Vienna Exchange Program

stock-photo-st-stephens-church-112868985.jpg

We have five students from grade 10 traveling to Vienna, Austria this year to do an exchange program with a Montessori-IB school in Vienna. This is not the first time that we have collaborated with this school, as they sent an exchange student to our school a few years ago. Our grade 10 students are traveling to Austria for two weeks in February and will be attending classes on a daily basis, as well as partaking in many excursions around this modern and cosmopolitan city. The students are being accompanied during their travel by a grade 10 parent, Ms. Teresa Ethen. Once they arrive in Vienna, however, they will be living with host families for the two weeks. It is interesting that this school is similar to our school in the fact that they have a Montessori program up to eighth grade and then they have an IB program till graduation. Our families are very excited for this big adventure, and the Austrian families are very excited to host. One or two of the Austrian students will be coming to St. Thomas in April/May to experience the opposite side of the exchange. International education at its best!

Spanish Immersion Exchange Program

Our students with their host brothers/sisters.

Our students with their host brothers/sisters.

Andy Yu in his new bedroom at his host family’s house.

Andy Yu in his new bedroom at his host family’s house.

Zack with the Spanish students at the Boadilla School.

Zack with the Spanish students at the Boadilla School.

Last week Tuesday six of our 7th & 8th graders left on a jet plane for a six week Spanish Immersion Exchange Program.  Andy Yu, Joaquin Hawkes, Noah Ballas, Zachary Edwards, Nathaniel Levine and Lindsay Barr will be attending classes at another IB school, Boadilla, in Madrid. They will also be living with host families. Ms. Bonnie Barr & Ms. Amy Ballas will be the chaperones during the six weeks.  Ms. Barr will be there for the first three weeks and Ms. Ballas will be there for the final three weeks.  Ms. Barr has reported that the students are settling in and having a great time thus far.  They have already been skiing and have plans to go to amusement parks with their host families.  They will be going on field trips to museums such as El Prado, Reina Sofia & Alcala de Henares with the school.  There are also day trips planned by Ms. Barr to travel to neighboring cities such as Segovia, Toledo & Avila. I will keep you updated weekly on the adventures that our students are having in Spain!  ¡VIVA España! ¡VIVA PGIA!

Noah, Joaquin & Lindsay getting ready for class.

Noah, Joaquin & Lindsay getting ready for class.

7b507fd4-c1e2-4dba-ab81-95e853599598.JPG

End of Year Field Trip!

IMG_0958.jpg
IMG_0994.jpg
IMG_0980.jpg

For the end of the year community/science-based trip, Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) Upper Elementary teacher, Ms. Ludick, organized a fun-filled day trip to St. John. The Upper Elementary students investigated ocean life in the classroom and then were graciously able to climb aboard Stormy Pirate Boat Charters and head to St. John. "We saw two dolphins on the way at Peter Bay, swam and snorkeled with the turtles and stingrays in Maho Bay, learned some back flips, front flips, dives, and cannonballs off the boats, and ate at Pizza Pi" exclaimed Ludick. The group arrived back at school tired and happy with lots of inspiration to incorporate into individual research later on and lots of friendships celebrated. Students challenged themselves to learn new things out on the water and truly supported each other. VIMSIA would like to thank Stormy Pirates Boat Charters, Pizza Pi (both VIMSIA parent owned! We highly recommend them both!) and chaperones, Ms. Zucker, Ms. Gibbs, Ms. Butler, Coach-Nurse, Joe Slimming, and Ms. Landry.

IMG_0968.jpg
IMG_0954.jpg

VIMSIA Archer FIGHTS FOR OLYMPIC TICKET

Karen Gauriloff a junior at Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) is headed to Guatemala to participate in the Guatemala Archery Tournament along with teammate Joshua Derrickson.

After five years of playing around with a bow and arrow, Gauriloff decided to take up archery competitively only one and a half years ago. Under the direction of Anne Abernathy “Grandma Luge”, a luge athlete from the United States Virgin Islands and the oldest female athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics, Gauriloff has trained extensively practicing four hours a day building strength, stamina and working on consistency – a key factor to scoring in archery.

