A (Temporary) New Normal

Parkside Community School - Austin Texas Montessori School
First and foremost, we hope this message finds you and yours safe and healthy. We are thinking of our extended community often and wishing everyone well. Normally in this May edition, we would be sharing news and photos of the children celebrating end-of-school events like Science Fair, Field Day, Culural Challenge, and Gates of Life, but none of those things are happening this year or at least not in the way that we would prefer.

Our campus has been closed since March 15th, and as you can imagine, we are missing the children and our community tremendously. The teachers have gone to superhuman lengths to reinvent a 100+ year-old wheel in order to deliver Parkside’s “Montessori education from the heart” online, and they are maintaining a steady flow of content and connection for the children and their families. We’ve adapted a few events to this temporary new normal – video Science Fair projects, SImple Gifts over Zoom – and we are brainstorming ways to have the much-loved Gates of Life graduation ceremony when we can’t actually join hands to make the gates. It’s all quite a puzzle, as well as a learning experience, and we are focusing on connection and community more than ever.

As we like to say, Community is our middle name, and we are dedicated to learning, working, and growing together, within and without our gates, every day. When one of our members or families needs assistance, we rally to support them and applaud their successes or help carry their burdens. So in light of current events, we’re asking all friends and families of Parkside to step up with us as we lend hearts and hands to our families who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity that was created as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, and Parkside will begin accepting donations for a Temporary Tuition Assistance Fund for the 2020-21 school year. The fund will offer one-time tuition assistance to qualifying families who, up until six weeks ago, had fully planned to begin and end the ’20-21 school year at Parkside. We’ve created this fund so that those children can enjoy the security and consistency of their home away from home as we all navigate continued uncertainties in the coming year. Your generosity may enable a child to finish their three-year cycle or join their sibling on campus, and it will afford them the Simple – and all-important – Gift of being in a community that knows, serves, and celebrates them. In addition, a healthy assistance fund will help protect Parkside’s limited reserves and operating budget and therefore buoy our sweet school in the uncharted waters we are facing over the next school year.

We will continue accepting donations through the end of the ’20-21 school year, including #GivingTuesday on December 1st. We anticipate that the need will be great and ongoing as financial forecasts ebb and flow, so we have asked for 100% participation from the Parkside staff and Board of Directors. We are now reaching out to our current community and to everyone who has been touched by Joe and Claire’s love and wisdom and received the lifelong gift of Montessori education from the heart, with the hope that you will join us in sharing that love and gift with other families. 

If you would like to donate tomorrow for #GivingTuesdayNow, or any time from now through the end of the ’20-21 school year, please visit our Amplify Austin page HERE and include “TTFA” (Temporary Tuition Assistance Fund) in the notes for your gift. If you’re considering a large gift for the TTFA or our on-going Take Sweet Care of Parkside campaign in honor of Parkside’s 30th Anniversary in 2021, please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions. We appreciate that some are in a better position to give than others, but just know that every gift is gratefully received and will strengthen and enrich our entire community.

Having personally been on the receiving end of the Parkside LOVE when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer as a 4th year in Upper El,  I know what it feels like and what a difference it makes during challenging times. It’s a big part of why I’m still an active member of this community after 14 years – I want to pay forward the gifts we were given: an incredible education for my children; a beautiful place to call home; and above all else,  a loving community to call family.

Thank you for considering making a donation and for continuing to believe in Parkside and the work we do here. It’s my honor and privilege to serve this community, and I’m looking forward to us finishing this year strong and beginning the next with great purpose and gratitude. Together.



Parkside Community School
“We loved the education our children received ... nurturing, loving, inspirational, disciplined, respectful, and challenging. We also enjoyed the sense of community and family that is always present.”
Christie Horne