Wednesday Weekly
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March 20, 2013
Marie's Message    
Weekly news and notes from Head of School Marie Dugan 

Odyssey of the Mind

Congratulations to the students from the 7-9 and 9-12 programs for their impressive work in the Odyssey of the Mind competition this week. They have been preparing since September and it showed during their performances at Saturday's River Regional Tournament. Three of the five WMS teams that participated qualified for the State Finals this coming Saturday. Be sure to check out the awards hanging on their lockers. We are proud of all of our participants and their parent coaches! 

Regional Odyssey of the Mind TrophiesAnnual Meeting - 7 p.m. tonight

Join the entire school community to participate in discussions about the board's vision for WMS's future. This meeting will also review the past year. Annual reports from the 2011-12 fiscal year will be available. A financial report will be reviewed by Board Treasurer Paul Sakaguchi. We are pleased to celebrate this positive year and I hope to see you all at tonight's meeting. Many thanks to Shweiki Media for donating their printing services for this year's annual reports. 


Spring Break

Classes will be closed all of next week, as well as Monday, April 1, for Spring Break. Child care will be available on all days except Friday (March 29). There are also Spring Break LEGO mini-camps available for your children! Visit our Spring Break webpage to sign up for child care or Spring Break camps. I hope you all enjoy a relaxing week!


New Grandmother

Preschool teacher Cathy Simon-Cord has become a grandmother! The baby's name is Tabitha. If you see Cathy in the hall, be sure to offer your congratulations!



Enrollment for our upcoming 50th anniversary school year continues to grow. We are now processing many new children. If you have not yet submitted your tuition deposit and paperwork, send it in now to secure your child's seat for next year. Questions? Please contact me!

Odyssey of the Mind Team Photo

WMS students showcase their teamwork and creativity at regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament  

Have you noticed the new trophies in the lobby? The signs of congratulations on students' lockers? Festively decorated car windows in the parking lot?

Last weekend, 32 Wilmington Montessori School students participated in the Delaware Odyssey of the Mind River Region Tournament with support from their parents and teachers. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Teams work for six months or more on a long-term problem and also do short ("spontaneous") problems that reward creative thinking and teamwork. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state and world level. (For the past two years, WMS has sent teams to the World Finals!) Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program. Best of all, everything is kid-centric. 


Adults can't offer suggestions or solutions or do any of the work. The coaches, who are parent volunteers, help interpret the rules and can teach lessons on specific skills such as hammering and drilling, but the kids have to do the work on anything that is part of their creation. Anna Quisel, who has coached several teams during the past few years, spoke of the intensity of teamwork that happens among the kids. 


"The kids learn that different people bring different strengths," she said. "I saw them learn to listen to teammates' ideas and learn to sort of merge those ideas into their own. They discovered that the resulting synergy led to an even better concept in the end than one person's idea. I saw them enjoy the powerful feeling of effective teamwork." 


Teams are allowed a small budget to come up with their creations, but most of the materials are donations -- things like scraps of wood and unused cardboard boxes. Coaches help the teams establish ground rules of how they want the team to function. For example, each team must decide how it will make decisions: Do members vote? Does the decision have to be unanimous? It's all up to the children.


Sixth-grader Grant Farabaugh spoke about the most important lesson he learned from his experience with Odyssey of the Mind. "You learn a lot about how people work together," he explained. "There is a lot of teamwork. Some people are strong and don't have a plan but like to work and get things done. Others are shy and don't know if they can work a power drill. When you empower people, they learn they can do all kinds of things."


Five teams competed from WMS this year at the regional competition at Dickinson High School on Saturday:

  • One Primary team (K-2nd grade)
  • Three Division I Teams (3rd-5th grades)
  • One Division II Team (6th-8th grades)

Three of those teams are moving on to the State Finals, to be held at Smyrna High School this Saturday.  Ariel Shweiki, whose team won first place in its division and category, said, "We'll be ready. We are changing some things. The judges give you a score sheet and feedback. We are improving where our scores were low. You never know what the other teams will bring, but we'll be ready."




Congratulations to all WMS participants and many thanks to the coaches for their hours of work supporting the children on these teams!