“There are three main parts to the competition” says Gauriloff. “First there is the qualification round, second is Match Play where you must compete against another archer, and lastly the Mixed Team round” which Gauriloff and Derrickson will compete in together. Feeling both excited and nervous, Gauriloff enters the competition setting her goal to score 500 points out of a possible 720 points.

It is an archery tradition for archers to trade pins with their competitors as a sign of good sportsmanship. Thanks to the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Gauriloff is headed to Gautemala with USVI pins, towels, bags and t-shirts to represent her home. “I’m looking forward to adding to my pin collection, I have twenty so far” added Gauriloff.

20180502_132809.jpg

If Gauriloff moves on, she may have a chance at representing the US Virgin Islands at the youth Olympics. Currently an eleventh grade student, through hard work and dedication Gauriloff managed to graduate a year early from VIMSIA and will attend Allegheny College, PA this Fall. The VIMSIA community wishes Gauriloff the best of luck!

20180502_132705.jpg

Making College Connections At BEANS Tour

20180411_100016.jpg
20180411_094349.jpg

Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) Admissions Director and College Counselor, Kara Ebe, spent this past week at the Boston/Extended Area Network of Schools (BEANS) tour featuring Brandeis University, College of the Holy Cross, Emerson College, Simmons College, and WPI!

The BEANS Tour provides counselors with the opportunity to explore five outstanding colleges with your colleagues from around the world. Counselors will meet with admissions representatives, current students, faculty, and explore the cities of Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts!

 “This is a tour of five schools which provides you with a unique opportunity to see different schools and engage directly with their admissions directors and faculty then take it back to your students to share” said Ebe. Everyday attendees visited one of the five schools for an admissions overview –detailing requirements, a tour of the campus, an opportunity to engage with or hear a student led panel and a professional development session.

The host institutions determine the final participants based upon a numbers of factors—among them are geographic diversity. Because BEANS is a fly-in program, the committee typically looks for counselors from areas outside of New England, New York, and New Jersey. Additionally, they look to provide opportunities to colleagues from secondary schools that have not recently been represented at BEANS. 

Ebe was flattered by the encouraging and supportive reception from the BEANS Tour participants in response to the recent hurricanes. “Everyone of course asked about the hurricanes, but people are just so intrigued about us -especially those that didn't know we're IB. Immediately once they heard we're IB they started to inquire about VIMSIA and were impressed by what we have to offer” explained Ebe. “We haven't missed a beat with the rigor of what we offer our students, not only academically but now we have these student who are super resilient because of what they've been through” Ebe added.

20180410_105006.jpg

Experience Our End Session Presentations

We at VIMSIA recently celebrated another wonderful series of End Sessions with your students. We invite you to our virtual End Session Presentations by reading and viewing below!


BOUNDARY WATERS

What an amazing trip it was to the north country. From May 22nd until June 2nd 2017 a group of 8 students and 2 adults from the Peter Gruber International Academy's End Session program left the Caribbean island of St. Thomas on a 12 day adventure to experience the history, culture and environment of the Upper Midwest and boreal forest of the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area). Students got a full taste of the region while experiencing Valleyfair, Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse, North House Folk School, Grand Portage National Monument, the Boundary Waters Wilderness and a bit of consumerism at the Mall of America. Ms. Butler and I are so proud of each one of the students. Each of them met and overcame challenges as they traveled, camped, portaged, canoed, fished and experienced and entirely new environment. Well done!


DIY- Do It Yourself!

Throughout the DIY end session, the students made many items ranging from small decorative art pieces to large pieces of furniture.  The students used simple hand tools as well power tools for their wood projects. They completed projects for both their own use, as well as items that they provided for use around campus.

View our slideshow here!


VI HIKING AND HISTORY

Ms. Montgomery and I thoroughly enjoyed the three weeks we spent travelling with students to various historic locations and beautiful hiking destinations. As residents of the Virgin Islands, it is easy to get caught up in our lives and forget how amazing this place is! 

Ms. Monti and I are both island girls, but even though we grew up here, we found ourselves learning new things about our history and unique ecology on every trip we took! 

I look forward to creating more end sessions that teach students about our world while exploring our fabulous back yard!

You can view our presentation here.

