For Parents

Grab a refreshment and get ready for the new school year.
The School You Choose With Your Head and Your Heart

Summer 2019

Dear Wonderful ECMCS Parents,

For new and returning parents, welcome to East Cooper Montessori Charter School, the school that is truly chosen with your head and your heart. While your toes are in the sand, we are busily preparing for the school to reopen in approximately one month! Grab a cold lemonade and get ready to check off your back to school list. 

Transformation of Our Space
We are excited to unveil a whole new ECMCS! There has been a complete physical transformation of our space since the students left for the summer! Thanks to the support of the district, the new spaces and renovations are being provided by CCSD.  Thank you to our generous parents and the strong financial planning of ECMCS leadership over the years, ECMCS is able to provide new furniture and new technology to match!

Every classroom is now larger with space for student flexible learning and to accommodate the full complement of Montessori materials, including a learning wall in every classroom. The courtyard also received a makeover with doorway access and walkways that connect the main hallways, media center, cafeteria, several classrooms, and front offices. The courtyard will now be the perfect outdoor learning environment with large benches, container gardens and a shaded solid surface for working or charging devices. The courtyard is also powered with lamp posts for evening events. The media center also received new carpet and a new glass wall with two new doors into the media center from the courtyard. The school’s support staff received new dedicated spaces for special education teachers, intervention staff, school counselor and the school resource officer. There is a newly constructed set of group bathrooms outside the Grand Hall including a family bathroom with a changing table! Two other group bathrooms were completely renovated with new tile and new fixtures completing the renovation of every bathroom. The middle school wing now encompasses dedicated facilities including bathrooms, breakout learning labs, technology lab, and community spaces. We cannot wait to see the look on the student's faces when they return! 

Meet and Greet Postponed
Due to the tight schedule with school construction, we will not be able to offer the Meet & Greet event we typically schedule prior to school starting. However, we have planned a welcome back breakfast in September to show off the new building! In lieu of our traditional parent work party to start the school year off, we are planning a very special cleaning party for families to help teachers polish and shine their brand new spaces post-construction! Details will be shared closer to the start of school.

Tech Updates
While on the topic of new, we are so happy to announce students in grades sixth-eighth grades will for the first time enjoy 1:1 devices and will be issued a school-owned Chromebook all-in-one computer and tablet in the fall. Students in grades 4th & 5th will have access to Chromebook carts for check out during the school day at a 1:3 ratio. We no longer offer a Bring Your Own Device option at ECMCS. See the Technology Contract for more information. Additionally, per the Technology Acceptable Use Policy of the Family Resource Handbook and Code of Conduct, students may bring smartwatches to/from school, however they must be stowed in the silent or off position and placed in a teacher designated area (i.e. locker). Students are not permitted to use personal communication devices on school property. 

Curriculum Enhancements
Thanks to the generosity of the Dickerson family, our special education teachers, interventionists, and Primary teachers were all able to attend Orton-Gillingham training this summer. We are thrilled to have this added resource available to our youngest learners. Thanks to the generosity of families who gave during the Read-A-Thon, we were also able to purchase a new set of phonics readers for every Lower Elementary class, selected by the teachers. 

We know students develop critical thinking skills, creativity and become better collaborators through strong arts programming. With this in mind, our arts programming is getting a facelift. The STEM lab is getting new tables that are both counter and table height for projects as well as new robotics additions. We are looking forward to performing arts through music and theater classes, band opportunities for Middle School, and new steel drums and other instrumental education for Upper Elementary. We are also looking toward new lighting and stage enhancements as part of the annual fund planning this year. 

ECMCS intentionally and systematically reviews an area of the curriculum in-depth every three years. This allows us to ensure we have the latest and greatest materials for students, professional development for teachers, and are up to date on best practices in education. This school year will be our 2nd year of our in-depth study of our mathematics curriculum. We are excited to offer the 2nd year of Montessori Math Labs which dive deeper into supporting students becoming successful mathematicians. The Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP) Professional Development explores a set of instructional strategies that both enhance the formative assessment process and build teacher content knowledge, curricular knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. Nikki Hollander and Kaity Wiljanan are OGAP trainers for both our school and the district. Additionally, the Upper Elementary teachers have received training in Bridges Math materials to support Montessori lessons in the classroom. Bridges materials include hands-on math games, math activities that deepen conceptual mathematics, and more opportunities for math manipulatives and strategies for students. Kaity Wiljanen is a Bridges trainer for our school and CCSD. In grades 6-8, students will receive math home resources from Illustrative Mathematics. These resources will help in at-home studies of math, provide real-world problem-solving opportunities in math, and deepen conceptual understanding of complex math problems. 

