Garden Oaks Montessori ​with Environmental Sciences​ -

    Houston ISD Parent and Student Handbook 2020-21

    A place where children flourish!

    901 Sue Barnett * Houston * TX * 77018

    (713) 696-2930 * (713) 696-2932 fax



    Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet public school provides a world class education that exceeds the state standards by empowering the whole child to be a learner for life, prepared for college and careers.

    Core Beliefs:

    We believe in providing authentic Montessori education in a public school to promote:

    • Authentic problem-solving
    • Critical-thinking, reasoning and decision-making
    • Interdisciplinary connections
    • Rigorous core curriculum including environmental sciences
    • Communicating for a variety of purposes
    • Applying digital technologies
    • Developing social and academic responsibility,

    So that we empower our children with 21​st​ Century tools to communicate and advocate for our Earth and themselves.


    Recognized for Excellence:

    International Montessori Council ACCREDITATION!

    Garden Oaks Montessori was recognized by the

    Leader​ as the 2015 Reader’s Choice for Best Public School!

    2016 Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction

    Children At-Risk Rating 2015

    2014  National Seal of Excellence – Welcoming Schools Human Rights Campaign

    2013 Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction

    TEACH! Certified Campus

    Leader In Me Campus – Covey Foundation Partner School 2014 -2017


    This handbook is intended to serve as a guide to our school. It is to be used in conjunction with the Houston Independent School District Code of Student Conduct, the policies of the HISD Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency.




    Garden Oaks Learners’ Creed 

    I am a success!

    I believe in myself and my ability to do my best.

    I am positive, confident and kind to others.

    I am in control at all times and Take responsibility for my actions.

    I have the courage to endure and persist.

    I know I can succeed at school and in my community.

    I am a Garden Oaks success!


    School Colors

    Green and Yellow






    GO for Great!

    2020-21 Theme Weaving Unity - Apart and yet together!

    Welcome to Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet!  Here is a brief overview of Montessori education and our campus philosophy.  For more information go to our school website http://www.houstonisd.org/gardenoaks or visit the American Montessori Society website at https://amshq.org/ or the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector http://public-montessori.org/   

    Montessori Philosophy (American Montessori Society – AMS)  Garden Oaks Montessori is an AMS member school

    Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.

    • Each child is valued as a unique individual.​ Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways.  All learning styles are accommodated and students are free to learn at their own pace. Children advance through the curriculum as they are ready and are guided by the teacher and the individualized learning plan.  Children in the public school setting are expected to complete the grade level curriculum each year and interventions are provided to support students who may need additional time and/or tutoring to succeed.
    • Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration and independence starting as an early age.​ Classroom design, materials and daily routines support each child’s emerging independence and self-regulation starting with toddlers through adolescents.
    • Students are part of a close, caring community.​ Each class is multi-grade spanning three years. This configuration replicates a family structure.  Older students create a bond with the classroom community over three years.  Children mentor one another and support each other academically, socially and emotionally.  Teachers and assistants model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
    • Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits.​ Working within the parameters set by the teachers and assistants, students are active participants in deciding how to complete work plans and in researching topics of interest.  Montessorians understand that an internal satisfaction drives a child’s curiosity and interest which results in joyous learning to sustain learning throughout a lifetime.
    • Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge.​ Teachers prepare environments where students have the freedom within limits and the tools to pursue answers to the questions they generate.  This may include encyclopedias in the classroom or internet sites.
    • Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach​. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work.  They become adept at

    recognizing, correcting and learning from their errors. Given the freedom and support to question, probe deeply and make connections, Montessori students at all ages become confident, enthusiastic and self-directed learners.  They are able to think critically, work collaboratively and act boldy – a skill set for the 21​st​ century.


    Growth Mindset

    At Garden Oaks, we encourage children to learn from mistakes and persevere at difficult tasks. When students and educators have a growth mindset, they understand that intelligence can be developed. Students focus on improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are. They work hard to learn more and get smarter. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation in schoo​   l,​ better grades and improved success not only in      school but in relationships and careers.  To learn more go to this website https://www.mindsetworks.com/webnav/whatismindset.aspx 


    OVERVIEW of Montessori Classrooms at Garden Oaks


    CHILDREN’S HOUSE​ (PreKindergarten – 3 years old through Kindergarten) The Primary classroom is a carefully prepared environment with materials and lessons that enable the child to practice and master day-to-day learning while building concentration, coordination, and independence. Our Montessori trained teachers offer guidance and lessons ensuring exposure to a broad range of activities including sensorial, math, language, and cultural studies. The practical life exercises help the child learn controlled, precise fine motor skills and recognize the concepts of order and sequence. Sensorial activities help the child refine the senses. Colors, shapes, sounds, dimensions, and gradation are some of the aspects of the environment to which the child is introduced. The use of the Montessori math materials assists the child in gaining an understanding of the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, and operations. Language includes oral language development, written expression, reading, and literature. Cultural activities are an integral part of the curriculum and introduce basic geography, history, life and earth sciences as well as music, art, and movement. 

    ELEMENTARY PROGRAM​ (Lower Elementary 1​st​ – 3​rd​ grades; Upper Elementary 4​th​ – 6​th grades) The elementary program builds on the foundation laid in the primary program. Lower elementary provides a classroom abundantly equipped with materials for developmentally appropriate hands-on learning. As the child grows emotionally and academically, they are introduced to more complex materials. This child-centered approach covers more than basic first through sixth grade curriculum. Rather, the elementary curriculum includes a broad spectrum of subjects and becomes more advanced as the student progresses. Elementary students enjoy opportunities for care of the environment and outdoor work. Montessori cultural work provides the basis for the elementary curriculum and encompasses zoology, botany, history, geography, and archaeology. Throughout their time in these classrooms, students study the world in which we live from the creation of the universe to modern day through academically challenging work including individual research projects.

    ADOLESCENT PROGRAM​ (7​th​ and 8​th​ grades) The middle school program meets the adolescent where they are and builds on the strengths of the developmental period while preparing young adolescents for success in high school.  It incorporates creativity and choice, collaboration and the social nature of adolescents, and strengthens growing independence through building life skills such as personal organization and time-management. Adolescents are learning to reason hypothetically, plan ahead, understand analogies, and construct metaphors. At this age, their friends are critical to every facet of a middle school student’s happiness. To capitalize on that aspect of this plane of development, the Montessori program incorporates many options for socializing that are integral to their learning. Fully half of the curriculum is delivered in a small group setting. Students learn to practice acceptance, equity, sharing responsibility, and accountability.  Additionally, Garden Oaks students benefit from an emphasis on college and career preparation, Model United Nations participation, community service and externships and micro-economy activities.


    Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet ​with Environmental Sciences

    Garden Oaks Elementary was established in 1940 as a Kindergarten – 6​th​ grade campus, part of the Houston Independent School District to serve the surrounding neighborhood zoned to the school. In 1994 a caring and committed group of parents worked to advocate for public schools.  Through these efforts a public Montessori program was established at Garden Oaks. Parents also formed a group, Friends of Montessori, to help maintain authentic Montessori in a public school setting.  In 2009, the HISD School Board voted to implement an all-Montessori magnet program at Garden Oaks through the support of a federal Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) Grant.  This grant made it possible for all interested teachers to attend Montessori training and for the purchase of furniture and materials to implement Montessori education campus-wide. Completion of this transition occurred in the 2014-15 school year which marked the first year that all classes on campus were Montessori from Prekindergarten 3 yr olds to 8​th​ grade.  Garden Oaks Montessori is supported through the active participation of parents on campus who work tirelessly to ensure that authentic Montessori education continues.  Fundraising efforts on the campus through the Garden Oaks’ Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) supports scholarships for 3 and 4 year old students, classroom materials, field trips and curriculum extensions such as artists in residence, Urban Harvest gardening, Writers in the Schools and Montessori Model United Nations for our 7​th​ and 8​th​ graders. 


    Teachers and Staff

    Teachers at Garden Oaks Montessori must hold a valid Texas Teaching Certificate and be Gifted and Talented Certified.  Additionally, teachers are required to hold or be in the process of completing a Montessori credential.  Administrators at Garden Oaks also hold credentials as certified teachers as well as certifications in Montessori education.  Teaching assistants receive professional development in Montessori education prior to starting work in the classroom and are included in monthly professional development to support their work with students.  

    Teachers may have Montessori credentials from the American Montessori Society (AMS) or American Montessori Internationale (AMI).  School membership is current with the American Montessori Society and with the International Montessori Council (IMC).  We are currently pursuing school-wide accreditation with IMC.  Garden Oaks Montessori is an accredited public school in the State of Texas. 



    You have chosen to enroll your child at Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet (PK3 – 8​th​ grade).

    We are a public, HISD magnet specialty school: Montessori with an emphasis on

    Environmental Sciences.  ​While we do have a zoned population for Kindergarten to 5​th grade, middle school grades (6​th 8​th) are not zoned and are 100% magnet enrollment. 


    Your enrollment at an HISD magnet school is renewed annually contingent on successful completion of the following requirements​:

    1. Maintain subject area grades of 75 or higher in ​ALL​ core classes.
    2. Maintain passing scores on tests – campus, district and state assessments
    3. Parents must participate in classroom observations and conferences which may occur during the day, evening and/or weekends
    4. Complete all assignments, special projects or performances
    5. Bring necessary materials to class
    6. Be reasonably organized
    7. Participate appropriately in class
    8. Maintain regular attendance in accordance with local and state policy including ​on-time arrival​ and the ​completion of each full day
    9. Adhere to the HISD Student Code of Conduct

    10.Maintain a conduct grade of ​S​ or higher

    11.On-time pick-up from school and special events.

    If a student does not meet these program expectations, a Magnet Growth Plan will be instituted for a period of at least one grading period.  The purpose of the growth plan is to ensure that a plan of support is developed between the parent, student and school personnel for your child’s success. ​If, however, a student does not show improvement and/or

    develops additional areas of concern, the student will no longer be eligible for participation in the magnet program at Garden Oaks, and the magnet transfer will NOT be renewed.​  ​For more details regarding the magnet program participation requirements, refer to your signed entrance agreement.


    TEACH! – To Educate ALL Children

    In 2012-13, we became the first ENVoY certified Montessori campus in the United States! The program name is now TEACH!  Our teachers use the techniques of non-verbal communication developed by Dr. Michael Grinder to maintain orderly classrooms and general transitions such as restroom breaks, moving on campus to clubs, lunch and assemblies. TEACH! coaches provide on-site coaching and professional development to support effective classroom instruction and student engagement!

    Expectations for ALL students enrolled at Garden Oaks’ School-wide

    Montessori Magnet Program


    Every student will:

    • Demonstrate excellence in all academic subjects.
    • Demonstrate excellence in oral and written communication.
    • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for success in a technological society.
    • Develop leadership skills for life-long learning.


     Every student will:

    • Demonstrate excellent attendance including on-time arrival ​every ​
    • Exhibit positive social behavior and abide by the rules set forth in the HISD ​Code of Student Conduct. ​This includes being an ally and advocate for kindness in all interactions.
    • Develop short and long-range career and educational goals including high school graduation and college/career readiness.
    • Develop excellence in practical and technical skills relating to technology.
    • Demonstrate commitment to environmental issues such as recycling and sustainability including participation in campus initiatives.
    • Demonstrate civic responsibility for functioning in a multi-cultural society including participation in community service projects.
    • Demonstrate an awareness of health-related issues including healthy eating habits and the value of physical fitness.
    • Demonstrate responsibility for completion of homework and class work.

    Parental Responsibilities

    Every parent or guardian will: 

    • Ensure excellence in attendance including on time arrival​ every​
    • Support their child’s efforts on homework assignments and special projects.
    • Support their child in maintaining appropriate school behavior in the classroom, on the campus and at all school-sponsored activities and events.
    • Encourage their child to complete high school and attend college/career preparation.
    • Attend school sponsored events and support school organizations such as the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) with activemembership and ​participation.
    • Notify the school immediately of all telephone and address changes.
    • Maintain contact with the school through regular classroom communications via email, flyers and teacher conferences and ​return required forms on time​ including progress notes.
    • Attend classroom observations and participate in campus activities and volunteer activities.
    • Ensure that their child attends recommended before/after-school tutorials.
    • Support positive interactions with ALL members of the school community through solution-focused discussions and proactive behaviors.
    • Monitor grades regularly through the HISD’s online ParentConnect and weekly communication folders or online student accounts.

    Classroom teachers will provide parent-teacher compacts outlining the unique

    relationships and responsibilities for each grade level and classroom.  Review this carefully with your child and return the signed copy to the teacher.

    DAILY SCHEDULE (note that during COVID, schedules may vary to accommodate both virtual and in-person classes)

    ALL​ Programs Grades PreK3 through 8​th grade​    

    8:15 am Campus Opens   ​WATCH​ for students and stay off your cell phone!

    Instructional day in session – have your child(ren) at school on time and in school all day!

    8:30 am        School begins 

    Lunches and Recess are staggered – check with your teacher for times

    3:50 pm         Dismissal 

    Tutorials (during and after school) are scheduled by your teacher.  If your child is recommended for tutorials, you are expected to support your child’s success by ensuring attendance and arranging for on-time pick-up.  Remember, passing grades is one requirement for magnet enrollment. Participation in school-affiliated extracurricular events is dependent on passing grades, appropriate school behavior and regular attendance.  Middle school participation is mandated by UIL regulations.


    Supervision of students begins at 8:15 am    Parents are responsible for their child’s safety until school faculty and staff are on duty at 8:15 am.  Parents drop off students at the entry to the school and children are to walk to their assigned morning assembly area to wait from 8:15am - 8:30am:

    Children’s House (PK and Kindergarten) Gym - CH ONLY begins at 8am

    Grades 1 - 3 Pavilion/classroom doors

    Grades 4 - 6 Central courtyard

    Grades 7 – 8 Spark Park

    Classes begin​ on time each day.  Plan your schedule to ensure plenty of time to allow for traffic and drop-off in the circle drive.  This is a perfect time to teach your child the important life-long habit of punctuality. 

