacher conference. The faculty member should try to resolve the issue with the parent directly by suggesting a more constructive tone for the meeting.
- If direct communication of the concern/issue does not resolve the matter or if direct communication is undesirable for some reason, discuss the concern in a timely manner with the Assistant Head of School.
Example: A parent has a concern with a faculty member’s recommendation that the parent engage extra academic support for the student in a particular subject. After discussing the concern directly with the faculty member, the concern should be raised with the Assistant Head of School.
Example: A parent has a concern with the behavior of another parent at drop off or pick up time. After discussing the concern directly with the other parent, the concerned parent may raise the matter with the school administrators supervising pick up – drop off.
- If the issue remains unresolved, the concerned party should next raise the issue with the Head of School who shall be the final decision maker on matters related to academic issues, personnel matters, discipline concerns, financial/fee payment issues and all matters related to day-to-day operation of MIS.
Example: A student or student’s parent has been notified that the student will be asked to leave the school or will not be offered re-enrollment for the following year. After discussing the issue with the Director of Admissions, the matter may be addressed with the Head of School. The decision of the Head of School shall be final.
MIS provides a family directory through FACTS with the names and contact information of our school families should they wish to share it. This information should be considered private and not shared outside the school or used for any reason to solicit families for non-school related communications.
We encourage a clear, open, and ongoing dialogue between families and teachers. Teachers can be reached directly through school email, voicemail, or in person. Detailed contact information can be found in the MIS Directory in FACTS.
Effective communication is a two-way street. MIS strives to provide all of the information for parents to stay informed, but we rely on parents to access and read the information. We encourage you to take the following steps to be better informed and involved in your child’s education. In order to be mindful of resources, MIS primarily relies on electronic communication. We communicate in the following ways:
- Weekly Update electronic newsletter
- Emails from the office or teachers
- Classroom blogs and email updates from your child’s teacher
- School’s website www.mismt.org
- The published yearly MIS calendar for planned holidays and special events
- Parent Association meetings (watch for dates and times)
- MIS Board and special parent meetings in September and January
- MIS Facebook and Instagram
While MIS encourages students to express themselves in multiple ways, we require that appropriate clothing be worn to school at all times. Appropriate clothing is an important part of the school’s efforts to provide a multiage environment that is safe, nurturing, and supportive of the school’s academic goals and educational responsibilities. Students should not wear clothing that interferes with the mission of MIS or that could endanger the health, safety, and well-being of that student or others during school hours and school activities.
Please assist the school in enforcing this expectation by making sure your child leaves home in appropriate clothing. If a student arrives at school in clothing that is deemed inappropriate by school personnel, the student will be addressed by school personnel and asked to change into more appropriate clothing. If the student repeatedly chooses inappropriate clothing the school will contact the parents and develop a plan to ensure a shared understanding of the expectation.
Student cell phones and other electronic devices (including, but not limited to iPods and MP3 players) may not be used or turned on during the school day. If a child has a personal cell phone for communication with parents after school, it must be turned off and stored in the student’s locker or backpack during the school day. If a student is found using a cell phone or other electronic devices it will be taken away and stored in the school office until a parent claims it. Communication with parents during the school day needs to be facilitated through the office.
Network and internet access is available to students, faculty, staff, and volunteers of MIS. Our goal is to promote educational excellence by providing tools that support the educational program, address students’ diverse learning styles and needs, and empower students to take responsible and active roles in the pursuit of learning.
Users of MIS internet service and computers must adhere to the guidelines of the MIS Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement. Failure to follow these rules may result in the loss of privileges. Parents are asked to review the agreement with their student(s).
School Safety & Emergency Plan
In cases of inclement weather or other emergencies, MIS administration will determine the appropriate operating schedule for the day. A decision will be made as early as possible. Immediately after the decision is made, the school will do the following:
- Initiate an outgoing message via our school notification system that sends text, email and voicemail messages to parents, guardians, caregivers;
- Place a notice on the school’s website, and
- Contact local media outlets so that they may announce the school’s operating status.
When classes are cancelled during the school day due to unforeseen circumstances, the school office will contact parents or appointed caregivers, who will be advised of the school closure, and asked to arrange to pick up the student as soon as possible. Notification will be via the school notification system and will be sent via text, email and voicemail.
Parents may decide conditions are too unsafe to transport their children to school, even if the school remains open. Students missing school due to inclement weather will not be marked absent.
As part of the school’s emergency preparedness program, all members of the faculty and staff have been trained in first aid and CPR.
MIS conducts various drills to ensure emergency preparedness. Each room has exit instructions posted. Students are taught how to respond to various emergencies. Fire and/or shelter-in-place drills are held periodically during the school year.
Unless prohibited by a court order, both parents or guardians have unlimited access to MIS and their children during the school’s hours of operation. It is not the role of MIS staff to play a part in custody issues. In the event a restraining order has been issued against a parent/guardian, a meeting must be set up with the Head of School. Parental access can only be limited if a court order is on file at the school.
All visitors to the school must sign in at the main office, where they will receive temporary identification badges to wear throughout their visit to the school. Members of the school community or public visiting the school to attend school events, such as an open-house or public performance may proceed directly to the event venue without visiting the main office. All visitors must comply at all times with the school’s policies, administrative rules, and school regulations.
