Maria Montessori

August 31 marked Dr. Maria Montessori’s 149th birthday and kicked off a yearlong celebration leading up to next year’s 150 birthday anniversary!

This feminist, icon, and pioneer shattered gender barriers, blazed a trail for women in medicine, championed peace and social justice, and became one of the great thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Maria also revolutionized the field of education, by empowering children to build a better world. It is a revolution still happening today in the thousands of schools worldwide that bear her name and are authentic practitioners of her method.

MEC is proud to carry on her legacy!


You’re packing up your sleeping bag,

Your lantern and your tent,

And you’re off to find the life you lost,

But you’re not sure where it went,

And I hope those mountains teach you,

How to stand both tall and proud,

That you see your life much clearer,

With your head above the cloud,

I hope you swim through rivers,

With their currents swift and fast,

That they show you must be careful,

When you wash away your past,

I hope that you are humbled,

By the vastness of the sea,

That the eagles high above you

Make you feel like you are free,

I hope when night has fallen,

And your fire’s just a spark,

That the stars shine to remind you,

That there’s beauty in the dark,

But most of all I’m hoping,

That you’re learning while you roam,

That no matter the distance,

You can always come back home.


This poem might seem odd for the beginning of a new school year, but bare with me…there is a point. Our desire is to make students feel at home at MEC. When students feel at home at school, they are more engaged, they take learning into their own hands, and they feel a sense of agency and pride in their work, which is important. But they also feel connected to other people who can share their joys and their sorrows. Home is in our hearts, and every faculty and staff member brings their “home” into our community. They carefully and intentionally build a nest for your child to grow. And all these nests live peacefully with all the other nests on campus, creating a community that nurtures your child. We keep them grounded and safe until they are ready to fly, with the hope that they know they can always come back home.

You will often see alumni on campus on a day off from their school or on late-day starts. They enjoy seeing old friends and past teachers. They bring with them stories of their adventures “out in the real world.” It is usually a happy-go-lucky visit. But there are times that one will come back with a heavy heart.

The other day we found one of our alumni at our door with a broken heart. These moments are when the word “home” reveals itself. He came to us because he knew we could comfort him because we knew, and still know, him on an emotional and spiritual level. He felt loved by our community as a child, and that love became a home for him to return to whenever he needed to be reminded of who he is.

So, as this school year begins, please know that MEC is more than just a school; it is a home, a nest in which your child will feel safe and loved. It is a nest where they will learn to fly and a nest to which they can return when their heart is bursting with joyous news or needing tender loving care to piece it back together.

Cassi Mackey, M.Ed, Principal



To All the Staff of MEC,

I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend the day in your school. I know I said this before, but the environment in your school is warm and welcoming. I can’t say enough about the way the staff interacts with each other and the students. There is such a feeling of community and peace. It was inspirational for me to see where my community can go with the right support. Anytime you are in the Pittsburgh area, we would welcome you with open arms.

Megan Steen

Director, Mount Lebanon Montessori School and Academy



  • Before or After Carline – If you arrive before or after morning carline, you must walk your child in to the office and sign them in. For the safety of the child, they may not be dropped off.
  • NO Walk-ups – You may not park and walk up to afternoon carline and get your child. You must go through the office and sign them out.
  • NO retrieving things from classroom/patio/playground, etc. – We do not let children get out of a car in carline to retrieve items (lunch boxes, homework, jackets, water bottles, sharing items, etc.) They may get them the next day.
  • Absolutely no phone usage at any time

Afternoon Southern Carline:

  • Do not arrive before 3:00 p.m. (later toward 3:15 is usually easier)
  • View child’s papers, etc. at home (make loading as speedy as possible)
  • Leave space behind the car in front of you (when safe, pull out and exit)
  • No left turns onto Southern when leaving (it is unsafe and delays carline)

Kindness at Carline

I know that carline can be a dreaded, slow-moving process, like a desert tortoise meandering along. At best, it allows for convenient drop off and pick-ups. At worst, it’s a traffic jam with cars waiting to enter on a busy street or trying to get out with cars lined up behind you.