    In the unlikely event you arrive late, ​you must park your car and walk your child into the office.  Do NOT leave your child at the curb and drive away.  This puts your child in danger.  ​The front door is locked after school begins​.  Students who arrive late must have a tardy slip to enter class.  ​Support your child’s learning by arriving on time! 

    Classes end at 3:50pm

    Children’s House dismisses in the gymnaisum/front of school

    Lower Elementary dismisses on the concrete in front of the school

    Upper Elementary walkers go to the Spark Park and car riders are called from the paved area in front

    Middle Schoolers are dismissed through the Spark Park

    Make arrangements to pick up your child(ren) on time.​  Persistent late pick-up will jeopardize your eligibility for magnet enrollment and may result in a referral to Children’s Protective Services.


    BEFORE and AFTER-SCHOOL CARE (during COVID no before/after-school care until further notice)




    “Safety Above All Else”

    The ​safety​ of our students is our number one concern.  The goal of the Houston Independent School District is, ​safety above all else​.  Our rules for bicycle riders, walkers and drivers are of primary importance for maintaining a safe, accident-free school environment for everyone.  We urge you to talk to your child about safety to and from school, including avoiding strangers, and following directions for after-school arrangements.  Children need the security of knowing exactly what to do when the school day ends.  Be consistent in your pick-up plans.  Parents must do all they can to help children remember everything they need each day.  ​Be proactive!


    Drop-off and Pick-up of Students

    Help us ensure the safety of our children by adhering to the following rules:

    • Parents are encouraged to drop-off students in the front circle driveway in the morning​.
    • Parents of students in 1​st​ – 6​th​ grades are issued a car tag with the teacher’s name at the beginning of the school year. We will call your child’s name at dismissal.  ​Remind your children to listen for their name each day. 
    • Cars in the circle drive are to drive SLOWLY.
    • You must remain in your vehicle at all times. ​The front circle drive is a FIRE ZONE.
    • Parents of PreK and Kindergarten children must park and walk up to the classroom to sign for their child. Entry and exit is through the gate near Room 6.
    • Parents of children in grades 1-8 may pick up in the car rider lane with a car tag.
    • If you have both younger and older children, pick up your younger child first and wait in the front of the school for your older child.
    • Middle School students dismiss through the gate near Room 6 – ​EXIT ONLY​.
    • There is NO parking in the circle drive at any time​.​ The entire drive is a fire lane and you may be ticketed and/or towed.  ​You must remain with your vehicle at all times.
    • Right turns ONLY​ when entering or leaving the circle drive.
    • You may park on the street or in the visitor lot on Wakefield. ​REMOVE​ all valuables from your car! We have had many car break-ins, be sure to take your items with you!




    Rules for Drivers:

    • This is a cell phone free zone​. Stay ​off  ​the phone and watch for children.
    • Be patient and observant. Children sometimes forget that driveways and streets are for cars.   Children must always cross the street with the crossing guard.  No appointment or deadline is more important than a child’s safety. 
    • Drop off and pick-up children in approved areas only.
    • Abide by the seatbelt and car seat laws for the passengers in your vehicle.
    • Observe all parking signs and traffic cone placement around the school and in the neighborhood. Running in to school briefly does not exempt you from the information on these signs or city ordinances.
    • Use the streets and visitor lot on Wakefield to park. Please keep driveways and sidewalks clear on Sue Barnett and all of the surrounding streets.  Remember that you are parking in front of our neighbors’ homes.  Be considerate. 
    • The Faculty Parking Lot is controlled by the electronic gate and is limited to ​current Garden Oaks faculty, staff and authorized designees.


    Rules for Walkers:

    • Watch for cars – they can’t always see you!
    • Cross the street ​only​ where the Crossing Guards are on duty.
    • Respect neighborhood property. Be a good neighbor.
    • Walk on sidewalks. Where there are no sidewalks, stay on the shoulder away from traffic.
    • Do not talk to strangers – do not accept rides with strangers.
    • Stay away from animals you do not know.
    • Always follow the planned, direct route to your destination.
    • Place trash in trash cans (this includes dirty diapers).
    • Parents should know the route the child takes to/from school each day.

    Rules for Bicycle Riders:

    • City ordinance requires that all students wear a helmet.
    • One person may ride a bicycle at a time unless a child seat is attached.
    • You are responsible for your bicycle. Do not lend it out or allow others to ride your bike.
    • Walk your bicycle on school property. You become a walker when you enter school grounds in order to ensure the safety of everyone around you.
    • Park and lock your bicycle in the bike rack. (Anyone riding a bicycle to school must have a lock. Students may not lock bicycles together.)
    • Always follow the planned, direct route to your destination.
    • Parents should know the route the child takes to/from school each day.

    SECURITY (during COVID there are no visitors on campus)

    For the safety of our children, it is vitally important that ​everyone​ including teachers, staff members, parents and visitors abide by district procedures and sign-in at the front office when on campus.  ​All visitors are required to enter the front office and sign-in when arriving on the campus. (Anyone not employed at the campus is considered a visitor including the Superintendent of Schools!) Visitors will record the reason for the visit and be issued a visitor badge.  Visitors will be asked to present a government issued ID when signing in which is processed by our Raptor security system.  A campus visitor badge will then be issued.  Parents may use the reusable ID badge which we provide in a plastic holder.  The first one is provided free, but replacements are $1.00.  ​Sign-in is required ​each time you enter the campus – even if you are just running in for a minute! 

    Help us keep our campus safe and immediately report any person, vehicle or situation that is out of the ordinary including individuals on campus who are not wearing a visitor badge.  Parents are asked to be mindful of appearance and behavior when on campus.  Clothing and language containing sexual messages or obscenities are not allowed on the campus.  Likewise, clothing that is deemed inappropriate in the presence of children will not be allowed.  If a parent arrives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the child will not be released to the parent and appropriate law enforcement will be notified.  These decisions are made at the discretion of the administrator on duty.

     A call out system is used to notify parents of situations before, during or after school hours.  The system is only effective if we have current telephone numbers on file.  You are required to notify the school office immediately if your contact information changes.


    Fire Drills

    Monthly fire drills, semi-annual disaster and intruder drills are conducted to ensure preparedness.  A fire drill is always held on the first day of school.


    Inclement Weather and Other Emergencies

    Should weather conditions or other emergencies create a need for early school closure, HISD will activate the emergency telephone call out system. This system will notify parents via telephone and email, if on file, of the emergency conditions and the action that will be taken. Help us keep the phone lines clear in such an event by checking the Houston ISD website for emergency information at www.houstonisd.org. 


    Shelter in Place

    In case the school is instructed to shelter in place by authorized emergency personnel, no one will be permitted to enter the campus to pick-up children until an all clear has been announced by emergency response teams/departments.



    The campus opens at 8:15am every day. Our daily and annual goal for attendance at Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet is 98%. Regular attendance is required for promotion to the next grade. Research shows that student attendance directly impacts student outcomes​. ​A child who comes to school regularly performs better academically. Additionally, funding for our school is based on student attendance. Each day a child is absent represents approximately $25 of funding lost for the school.