MIS administrative staff reserves the right to exclude from the school premises any person who disrupts or who appears likely to become a disruption to the educational program. Any such individual shall be directed to leave the school premises immediately and law enforcement authorities shall be called if necessary.
MIS has a video intercom system set up. The front door will be locked from 9:00 am – 3pm. If you arrive at school between 9am and 3pm please ring the bell. Once the front desk sees you on the video camera we will buzz you in. For preschool parents who pick up at half day please say hello to preschool staff on the playground and enter through the side door.
Missoula International School students, parents, staff members and visitors may not carry or use any weapons while on the school’s grounds or facilities.
Parents play an essential and positive role in the life of MIS. The relationship between parents and the faculty and staff is formally governed by the enrollment contract and the policies of this handbook.
When parents choose to enroll their child at MIS, they agree to subscribe to its mission, follow its rules, and abide by its decisions. Parents can best support our school’s climate of trust and respect by communicating concerns openly and constructively to the teacher or staff member most familiar with the problem.
MIS has an active Parent Association that encourages parents to become involved members and offer their own area of expertise to enhance the quality of the school.
The PA Council provides support to MIS through the organized efforts and activities of the parent body. The PA Council meets the second Thursday of the month from 11:30 am -1:00 p.m. in the school’s Board room. All parents are welcome to attend.
The Parent Association supports MIS in ways that include the following:
- To establish communication between parents, school, and the MIS Board of Trustees.
- To develop a positive and welcoming climate that builds a strong sense of community for all parents.
- To set goals to assist MIS in meeting its current needs.
- To act as a liaison between teachers and parents to facilitate extracurricular classroom activities.
- To promote MIS through the organized efforts and activities of the parent body.
Families support the school in many ways, giving their time, expertise, and financial contributions. The benefits of volunteerism touch every child, their family and the school as a whole. Volunteerism and service are key components of MIS. Parents who demonstrate these values through their contributions to the school model these values for MIS students. You will undoubtedly feel an improved sense of belonging, ownership and community with the families at MIS through opportunities to participate in school activities. Parents who volunteer often describe their experiences with the school as more enjoyable and rewarding.
Each family with a full time student at MIS is required to volunteer at least 30 hours throughout the school year; for families with part-time preschoolers and single parent families the requirement is 15 hours. Families with both full time and part time students are required to volunteer at least 30 hours. You may work extensively on one event, volunteer to help a bit with many, or choose a job that will be ongoing through the year. Parents volunteering at the school are asked to check-in at the front desk.
Volunteer opportunities are regularly updated. You can find the link to these opportunities, sign up to volunteer, and record your hours through your family’s FACTS portal.
Completed volunteer hours are recorded in FACTS family portal. Uncompleted hours will be billed at the rate of $25.00 per hour. This charge will be reflected at the end of the school year, on your June statement. Unless prior arrangements have been made with the school office, the deadline to REPORT parent hours is June 15.
If you need any information regarding the Parent Hour requirements, please be sure to contact the school office.
Families are required to setup one FACTS account. If you have multiple children attending MIS, you will still only need the one account. If you are a family with multiple homes, you can choose to each setup an account or have one of the homes setup as a guest/additional payer. If someone else pays tuition, you can add them as a guest/additional payer.
FACTS annual enrollment fee is $20 for families that choose to pay total tuition in 1 or 2 payments and $50 for families that choose to pay total tuition in 10 or 12 payments.
More information on FACTS as well as tutorials on how to use the system can be found here.
Tuition contracts contain details on current tuition, payment options and fees. Tuition does not include incidental charges (before and after care, enrichment, pizza, field trips, etc). MIS relies on timely tuition payments for its operational success. You can find your 2019/20 tuition contract in your FACTS family portal.
All payments are processed through the FACTS family portal. The school offers several plans for payment of tuition: full payment due in July; two payments in July and December or July and January; ten monthly payments, July through April; or twelve payments, July through June. Payments are accepted via check, money order, automatic (ACH) withdrawals from your bank account, and credit card (with a 2.85% processing fee). WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH.
Incidental charges (before and after care, enrichment, pizza, field trips, etc) are billed on a monthly basis. Families will only receive a bill if there are any outstanding charges at the end of a given month.
A $30.00 charge will be assessed by FACTS for each check or ACH withdrawal not honored by the bank. A persistently delinquent account may result in dismissal of the student. No student will be considered for re-enrollment unless all previous charges on the student’s account have been paid in full. If it becomes necessary for MIS to commence collection procedures to enforce this agreement, the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be liable for all fees, costs, and expenses including, but not limited to, legal fees, court costs, and interest.
It is the position of the School that divorced or separated parents retain the obligation to contribute to the education of their children whether or not there is a legal agreement between them to do so. The School cannot be held by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed responsibility for educational expenses.
MIS is committed to providing financial assistance to as many students as possible to make MIS an affordable option. Tuition Assistance at MIS is determined by a family’s ability to meet educational expenses; it is based on need, not on a willingness or unwillingness to pay. Assistance also is constrained by the amount of funds available in a given year. MIS uses the services of an independent company to assess financial need and make recommendations for assistance. In addition to the assistance provided by MIS, ACE scholarships may be available to families who qualify; eligibility for these scholarships is based on the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program income guidelines.
Tuition assistance offsets a student’s total tuition expense and is non-cash, non-refundable, and non-transferable. All questions regarding tuition assistance should be directed to the CFO.