It takes the entire primary and elementary staff (31 people) to run carline effectively. I am so grateful that our teaching staff is willing to help with carline. It is at the end of a very busy day, it is not easy, and, right now, it is HOT. Please be mindful that they are outside on asphalt with no shade during the hottest time of the day.

It still astounds me when parents are unkind during carline. The teachers have been yelled at, ignored, lied to regarding cell phone usage, cursed at, given dirty looks, almost hit by cars, and granted the always-impressive eye roll. These are the same teachers who have just spent a day loving and teaching your children.

Fortunately, the majority of parents take car line in stride and are kind to our teachers. For this, we are grateful. But there are still a handful of parents that are not kind and do not follow carline protocol; I felt this warranted a mention.

One of the fundamental values of Montessori is to be models for our children. Please keep this in mind when participating in carline. Show kindness to our teachers. This could be a smile, a wave, a hello when they open the door, a thank you, even a bottle of cold water, or it simply can be just to follow the carline protocol.

Please know that we ask our teachers to show kindness, as well. We know that people can have off days, and frustration can get the better of both parents and teachers. Let us all strive to show each other grace and courtesy and model kindness while managing the beast called carline.

Thank you,

Cassi Mackey, M.Ed., Principal



To all our students, parents, and MEC faculty/staff for a wonderful beginning of the school year.
To all parents who support MEC protocols regarding carline, cell phone usage, saying good-bye to your loved ones at the door, etc. Supporting these requests contributes to the culture we want to create at MEC.
To all parents who have attended parent nights. We appreciate your dedication to your child’s education.
To all parents who turned in all the Open House paper work. We know it can be a lot, especially with multiple children, but we appreciate you helping our office get what they need.
MEC faculty and staff for braving the hot weather during carline and recess duty.


Dates to Remember

ButterBraids pick up – Thursday, September 5th, 2:20 pm – 5:30 pm on Robin Lane, past carline on east side

Scholastic Book Orders due Friday, September 13th

Picture Day will be Tuesday, September 17th. Bring your best smile!

Fall Break – October 7 – 11 – No School

Vision Screening – Wednesday, October 16th



  • Please help us to keep our school healthy by keeping students home when they are coughing, have a runny nose, a sore throat, fever, or an upset stomach.
  • If your child becomes ill at school, we will contact you to pick him/her up. You will need to pick up your child within one half hour of our phone call. Your child must be fever free (under 100 degrees), without medication, no longer vomiting, diarrhea free, and rash free (or not contagious) for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Please inform your classroom teacher if you are aware that your child is arriving to school with a non contagious rash, sores, bug bites, etc. This notice will eliminate teacher concern and questions.


  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication – the parent must complete a medication form, which is available in the office. All medication must be received in its original packaging and not expired.
  • Please call the office at (480) 926-8375 by 10:00 am to let us know your child is absent that day. If you let a teacher know in carline that your child will be absent or tardy, you MUST also call the office for the absence to be excused.
  • If you have a change of address or phone number, please notify the office a.s.a.p.
  • Please do not send your child to school with any heels or high-wedge shoes.
  • Any changes for pick up at the end of the day need to be called in by 1:00 pm. If you are late picking up a child in carline, they will be dismissed to LEAP after carline is over.
  • We will not retrieve your child from their classroom or LEAP prior to your arrival to pick them up.
  • Please label your child’s lunch box and jackets with first and last name. Our lost and found is located in the office restroom behind the curtain. If the item finds its way into the bin and has a label, we will return it to the child. If not, on the first Monday of every month, we donate unclaimed items to Goodwill.

Items Needed

LEAP needs empty baby food jars. Please bring them to the office, and let them know they are for Nikki J.
If you find you have things a classroom or LEAP may need, please contact your child’s teacher and ask if anyone is in need of the items you have.
Thank you for always being generous when we are requesting donations.