    We are here to support you and your family, however, persistent absences and/or late arrivals may result in non-renewal of your magnet transfer and an automatic referral to the Truancy Officer. A court date and potential fine may be levied for repeated unexcused absences and/or tardies. Remember that this applies to ALL students enrolled in public school including parents paying tuition for PK 3 and 4 year old students. The official attendance is entered at 9:45 am. Students must be on campus at this time in order to be counted present. Attendance is a vital part of your child's education! Be on time every day!

     Students are expected to stay in school until the dismissal bell rings. If you have an unavoidable appointment and need to sign your child out early, you must come in to the front office before 3:30pm and sign-out. No need to call ahead as we will not call a child to the front office until you are present at the school. Every moment is a learning moment when your child is at school. We work to maximize your child’s educational experience. A doctor’s note is required when your child returns to school. A pattern of regularly leaving the campus early is also grounds for a non-renewal of transfer and/or release from the magnet program.


    In the interest of safety, no student will be called to the office  between 3:30pm and 3:50pm


    Perfect Attendance Recognition/Requirements (Perfect Attendance is suspended during COVID)

    In keeping with the philosophy of Montessori education, we minimize extrinsic rewards. We recognize the achievement of on-going goals and celebrate Perfect Attendance on a regular basis. Perfect attendance at the end of each grading period is recognized by a group photo by class of the perfect attendance students.  ​Students must have zero absences and 3 or less tardies to be eligible for grading period perfect attendance.


    Excused Absences

    If your child is absent, please call the school before 8:30 a.m. on that day to notify the school. You will receive a computer-generated phone call any time your child is marked absent. When you return to school, bring a note stating the reason for the absence, the date, and your signature. Notes received after three days will automatically be considered unexcused. Remember that if you go to the doctor and then come to school with a doctor’s note, your child will be counted present for the day. Excessive absences can result in an automatic retention, non-renewal of transfer and/or court action. 

    The only accepted excuses are:

    • Personal illness (fever, vomiting or diarrhea);
    • Dental or doctor appointments (note required from physician)
    • Death in the family;
    • Quarantine;
    • Weather or road conditions making travel dangerous;
    • Emergencies or any unusual circumstances recognized by the principal;
    • Observance of religious holy days;
    • Health services provided to Medicare-eligible students
    • School sponsored or school sanctioned activities away from the campus;
    • Suspensions;
    • Court appearance;
    • Competitive athletic event duly sanctioned by the national governing body for a sport as recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    Unexcused Absences

    A student is considered to have an unexcused absence if he/she does not present a written excuse within three (3) days for one of the reasons stated above.  ​Absences that extend weekends or HISD school holidays or for the purpose of taking family trips are not excused. Unexcused absences may be reviewed by the School Attendance Committee in determining whether or not to grant a student credit for a class in which the student failed to meet the attendance requirement but who met all other academic requirements for passing.  Summer school may be required for students who exceed allowed absences. Schools shall attempt to notify parents/guardians of all absences immediately.  The school’s call-out system is activated daily for this purpose.  All absences are subject to investigation by the district’s attendance officer assigned to Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet.  ​Unexcused absences may not be made up.        


    Children are expected to attend school for the entire day. If a student needs to leave during the school day for an appointment or due to illness, he/she must be signed out by his/her legal guardian. The parent must come into the office to sign the child out from school​. If you have planned a play date for your child, you must notify the school in writing of who you authorize to pick-up your child. Only the parent who has completed the enrollment form or who is indicated on the birth certificate will be allowed to take a child from school during regular school hours. A government issued form of identification is required at time of check out. No student will be allowed to leave with an adult whose name is not on the enrollment card or birth certificate. When possible, the classroom teacher should receive a note the day prior if there is a different plan related to dismissal. Teachers are not able to answer the phone or check emails during the school day as they are busy with instruction! Do not call the school after 1pm and expect the teacher to receive your message. We are busy with instruction. Interruptions over the intercom in the classroom interrupt instruction and must be minimized. The school day ends at 2:45pm for PK-Kindergarten, at 3:00 p.m. for grades 1-6 and at 3:15 for 7th​ and 8th​ graders. Pick-up is sometimes a lengthy process – plan accordingly. Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day!



    If you have a custody agreement, be sure to provide the school with the most recent court order with a judge’s signature​. School personnel will call an appropriate law enforcement agency should anissue arise regarding student safety and security. Remember that even though parents may no longer wish to live together, ​children love BOTH/ALL of their parents​. When you had your children, you began a journey to support your child for the rest of their lives. Please keep adult conversations out of the earshot of your child(ren). Arguments and disagreements make children anxious and stressed. You will all be together for the rest of your child(ren)’s life – make it the best!

     WELCOMING SCHOOLS/Human Rights Campaign/Anti-bias, Anti-racist (ABAR) Committee

    We are dedicated to ensuring that our children are enveloped in a caring, nurturing campus environment. Peace education in the classroom is reinforced through Welcoming Schools, Montessori peace lessons, Harmony Character Education, Restorative Discipline/Justice and TEACH! Bullying is NOT tolerated. Encourage your child to tell an adult if they are bothered by another student and teach them the importance for using their words to find solutions. We promote win-win thinking and synergizing in restorative circles and community meetings to resolve differences. 

    STUDENT VISITS TO THE NURSE (See HISD's CDP at www. houstonisd.org for COVID related procedures)

    Our school nurse is a registered nurse (RN).  The school nurse will contact parents to pick up students who have active symptoms requiring exclusion from school which may include fever, diarrhea or vomiting.  S​tudents sent home for these reasons will not be permitted back to class until these symptoms have cleared for 24 hours without medication.​  If parents cannot be contacted, a relative or emergency contact person listed on the enrollment form will be called and asked to pick up the child.  Parents are expected to keep their contact information current.  Teachers will refer children who appear ill or complain of sickness to the school nurse.  It is the nurse’s professional decision to contact parents.  ​The nurse is not expected, nor will she, contact parents every time a child is sent to the clinic.​  It is the parent’s responsibility to keep the nurse informed of all medical conditions related to their child’s health including medications a child takes at home.

    Students who have toileting accidents will be offered a change of clothes if extras are available.  If your child needs a change of clothing and none are available at the school, you will be called to come to the school. You are expected to arrive within the hour to care for your child.  Children are provided some assistance, however, the nurse is not able to wipe bottoms or change pull-ups/diapers.  A child who has regular toileting accidents is not potty-trained.


    Children sent home with head lice must be nit-free when returning to school.  The nurse must check the child before they are allowed to return to class.  Lice are a common source of consternation for families.  Remind your child to only use their own brush, hair ties, etc and not to share these personal care items with others.  If you have a PK child who naps, you are expected to take home your sheet/pillowcase regularly for washing.  Should a child be sent home with head lice, the nurse will send a letter home to all students in the classroom.


    HISD Board Policy states that it is not the function of public school personnel to administer medical treatment or medication, including over-the-counter drugs. L​ ong-term student medications​, which cannot be administered under any arrangement other than during school hours, may be taken at school only with a physician's written statement and completion of Form No. 40.3740. All medication will be maintained in a locked cabinet in the clinic and will be administered by the school nurse or designee. Please ask the school nurse for a copy of the medication form. Medications must be in the original pharmacy container and have the name of the child for whom the medication is intended on the bottle.  Medications must be delivered to the school by an adult.  Teachers and other school personnel are expected to limit themselves to the usual and accepted practices of first aid in managing emergencies due to sickness or accident. Should it be necessary to call an ambulance to the school, all efforts will be made to contact the parent immediately.