Extended care (which is referred to as ‘before’ and ‘after’ care) is available for students from 7:30 – 8:30 am and 3:00 – 5:30 pm. The extended care provider will sign students in and out through the family’s FACTS portal. All MIS students who are on the school grounds after 3:30 pm must join aftercare unless they are under the direct supervision of one of their own parents.
Fees for extended care are as follows:
|TYPE||OPTIONS||START TIME||END TIME||FEE||LATE FEE START TIME||LATE FEE|
|after care||10-session prepaid punch card||3:45pm**||5:30pm||$120||5:31pm||$1/minute|
**NOTE: Any student still signed in to after care after 3:45 pm will be charged for a drop-in or punch card session regardless of how long they are in attendance.
Please contact the Business Office with any questions about extended care fees.
In January, the Board of Trustees communicates the tuition information for the upcoming school year. At that time, current families are asked to confirm their intention to re-enroll their child(ren) at MIS by completing a new tuition contract and submitting a non-refundable tuition deposit. Families wishing to enroll a sibling of a current MIS student can do so at this time. Timely completion of this process allows MIS to make staffing and new admissions decisions to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Fundraising is vital to our school’s success and ensures a vibrant, diverse community. All independent schools rely on charitable giving, in addition to tuition income, to provide the best possible educational opportunities. Together, with tuition, charitable gifts to the school directly support teaching, learning, and discovery.
The MIS Annual Fund is the school’s major fundraising campaign. Funds raised constitute 10% of the school’s operating budget. The Development Office spearheads the Annual Fund campaign with the goal of achieving 100% participation (donations/gifts) from parents, staff, administration, and board members. Families are asked to give to the best of their ability and that every gift counts! Gifts to the MIS Annual Fund directly support the needs of students, professional development for teachers, educational programs, and activities. A tax-deductible gift to the annual fund during MIS’s fiscal year (July 1- June 30) is the best way to support the school’s mission-critical priorities and keeps tuition competitive. The Annual Fund campaign activities include the fall appeal where parents are asked to make unrestricted gifts/donations to the Annual Fund; Original Works, an October/November Challenge Match, a Spring Fling event, Plant Sale, SCRIP, and a RUNdraiser family event. MIS families that have not yet donated to the Annual Fund by June of that fiscal year, will be contacted directly by the Director of Development as part of a year-end round up.
Gifts can be made online, through monthly ACH deduction, monthly credit card debit, and through gifts of securities, etc.. Giving options are available in our “Ways to Give” page the MIS website. MIS is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization (Federal tax #81-0501614.) For more information about planning your gift, please contact the school office.
In addition to the annual fund, there are other ways to support MIS.
The collective purchasing power of MIS families has the potential to make a big impact on our overall fundraising goals. Give while you shop! For more information please contact the office.
Organizations providing cash back to MIS include:
- When you shop at the Good Food Store simply tell the cashier you would like to support MIS and 2% of you bill will go to the school
- When you shop at Missoula Market Fresh, at checkout write MIS or Missoula International School on your receipt and give it back to the cashier. 1% of your grocery bill will go to the school. You may request a second receipt if necessary.
- eScrip Online Mall: Go to www.escrip.com and sign up. Find an online merchant and sign up with the card you’ll be shopping with. Download the “ForgetMeNot” app for your phone or browser and every time you navigate to a participating e-scrip store a banner will appear at the top of the page to remind you to shop at this merchant through e-scrip. The percentage of your purchase that goes to MIS depends on the merchant.
- Box Tops: Help MIS purchase new sports equipment and classroom supplies. Look for the collection containers near the Office.
- Amazon Smile: It’s makes you happy to earn for MIS online! Sign up at www.amazon.com
Click on this link in our website to access all the ways to give back!
There are occasional opportunities for MIS classes to raise money for causes that support the academic program at MIS. The Head of School approves individual fundraising by students outside of this framework. MIS encourages students to find innovative ways of participating in local, national and world issues that do not focus entirely upon raising money.
MIS seeks grant funding for additional funds that support the financial goals set forth in the Strategic Plan. We welcome support and great ideas from faculty and parents. Please complete the Grant Guideline review form before any grant request is submitted on behalf of MIS. For more information please contact the office.
Attendance & School Hours
The SIX-DAY SCHEDULE is MIS’s creative approach to using time with more flexibility and efficiency. Without sacrificing the arts or the physical needs of our students, the six-day schedule creates more consistent daily schedules for teachers to focus on the educational needs of our students. Each school day at MIS is labeled with a letter from A-F. This six-day cycle continues to rotate through the year. Refer to the MIS annual calendar as well as the school website and your teacher’s blog for daily updates. Teachers will also create a monthly calendar with the six-day cycle on it so that parents know when children have specialist classes.
|7:30am||8:30am||before care available|
|12:45pm||morning students picked up|
|3:00pm||5:30pm||after care available|
Kindergarten through Third Grade Classes
|7:30am||8:30am||before care available|
|11:30am||12:15pm||lunch & recess|
|3:15pm||5:30pm||after care available|
Fourth through Eighth Grade Classes
|7:30am||8:30am||before care available|
|11:30am||12:15pm||lunch & recess|
|3:30pm||5:30pm||after care available|
Recess for K-5th Grade is two 15-minute periods.
Regular attendance is important to your child’s progress and to the community of the classroom. Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. On-time attendance by every student is expected.
Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Regular attendance develops patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is expected. A student must attend school at least 50% of the school day in order to be counted as present for the entire day.
Grades K through 8
Recognizing that regular school attendance is the foundation for learning, a student at MIS who is absent more than 20 days each year may not be eligible for re-enrollment or promotion to the next grade and shall be referred to the Head of School for possible retention.
If the Head of School determines non-re-enrollment or retention is necessary based on attendance, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing. The parent/guardian will have five days to appeal the decision. Written documentation must be provided to the Head of School and must be based on appropriate reasons for the absences and completion of make-up work.
For the purpose of re-enrollment, promotion or retention, five tardies and/or early dismissals equal one day’s absence.
Occasionally families wish to take their child(ren) out of school for part of a school year due to travel plans, sabbaticals, etc. MIS believes that such temporary absences, especially when involving international experience, are consistent with the School’s mission. Such arrangements do, however, place a special burden on MIS, as the school plans, staffs, and budgets for a certain number of students for the full school year. As such, in order to qualify for prorated tuition, a temporary absence must be 60 or more class days in length. For help determining the number of class days affected by a planned absence, please contact the business office. In the event an absence qualifies for prorated tuition, the following guidelines will be used to determine the tuition amount:
If a family notifies the School of the planned leave of absence:
- Prior to June 1: The full annual tuition will be prorated based on a daily rate for the number of class days the student is anticipated to be in attendance at MIS. This amount, plus 10% of the annual tuition, will be due.
- Between June 1 and August 31: A minimum of 50% of the annual tuition, plus 10% of the annual tuition, will be due. If the planned absence exceeds 50% of class days, the full annual tuition will be prorated based on a daily rate for the number of class days the student is anticipated to be in attendance at MIS. This amount, plus 10% of the annual tuition, will be due.
- After August 31: The full annual tuition is due.
Your child’s safety is very important to MIS. To ensure SAFETY and to ease traffic congestion during daily drop-off and pick-up times, please adhere to all parking guidelines.
- Preschool parent parking (full day and morning) is in designated parking spots on Briar Street near the bike racks.
- K-8th grade drop-off is along the designated drop off zone on Harrison Street from the school playground entrance to the corner of Elm Street. Please wait in line behind other cars until you are safely directed into the drop off zone.
- K-8th grade short term parking (10 minutes or less) is along Harrison Street starting in front of the building to the corner of Briar Street. If you plan to stay longer, please park along the side streets south of the school (along Harrison).
See Traffic Safety plan details in the Traffic Safety section.
Students arriving after the 8:40 a.m. bell must check in with the front desk.
Preschool Pick-up: Preschool parent parking (morning and full day) is in designated parking spots on Briar Street near the bike racks. Afternoon pick-up is 3:00 p.m., morning pick-up is at 12:45 p.m.
K-5th grade parents: Parents may park along Harrison Street, on the south side of the street from the corner of Elm Street to the corner of Briar Street. Parents may also park in the preschool parking lot on Briar Street, near the bike racks. Parents are asked to refrain from parking on the west side of the street to avoid having children cross the street at end of day. Parents are required to pick up their child from their classroom. Note: K-3 students are dismissed at 3:15 p.m., 4th – 5th students are dismissed at 3:30 p.m.
Parents of 4th/5th grade students: If you would like your child to go out to the playground for pick up please send an email to the office giving your child’s teacher permission to release them to the playground after school. Please note, if you child has not been picked up by 3:40 P.M. they will be sent to After Care.
Middle School parents: Middle School students will be escorted to the Elm Street entrance of the playground at 3:30 p.m. 6th – 8th grade parents will drive on Elm Street to pick up students and exit school to the right on Taylor Street. Note: The MCPS school bus drop off zone is between the fence of the playground to the corner of Elm and Harrison. MIS parents should not park in this area.
If you need to pick up your child early, please inform the school in advance. Please come into the school and sign your child out at the front office. Please refrain from calling the office to ask to have your child brought to the front of the building.
Please walk your bike on the sidewalk from the corner of Elm and Harrison to the bike rack. The bicycle rack is located on the north side of the building. To ensure your bicycle is secure, please use a bike lock. MIS is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Do not let your vehicle idle while you are away from your vehicle in order to keep the air quality for our students as healthful as possible.
Extended care is available for students from 7:30 – 8:30am and 3:00 – 5:30pm. See the Finance section for more information about the extended care program.
For safety reasons, children may only be released to individuals who are authorized by parents or legal guardians. Alternate Pick-up Forms giving that authorization are available at the school office (Appendix C – Daily Pick-up Authorization Form). These forms should be filled out at least one day prior to someone else picking up your child. Last minute phone requests should only be made in the case of an emergency. The alternate pick-up person must check in at the office with a photo ID and receive an authorization form to present to the teacher. All preschool children must be signed out of their class by their parent, guardian or authorized pick-up person.
If another adult comes to pick up a child and the parent has not notified the school, the child will not be released until a staff member has called the parent and received verbal consent to release the child to that individual.
If a parent/guardian is late (defined as five minutes after dismissal time), the child’s teacher will escort the child to the after care program and fees will be charged accordingly.
If you are spending time on the school playground after school, please remember that you are responsible for your child’s behavior and activity while on school property after school hours. We ask that you directly and actively supervise your child(ren) and enforce the same rules and requirements as school staff. ONLY students signed in to extended care or an afterschool enrichment program are permitted in the gym after school dismissal.
