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Dear MSNV Family and Friends, In our new multipurpose room at Hillbrook, the sunshine is serene. But what warms my heart every time I enter is a huge, hand-painted poster from our 2017 MSNV Musicale: Walls and Borders that reads, “Walls turned sideways make bridges.” This is not only a poignant reminder in the midst of the troubles we’ve witnessed in the news of late. It is also symbolic of the community building that has taken place in our school this year. When our walls were literally sideways and our campus renovation moved into the school year with some schedule and location changes, our MSNV community—families, faculty, staff and children—came together and made it work. When the concern of diversity and inclusion came to the fore for discussion, we decided to open our hearts, dig deep and reflect upon our culture and attitudes. When bullying became a topic of interest, we brought the conversation to our children to hear their thoughts and concerns. And as we witnessed hardships in communities around us, our classrooms have made a point of reaching out to make a positive difference. This past school year was filled with examples of activities and events where we came together and became a stronger community as a result. We highlight some of this year’s special events in this Annual Report. Also enclosed are a few stories featuring members of our community. As we strive to build or strengthen our bridges to our former students, we are happy to share that our MSNV Graduates Group, formed this past year, has already done some great work! We also feature a special section on the above-and-beyond efforts of our parent volunteers. Because without our parents, we would not be MSNV. Working together, our MSNV community paves the way for continued success. This year, MSNV faculty and staff, with input from parents, set out on a significant self-study process in order to achieve dual accreditation by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) in 2018. Accreditation provides assurance for families that our school meets and exceeds the strict standards required to provide an authentic Montessori education. Also, our strategic and mission-focused Board of Trustees worked tirelessly throughout the year to ensure we remain fiscally responsible and on track with our 2016-22 priorities. As I enter my final year with MSNV, I do so with confidence. I look forward to the inevitable growth and dynamic change that will keep MSNV on the cutting edge of Montessori education. Thank you for all you do as a part of our community. We are undoubtedly stronger together. With best wishes,

Betsy Mitchell Head of School


PRESIDENT MSNV BOARD OF TRUSTEES Dear Friends of MSNV, On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for your support of MSNV. As this year’s Annual Report makes clear, your financial gifts, as well as your gifts of time and talent, continue to make MSNV an amazing school. 2016-2017 was a very successful year for MSNV. This year we celebrated the expansion and renovation of the Hillbrook Campus—the culmination of years of study and planning—a project that significantly improves and expands the learning environment for our students. Seeing the completion of the Hillbrook project makes clear the importance of having a strategic and mission-oriented board. The Board also undertook a comprehensive review of our five-year Strategic Plan; a plan that ensures we remain focused on initiatives to support the long-term success of MSNV such as our ongoing accreditation initiative. During the final months of the year the Board oversaw the start of the search for a new Head of School. That effort will continue next year as we recognize Betsy Mitchell’s incredible service to the MSNV community and we prepare to welcome our new Head to lead the school. After nine years as an MSNV parent, including six years on the Board, I am still grateful my sons had the opportunity to grow and learn at MSNV and I had the opportunity to serve. With gratitude,

2016-2017 MSNV Board of Trustees Pranoti Asher Shane Blake Secretary Adrianna Bravo Vice President Daniel Cornette President Michael Cranna Treasurer Kelly Engstrom Jennifer Liner Joseph Osterman Jennifer O’Sullivan Sabrina Rose-Smith Larisa Sawhney Vinny Shahbazi Jana Thomas

Daniel Cornette President, MSNV Board of Trustees, 2016-2017

Thomas Stauber Denise Wood







Event Fundraising

Fundraising & Contributions


$30,971 $543,728

Interest, Dividends & Other

Extended Day & Summer Camp



REVENUE $3,479,754 Tuition & Fees, Net

After Net Tuition Discounts of





Salaries and Benefits

EXPENSES $465,574 Instruction




Extended Day, Camp & Other

$228,834 Depreciation

$137,356 Interest


Support Services


MSNV DONORS We are happy to recognize the following individuals who made gifts to MSNV this year through the MSNV Fund and the MSNV Auction. Your generosity supports every aspect of our Montessori community so that we may inspire and guide our children to love learning, to love one another, and to love the world around them. Your contributions are helping to produce creative and innovative leaders for tomorrow’s world!