    UNIFORM DRESS CODE (PK3 – 8​th​ grade) - Suspended during COVID - school-appropriate dress is required

    Garden Oaks Montessori dress code: Grades PK-8th grade

    Tops:  Red, White or Navy Blue collared polo style shirts. Students may also wear uniform approved GO PTO and Friends of Montessori t-shirts.

    Bottoms:   Khaki, Navy Blue pants or blue jeans. Shorts, skirts, uniform jumpers and dresses (also khaki, dark blue or hjeans) must be no more than 3 finger-widths above the kneecap.

    Jackets/sweaters:  In the classroom these must be dark blue, red or white (no messages or logos).  You may wear your choice of outdoor wear to/from school and outdoors.  NO jackets or sweaters should be worn outdoors if the temperature is above 75 as we don't want anyone to have heat stroke!

    All students must wear close-toed shoes designed for play! We have recess daily and PE throughout the week. No cowboy boots or high heels.

    Wednesdays are Social Justice Days - school uniform bottoms with t-shirts displaying a school approciate Social Justice message (for example, Teach Peace)

    Fridays are Spirit Days. Students may wear sports team shirts or college shirts.  

    Periodically, there are days students may wear something theme-based such as Star Wars or super hero shirts. These days will be announced on LivingTree and in the morning/end-of-day announcements.

    Free Dress may also be earned by attending a PTO meeting or for attendance.  Dress must be school appropriate (see more details below).

    The GOMM Middle School dress code requires neat, clean, and appropriate dress and grooming. Students should be dressed in such a manner that their appearance in the school contributes to the learning process, doesn’t interrupt the learning process, and represents our school in a positive manner. The dress code is in effect at all times while on the campus or while attending any HISD/GOMM sponsored event. Note this includes adherence to The aforementioned red, white or navy blue collared shirt with khaki, navy or denim slacks.

    • Skirts, shorts, and dresses may be no more than 3 finger-widths above the kneecap.
    • Tights may be worn with skirts or dresses that are 3 finger-widths above the kneecap.
    • Sweatpants, joggers, jeggings, leggings, tights, athletic or dance pants are not permitted.
    • Jeans with holes, rips, or shredding are not permitted, even if skin is not showing. Tights or leggings underneath do not compensate for the holes.
    • Shirts must overlap pants by two inches; midriffs may not be visible when arms are raised.
    • Graphics/photos on clothing/backpacks must not allude to violence, gangs, sex, drugs, alcohol or other lawlessness; the same applies to jewelry and other types of accessories. Photos with nudity or partial nudity on clothes or accessories are strictly prohibited.
    • Slippers, pajama pants, nor blankets may not be worn at school. Neither stuffed animals nor pillows are to be carried.
    • Oversized, baggy clothing is not acceptable. Underwear and/or basketball shorts should not be visible when worn under jeans or shorts. No “sagging.”
    • Students may not wear tank tops, racerback shirts, sleeveless shirts, spaghetti-strapped shirts or off the shoulder shirts. Vests, hoodies, or other jackets worn over such tops do not suffice. Undergarments, including bra straps, should not be visible. Cleavage should not be visible.
    • Students may not wear basketball/athletic shorts, unless dressing-out for Physical Education.
    • No headwear may be worn. This includes but is not limited to hoodies, baseball caps, bandanas, wave cap, knitted hats, bonnets, athletic sweatbands, headwraps. These must be placed out of sight (backpack, etc.) upon entering the building. Sunglasses are not permitted.
    • Headwear worn for religious purposes is acceptable and must be communicated with the school administrators in advance.
    • Chains hanging from jeans are not acceptable.
    • If dress/accessories seemingly fit(s) the profile of gang affiliation, administration reserves authority to disallow it.
    • Students may not wear slides or flip flops. Students must wear closed toe shoes that are safe for outdoor play! No wheelies, light ups, cowboy boots or high heels!

     Consequences for Dress Code Violations

    • First Offense – Parent is contacted by telephone to bring appropriate clothing to school.
    • Second Offense – Parent is contacted by telephone to bring appropriate clothing to school. Student assigned 1 day lunch detention.
    • Third Offense - Parent is contacted by telephone to bring appropriate clothing to school. Student and parent are expected to attend Saturday morning detention.
    • Subsequent Violations – Parent is contacted by telephone to bring appropriate clothing to school. Magnet Growth Plan initiated and further disciplinary action for persistent disregard of campus policy will apply per H​ ISD Code of Student Conduct and may result in magnet transfer revocation.

    Plan to support your child in adhering to the campus policy. ​Forgetting to do laundry is not an acceptable excuse to be out of uniform. If your child arrives to school out of uniform a change of clothes will be made available from the nurse. If no spare clothing is available, you will be called to come to the school with a change of clothes. You are expected to arrive within the hour as your child will be waiting for you in the front office. 

    A limited number of uniforms are available in the office should a child have an accident at school. Loaner uniforms should be returned to the school clean as soon as possible. PK and Kinder students are required to bring a change of clothes to school in case of accident. Should you need assistance purchasing uniforms please contact the school for referral to appropriate social service agencies. A uniform exchange is held at the beginning of the year. If you have gently used uniforms and would like to donate them, please leave them at the front office!


    CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS  (suspended until further notice due to COVID)

    Parents are expected to participate in classroom observations in the fall and spring of each school year. Parents wishing to observe their child in class or meet with a teacher are invited to do so with advance notice. Arrangements must be made 24 hours in advance prior to your visit with the classroom teacher or campus administrator. Parents may only visit classrooms and programs in which their child is enrolled. To avoid disruption of the educational process, visits are restricted to 30 minutes. ALL parents must complete a classroom observation once each semester as a condition of enrollment in the program. No visitors are allowed on campus during secure testing such as Iowa Test of Basic Skills and STAAR administrations. The principal reserves the right to deny any visitation that may disrupt the educational process. 

    NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 



    Parents may request a parent-teacher conference to discuss concerns or suggestions. Teachers are available during their planning period and before/after school. Parents must make appointments with the teacher in advance. Do not expect a teacher to conference with you at drop-off or pick-up.  ​They are busy working with children.  

    Remember to always sign in at the main office and receive a visitor’s pass​. You will be stopped and directed to the office if you do not have one when you arrive at the door. Parents who arrive during the day and ask us to disrupt the class to talk to the teacher will be turned away.  The educational milieu of the classroom during the school day is not to be interrupted. 


    VOLUNTEERS In Public Schools (VIPS)

    Volunteers are always needed both during and after school hours.   There are a variety of activities from helping in the front office to the classroom and cafeteria or serving on a committee such as grant writing or beautification.  To volunteer at the campus, attend field trips, you must go online to the HISD website and register to become a volunteer.  Once you have gone online, stop in the front office to leave a copy of your government issued ID. Clearance takes 2-4 weeks after which you will be required to complete a brief volunteer orientation at the school.  If you prefer to help from home (such as cutting laminating or making phone calls) stop in the front office and speak with a member of our administrative team.  If you plan to serve as a chaperone or work with children on campus, you will also be required to attend a volunteer orientation.  Thank you for your willingness to help!