~Melissa Bump


NASA AND UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Our time at NASA was great. We watched an IMAX movie about Mars, sat in on the opening ceremony of the robotic mining competition where we heard from the NASA Director and former astronaut, walked through the space shuttle garden, and saw Atlantis. We also met a current astronaut, saw inside Kennedy, and took part in a shuttle simulation which definitely tested one's love of turbulence and sense of balance. We attended a college fair, talked with some robotic teams, and saw one team's robot have a very successful run in the competition.

We arrived in Orlando and hit the Mall of Americas for food and shopping. We then spent three hours at the Sky Zone for glow night. Everyone had a wonderful time at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We visited Hogwarts, took risks and rode rides that were way outside of our comfort zones. As we were leaving the park, we were treated to a water show and fireworks. Lots and lots of walking but so worth it to hear the screams and laughter!

Thank you for sending your children on this adventure with me.


ECUADOR AND GALAPAGOS

The main focus of this End Session was to provide students with an in-the-field experience of the natural history of the Galapagos Islands. Students had the opportunity to observe and reflect on the formation of oceanic islands through volcanic activity, as well as the unique biodiversity of the Galapagos through the process of adaptive evolution.  Prior to our 8-day guided trip in the Galapagos we spent two days in Quito and the surrounding area, where students were given the opportunity to explore the city and hike the world's second highest active volcano, Cotopaxi.


MAURITIUS

The focus of this End Session was to explore the unique island of Mauritius, off the east coast of Africa. This African nation has a diverse history of British, French, Portuguese, Indian and Asian roots.  This was a travel End Session that included experiencing the cultural offerings of the island, from “Surviving Forest” to a sacred Hindu temple to the ancient slave ruins of Le Morne Mountain to the city capital of Port-Louis.  Our premiere destination was Le Bocage IB International School where Mr. David Jenkins is Head of School!  Our students stayed with local host families and attend a few days of classes at Le Bocage.  The other days were filled with excursions all over the island and biodiversity research with Ms. Courtney Jenkins within the extensive natural environment of Mauritius.

Please view our end presentation here!


VIRTUAL TOUR OF JAPAN

Our Virtual Tour of Japan explored many topics. Students learned different Japanese crafts, cooked various dishes, and learned about the social, political, and environmental issues occurring in Japan right now.

We'd love for you to watch our full final presentation here!


Congratulations to everyone on another successful and exciting round of End Sessions!

End Session: Mauritius Adventure Continues!

Dear MRU Families,

It's been a few days since we've written, but we've been so busy! Since we climbed Le Morne mountain, we attended classes at Le Bocage, worked on our presentation project, explored the Last Surviving Forest at Ferney Valley, went to the capital city of Port Louis and the marketplace, toured the sugar museum and learned about the history of the sugar industry, visited the tea factory, the vanilla factory and the rum factory, and ate amazing food the whole way!!
Phew.....

Now, this weekend was one for the students to just enjoy time with their host families and see what a weekend in their lives is like. The kids have been all over, from hotels, to petting farms to bowling alleys to the mall to beach houses, etc. We are so grateful for their hospitality!

Monday (tomorrow) will be our last full day, which we will spend at Le Bocage, finishing our project, attending classes and getting henna tattoos!

Tuesday we go to school in the morning, have lunch and then off to the airport for a 4pm flight to Dubai.

We are sad to see this experience come to a close, but what a fabulous trip it has been.

Here's some photos...enjoy!

I'll send more details soon.

Love from the Indian Ocean,
Ms. Z & Mr. E

End Session : Boundary Waters Out from the Wilderness

Wow, what an adventure! I must say that Ms. Butler and I are so proud of this group and they should be very proud of themselves. We had an amazing four days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness where they paddled and portaged canoes, set up camp, slept and lived outdoors, swam, fished, saw the Northern Lights and experienced all the beauty of the northern boreal forest. There were ups and downs, frustrations and celebrations, and through it all this group of eight students showed true grit!

Today we are heading back to Minneapolis and along the way we will visit the International Wolf Center to learn more about the animals we heard during our nights in the woods.

End Session: Mauritius

All the kids did great, acting very respectfully and easily making it to the top and back down. The teachers on the other hand… well, let's just say, it was a little humbling.

Tomorrow we are off to the "Last Surviving Forest" Ferney Valley, where we will finish up our biodiversity research. And have a very traditional Mauritian lunch prepared right in front of us.

We are having a wonderful time, more updates soon!!

Ms. Z and Mr. E