End Session Presentations Take Us Around The World!

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PGIA End Session is one of the exceptional programs that sets VIMSIA apart from other schools. Each year, we put together several program options for these last few weeks of school. These are in depth programs that focus on the arts, science and international-mindedness. Some involve international travel, while others provide these experiences here on campus - with special field trips and events.

The students’ experience culminates with a presentation to our school community and this year’s groups did not disappoint:

Head of School 2018-2019 Year End Report

Michael Bornn, Head of School

Michael Bornn, Head of School

VIMSIA’s focus is to raise the bar of education in the Virgin Islands via individual student learning. As one functions at VIMSIA, one should always ask yourself: “What is the impact on student learning?” Everything else falls into place after that.

 We have repaired most of the hurricane damaged facilities. We are embarking on a major construction effort of five facilities: BEC, La Casa, Art Trailer, Dance Trailer and Weight Room. They will rebuilt over the next several years. The first building will be starting this summer. All these facilities will be constructed to a higher standard than the original facilities.

 Our graduates continue to be accepted in their first choice schools with significant amounts of financial aid to enable attendance. Our graduates are well prepared for college. Several have gone on to excel at graduate programs; others have commenced highly gainful and exciting employment.

 For a school with only ten years of graduating classes, the successes of our graduates are very impressive. The IB program prepares our graduates for college. Our graduates have achieved. They are achieving.  And they make us proud. They prove our school is meeting the challenge of quality education.

 VIMSIA will continue to improve in areas of math performance, acquisition of languages, writing skills, classroom management, self-discipline, intrinsic curiosity, collaboration and developing the love of learning. We attempt to reach every child at our school.

 Art, music, dance and theater offerings will continue on their growth path. Speech will also be added as an elective next year. Swimming, sailing and tennis offerings are being developed for next year as well.          

 VIMSIA seeks to educate a diversified student body and our families is reflective of the world at large. We are indeed proud that our teachers have taught in over 70 countries as well as the Virgin Islands. International travel and interactions are a foundation of our school.

 Expanding the Montessori Method to reach every child in the VI is indeed a goal. Early childhood education is critically important and the Montessori Method has been proven to be a leading pedagogy in early childhood education. On island Montessori training for staff and parents will commence this coming school year. 

 VIMSIA now has an endowment to help ensure we have a financial cushion to help mitigate future disasters and more importantly to fund the pursuit of excellence in perpetuity.  Raising money to grow the fund is a priority. 

 The campus is 100% solar energized. A portion of the campus is operating on an off-grid basis with storage batteries and generator back-up.  We are in the process of installing additional storage capacity to take the whole campus off grid. The cost savings of this sustainable program goes directly to improve student learning.

 To further enhance teacher recruitment and retention, we are embarking on two offerings. First, a fleet of electric cars has been donated to the school. They will be available for lease to teachers desiring an electric car. The cars can be charged at our solar powered electric car charging station free of charge, with an estimated annual fuel savings to each teacher of approximately $2,400.

Secondly, we have acquired a two-unit house on Vessup Lane so we will be able to provide affordable housing for our staff close to school. This housing program is a long-term initiative with the goal of acquiring several houses in the area over many years. The vehicle and housing alternatives are purely optional for staff. Providing transportation and housing for faculty is a step in the direction of improving the quality of life for staff, which in turn improves student learning.

 We are working on a proposal to have the concession stand open daily for students and staff to be able to purchase items from a student-run venture. Such will also incorporate existing student fund raising efforts of selling pizza weekly.

None of our achievements and goals would be possible without the amazing support of our staff, students, parents and donors.

Congratulations Montessori Graduates - Class of 2019!

Virgin Islands Montessori School - Class of 2019

Virgin Islands Montessori School - Class of 2019

Thursday, June 13 was filled with celebration as our 6th year students graduated from the Montessori Program!

Norma Bolinger, Montessori Director and former teacher of a few graduates, commended this group of 17 for their hard work, leadership and resilience. She highlighted a variety of highs and lows for these students including survival in the face of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, welcoming new teaching staff, success on the annual MMUN trip or, for some, transitioning to a new school.

Zia Gibbs and Santiago Brunt were the two student speakers. Both having been at VIMSIA for their entire Montessori careers, Gibbs and Brunt shared their best memories and passion for the program. Gibbs said, “I will always love Montessori, even when I am 100 years old! Right now I feel as though I have shifted from a student to a person, finding my way.” Brunt noted that the Montessori program gives him hope for “Resolutions for peace around the world.”

Zia Gibbs addresses the graduates

Zia Gibbs addresses the graduates

Ms. Mandy Boyle was the keynote speaker. This year marked Ms. Boyle’s 25th year of teaching here at VIMSIA. She urged students to enjoy each day, live in the moment, not to grow up too fast and to find a way to make next year better.