    FIELD TRIPS/LESSONS (no field trips/lessons due to COVID)

    Field lessons will be arranged by the teacher as an extension of the school curriculum. All students are expected to participate in the field lesson as it is a learning activity.   Our group represents the school while on field trips, therefore the appearance and conduct of everyone should be exemplary.Parent approval forms will be sent home to be signed and returned.  No student will be permitted to attend a trip without written permission on the appropriate form.  The signed permission form must be returned to the teacher by the indicated deadline. ​We reserve the right to deny a child’s participation in a field trip or in co-curricular activities if a child’s safety could be in jeopardy off-campus. ​  A parent may be required to accompany their child on the field trip if the teacher has concerns regarding the student’s ability to stay with the group or follow directions.   ​In the interest of safety, school uniforms are required for field trips.

    NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 


    Chaperones for Field Trips

    Assisting teachers with field trips is an integral part of our volunteer program.  Adequate adult supervision makes for a pleasant learning experience for all students.  ​A Garden Oaks chaperone agreement must be signed prior to attending the field trip and a VIPS background check completed.​  All chaperones must complete HISD Volunteers in Public Schools registration and background check prior to any field trip according to district policies.  You must go online and register. Additionally you must present a copy of your government issued ID to the front office.  A copy will be made and kept on file.  Allow 2 – 4 weeks for the approval process.  It is recommended you do this at the beginning of the school year.

    Adults must ride school buses and pay applicable bus and admission fees as required.  Parents may NOT drive personal vehicles to field trips.  Parents may not “show up” at a field location.  Appropriate attire must be worn that is conducive to a school setting.   Parents may not bring siblings or other family members or friends on field trips.  Parents on field trips are there to serve as chaperones to support the educational extensions of the classroom.  Parents must travel to and from the field lesson on the bus with the group.  The principal reserves the right to limit the number of chaperones or deny certain individuals from acting as chaperones.  The school reserves the right to deny a parent participation in the activity if it has a concern about the individual’s ability to participate on the day of the event.  

    NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 

    NOTE:  If you are reading this guide cover to cover, take a moment to reflect on what you have read thus far! What questions do you have?  How can you work with the school to support your child?  We want to be a partner with you in your child’s education! 


    We will send home weekly communications through the home communication folders on Mondays.  The preferred mode of communication is LIVING TREE, an online tool to disseminate information.  LIVING TREE is a free electronic service that provides school communities to send flyers and notices home without spending time and money on copies. You will be able to receive up-to-date communications via LIVING TREE!



    Purpose of Homework

    • To reinforce, enrich, and extend learning by providing a variety of educational opportunities outside the classroom.
    • To encourage development of independent study habits, skills and responsibilities. To provide additional opportunity for family involvement in the child’s education.


    Teacher Responsibility

    • Assign work that meets the school’s homework policy guidelines and is student appropriate and differentiated
    • Give clear, concise directions
    • Reinforce previous learning related to the objectives being taught
    • Vary assignments and avoid busy work
    • Check homework completion and provide feedback to students
    • Provide legible handouts and meaningful assignments


    Student Responsibility

    • Record, take home and return all assignments on time
    • Make up missed or incomplete work
    • Be accurate and neat
    • Ask for explanations or clarification if you need it
    • Complete assignments in an appropriate place and return on time
    • Proofread your own work and check for accuracy
    • Do your best
    • Have a positive attitude
    • Discuss problems or concerns about homework with your teacher


    Parent Responsibility

    • Make your child’s education the number one priority
    • Provide an appropriate time and place for homework
    • Model a positive attitude
    • Indicate an interest about assignments and support independent completion
    • Be supportive and encouraging
    • Communicate and cooperate with your classroom teacher if your child is having difficulties or working longer than the time prescribed (see attached chart)
    • Request assignments when your child has been absent
    • Ensure that children read and choose items from the homework reinforcement list when specific homework assignments are not given (in case of a substitute) or when needing extensions for learning
    • Know when to stop a child if he or she is struggling and/or exhausted


    Guidelines for DAILY Homework - ​Homework is an important habit to develop responsibility and build academic competencies.​  Special projects will be assigned to provide students with an

    opportunity to develop and refine research skills and the ability to work independently.

    Grade Level

    Frequency of Assignments

    Total Daily Average (all subjects)


    Daily (5 days a week)

    10 minutes + 30 minutes reading**


    Daily (5 days a week)

    10-20 minutes + 30 minutes reading**


    Daily (5 days a week)

    20-30 minutes + 30 minutes reading**


    Daily (5 days a week)

    30-40 minutes + 30 minutes reading**


    Daily (5 days a week)

    50-70 minutes + 30 minutes reading**

    5 – 6

    Daily (5 days a week)

    50-70 minutes + 30 minutes reading**

    7 - 8

    Daily (5 days a week)

    70-90 minutes + 45 minutes reading**


    **Reading is recognized as a universal skill that relates to all subjects. This time period may include parents reading to their child or children reading library books.  Student reading logs/journals must be maintained daily. 

    READ, READ, READ​ – YOU are bound for ​greatness​!


    Homework Reinforcement and Ideas for Parents

    Spend time with your child(ren) and promote the importance of EDUCATION!

    Practice handwriting and letter formation

    Talk with your child to develop language skills

    Practice math facts (multiplication, addition, subtractions and division)

    Practice counting forward and backward

    Compose original math word problems

    Practice telling time and planning events

    Practice estimation and measurement using standard and non-standard units of measurement for weight, capacity and length

    Discuss reading selections with your child.  Talk about plot, characters, setting and sequence

    Develop a notebook for home to include poetry and stories.  Write letters to elected officials.

    Use technology such as iStation, Khan Academy, Think Through Math, Study Island and DreamBox 

    Encourage responsibility  and self-help skills such as dressing, planning, packing a lunch, chores

    Correct and review incorrect answers or assignments

    Identify, count and exchange money

    Practice using various types of maps

    Play board games as a family to enhance good sportsmanship, cooperation, listening skills and following directions

    Work on research, inventions/innovations and special projects together




    The Notice of Progress – Report to Parents may be sent home during the third week of a reporting period or as often as necessary.  If a child’s grade slips one level, a progress note will go home to notify the parent.  ​Be sure to regularly monitor your child’s progress on the HISD parent portal of Parent Connect!​   If you receive a Notice of Progress, you must sign and return the form to indicate the parent has read the report.  The teacher may require students to sign for progress reports before they are taken home.  Students must maintain passing grades for continued participation in any HISD magnet program.



    A report card is issued to the parent or guardian at the end of each SIX week grading period for grades K-8.  Pre-Kindergarten students receive a report card every twelve weeks.  Grades reflecting mastery of grade level assignments in the classroom will be the basis for the report card grades. 