Students bring their own lunch to school. Students in grades K-8 eat with their classmates in their classrooms. Preschool students eat in their classrooms. We ask parents to pack healthy lunches that require no preparation or refrigeration. Hot water is available. Help us minimize waste by packing a reusable spoon or fork. Although we promote sharing in general, we do not permit children to share lunch.
MIS recognizes that peanut/tree nut allergies are a severe health issue for some children and are becoming more prevalent in our society. Accordingly, MIS seeks to create a peanut/tree nut safe environment. We encourage parents to avoid packing items with peanuts/tree nuts in their child’s snacks, lunch and any items being brought to school for parties, etc.
During the K-8th grade lunch time we offer a clearly labeled “peanut/tree nut safe table” for students with such allergies to eat. Students at that table are prohibited from having or eating peanut/tree nut foods.
Preschool students eat together in their respective classrooms. There is not a designated “peanut/tree nut safe table” for preschool students. Therefore, should there be a preschool student with a peanut/tree nut allergy, MIS will require parents of students in that classroom to never pack such items.
We ask parents to provide peanut/tree nut safe alternatives for any school-wide event including class parties.
MIS retains the right to prohibit students or parents from having or consuming peanut/tree nut foods from any class should it be deemed that the risk of exposure to a student warrants such a ban.
Below are some tips to help you in making safe choices for your child’s lunches, and keeping MIS safe for all students.
- If your child has eaten a peanut/tree nut product before coming to school, please be sure they wash their face and hands and don’t have any residue on their clothing. Minute amounts of peanut/tree nut residue can elicit a severe reaction in some peanut allergic children.
- Read product labels. Peanut and tree nut products abound and may be found in the most unlikely places, such as certain brands of animal crackers or as a thickener for chili. Peanut/tree nut oils, peanut/tree nut flours, and other derivatives of peanut/tree nuts are a concern, items may not indicate peanut or nut in the name and still contain such ingredients. (Tree nuts are all other nuts, such as pecans or cashews.)
- If you have questions or concerns, ASK! We are always happy to assist you if you have questions about a product, cross-contamination issues, or lunch ideas.
- There are many wonderful substitutes for peanut butter in a child’s diet: yogurt and cheese are only a few high protein choices that our children seem to love.
Our students love pizza day. MIS offers pizza for lunch on Fridays. There are two topping options (cheese and pepperoni), as well as a gluten-free option.
Pizza order forms are available online through the FACTS family portal. Families need to complete the form and pay online in order for their child(ren) to receive pizza. Refunds will not be given for missed pizza days. When determining fees for pizza, the school accounts for a certain number of missed school pizza days.
Please pack a morning and afternoon snack for your child each day. MIS does not provide snacks for children except during extended care.
We ask that all party invitations be sent to children’s homes rather than distributing them at school. Parents are asked to make arrangements to deliver birthday presents to children outside school hours rather than have them brought to school. Additionally, if your child’s party originates from MIS after school, please be thoughtful of the feelings of the children in your child’s class and plan to include them all.
If treats are brought for a student’s birthday it is important that those treats be peanut/tree nut safe. That will ensure that all students can have the opportunity to enjoy one. Other allergy or dietary considerations must also be taken into account, as appropriate.
We go outside every day so appropriate clothes are important. Students need to wear appropriate shoes and clothes in which they can freely play, indoors and outdoors. Students will need:
- Clearly labeled clothing to prevent loss
- An extra change of labeled clothes and shoes in a labeled shoebox to leave at school in case of an emergency. Be sure to check this shoebox throughout the year to make sure the clothing still fits your child. (Preschool and kindergarten students only.)
- Apply sunscreen before school as needed
- Appropriate cold weather boots and clothing
- Indoor shoes for winter months
During winter months parents are asked to be especially attentive to dressing their child appropriately for the weather conditions. Plan for your child to go outside every day unless the conditions are unsafe for everyone.
Students need to bring appropriate (tennis) shoes on PE class days. Jewelry, watches, belts with metal buckles, etc. may cause injury to the wearer or others taking part in PE and, therefore, should not be worn to PE class.
The lost and found is located at the end of the downstairs hallway. Parents are encouraged to check this weekly as all unmarked items are deposited there. Please label all of your child’s belongings, including lunch boxes and water bottles. Items not labeled are removed from the school each month and donated to charity.
The MIS Library houses the largest collection of Spanish literature in Montana. Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade have scheduled library times once every six school days where they may check out books in both English and Spanish. Students may not have over five books checked out unless special arrangements are made. Overdue notices are sent by the Montana Shared Catalog in Helena via email on the 1st and 15th of the month. No fines are assessed for overdue books but lost books are charged to the parent’s account at the end of the school year.
The MIS library is open to all students and their families and the entire collection may be viewed online at the MIS website. Parents and siblings are welcome to browse through our library when we are open and are free to check out books. Click here to Access the MIS Library catalog of books.
MIS subscribes to the World Book Encyclopedia Online in both Spanish and English versions. This online resource offers a wealth of information, games and appropriate links to other websites. Students and parents can access this resource at home or on mobile devices.
Log in ID: Student 7
Throughout the year your child will receive Scholastic book order forms for your review. If you would like to purchase a book, complete the order form on the back of the Scholastic newsletter and return it to the school office with a check, payable to Scholastic, Inc. . Parents may also order online at any time at www.scholastic.com/readingclubs. Please use the class code HKWNM when placing your order.