Ms. Alexandra Silva, PGIA Middle Years Program Coordinator, welcomed the group to the PGIA. She offered words of encouragement and excitement for the students’ next chapter as they move on to middle school.

Ms. Kate Ludick addresses the graduates

Ms. Kate Ludick addresses the graduates

Upper Elementary teachers, Petra Satter and Kate Ludick, gave heartfelt speeches as well. Ms. Satter sited the students’ impact on her development and Ms. Ludick read Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning”, a poem that focuses on change, responsibility and inclusion.

The VIMSIA community is so proud of these young people. Best of luck as they make there way “up the hill” and beyond!

Ms. DiFrancesco's Third Year Students Visit St. John!

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Ms. DiFrancesco’s third years went to St. John for their end of year trip! They hiked the Cinnamon Bay Trail and swam at Trunk Bay. They saw some Taino artifacts and learned about some of their tools and techniques as well as some plants they used for food and medicine. The Taino were an indigenous people of the Caribbean.

Students enjoy a tour from the St. John National Park Service.

Students enjoy a tour from the St. John National Park Service.

The Class of 2019 Represents the PGIA's 10th Graduating Class!

Sunday, May 26, was an incredible day at Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy. The Class of 2019 represents the PGIA’s 10th graduating class and these thirteen graduates shined during their last event as high school students! This group has a very notable bond and there was an overwhelming sense of ‘readiness’ to start the next chapter of their lives.

Valedictorian Talia Feshbach

Valedictorian Talia Feshbach

Salutatorian Axel Bartsch

Salutatorian Axel Bartsch

Gregory Christian, 2019 Student Selected Commencement Speaker, receives the Masjid Nur International-Mindedness Scholarship

Gregory Christian, 2019 Student Selected Commencement Speaker, receives the Masjid Nur International-Mindedness Scholarship

 Talia Feshbach led the class as Valedictorian and Axel Bartsch was Salutatorian. Gregory Christian was chosen by his peers as the student speaker. He was also awarded the Masjid Nur Organization's International-Mindedness Scholarship at the ceremony. Gregory shared wonderful anecdotes and perspective, having been a part of the VIMSIA school community since Primary. Ms. Alexandra Silva was selected as the teacher speaker and encouraged students to take on each of their classmate’s best and most signature qualities as they venture off into the world. The crowd enjoyed a keynote address from Shane Feldman, founder and CEO of Count Me In, one of the world’s largest millennial movements for volunteerism, community and mentorship.  

 Twelve students are planning to attend university in the fall.  They were accepted to 53 different universities and received over $5 million in scholarships and grants.

Our students will be attending:

  • Allegheny College (PA)

  • Bryn Mawr College (PA)

  • Drexel University (PA)

  • Florida Atlantic University (FL)

  • Georgia State University (GA)

  • Grove City College (PA)

  • High Point University (NC)

  • Howard University (DC)

  • Jacksonville University (FL)

  • Occidental College (CA)

  • Rider University (NJ)

  • University of Miami (FL)

FBI Visits VIMSIA Students for Community Outreach

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The FBI's Evidence Response Team (ERT) visited VIMSIA this week!  The ERT was on island doing a variety of community outreach and training sessions.  PGIA students learned about countless opportunities to learn and grow as a part of the FBI as well as participated in simulated activities involving forensic science and crime scene investigation. Our on campus end session groups found ways to apply this presentation to computer science, up-cycling, sports science and more!     

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MYP Personal Project Exhibition

Personal project is a capstone project that grade 10 students complete in their fifth year of the MYP program. The project is designed to help students prepare for the kind of work they will complete in the DP program. Students chose the project based on personal interest and exhibit skills such as time management, research, writing, critical thinking, and reflection. The students create a product and write a lengthy report. At the end of the year, they present their projects in the personal project exhibition. This year, 7th, 8th, 9th grade, teachers, parents, and staff came to see the hard work the grade 10 students spent all year completing. It was an excellent experience for all involved. 

Ms. Truax

Back From the Big Apple

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The 6th grade class have just come back from the annual MMUN trip, full of stories and news. MMUN stands for Model Montessori United Nations, and it is the experience of a lifetime in which our 6th graders go to New York to participate in this amazing event. According to the students, this year was a huge success and everybody had lots of fun. “ My favorite part was meeting new people at the UN and being able to help solve problems that need to be solved. I also really enjoyed doing some fun activities NYC has to offer; skating at Rockefeller, visiting museums; and walking around New York, because New York is an awesome city.” said one sixth grade student.

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