    HISD’s online program, ParentConnect, provides parents access to children’s grades. You are expected to monitor your child’s grades in this system.  Students enrolled in the Montessori program use a modified student progress scale which may appear as alpha values during the year and numeric final grades.   Report cards must be signed for by a parent on Report Card Day.  You must monitor the school calendar, newsletters, website, marquee and call-outs for dates and times. Be sure to review your child’s report cards with them and celebrate their efforts.  If you have a concern, develop a plan of action with your child and teacher to ensure that your child maintains passing grades.  Report cards must be signed and returned to the teacher. When a student has transferred from one or more schools within the grading period, grades on the checkout sheet or latest report card are considered the basis for report card grades.  

    Weekly Take Home Folder (online only)

    All students will receive a weekly communication folder to take home on Mondays.  Parents are required to sign the communication form and return it on Tuesday.  Check your child’s backpack and folders regularly for other flyers that may come home during the week.



    At Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet, we are focused on providing an exemplary academic environment for your child. We also believe ALL children should enjoy school. The C​ ode of Student Conduct ​shall serve as the guide for setting expectations for student behavior and the consequences for misbehavior. Parents are expected to review expectations for proper behavior at school on a regular basis with their child. Teachers are expected to assume responsibility for the discipline of students in their individual classrooms. Students will be treated with dignity, respect and patience. ​Persistent misconduct, including harassing, threatening or unkind words or actions will not be tolerated and will be grounds for program dismissal. Parents will be advised promptly when students begin to have difficulty which might lead to reassignment, suspension or expulsion. (State Law Section 37.000). Physical intimidation is not allowed at any time. The school may prohibit any action which impairs, interferes with or obstructs the educational process or function of the school. It is the responsibility of every student and parent to become familiar with these policies. 



    We believe that children must be intrinsically motivated to be responsible individuals who recognize their role in their community both at school and at home. While the Montessori philosophy emphasizes intrinsic motivation, teachers may choose to occasionally recognize students’ efforts with items such as stickers or certificates for exceptional displays of leadership on the campus. In an effort to promote community, we place a greater emphasis on group goals and progress.

    Consequences for Inappropriate Behavior

    Our primary goal is to guide our students in reflection on inappropriate behaviors/choices to make better choices in the future. Teachers will use a variety of initial consequences to guide children to make more appropriate choices at school. These consequences may include, but are not limited to time out, peer mediation, Peace Table, restorative circles, and removal from extra-curricular activities. Parent-teacher-student conferences will be held should behaviors persist and a magnet growth plan implemented if necessary. Transfers to Garden Oaks and eligibility for special programs such as Magnet enrollment and UIL sports may be jeopardized if problematic behaviors persist. Should a more serious infraction of campus expectations occur, consequences for specific violations are outlined in the Houston ISD ​Code of Student Conduct. 



    Our students participate in at least 30 minutes of daily recess.  Recess is separate from PE.


    These policies are developed by the Texas Department of Agriculture and enforced by the Texas Education Agency:

    • Lunch items may not be bought, traded or sold between students
    • Parents are not allowed in the food service line unless they are purchasing food
    • Students must make their own food choices
    • Parents may not eat off a child’s tray
    • ALL​ parents are required to complete a Free Lunch application whether they qualify for service or not. The school is required to verify that all parents have been provided this opportunity to access this program.  You may write your child’s name on the form and write across the form NOT INTERESTED and sign if you prefer not to complete the entire form.
    • Food may not be removed from the cafeteria
    • Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value (candy and junk food) may be served at three school-wide events per year only (these dates are 12/21/17, 2/14/18, and 6/1/18). No food may be brought in to serve an entire class during the school day except for these days. 
    • Food modifications are made only for medical reasons and not for individual or religious preferences

    Birthday Treats (during COVID we request pre-packaged, individual servings)

    Per Texas Department of Agriculture policy regarding birthday treats at school; if a parent wishes to celebrate a child’s birthday, they may bring cupcakes or cookies (one per student) to school. No other items are permitted such as candy, sheet cakes, juice, sodas or fast food items.  Items that do not meet these guidelines will not be served and will be sent back home at the end of the day.  We encourage healthy snacks.

    To maintain our instructional focus, teachers will allow your child to share cupcakes or cookies with classmates at a time and location determined by the teacher after the students’ lunch period and outside the cafeteria.  Students in PK and Kindergarten will use their designated snack time for this purpose.  Please send the food items to school the morning of the birthday in a sturdy container. 

    NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 

    No party type activities will take place including group photographs, balloons, gifts or party favors. 

    Please note that birthday invitations will only be distributed at school if the ​ENTIRE​ class is invited. Invitations that refer to adult beverages or activities will not be distributed.

    Lunch Money Payments  (ALL meals are free of charge during COVID conditions)

    You may send lunch money to the school in a sealed envelope clearly marked with your child’s name and teacher.  ​No checks​.​  Parents are strongly encouraged to use the online system of prepayment. ALL students, regardless of application status, may eat a free breakfast every day.  Breakfast is served from 7:30am – 8:00am in the classroom.  We also offer a free dinner program for our students.  Check with the office regarding serving times.

    Lunch Delivery  (NO deliveries during COVID - all students are provided a free breakfast, lunch and dinner)

    Occasionally, you may forget to send lunch with your child or wish to deliver a special lunch for your child.  ​You must arrive in the office prior to 10:30am.   Lunches are loaded on our red cart and pushed into the cafeteria for pick-up. ​ Children will NOT be called from class to pick up lunch in the office.  If this becomes a regular occurrence, a conference with the principal will be required. Thank you for your consideration.



    • All cellular phones, paging devices and electronic communication systems will be picked up and secured by teachers on a daily basis.
    • All cellular phones, paging devices and electronic communication systems must remain in the OFF positions while on the school campus during the instructional day or at school sponsored events.
    • Student are not allowed to take photos of one another at school or to post information about other students on the internet.
    • NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 

    In addition to disciplinary action outlined in the ​Code of Student Conduct,​ the unauthorized operation of such devices will result in confiscation.  A parent must come to the office to sign for the item. Should the item be confiscated a second time, a $15 administrative fee payable to HISD will be collected if the device is claimed within 30 days.  The principal will notify the parent of the intent to dispose of property left after 30 days.  Devices not claimed will be sent to HISD Property Management for disposal.


    The use of technology in the classroom is an integral part of the instructional process.  The entire school campus is wired to the Internet with all work stations connected to a Local Area Network with access to HISD’s Wide Area Network.  The ​Code of Student Conduct​ covers violations of security, copywriting, and various other inappropriate uses of technology by students.  Personal devices are secured every morning and returned to students at the end of the day. Students may be denied the right to access a computer connected to the internet if they violate the acceptable use policy.  Students will be allowed to use computers on campus unless an internet opt-out form is on file.

    NOTE:  During regular school hours of operations (including field trips), photography on the campus is restricted to Garden Oaks' Yearbook volunteers and school personnel.  This is in keeping with requirements to ensure that student confidentiality is preserved.  Should you desire to take a photo of your own child at a celebration of life, remember to speak to your classroom teacher and ONLY have the school staff and your family member(s) in your photo. 