Peace Projects and Service-Learning
Service-learning and community peace projects have been a part of the ECMCS culture since the school began. This year the amount of individual peace project hours has been lowered in an effort to have more community and group-based service projects. Students can submit their community project (i.e. beach sweep, collection for My Sisters House, etc.) to the Student Council for approval and if selected the project will be sponsored by the school. 

Parents, it's up to you
While there is much construction happening throughout the building and a great deal left to be completed in order to be ready for students, the inspections are scheduled for the last week of summer. Provided everything goes as planned, it will still be a tight kick-off to the year so please be patient and watch for office emails with cleaning parties and schedule adjustments. 

To ensure that you and your children are prepared for the first week of school, please carefully review the enclosed information. It is critical that each family, new and returning, familiarize themselves with the Family Resource Handbook and Code of Conduct. Parents can click on each heading below to directly link to the form that is due.  Forms are also available on our website under the For Parents menu. All forms and fees are due by Monday, July 29th.  

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Jody Swanigan, Principal             Nikki Hollander, Assistant Principal

FEES - Available on the School Webstore

Registration Fee - $45 (all students)

Registration fees are used for consumable materials such as personalized student dictionaries, educational magazines, homework needs, science equipment, art supplies, supplemental reading materials, class reference books, math manipulatives, etc.


School Supply Bulk Order - $35 (all students)

Additionally, in order to simplify and reduce the cost of school supplies for parents, we are once again ordering supplies in bulk resulting in a cost of $35.00 per child. In our research, parents usually spend approximately $50.00 per child so we hope parents are excited about the savings and not traveling to multiple stores to get everything on the list.

Backpacks should NOT have wheels and should fit in a cubby 10.5" wide x 12.5" deep x 20" high.

Please note all middle school students need to purchase their own zippered binder.

 Technology Fee - $20 (students in 1st - 8th grades)

This fee covers instructional software and programs that students can use at school, and in many cases at home. Information regarding specific learning programs that students will have access to for home and school will be shared at Back to School Parent Information Night. 

Preschool Practical Life Fee - $20 (Primary students - ages 3-5)

This fee covers our preschool practical life consumable activities, including food preparation works, flower arranging works, consumable sensory works, etc. 


If you qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch and are unable to pay the registration fee, please contact Billy Koll ( in the business office.

Click Here to Pay Fees
Click Here to Pay Overnight Trip Deposits
Free and Reduced Meals Application


Policies Agreement Form - must be filled out for each student.
Policies Agreement Form
Emergency and Health Information Form - students MAY NOT attend the first day of school without completing this form. 
Emergency and Health Information Form
AfterSchool Care and Dismissal Plan - must be filled out for each family.
AfterSchool Care and Dismissal Plan
Returning Student Information Update - must be filled out for each student returning to ECMCS. New students completed this process through New Student Registration. You will need your child's Student ID. It will be emailed to you within 2 weeks.
Student Information Update

Every student in grades 1-8th has the opportunity to attend an overnight trip experience (see dates below in the important dates section). As students age up in the program, there are fewer and fewer chaperone spaces available due to the capacity of the camps or trip experiences.  If you want to chaperone an overnight trip, you must fill out the Chaperone Request Form.

Chaperone Request Form


New families are encouraged to park and walk their child into school on the first day, as well as pick up their carpool tag. If your child takes medication, you are also welcome to stop by the school nurse’s office to deliver any medications. Additionally, we will be hosting a meet & greet event after drop-off for new families in the Media Center. Stop by, have a cup of coffee, meet other new families, and ask any burning questions.


ECMCS has a very unique, fun start to the school year with a welcome back party on the Myrick Rd. Entrance. Middle School students choose music, make signs, and dress up to welcome students back for the new year! If your child prefers a quiet entrance, the Rifle Range Rd. entrance will be calm and peaceful.