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE All donors who give $600 or more are members of the Leadership Circle Practical Life Leaders $6,000+ Anonymous* Rebecca and Michael Cranna* The McIntosh Foundation* Sabrina Rose-Smith and John Smith III

Bead Chain Benefactors $2,400+ Adrianna Bravo and Matt Fitzgerald Marion B. Davis Andrew Hunter and Karen Kleiber* Vandana Kapoor and Joseph Patrick Solometo Margaret and William Kleiber* Jennifer Liner and Dina McCullough* Christina Perucci and Stephan Lindenau Rebecca and Jonathan Underly

Pink Tower Builders $1,200+ Pranoti Asher and Michael Kelley* Christie Cameron CFCNCA* Jessica and Dennis Cotto Gwendolyn Driggers and Robert Tai Kelly and Eric Engstrom Joan and Benton Fisher Nicole and Nolan Guagenti Elizabeth and Christopher Hickey Melissa and Ryan LaSalle Jamie Maldonado and Eric Ubias Ana and Timothy McIntosh* Betsy Mitchell* Gina and Jeffrey Moeller*

*MSNV Loyal Friends have 5 or more consecutive years of giving

Melissa and Chad Murrell* Michele and Joseph Ney Jennifer and Robert O’Sullivan Atim and Chuma Obidegwu Sandra Paik Emily and Brett Palmer Michelle and Sean Rogers Larisa Sawhney and Michael Frutchey John and Stacy Scanlon Timothy Schwartz and Kathryn Ahlfeld Julianne and Raymond Shanley

Outdoor Nature Nurturers $600+ Malika Azargoon and Vinny Shahbazi Janig Baladouni and Dru Heard Richard and Joedy Cambridge Daniel Cornette and Suzy Scollon* Brita Cronquist and Sven Eric Cronquist Catarina Cronquist and Andrew Tappert Julie Dorzab and Michael Afsah-Mohallatee Kathleen and Benjamin Dulaney Tenagne Haile-Mariam Joshua and Kelly Holly Julie and Marshall Kasten Joan and John Ohlweiler Nathalie Phaeton and Harry L. Torain Tina and Nicholas Savage Patricia Sawhney Tejash Shah and Fenil Tejookaya Alan and Jana Thomas Mark Weldon and Kim Trinh

Global Pathfinder Patrons $300+ Anonymous* Sue and Lee Allen Caryle Austin and J. Carlos Madrid Eileen and Albert Bartha* Thea Bartha and Dave Rohrbach Heidi and Bud Bishop Anthony Brock and Rula Jones Brock Catherine and Darrell Canady Allison Carpenter and Nabeel Yousef Eric Crusius and Emily Smith Rosemond and Emmanuel Dennis* Adele and Mark Feldstein Cathy and Mike Field Chandler Fox Christine and William Griggs Tracy and Chris Hall Ellen and Robert Hambleton Laura Ledwith and Charles Pennypacker Phyllis and Bob Liner* Susan Lucas Miriam and Nabil Marshood Frances and Wayne McOwen Richard and Zachia Murray Kristan and Arjuna Rivera Claudia Rohaly Jacqueline Savage The Selig-Addiss Family Laura Smalligan and Eric Sandberg-Zakian Nancy and Michael Smith Ricardo Valdiva Denise Stevenson Wood and Alexander Wood Nathaniel Wurst and Barbara Jauregui Wurst

Metal Inset Supporters $100+ Ana Alarcon and Juan Moreno Jovanna and Bradford Bello Olivia and Bill Blackmon Carla Bustillos and Alexander Granados Jean and Daniel Carr* David Castro and Nadia Cruceta-Arias Ismael Castro and Carmen Olmedo Christine and Timothy Chen Cathy Crane Jennifer and Keith Critzer* Ingrid Diz-Fol and Joaquin Diz DMB Foundation Courtney Dozier and Joseph Weeren Sara Dunton Marian and Jon Engstrom Karyn and James Ferro* *MSNV Loyal Friends have 5 or more consecutive years of giving