MIS currently works with Brian Barr Photography for student pictures. Information about picture dates and ordering photos will be made available soon.
Students may not bring toys or other personal items from home unless a teacher has asked for the item to be brought for an educational purpose. This includes toys being played with on the playground during lunch and recess. Preschool and kindergarten teachers may schedule a weekly sharing time during which your child may bring an item from home to share. Toys representing violence of any kind are not allowed.
As an authorized IB World School, MIS is required to have a written language policy describing the philosophy and practices for supporting the mother tongue and second language development of its students.
Frequent internal assessments of the curricular objectives using IB and MIS criteria provide evidence of student learning and form the basis of assessing student achievement. MIS teachers use a variety of learning activities and assessment tools to ascertain students’ level of understanding in regards to the aims and objectives of each subject studied. Assessment also provides a measure of students’ knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills, and attitudes toward learning. The aim of all assessment, in addition to contributing to the effectiveness of the academic program, is to provide a positive mechanism to assist students in improving their learning, to instill in students the ability to think clearly and critically and to encourage students to strive to work to their full potential. Teaching, learning and assessment are mutually dependent on one another.
Assessment is an ongoing process for the student and the teacher. MIS communicates with parents in the ways below in this section to formally report on their child’s progress:
Formal parent-teacher conferences will be held in the Fall and Spring. We encourage parents to confer with your child’s teacher(s) about your child on a regular basis. Teachers will bring any concerns to you and you should do the same with them. Fall conferences are teacher-led for preschool through grade 8. Spring conferences are teacher-led in preschool and student-led in grades K-8.
Written reports of student progress in grades K-8 are presented to parents in January and June each year. Report cards for grades K-5 are comprised of narrative reports of student progress with supplementary checklists of skills specific to grade levels to demonstrate student achievement. In middle school (grades 6-8) narrative reports for each subject area and checklists for some subject areas are accompanied with traditional letter grades. Assessments given during a grading period provide evidence to the teacher in terms of achievement against specific criteria.
Homework provides an important connection between home and school and allows students to practice what they have learned in class.
Homework is given because it:
- Teaches responsibility and independence;
- Helps students develop positive study habits;
- Prepares students for upcoming lessons; and
- Reinforces what has been learned in class.
Homework at MIS can be challenging because, as a Spanish immersion school, our students are learning a second language. Many of the parents of our students do not have Spanish proficiency, therefore, MIS teachers are committed to providing homework for students that can be completed independently and meet each child’s unique level as they gain proficiency in a second language.
Different Types of Potential Homework:
- Language Practice and Extension
- Reading nightly in both languages at appropriate level.
- Practice work as needed to embed language structure and grammar.
- Content Specific Homework
- PYP Units of Inquiry projects to extend inquiry (probably will happen in English so parents can engage as well).
- Science specific homework for middle school that is project oriented and extends inquiry.
- Math homework – given nightly (Math in Spanish will be accompanied with appropriate language support).
Due to the nature of our primary grades program, it is difficult for teachers to send missed class work with you if your child is going to be on an extended leave. Each teacher will do his/her best to keep your child updated on what is happening in the classroom, but teachers are not required to provide homework assignments while your child is away. Talk to your child’s teacher if you plan to have your child miss an extended amount of time. Excessive absences seriously impact student learning.
MIS Middle School students are earning letter grades. Therefore, missing assignments can impact the student’s final grade. Talk to your child’s teacher to develop a plan for making up missed work if he/she will be absent from school for any length of time.
Field trips provide a valuable learning opportunity for MIS students outside the walls of the school. Field trips are encouraged. However, the safety of each student is of paramount importance when on a field trip. MIS teachers take great precaution when planning and implementing field trips with MIS students.
It is the policy of Missoula International School that teachers may take students on field trips within walking distance of the school as long as a Walking Field Trip Parent Consent form is signed and on file.
Field trips must be posted and permission forms distributed to parents no later than one week in advance. If a field trip is beyond walking distance, MIS utilizes public transportation or will charter a school bus to go on field trips. Some Middle School field trips involve transportation in private vehicles.
- Middle School Overnight Camping Trip: The middle school class goes on an overnight class trip to begin the school year. There is an additional cost for this program. More information will be available to Middle School parents in August.
- Snowbowl Ski PE: The 4th-8th graders take part in a four week skiing program through Snowbowl. There is no additional cost to MIS parents for this program.
- Ice Skating PE: Kindergarten through 3rd Grade students take part in a four day ice skating program at Glacier Ice Rink. There is no additional cost to MIS parents for this program.
- Middle School Extended Trips:
- 8th Grade trip to Mexico
- 6th and 7th Grade trips to regional national parks
There is an additional cost for these programs.
Children and adults participating in activities with Missoula International School may be photographed by newspaper or television reporters/photographers, MIS staff members, or others involved with the School. These photographs may appear without compensation in newspapers or in productions, publications, on the Web, or other printed or electronic materials related to the role and function of Missoula International School.
Parents opt in or out of photo and video permissions during the enrollment process. If you wish to change your permissions at any point during the year, please notify the office.