Important Dates 

ECMCS follows the ***CCSD calendar*** for holidays, professional development and report cards. We also adhere to CCSD weather-related closings and makeup days. ECMCS also uses a Google Calendar for parents to subscribe which CAN BE FOUND HERE. It is highly recommended that families subscribe to and follow the ECMCS Google Calendar which includes a comprehensive list of events. Below is a condensed version of important dates this year, but not the entire list.
August 5th - Class lists will be shared with families 
August 14-20 - ECMCS is closed to families and students so we can fully prepare for the first day of school.
August 21st - First day of school for returning primary students & grades 1-8. 
August 26th - First day for newly enrolled primary students.
In order to support a Montessori gradual opening, all students new to the Primary Program in Pre-K (ages 3 and 4) will begin school on the CCSD first day of school for Early Childhood students.  

Please Note New 3 Year Old Drop Off & Pick Up Times (DSS Requirement) - 7:50-8:00 am, Pick-Up 11:50-12:00

August 29th - Back to School Night & Camping Trip Overview
  • 5:00 pm Primary & Lower Elementary Parents 
  • 6:00 pm Upper Elementary & Middle School Parents
Come to learn specifics about the school year from your child’s teacher.  This event is for parents only and it is strongly recommended that both parents attend, if possible. The overnight trip logistics & volunteer opportunities will be shared as well. 

September 4th-6th School Pictures
  • Photographer Stephen Wright with Stephen Wright Portraits will take individual pictures of all students.  The exact schedule outlining which class is photographed which day, as well as the make-up day, will be provided via Office Notes.  A proof will be returned in approximately 3 weeks. Package prices range from $27-$65.
September 3rd - Afterschool Enrichment Classes begin 
September 5th - Overnight Trip deposits due 
September 17-18 - Welcome Back Special Person Breakfast 
September 25-27 - Middle School Trip to Camp Chattooga ($125 deposit due 9/5)

October 2-4 - 4th & 5th Grade Trip to Green River Preserve ($125 deposit due 9/5)
October 2-4 - Montessori Model United Nations Symposium 6th Graders
October 16 - PSAT (optional) 7th & 8th Grade
October 18 - Family Movie Night 
Mid-October - Lower Elementary Montessori Morning’s 

November 6-8 - Lower Elementary Trip to Camp St. Christopher 
November 22 - Family Movie Night 

December 2-13 - Middle School Internships & Financial Weeks
December 20- Winter Performances 

January 16 - Middle School Student Showcase
January 24 - Upper Elementary & Middle School Dance

February 6- MMUN Kick-Off Event for Parents & Students
  • Cost: Approximately $1,500 (Each family is expected to bring in a $500 business sponsorship to offset the student cost for the trip)
  • Non-refundable $250 Deposit Due 9/5
February 18-22 - Montessori Model United Nations
February 19-21 - Lower Elementary Historical Characters Presentations

March 5 - MMUN Student Showcase
March 20 - ECMCS Annual Auction
March 27 - Read-A-Thon

April 30 - Lower Elementary Biome Student Showcase

May 29 - New Student Visitation (am) & Student Recognitions Ceremony (pm)

June 2nd (tentative) - 8th Grade Graduation
June 3rd 8:30 - Kindergarten Bridging Ceremony
June 4th 8:30 - Lower Elementary Bridging Ceremony
June 4th 10:00 - Upper Elementary Bridging Ceremony
ECMCS Google Calendar

Arrival and Dismissal

On-Time Arrival vs. Tardy
School begins at 8:00 am. School-aged students can arrive as early as 7:30 am and should be inside the building by 7:55 am. Any student arriving through the front door at 8:00 am or later will be tardy.  Students arriving at 8:00 am or after must be escorted by a parent to the front office (Rifle Range Rd entrance) to sign in. Complete “Attendance and Tardy” information is located in the Family Resource Handbook and Student Code of Conduct. Please note that the Myrick Rd entrance is only accessible during carpool times.

Morning Drop-Off
A detailed drop-off and pick up map can be found in the Family Resource Handbook and Code of Conduct linked in this Summer Mailing. Parents may drop off at the roundabout facing Rifle Range Road -OR- the school entrance facing Myrick Road.  Both locations will be utilized for morning arrival. To expedite the flow of traffic, parents may only make a RIGHT-HAND TURN when exiting back onto Rifle Range Rd or Myrick Rd when exiting the morning drop-off circle. A staff member will be in the carpool line to greet families from 7:30-8:00. Should you need to enter the school, please park in the designated parking lots (not in the carpool lane).