Brian Forst and Debra Lee Carole Franques Magaly and David Garcia Ralph Gaspard II and Rachel Gaspard Vivian and Kaiser Gill Lisa Gillen and Shane Blake Amanda Glithero Karen and Robert Goodson* Sara Grossman* Kathy Hallett Joanna and Thomson Hirst Marion Jacknow* Marcia and Dixon Johnston Eugenia and Gregory Klein Jackie and Kee Kwon Elizabeth Kyvig Janine and Stanley Labak* Daniel Lee and Ashley Vroman-Lee Geneva Moores and Peter de Boor Julianne Mueller* Kim and Tyler Nations Pauline Ney Kimberley O’Halloran-Perez and Eugene Perez Tamara O’Neil and Kyle Johnson Trina and Wendell Ocasio Melissa and John Pickett Denise and Dennis Reilly* Nidhi Reva Aileen Reynolds and Robert Silverstein Vivian and David Richard* Camilla and George Roberts Rachel Romano and Nate Oliver Atul Rustgi Rebecca Sandoval Amy and Ralph Schlenker Joshua and Sara Schuttloffel Deborah Selmonosky and BG Jones Kate Singleton and Neil Morgan Elizabeth Solis and Jorge Villaneda Ritika and Thomas Stauber Helga and Lloyd Stevenson Katherine and John TerBush Irene Tham and Robert Lu* Susan and Rob Thomas Oanh Tran* Jay and Tricia Visconti Fran Wilson Sue Zhao and Rajiv Fernandez

Friends of MSNV $25+ Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous Elizabeth Bell-Leresche and Garry Bell Karen Bopp and Elliott McEntee Indira Bustillos and Facundo Alberdi Capital One Services Ashley de Leon Ivy Derderian Hugh Franklin and Amaya Lambert Franklin Megan and Scott Gall Katherine and Kevin Gronberg Susan Hansche

Ester and Stephen Hogye Catharina and Greg Jacknow Saraswati Khalsa and Dilraj Sidhu Jennifer and Tony Ma Margaret and Greg Masters* Catharin Meadors and Aaron Pierce Ned Mitchell Gina Ochoa Natasha Sacouman and Kevin Minsky Nancy and Jack Schick* Malini Sekhar and Anoop Kumar Sumira and Joseph Osterman Gretchen and Jason Straczewski Jan and William Woodhead



This past year, the MSNV Grads Group was established. Despite busy school schedules, they met monthly, rotating houses to catch up with each other while also taking the opportunity to discuss ways they could together create positive change in the world around them. “I wanted to join [the group] because it’s a good way to keep in touch with old friends that I don’t see much because we’re at different schools and live in different places,” said Gabi (class of 2016). From the get-go, the members knew they wanted to do a community service project together and “have an impact on our world” (Skylar, class of 2016). They were inspired to focus on water-related issues after some of the grads and the MSNV third years read a book called, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. It “moved us to support access to clean water around the world,” notes Skylar, “especially since water is a resource that we can seemingly use whenever we need it.” Throughout the spring, the group met to assign who would talk to third year students, who would design flyers, and more. For the MSNV Auction, the group put together a “water conservation awareness basket” and then they worked to organize a fundraiser in June. More than 40 MSNV families and friends joined together for the Walk for Water around Burke Lake, Virginia to bring awareness to the issue of global water scarcity and to raise money to fund a well in South Sudan. In the fall of 2017, the group looks forward to having new graduates join the MSNV Grads Group. Skylar adds, “I hope to continue doing community service with the MSNV Grads but on a more local scale. Water for South Sudan is a very global cause, but I think it would be cool to do a project that the MSNV Grads and the MSNV community can connect to a little more.”