Faculty and staff use great care in placing students into the class that will best meet their needs. A primary goal is to establish classes that are balanced in terms of gender, number, learning styles, and academic levels. Parents are encouraged to continuously share their insights into their children and how they learn, as this does assist the school in building classes. Specifically, if parents have insights they wish to share about class placement, they must meet with either their child’s homeroom teacher/advisor or the Head of School by the end of April for the following year and fill out a Request for Class Placement form via FACTS. Please note that parent requests for specific teachers or friends are not accepted. The final decision regarding class placement is solely the School’s.
MIS students are required to be 3 years of age by September 10th of the current school year. All children must be toilet trained.
Each preschooler has a cubby and a coat hook labeled with his/her name outside the classroom. Cubbies are used for sending home student work, weekly notes and anything else pertaining to your child. Be sure to check your child’s cubby regularly.
Separation experiences are part of growth. All children handle them differently. Some children take more time to work through the anxiety than others. Children get caught between the need to be close to their parents and their growing independence. Separations can cause equal stress for the child and the parent. Parents need to remain calm and not be embarrassed by their child’s behavior. Remember, all children handle separation differently.
The security of the connection with the parents is what can give a child the confidence to separate. The following is a list of steps that can help build confidence and security and may make separation a little easier.
- Bring your child to the school ahead of time so they can see the new environment.
- Demonstrate a warm and positive relationship with the teacher in front of your child. Reassure your child that the teacher is there to help.
- The night before school, let your child lay out his/her clothing.
- On the way to school talk about what your child will be doing, then tell your child what you will be doing while he/she is in school.
- Establish a routine for saying goodbye.
- Be on time to pick them up.
- Acknowledge any emotions that your child is experiencing even if they are negative.
- Encourage friendships with other children in the classroom.
- Relate this experience to other positive separation experiences involving your child or a sibling.
Health & Wellness
Please notify the school office via phone or email if your child is going to be absent due to illness or for any other reason. Be sure to inform the office about the reason for your child’s absence as well as the expected length of the absence.
Emergency contact information must be provided to the school office prior to the beginning of school and kept updated as needed throughout the school year via FACTS family portal. Name changes involving either student or parent should also be submitted via your FACTS family portal. It is imperative that we have updated contact information in the event a student requires medical treatment.
The school treats all personal information as confidential and it will not disclose such information to third parties, e.g., marketing organizations. Even within the school itself not all data is shared by every employee. It is the school’s policy to share personal information within the school only when it is relevant. Staff members are made aware of the need to maintain confidentiality with regard to records and data to which they have legitimate access.
School email/contact lists are to be used for school related correspondence only and should not be used to promote outside activities.
The following is our policy regarding illness as required by the State Health Department: School staff shall exclude from the facility any child showing signs or symptoms of serious or contagious illness upon being brought to school.
If the child has any of the following conditions, they should not come to school:
- If a child feels unable to participate because of illness and lethargy, he/she should not be at school.
- If a child goes home sick due to a fever, they should not return to school until they have had no fever without fever lowering medication for 24 hours. Thus, a fever one afternoon means no school the next morning, even if your child appears to feel fine.
- Generalized rashes over multiple parts of the body, until they have been diagnosed by a doctor. Varicella (chicken pox) warrants exclusion until the sores dry up, usually 5-7 days.
- Green or yellow nasal discharge persisting longer than three days if accompanied with any of the following symptoms: fever, persistent cough, eye drainage, or ear pain. A discharge from the nose without fever is permissible.
- An upper respiratory infection with a temperature of 100.5°F on an oral thermometer.
- A draining ear infection.
- Diarrhea illness with associated abdominal discomfort.
- A child with strep throat must be excluded until one day after medication is started.
- Measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria, infectious hepatitis, salmonella or shingella infection, tuberculosis or other reportable diseases.
- Presence of ringworm, lice, scabies, impetigo, pink eye, or other external body parasites.
When a child is absent due to illness or unforeseen circumstances, MIS employees need to obtain the reasons so the interest of the other children may be properly protected. If a reported communicable disease, such as hepatitis A, is suspected, MIS shall inform a health officer. No child shall be re-admitted after an absence until the reason for the absence is known and there is assurance that the child’s return will not harm that child or the other children.
In accordance with State Immunization Law, MIS requires all children to be fully immunized prior to entering school. On or before the first day of school, parents must present to school officials:
- A signed (or stamped and dated) documentation from a health care provider indicating that the child has been immunized OR
- A State of Montana Certificate of Immunization (blue form) which has been signed by a physician, health officer or designee, and indicates the month, date and year that the child has received the required immunizations. MIS can fill this out for the student given the appropriate backup documentation from the student’s parents.
Conditional Attendance: A student may be allowed to attend school if he/she has received one or more doses of each of the required vaccine(s) and will continue to receive the remaining doses. A conditional attendance form must be completed by the physician/health department official providing the vaccine(s) for the child and presented to school officials.
Exemptions: Our current school policy permits families to exempt their children under the state’s guidelines for religious or medical reasons, however, the case for immunizing all children without medical exemptions is compelling for the safety of everyone concerned, and we encourage families to do so. Exemptions are an authorized reason for not being fully immunized but being allowed to attend school as per state law. Montana law allows medical and religious exemptions as stated below.
- Medical exemptions must be signed by a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) and includes a designated expiration date for the exemption.
- Religious exemptions require a parent, guardian, or an emancipated minor to complete and sign a religious exemption form in the presence of a notary, stating a religious objection to one or more vaccines, allowing the child to be exempted from vaccine requirements. Religious exemptions must be completed each academic year.