    All textbooks and library books are owned by the State of Texas and the school.  ​Lost books must be paid for if lost or stolen​.  During the 2014-15 school year, Garden Oaks paid HISD nearly $30,000 in lost textbook fees.  Therefore, textbooks stay at school!  Most resources are available on the internet if you need to have materials at home.  Another book cannot be issued until payment has been made for the lost book.  Refunds are given if books are found after payment is made.

    VALUABLES – LOST AND FOUND (we are not maintaining Lost and Found during COVID)

    Remember to label all student items such as backpacks and jackets with the child’s name in permanent marker.​  Jewelry, clothing, stuffed animals, trading cards, dolls and other personal items such as phones, cameras, iPods, MP3 players or hand-held computer games may not be, loaned, sold, traded or given away by students at school.   No toys are allowed at school.  A lost and found rack is located near the front of the school.  Unclaimed items are donated to charity at the end of every grading period.  ​If your child has a precious or expensive item keep it at home!


    Checks may be accepted for tuition, fundraisers, lost textbooks and school-related activities.  Tuition payments are due on the​ first​ school day of each month.  Late payment fee is $10/day.  Continued late payments may jeopardize your child’s continuation in the program.   Likewise, returned checks that incur a fee will be subject to financial penalty and potential charges.  Presentation of a personal check will be treated as a good faith effort for payment from the bank. 

    In the event a check is returned marked “insufficient funds”, “stop payment”, or “account closed” the check will be treated as a ​presumption to commit theft by deception and the following action will be


    • One attempt will be made by telephone to contact the check writer. A three-day period will be given for the individual to present payment in full (by cashier’s check or cash) including all bank charges and processing fees.

    Failure to follow this good faith attempt will result in the following actions:

    • Check writer will be sent a certified letter indicating a demand for payment in full including all bank charges and processing fees.
    • Failure to respond to the conditions of the certified letter within 10 days will result in the filing of a check fraud case with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
    • The school will no longer accept personal checks from individuals that have written a returned check. All future payments must be made by cash or money order.


    Pursuant to Chapter 72, Article 72.03 and 72.04 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the State of Texas, effective September 1, 1997, notification is hereby made of our procedures for school notification of registered sex offenders.  The official notification is received by the Superintendent of School who then forwards copies to each school.  A file is maintained in the office for public inspection of all offender notices received during a school year.  The notices are maintained until the end of the current school year.  The notice may include any information deemed necessary to protect the public including name, gender, race, date of birth, street name and zip code of an offender’s residence, offense, age of the victim and date of registration.  Information is available in the front office during regular business hours.

    Pre-Kindergarten Tuition

    Pre-Kindergarten tuition is due by check, online or money order on the first school day of each month​.  Payments are now also accepted online and by credit card.  Payments received after the second school day are assessed a $10/day late fee.  If no payment is received by the 15​th​ day of the month, the child will be withdrawn from the program. 


    Garden Oaks Montessori shares the school property with the community through the City of Houston SPARK Park program. This program is a collaborative between the Houston Independent School District and the City of Houston. The park is HISD property and serves as the school playground during school hours (7:15am – 3pm). Please help us keep this park clean of all trash and litter. Report any problems you find to us. Dogs on leashes are allowed in the park after school hours. Owners are expected to pick-up after their pets. The park is available for neighborhood use after school ends each day and on weekends and holidays.

    AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS (suspended during COVID)

    Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet has a partnership with the ZENITH Learning to provide after school care. Hours are from school dismissal until 6:00 p.m. Students remain in the same clothing that they wore to school. Snacks are provided. Enrollment is online.  Information is available in the front office.  Limited scholarships are available.

    Other after-school activities are also available through our after-school representative. Information regarding these classes is available in the front office.

    After-school and extra-curricular programs sponsored by community members, school staff or parent volunteers such as Student Council, soccer, chess, gardening and robotics, require that students have passing grades and appropriate school conduct (S or E).  On-time pick-up from ALL programs is required for continued participation. 


    The Garden Oaks Shared Decision Making Committee (SDMC) is comprised of members of the faculty, staff and community. The members provide suggestions regarding school policies and concerns that directly affect the goals and objectives of our school initiatives and our School Improvement Plan (SIP). Your input is always welcome. You may find copies of the minutes of each meeting posted on the office bulletin board and on the school website. You do not have to be a member of the SDMC to attend a monthly meeting. All stakeholders in our school – parents, teachers, community members, etc. are welcome to attend meetings. While input from all ​stakeholders is greatly valued, only official members of the SDMC may vote on issues before the committee. ​The SDMC meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30am.  


    Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet works together with St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church to provide mentors to students referred by teachers.  The volunteers in the program must pass a criminal history background check and volunteer orientation prior to working with students.  The nature of the mentoring is to provide 1:1 adult attention on a weekly basis to support the child’s progress in school. The volunteers do not proselytize to the children and parental consent is required prior to mentors meeting with students.  Mentors are a valued part of our Garden Oaks school community!  If you are interested in volunteering for this wonderful program please let us know in the front office.


    Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is an outstanding organization that supports the efforts of ​everyone​ on the school campus.  Working together, parents, teachers and school administrators have implemented many programs over the years for the benefit of our children. ALL​ current parents and teachers are automatically a member of the PTO.   Relatives, neighbors, community members and business leaders may be nominated for membership by a member.  PTO initiatives include underwriting for the annual grade level field trips such as the 3​rd​ grade trip to the Battleship Texas, 4​th​ grade trip to the State Capitol, Fall Festival, attendance recognitions, campus beautification, teacher grants and many other programs. 

    PTO publishes regular communications that go home in your child’s backpack. Please check for school-wide events and support our PTO through your time and efforts. The Garden Oaks PTO meets on a regular basis. Monitor the school calendar for meeting dates and times. This organization is a very important part of our school culture ​and ​your child’s educational experience. 


    Friends of Montessori – FOM

    Friends of Montessori (FOM) is a non-profit foundation committed to promoting and supporting Montessori program in public schools. Founded in 1994, FOM is a valued partner in supporting our Montessori program.  A parent representative of the organization is a part of our PTO and SDMC.


    7 Strengths of Character

    We will continue to focus on character traits to incorporate with our Montessori Peace curriculum. Additionally, we will be working through the book, Everyday Anti-racism to promote social justice and peace educuation.

    1:  Belonging (August and September)  

    I am part of a community at home, in my classroom, in my school and in my world

    2:  Curiosity (October)

    What are the big questions?  What is my purpose in life?

    What do I need to do to make my dreams come true?  What are my goals?

    3: Friendship (November and December)

    Remember that other people have feelings.  Be trustworthy.  Tell the truth.

    Include everyone around you!

    4: Kindness (January and February)  ​Be nice to others!  ​How can we both come to a solution that makes us feel happy?  How can we help each other?

    5:  Confidence (March)  ​Put first things first and work toward your goals.  Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them!  Take responsibility for your actions.

    6:  Courage (April)  ​Be strong – persevere and work with others.  Do the right thing even when  it is difficult or unpopular.

    7:  Hope (May)  ​Make tomorrow even better!  Take care of yourself by thinking happy thoughts, eating fruits and vegetables, drink water and getting plenty of rest and exercise!