HIGHLIGHTS We inspire and guide children to love learning, to love one another, and to love the world around them. Together, we made this possible! 2016-2017 was filled with activities and events that strengthened our community. By giving of our time, treasures and talents, we have all enriched learning experiences, bolstered our school spirit, supported our wider community, and raised funds for MSNV.

performed together in MSNV’s first band concert at Kenmore Auditorium. In addition, MSNV musicians went public. Several Upper Elementary students composed and arranged their own songs and performed at the Busboys and Poets Cafe in Arlington for an “Upper Elementary Open Mic Night.”

Expanded Learning Spaces

Grandparents Day

At MSNV, we strive to provide our children with an optimal learning environment. In our last strategic plan, we decided to focus on improving our Hillbrook campus by enhancing existing classrooms, adding a new multipurpose room as an enriching environment for music, art and other programs, as well as increasing our classroom space to accommodate two full Upper Elementary classes. After more than two years of planning and several months of construction, our MSNV renovation of the Hillbrook campus was complete in Fall 2016.

Children are inherently pleased with themselves as they master a work and are ready to indulge in the next level of learning. To showcase our students’ curiosity and desire for learning while expanding our Montessori community, we hosted MSNV’s first Grandparents Day this past fall. Grandparents traveled to both Valleybrook and Hillbrook campuses—even “virtually” (yes, one student Facetimed with his grandparents in California!)—to experience our Montessori classrooms firsthand with their grandchildren.

Enhanced Artistic Creativity

This year, MSNV has taken great strides to kick off our schoolwide D&I activities through surveys, focus groups, and with the support of outside facilitators. In addition to conducting training retreats for faculty and staff, MSNV also assembled a “Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council” to discuss ways MSNV can become more welcoming and supportive to a diverse community of learners. The Advisory Council, a group of parents and staff, helped create a Diversity Statement for the school and discussed ways in

In addition to the benefits of improved classrooms, our art program now has a dedicated space with room for fantastic new equipment to indulge creative minds, while also keeping the products of said creativity tidy.

Music to Our Ears This year, our music program expanded to include a band ensemble. After months of rehearsing folk songs in harmony, blues and improvisation, and canons, the Upper Elementary students

Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

which MSNV could provide more detailed communication and training for the community. They developed committees which will form in Fall 2017 to support the school’s D&I journey.

Elementary Anti-Bullying Program Dr. Kristin Swanson, a clinical psychologist (who also works with our teachers throughout the year), led MSNV Elementary in an open conversation about how to recognize bullying behavior. She described bullying as something that makes someone feel bad, is intentional, and persistent. She noted how bystanders play a crucial role in the prevention of bullying and underlined the importance of reporting bullying to an adult. The talk promoted insightful contributions from the students, as we strive to be a community without bullying behavior.

Earth Day Everyday Through outdoor education and “green” activities like composting, recycling, and using resources responsibly, we share our appreciation of and care for the world around us. In observance of April 22’s Earth Day, we took extra steps to make a difference. MSNV Upper Elementary pulled invasive species along the trails in the park adjacent to our Hillbrook campus, including garlic mustard and English ivy. A Primary classroom had an interactive lesson on water pollution, adding things like paper, coffee grounds, soap and tissues to a bucket of water to represent pollutants in a pond, and then worked to try to filter the water. Some concerned children noted: “We should not put pollution in the water, because it’s too hard to get out!”

The Power of Echo Hill It has become an annual tradition for our entire MSNV Elementary, with support of faculty and MSNV parents, to visit Echo Hill Outdoor School. While immersed in nature, our children are

able to better understand the needs of the world around them and how they can each make a difference. Our MSNV community keeps returning to Echo Hill not only because we find it to be enriching for the students to learn about the history, ecology and environmental significance of the Chesapeake watershed, but also because this experience of being “out of their element” is so vital. This opportunity allows our MSNV children to negotiate new social scenes, problem solve, explore new lands and

fundraising initiative in order to raise funds for an orphanage in Uganda called Bambi Uganda Orphans. She raised more than $240, which was enough to cover a year of school fees for three children in Uganda. Also this year, a group of Lower Elementary children organized a donation drive to support a local organization called “So Others Might Eat” (SOME). They sorted donations, tallied results, packaged and wrapped the goods. Another Lower Elementary classroom

As a Montessori teacher of young children, I love the philosophy of nurturing the whole child. I believe when a child learns to love life, people, and learning, coupled with problem-solving skills, a sense of responsibility, compassion for others, and a good work ethic, that child will find a way to live a meaningful and purposeful life. — AN MSNV TEACHER challenge themselves. Ultimately, their independence, confidence and cooperative skills reach new heights!