"Pet Project," Division IA - 1st Place

Charlotte Davey, Jordan Ranji, Alex Ropars,  Adin Shweiki, Ariel Shweiki
Coached by Dave Ropars, Kerry Shweiki, Susie Ventresca  


"The Email Must Go Through," Division I - 2nd Place

Lauren Aussprung, Evan Bastianelli, Sarah Breger,  Annabelle Damude, Lauren Jones, Jackson Politis, Isabel Snyder  
Coached by Natalie Wolf Aussprung, Leslie Bastianelli, Suzanne Jones 


"The Email Must Go Through," Division II  - 2nd Place

Rachel Aussprung, Grant Farabaugh, Dylan Garvin, Katie Krawczuk, Michael Lober, Dharini Simon, Juliana White 

Coached by Natalie Wolf Aussprung, Laura Farabaugh, Tonya Garvin


"It's How You Look At It," Division I 

Deming Florax, Nikhil Irukulla, Maggie Lober, Allie Spatafora, Shannon Surbrook-Bowers, Angelina Szkotak

Coached by Nora Lober


Primary Team

Charlotte Capper, Rachel Capper, Rawley Florax, Andrew Lober, Cassie Matalonis, Daniel Ropars, Arynn Shweiki
Coached by Susie Ventresca 

Mark Your Calendars



20               WMS Annual Meeting
                   7 p.m., Great Room 


25-28          Spring Break

                  No school. Child care available.   
                  Register in advance.
                  Check out our Spring Break


29               Spring Break - Good Friday
                   School and child care closed 



1                Easter Monday
                  Child care available.   
                  Register in advance.


3                Parent Workshop:

                  Montessori 101/Bringing
                  Montessori Home

                  9:15 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.



4                PTO Meeting

                  All are welcome!
                  7 p.m. 


8                Montessori Monday - Admissions

                  Tell a friend!
                  More on admissions events
9-10           WMS Holi Celebration  

11              Parent Education:


                  Standardized Testing
                  8:30 a.m., Room 26
                  Toddler Spring Sing Fling
                  11 a.m., Great Room

15-19          ERB Testing
                   More info coming soon.

17-19          Childfind Testing 
                   More info coming soon.   


20               WMS's Lucky Pair: Auction &
                   Casino Games          
                   7 p.m., Gym   

22               Montessori Monday -Admissions
                   Tell a friend!
                   More on admissions events

25               Preschool Concert
                   9:30 a.m., Gym

                   Rummage Pre-Sale and 
                   Used Bike Sale

                   For WMS Staff/Families
                   4-6 p.m., WMS Lower Level

27               Rummage Sale
                   7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
                   More Info
Parent Education
Encouraging Our Children Toward Independence 

Parenting Tips
by Certified Parent Educator (and WMS Great-Grandmother)
Yvonne Nass 


Timer Today's busy families may have some difficulty balancing time with their child. How do we manage the 24 hours we get every day? How much time should be devoted to our child? Do we wait until we have a day to devote to them or an entire evening? 


If we wait until we have a completely open day or evening, it might never happen. When it doesn't happen, we may feel guilty and over-do, over-buy and over-protect. All of that is very discouraging. Children don't need a lot of time, but they do need our total attention for short periods of time on a regular basis. Look to see if you have 10 to 20 minutes out of your busy day to set aside everything else and engage in some fun with this wonderful little person who will be very grateful for the one-on-one attention. Set a timer, label it "special time," end it happily, ask what they will do with their alone time and let go of your guilt.


For more information about this and other parenting topics, contact Yvonne Nass at

Free Parent Workshop: Montessori 101 / Bringing Montessori Home  
Pink Tower  
April 3, 2013 - 9:15 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.
(The complete workshop is about two hours in length and will run TWICE. Select the time that works for your schedule!)

Join seasoned teachers/Montessori moms Betsy Haas and Melissa Sugzdinis in a two-part workshop that will introduce the Montessori philosophy and teach parents how to bring it into the home.

The first part of the workshop will include an overview of the Montessori Method and how it is utilized and experienced in the classroom. The second part will include tips on how to foster independence and creativity by bringing Montessori into the home - without expensive materials!

This workshop is free and open to the public. Please register by Friday, March 29, to secure your seat. Families from outside the WMS community are welcome.  Please share this invitation with your friends who are interested in learning more about Montessori education!

Register Now Button

Note: Two hours of co-op time will be given to each WMS family that attends. 

Child care:
For your convenience, FREE child care is available for the 6:30 p.m. session. To register, please contact by noon on April 2. Child care is available to all WMS students and for children ages 3 and up from outside the school.

Please note that those who register after the deadline, drop-ins and no-shows will be charged $10 per child.
Co-op Corner
Lacrosse 2012
Wanted: Lacrosse Coaches

Earn co-op hours while exercising! 
Physical education teacher Adrianna Cichonska is looking for parent volunteers to assist with coaching boys and girls lacrosse for grades 3 through 6. No experience with lacrosse is necessary -- although if you have experience, we would love to have your expertise! Lacrosse begins on April 2.

email Adrianna if you're interested.
Eva and Stephanie Glick
Earn Co-op: Sponsor Nemo!  