- Children who are not vaccinated may be excluded from school and school organized activities during disease outbreaks or because of illness until the excluding authority is satisfied that the person no longer risks contracting or transmitting that disease.
Only official records, signed by a physician, nurse or health department official will be accepted. Students will be excluded from school until all immunizations or exemption documentation are current.
Children should be immunized against the following communicable diseases. FOR SCHOOL ENTRY, the minimum requirements are:
- Haemophilus influenzae (Hib): One dose of Hib vaccine must be administered on or after the first birthday unless the prospective student is older than 59 months.
- Polio: The primary series of polio vaccine (OPV or IPV), consists of three doses given at least four weeks (28 days) apart. The same dose requirements apply to both OPV and IPV, or if a combination of both are used.
- Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT): a student seven (7) years of age or older needs at least three (3) doses of DTP vaccine given as any combination of DTP, DTaP, DT, or Td. Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis will be required for students prior to attending 7th grade.
- Measles, Mumps or Rubella: Date given must be on or after the first birthday. A second dose is required for school entry into grades K-12.
- Tetanus: A student is required to have a Tetanus booster prior to entry into Grade 7.
- Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine
- Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will need to have two doses of varicella vaccine.
In lieu of receiving the varicella vaccine, the rule will allow evidence of immunity to varicella virus.
Options will include:
- Laboratory evidence of immunity or laboratory confirmation of disease,
- Diagnosis or verification of a history of varicella disease by a health-care provider (MD, DO, NP, PA, ND)
- Diagnosis or verification of a history of herpes zoster by a health-care provider (MD, DO, NP, ND or PA)
Under normal circumstances, prescribed medication should be dispensed before and/or after school hours under the supervision of the child’s parent or guardian.
If prescribed or over-the-counter medication must be given during school hours, it will be held and dispensed at the school office. Parents must give written permission, containing precise dosing instructions to the school.
- The classroom teacher will not hold or dispense medications unless prior approval has been given from the office.
- All medications must be kept in their original containers, labeled with the original prescription label and stored at the front office.
- A record shall be kept of all medicine administered at the school. That record shall include the following: the child’s name, the date and time administered, and the medication name and dosage.
- Non-prescription medications will not be administered by school personnel unless written permission is received by the parent or legal guardian.
MIS staff are responsible for providing first aid or emergency treatment in case of sudden illness or injury to a student. If further medical attention is required, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. Each parent or guardian must provide an emergency telephone number where the parent or designee of the parent can be reached.
When a student is injured, staff shall provide immediate care and attention until relieved by a parent or emergency care person. The Head of School or designated staff member shall immediately contact the parent so that the parent can arrange for care or treatment of the injured student.
If a child develops symptoms of illness while at school, the responsible school officials shall do the following:
- Isolate the child immediately from other children in a room or area set aside for that purpose;
- Inform the parent or guardian as soon as possible about the illness and request him or her to pick up the child
In the event of a major medical emergency, as determined by the Head of School or designated staff member, the school will contact emergency services (911) prior to contacting parents. Immediately thereafter, MIS will contact parents and or emergency contacts as listed on Appendix A – Parent and Emergency Contact Information for further coordination of the student’s care.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Our teachers and staff take all injuries to the head seriously. When a student suffers a bump to the head, the teacher brings the student to the office to rest and ice the injury. Additionally, staff at the front desk will communicate (via phone call or email dependent on severity of injury) the incident to the parents of injured student. Depending on the severity of the injury, the school will make a decision to either notify 911 or have the parents decide if they want to seek medical advice. The teacher or staff person at the front desk will also document the incident using a report of injury form.
The school office will notify families if a case of lice is reported in their child’s classroom. Unfortunately, head lice can be a persistent part of school life. Please take the time to take the following precautions:
- Check your child’s head on a monthly basis
- Have your child avoid sharing hats, scarves, headphones, combs and other hair accessories.
- Keep your child’s clothing separate from other children’s clothing.
- If the School notifies you of a case of Lice in your child’s classroom please check your child daily and alert the office and/or your child’s teacher if you find anything.
- If you do find lice, please let the office know.
Traffic Safety Information
FOR THE SAFETY OF EVERYONE IN OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD, PLEASE OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING CONSISTENTLY:
- Harrison Street is ONE WAY DURING DROP OFF AND PICK UP. Parking is allowed on the school side (right side) of the street in designated areas only.
- Preschool parent parking (full and 1/2 day) is in designated parking spots on Briar Street near the bike racks.
Faculty/staff parking is in designated parking spots on Elm Street.
- Overflow parking along side streets must follow traffic laws.
- For everyone’s safety, parents and students on bikes must get off bikes and walk on the sidewalks in front of MIS during morning drop off and afternoon pick up
- Please remember you are in a school zone and you must obey all regular traffic laws regarding speed and parking.
- Drive slowly through our drop off areas.
- Please be on time and be patient with other drivers. It is the parent’s responsibility to supervise children before and after school. It is highly dangerous for kids to be left unsupervised in parking areas.
- Please do not let children off in the road or double park to let your child out of the car.
- Please do not let your car idle when dropping off your child.
- PRESCHOOL parents: Please follow the traffic pattern to access the preschool parking. Do not drive up Briar Street to the parking lot as this creates a dangerous intersection.