Community Service Issues that pertain to community and global awareness are common topics of both conversation and action in our MSNV classrooms. Our children oftentimes feel compelled to brainstorm community service ideas in order to make a difference in the world around them. This year, one Primary student organized a cookie sale as schoolwide

organized a donation drive and collected 660 diapers for Syrian refugees in our area. Meanwhile, MSNV Upper Elementary collected a bus load of assorted household items to donate to refugee families in our area. And these are only some of the service activities that took place throughout MSNV in 2016-2017! Want to read more from 2016-2017? See our Newsletter archives: https://www.msnv.org/page/newsmedia


HEART & SOUL OF MSNV Thanks to our parents, MSNV thrives. Here are a few stories from parents who have given countless hours to support our school and why it is so meaningful to them. JOHN H. SMITH III Julian (class of 2023) When John, Sabrina and Julian first met Julian’s Preprimary teacher, Ms. Claudia, they knew that MSNV was a perfect match for their family. Julian has now been enrolled for four years and has started in Lower Elementary at Hillbrook. Over their time with the school, John and Sabrina have become more and more engaged with happenings at MSNV. Sabrina currently serves on the Board of Trustees. For John, he amped up his role and time at MSNV this past year. He finds being on campus rewarding: “To see Julian in his class with his friends, to see him laughing and playing with his friends- it’s so nice to see it all as a fly on a wall… If that was an encapsulation of his entire day, I knew he was in the right place.” He appreciates the opportunities MSNV provides for parents to come in and participate. “As a veteran, I could come in my uniform and tell them about my military experience. So, now, when I come in for pickup, I might have a kid come up and ask me about the Air Force. And it’s so special knowing their names and they know who I am. This is truly the education we want for our child. A nice intimate setting; not a setting of chaos. This is a family: we respect one another, we have the ability to have differences and come together for a common good.”

RITIKA KHARBANDA STAUBER Krish and Isha (class of 2022) Since their twins, Krish and Isha, started at MSNV in the fall of 2013, both Ritika and Tom have been involved with various volunteer opportunities at MSNV. “I started with morning carpool, which gave me the opportunity to meet many new and returning families. It was great to witness the growth in independence and confidence of the youngest Preprimary and Primary students through the year at this very significant point in their day.” Both Ritika and Tom have been grateful to work alongside other MSNV families on building and grounds improvement and have developed good friendships as a result. Ritika was also a room parent in her children’s second and third Primary year, where she “gained an even greater appreciation and understanding of the meticulous and zealous planning and organization on the part of the teachers.” Lunch and recess duty was a highlight: “I love the opportunity to spend priceless moments, just talking and bonding with my children over lunch, reading to the class, and being present for the spotlights, and other shared projects.” In addition to being involved in similar activities, Tom also worked with the Finance committee in the past and is an active member on the MSNV Board of Trustees. “Watching us volunteer and being active in the

MSNV community, has cultivated an appreciation for being involved in a community setting for our children.” BARBARA FOLEY Cameron (class of 2022) and Liam (class of 2019) Barbara is a familiar face around campus and is featured on the cover of this year’s MSNV Giving and Getting brochure. She’s gained recognition at both Valleybrook and Hillbrook campuses, as she has provided assistance across several Primary and Elementary classrooms with gardening, cooking, and art projects, chaperoning field trips and assisting with spelling quizzes. When she was a room parent for her son’s Primary classroom, she notes, “my goal was to provide a window to the parents into their child’s life at school as well as to foster a sense of community among the families.” She developed and maintained a blog that published weekly updates from the teachers alongside photos taken by her and the teachers, a class calendar, snack schedule, and volunteer sign-up forms. “Volunteering in the classroom gives me a unique opportunity to see the children at work and observe how they get along both independently and with their peers. I am also able to see how amazing the teachers are with the children. They are a model and inspiration for me as a parent. The best part is that over the course of the year, I am getting to know the young communities that my children are a part of.” JULIE KASTEN Lily (class of 2022) and Grace (class of 2019) “2016-17 was my 5th year as a parent at MSNV, and I have another 5 to go!” Julie has two children at MSNV, Lily and Grace. At her “halfway” point at MSNV, she has served as room parent a whopping three times in Preprimary, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary. She has also assisted with admission tours, hosted a website for a Primary class-