The fish in the Aspen Wing aquarium are looking for new friends (and plants)! To keep this tank colorful, we would like to involve the WMS community by offering the opportunity to purchase a fish to be named by your child/children.  


To learn more, please contact Eva Glick at

Eva will work with you and your child to select a fish that will play nicely with the aquarium's current population!


News & Notes
Auction Info
Learn more at
girl's bike
rummageJunque 'n' Treasures Rummage Sale    


Many thanks for all of the wonderful donations that have been pouring in. When we ask, we receive. We are still in need of our most popular items: Jewelry and furniture items! Can't drop off? We can pick up! Contact Nancy Sakaguchi (email or call 475-4162) to make arrangements.


Also, get ready to set sale with us on Thursday, April 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the lower level of the school. This "pre-sale" is for the WMS community only and will also include a children's bike sale (including tricycles and run bikes as well). Bike prices will begin at $15. Please drop off your gently used bikes in the front lobby area or preferably in the lower level of the school by Room 24.  Please contact Jill Moncarz for more information about the bike sale.  
The sale to the general public will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Last-minute donations are always welcome and will be accepted up until 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. 
9-12 Student Art Selected for DAIS Art Show


Dear Parents & Staff,

I am pleased to announce that all of the  9-12 students will be participating in this year's Delaware Association of Independent Schools (DAIS) Art Exhibit.

This year the exhibit is being held at The Tatnall School. The exhibit will be up from April 9 through 11 with a reception on April 9 from 4 to 6 p.m.

I hope that you will come out and support the students and enjoy some fantastic artwork!

Laurie Muhlbauer

WMS honored for excellence in email communications


Constant Contact All Star Award

WMS has received the
2012 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc. 

Each year, Constant Contact bestows the All Star Award to a select group of businesses and nonprofits who are successfully leveraging online marketing tools to engage their customer base, and drive success for their organization. WMS's results (including email communications to current families, alumni, potential donors and educators throughout the U.S.) ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact's international customer base (comprised of more than 500,000 businesses and organizations that use its email application).


"We're always delighted when small businesses and nonprofits are successful," said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. "We're honored to recognize Wilmington Montessori School as an All Star, and to be able to shine the spotlight on its achievements in 2012."  


Camp Montessori
Have you registered for Camp Montessori yet?


Specialty camps begin to fill in March, so be sure to secure your child's space! Also, don't forget that there is 10% discount for those who register for five or more weeks of camp before April 1.
Whodunit? Visit the scene of the crime, then use science to find the culprit!

Detective Science (ages 9-12) - held during Week 2 (June 24-28)

Mystery-loving campers will explore the various types of physical evidence that can be found at a crime scene, and learn how they are used to help investigators. We'll learn what physical evidence is, and analyze fingerprints, impression evidence, hair and fibers, chromatography blood evidence, and DNA!

Alumni News
Michael Jones, Class of 2012, stars in Garnet Valley middle school play    
Michael performing in WMS 2012 Talent Show.
WMS class of 2012's Michael Jones performing in WMS's 2012 Talent Show
Michael Jones in Garnet Valley play
Michael and his family on the set of Garnet Valley Middle School's play "The Envelope Please"

If you attended any 9-12 performances between 2010 and 2012, you're sure to remember the talented Michael Jones -- particularly his favorite character, an old man who loved his "Home sweet lasagna!"

Now, Michael is performing on a new stage and recently starred in his first middle school play. Garnet Valley Middle School's production of the fractured folk tale "The Envelope Please."  Michael played Dr. Ziegfield Folly, a 
fraudulent Freudian town psychiatrist.


Like many other WMS alumni, Michael gained a love of performing and confidence beyond his years through music teacher Kelly Rhodunda's amazing productions. By all accounts, Michael gave an inspired and entertaining performance and we look forward to seeing what's next for him and all of our other talented alumni!


Have alumni news? Email!


The Wednesday Weekly shares WMS news and events that are relevant to the families in our community.  Please send submissions to by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday prior to the issue in which you wish to include your information.  Content may be edited for length and style and may be held for a future issue due to space constraints.  For more information, contact Noel Dietrich, Communications Officer.

Our Mission

Wilmington Montessori School is a collaborative learning community rooted in Montessori principles, inspiring the joyful discovery of self and a passion for learning and independent thinking. We empower children to be knowledgeable and responsible contributors to the global community.