Date: 11.30.2023 | Time: 10:00 AM

Dear City Garden Community,

November is Native American Heritage Month, and throughout the month we have celebrated and paid tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native American people and communities, while also learning about and remembering Native Americans as the original human inhabitants of the land we now call Missouri and the United States. Recently, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted Greg Olson, author of the new book, Indigenous Missourians. The Post-Dispatch says: 

A 12,000-year history of the Native Americans who lived in what today is termed “Missouri” includes some of North America’s earliest inhabitants. “Indigenous Missourians” tells the story of one of the world’s biggest cities a millennia ago, the invasion of white settlers, broken treaties and the tragic “Trail of Tears.” But Missouri’s native population never really disappeared — although many think it did, according to Olson. “Even though we imagine ourselves not to be Indian Country, we are.” 

It is essential—for us as adults and for our children—to learn about the presence of Native American people and communities, and to strive to understand the vast and profound history and lifeways that preceded what most of us have learned. It is also essential to understand the contributions Native people and communities continue to make, shaping the culture and world around us.

In June, 2019, the United States Library of Congress announced the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s first Native American to serve as Poet Laureate.  

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said, “Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry – ‘soul talk’ as she calls it – for over four decades. To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.” 

Harjo’s poem “Remember” Comes from her book How We Became Human. You can read Ms. Harjo’s poem below and can also listen to Ms. Harjo read her poem in this video produced by PBS.  

By Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

In City Garden’s mission, we talk about redefining education, reimagining community and reinvigorating our world, with a commitment to restoring our collective humanity.

Thank you for being on this journey with us to create a more whole and just world, with our children at the center. 

In partnership,

Christie Huck
CEO/Executive Director

Building on the success of the 2021-22 school year, City Garden Montessori continues to see strong academic growth among all students. This is a testament to the power of Montessori education.

In 2022-23, we once again saw strong gains among rising and current Kindergarten students, and a continued, near elimination of the achievement gap between Black and White Kindergarteners. Achieving academic equity is a core priority for City Garden, and this data illustrates that preschool students at City Garden Montessori School receive a robust early childhood education that establishes a strong foundation for future growth.

This fall City Garden held our second annual Magic of Montessori Night at the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC). In addition to live music, face painters, balloon artists, and a guest magician, parents visited their students’ classrooms where children shared and demonstrated their favorite Montessori “works.”  

We love building community with  our parents and caregivers and inviting them  into our classrooms through programs like The Magic of Montessori. Congratulations to Principal Crystal Isom and the ECEC team on another successful event!

This fall City Garden held our first ever Fall Athletics Banquet for fall sports Cross Country and Volleyball. Student athletes, coaches, and parents gathered in the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center Community Room for an evening of dinner, speeches, and awards. CGMS Athletics Director Trisha Anderson remarked that it is amazing “how much the Athletics Program has grown in just a few short years."

"Three years ago, I received an email asking if our school would be interested in joining the Charter league during a time when the world was coming out of lockdown from COVID. I thought of all of the students working from screens with hardly any interaction. What a way to bring students together in a positive, healthy way.”

Since then, City Garden Montessori has expanded the program to offer Basketball, Cheer, Fencing, Archery, and Soccer in addition to Cross Country and Volleyball. Thank you to Mrs. Anderson for her leadership that has made this possible. Please join us in congratulating the following Fall Athletics Banquet Awards Recipients: 

Volleyball Awards

Most Improved Player Award: Autumn Williams, Daisha Mason, Ava Sherrod
Hustle Award: Nya'e Dodd-Dewitt, Jamya Robinson
Player With Heart Award: Jaisah Mason, Thyren Hinkle, Sam Roegner, Brooklynn Fudge
Team Player Award: Cortez Brown
Most Valuable Player Award: Barrett Kennedy, Logan Reed, Octavia Saunders

Cross Country Awards

Most Improved Player Award: Cortez Brown, Helen Udani
Hustle Award: Louis Campbell, Marshall Ray, Eleanor Von Holten, Josie Hamtil, Lucien Meyer
Play With Heart Award: Emilio Sanfilippo, Indigo Holland-Simpson, Matteo Sanfilippo, Coen Moszer
Teamwork Award: Asher Roemerman, Theo Hamtil
Most Valuable Player Award: Oliver Gilbertson, Holly Vance

Principal Pat Garrett is well known for centering positivity, joy, and love among students, families and educators. So it’s no surprise that the fall 2023 semester began with a new tradition for the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center staff. 

Along a once bare wall in the staff lounge, the Love Note Wall was born. This wall serves as a space for staff to express their gratitude, appreciation, and happiness through post-it notes, images, and copies of their classroom newsletters. This time of year, we are reminded to reflect on what we are thankful for – what better way to do so than through a wall like this one. 

Earlier this month, students from Upper Elementary 3 and 4 (Ms. Jean and Ms. Sage) took a field trip to Tower Grove Park! By leveraging satellite-powered, GPS way-finders from Garmin, students used codes and coordinates to participate in a natural scavenger hunt. They also created unique games and activities intentionally designed around the environment, while acknowledging the deep history of the Osage Peoples in Tower Grove Park. 

Thank you to Ms. Jean, Ms. Sage, and our chaperones for preparing an unforgettable field trip for our Upper Elementary students!

This fall, City Garden Montessori’s Board of Directors enthusiastically and unanimously voted to appoint two members to the Board of Directors. Jesse Dixon and Mia Howard each have a long history with City Garden Montessori and it is a pleasure to welcome them back in this capacity. 

Please join me in welcoming them, and read below to learn more about these dynamic professionals. 

Mia Howard
Managing Partner, Innovative Schools
New Schools Venture Fund

Mia Howard is a Managing Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. In her role, she leads the Innovative Schools investment area, which supports educators with bold new visions for schools that embrace an expanded definition of success, equity, and innovation. Read more here.

Jesse Dixon
The Opportunity Trust

Throughout Jesse's career, he has worked on advancing educational equity at the early childhood, K-12, workforce development, higher education, non-profit, state, and federal levels. Jesse was formerly the special assistant to the superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools where he managed federal grant programs, charter sponsorship, and launched the strategic planning process that led to the District's re-accreditation. Read more here.

City Garden Montessori is proud to offer an affordable preschool program and a free, K-8 public charter school open to all families in the City of St. Louis! The deadline to apply for the 2024-25 school year is a few months away, and there’s no better time to get started than today.

Visit us online at to submit an application or to schedule a guided tour of our school(s). For additional questions and to learn more, contact Ms. Tyeshia Smith, Director of Admissions, directly at or (314) 664-7646.

Each year, City Garden raises funds to make our robust, holistic Montessori education accessible to families of all economic backgrounds. This year, the gap between what we will receive in public funding and our per-student cost is $2,400 for charter school students, and we provide an average scholarship in the amount of $5,000 for preschool students.

Give Now!

We would be grateful if you would consider a gift to City Garden students in December. From now until December 31st, all contributions will be doubled, making your gift even more impactful!

Donations can also be made via Venmo (@CityGardenSchool), CashApp ($CityGardenSchool), or via check by mailing to 1618 Tower Grove Avenue, St. Louis MO 63110.