room, catalogued the Valleybrook library, and most recently served on the new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council that began in 2016. “One of the things I enjoy most is being able to anticipate what the teachers and the school at large might need at certain times of the year and offering my assistance accordingly.” Julie notes that this is possible because the teachers and staff trust parents to participate and “chime in on a discussion,” be it at Parent Education events, on campus tours with visiting families, or with staff about classroom needs. As a parent with children at both campuses, she’s found herself serving as a spokesperson for other parents, but also encourages other parents to build similar relationships with teachers and staff. “The fact that parents are invited to get to know the workings of the school at such an intimate level makes it possible for [us] to contribute in so many ways. I look forward to the next 5 years!” MARK WELDON Courtney (class of 2020) Mark is thankful for his flexible work schedule that allows him the time to work from home and participate in activities with his daughter, Courtney, at MSNV. His biggest motivation to give his time to our school was his own father who oftentimes didn’t return home until after 8:00 p.m. every night. Mark doesn’t want to be a “dinner only” dad and has therefore been proactive in reaching out in his Lower Elementary classroom in order to find out the best way he can provide assistance to the teachers. “I encourage parents to be proactive instead of reactive—I asked Tim and Elizabeth what I could do to help, so that they could have more time for teaching one on one with the kids.” In one of his roles, Mark came in to lead literature discussions with the Elementary students. He quite enjoyed it and believes it stems from a fond memory he carries from a volunteer experience he had back at Valleybrook when Courtney was in

PARENTS ARE THE HEART & SOUL OF MSNV (continued) Primary. When he was visiting his daughter’s classroom, one child asked him to read and before he knew it, there were children pouring over him—“It was such a great experience!” Mark has also helped to maintain our campus facilities through projects like refinishing tables or even donating and planting a tree in the new parking lot of Hillbrook: “I wanted us to establish roots so we can go back and look at it and see the fruits of our labor.” MELISSA LASALLE James “JP” (class of 2020) and Emily (class of 2023) “I love how open MSNV is to incorporating and benefiting from different parents’ passions and skill sets,” notes Melissa. Melissa authors a website titled WhatToReadToYourKids.com with unique children’s book recommendations. She works continuously to organize and cull Hillbrook’s non-fiction library to allow more beautiful, accessible and high-quality books to find their way into young researchers’ hands. “I love

working with children’s books, but an unexpected bonus of the work was getting to know the different teachers and staff members, many of whom would wander into the library space during breaks…. It made me appreciate, not only the quality of the education at MSNV, but also what a loving and welcoming place it is.” As a part of MSNV’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative, Melissa is working to bring more diverse titles to MSNV, whether they be picture books showcasing a broader racial diversity or chapter books inviting discussions among Elementary students about multicultural challenges or nontraditional families. She led her son and his fellow third years in a weekly literature discussion group where, among other great books, they read and discussed Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water. “The children were so moved by [this story] that they convinced the Upper Elementary classes to read it as well, and the book became the inspiration for MSNV’s first Walk for Water.”

OUR MISSION: We inspire and guide children to love learning, to love one

another, and to love the world around them.

OUR VISION: We envision a humane and peaceful society where people of all

ages feel reverence and responsibility for all that sustains life on Earth. LOOKING AHEAD

The 2016-2021 MSNV Strategic Plan seeks to: expand our educational programs; enhance school spirit; strengthen advancement efforts; and promote our tradition of strong corporate governance.


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