Afternoon Dismissal
There are two dismissal locations (Myrick Rd and Rifle Range Rd). The cars assigned to the Rifle Range dismissal location are parents of primary aged children and larger carpools (which are assigned by front office). 

All other families use the Myrick Road location, entering from Chuck Dawley Blvd.  Families may not access Myrick Road from Rifle Range Rd. This is to ensure that cars only make a left hand turn into the school entrance on Myrick Rd.  Right-hand turns into the school entrance on Myrick Rd will not be permitted during afternoon dismissal.

When exiting afternoon dismissal, families must turn RIGHT onto Myrick Road heading back towards Chuck Dawley Blvd. Making a left hand turn out of the carpool lane onto Myrick Road heading towards Rifle Range Rd is not permitted.

As a reminder, ECMCS is not permitted to back up traffic onto Rifle Range Road at any time. Please be a courteous carpool driver and do not block driveways or pull over into the grass of our neighbors.  
Note: Please do not arrive for afternoon pick up before 2:55 PM.

Silent Dismissal System
Carpool will begin at 2:55 and end promptly at 3:15. Each family will receive two “Carpool Tags” on the first day of school to place on the rearview mirror of your cars. If you have your tag from last year, it will work this year, so you don’t have to get a new tag from your child’s teacher. This tag has a number linked to each student, and as the numbers are entered by an ECMCS staff member, students are dismissed to their afternoon carpool location.

Lunch Choices


Lunch Box
If students choose to bring a packed lunch, they should practice opportunities for independence by packing their own lunch. A microwave is not available for students to heat up lunches. Candy, sodas and fast food delivery lunches are NOT permitted in lunches.

Middle School Student Pizza Business
The Middle School students organize, collect orders, and manage the pizza lunch offering every Friday. Pizza comes with a veggie and drink. The cost and start date will be announced in Office Notes.  Cash only.


School Lunch
ECMCS serves CCSD lunches every day. Please refer to the CCSD website for the cost of school lunch and menu. Salad bar, hot lunch choice, and a chicken sandwich are offered daily. Please use the “Lunch Prepay” system to supply funds in an account and replenish via the Internet.


Please keep in mind that if your student forgets his or her lunch, our philosophy of fostering independence supports having the student order a hot lunch that day. Lunches cannot be accepted in the front office past 9:00.

Create Meal Payment Account
To apply for free or reduced-priced meals, click the button to the application below. This is an annual application. If you qualified last school year, you will have to apply again.  If you are a SNAP recipient, you will have to complete the application for free or reduced-price meals as well.
Free and Reduced Meals

After School Care (ASC)

After School Care is offered Monday-Friday from 3:00-5:00 pm

  • $210 per month (with the exception of the month of August which costs $105)
  • $16 per day for drop-in
  • The late fee is $1/minute after 5:00 pm

Please fill out the After School Care Form in the Forms section to let us know your intention for using the program. In addition to guiding our staffing needs, new families will be contacted by Billy Koll, Finance Manager to set up an account with our ASC payment system. More information about ASC is available on the After School tab on the website.


Afterschool Enrichment Programs – begin the week of September 3rd
Parents enroll in Enrichments on the ECMCS “Afterschool Tab” of the website once they are available within the first week of school. Sample enrichment classes can include Karate, Yoga, Theater, Chess, Robotics, Archery, Science, etc. Other opportunities may become available and parents will be notified through school-wide Office Notes.

Please note that some programs are available per semester (18 weeks) or per quarter (9 weeks). However, some programs may fall on holidays or other school closings and that is taken into consideration when planning the class.  Therefore, there may or may not be 18 sessions in a semester or 9 sessions in the quarter.



Last but not least, you can stay in touch with us this very minute by going to your app store to download the ECMCS app. Search East Cooper Montessori Charter School and download the FREE app. The app is updated with the latest calendar dates, payment systems, nutrition information, social media links, directory of faculty and much more. 


Find the ECMCS app wherever you buy apps.



We're looking forward to an amazing year!!

The ECMCS Team

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