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BMS Blog

Connecting with the Broader Community

At BMS, community is one of our three core values. "We celebrate diversity in our membership and in the world. We explore Wisdom Traditions and cultural celebrations, engage in service learning, and work to contribute positively to both our local community and the larger global community." We understand the importance of community in our lives, and we work to make sure our students have plenty of opportunities to form connections with others.

One of our favorite community events is coming up next week as we gather for our Thankfulness Celebration. This will be the third year that our students, staff, friends, and family assemble at Zion Lutheran Church to rake leaves from the centuries-old oak trees. Adults and children alike work together to show our gratitude for our neighbors at Zion, and we model for each other the importance of community support. For a peek at our celebration last year, check out this article from the Floyd Press. 

While we constantly search out ways for our students to serve our community, sometimes it's the adults who are serving. This summer we were honored to provide child care at the Floyd YOga Jam. The founders of this event, Shirleyann Burgess and Laura Polant, have been a part of the Blue Mountain School family for many years. We are very grateful to Shirleyann and Laura for donating a weekend for two to YOJam 2016 for our drawing, which will take place Tuesday, November 17 at 5:00. (To enter, just donate $50 or more before by 5!)

"Floyd Yoga Jam is a three-day celebration of yoga, music, and community held in Floyd County. YOJam refreshes and rejuvenates with nationally-known yoga instructors, free classes for all ages and fitness levels, amazing fresh local food, beer and wine, hoola hoops, public art, and just plain fun!" 

Some new projects we are working on this year to help us connect with and serve our community include a pen pal project with a school in Spain, creating ornaments to decorate a tree for the Jacksonville Center's Winterfest tree auction, and making wrapping paper for the Floyd County Silver Bells program. We will also be participating in the Jax's Winterfest by opening the BMS Kids Only Store, where children between the ages of 4 and 12 can shop on their own for holiday gifts for their friends and family.

Check out some of the community projects in which we've participated in the past:

Floyd County Earth Day
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
Plenty!

Growing Stronger Through Accreditation

When people learn that we are working on becoming an accredited school, they often ask two questions. First, "What is Accreditation?"

In short, accreditation is process that requires lengthy self-evaluation and reflection and requires an extensive examination by the accreditation agency of every aspect of the school for compliance with rigorous standards. After BMS is accredited, we will continue to have routine reviews to make sure we are maintaining this excellence. Completing accreditation is a priority of the Board of Trustees and staff because there is ample evidence that accredited schools are more stable and effective in meeting their goals.
Another question we frequently hear is, "Why? Blue Mountain School has been around a long time, why get accredited now?" This question is even more common when we share how much work accreditation entails.
 
There are many reasons for BMS to become an accredited school. All of them have to do with strengthening our school in one way or another; all of them have to do with accreditation helping us to become ourselves in a more substantial way. But one of the top reasons for becoming accredited has to do with the opportunities for connections with other schools like us that accreditation affords. Community connections provide mutual support.
 
Formed in 1953, the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) now has over 360 member schools. By becoming part of the SAIS community, our staff and Board will have hundreds of new neighbors. We probably won't be going on picnics or having potluck dinners with these neighbors (but who knows?). Instead, we will be sharing ideas and information and helping each other continue to strengthen our schools.
 
As a school accredited by SAIS, BMS will have access to these resources:
  • High-quality professional and organizational development opportunities covering relevant issues such as governance, leadership, and financial sustainability;
  • A network of independent schools through which we can communicate with other member schools about issues we may be facing and share methods we've found that work for us;
  • Grants and other types of funding specifically designed for independent accredited schools.
Relationships with other SAIS schools, just like relationships with other organizations closer to home in Floyd, give us new perspectives, provide us with more opportunities to share our unique gifts, and help solidify our commitment to our vision. The accreditation process will help us to further the development of BMS in ways yet beyond our consideration.
 
Blue Mountain School would like to thank the June M. McBroom Charitable Lead Trust for their support of our accreditation journey with the award of a $20,000 grant. This grant is making it possible for our school to become accredited without diverting any of our budget or fundraising efforts away from our primary mission.
 
We are grateful for every donation that we receive; each one matters. Thank you for supporting our school!
 
 

 

Donate $500, Get $325+ Back!

This year, we are able to offer you something in return for your donation that we have never been able to offer before. We are offering you the chance to decide where your tax dollars go through a special tax credit program.

As a participant in the Virginia State Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2015 tax year, Blue Mountain School is able to give you a 65% VA state tax credit when you donate at least $500 ($616 for a business).


What does this mean? For your $500 (or $616) donation, you will receive a $325 (or $400) credit on your 2015 tax return. So the true cost to you for your $500 donation is only $175.

And that doesn't include the tax benefits you'll receive for your entire donation on your federal return. De

 

pending on your tax bracket, you could receive 80% to 100% of your donation back through the NAP credit and federal deductions combined.

Essentially, this program directs your tax money straight to the organization you choose. To choose Blue Mountain School, click the button below.

BMS is Building Lasting Relationships

At BMS, we follow a set of core values, one of which is that "we nurture loving, respectful relationships and seek emotional balance. We take responsibility for ourselves and work to develop our understanding of others." Relationships are truly key at our school.

This week, the beautiful necklace for our drawing was donated by Anne Vaughan Designs.

This local company is owned and operated by former BMS parents Anne and Aaron Vaughan. The Vaughan's children attended Blue Mountain for a number of years, and Aaron served on the Board of Trustees for several of those years. In the photo below, Aaron helps his daughter with her research presentation when she was in the middle elementary class at BMS.

Although the Vaughan's are no longer a part of BMS on a day-to-day basis, our school's focus on and value of relationships has created friendships and connections with the Vaughan family that continue to remain strong years later. Blue Mountain School isn't just teaching children how to read and write; we are strengthening community by nurturing connections that last.

To enter your name in the drawing for the AVD necklace, make a donation of $50 or more to BMS by noon on Tuesday, November 10. Not only will you have a chance to win this prize, but you will also be entered in the drawings for the rest of the campaign!

Anne Vaughan Designs unique handcrafted designer earrings, bracelets and necklaces for women are designed and made with love in the Vaughan's Floyd, Virginia, USA studio. Each collection features layered necklaces that can be worn together or individually. Local Floyd stores that carry AVD include Bell Gallery, Hey Helen, and Troika Gallery. For more information or to shop, visit www.AnneVaughanDesigns.com

Strengthening Our Community - One Child at a Time

Welcome to our annual Fall fundraising campaign. The focus of this program is to build our scholarship fund so that Blue Mountain School can continue to be as inclusive and diverse as possible and to reflect the unique characteristics of our rural community. Our school is enriched by each student who attends and each family who is able to offer their individual perspectives, ideas, and gifts in the classroom and beyond.

This school year, BMS families will receive nearly $40,000 in financial aid. We can't do this without your generous support, and we thank you all: our alumni, family, friends, and neighbors. Our Blue Mountain School Community.

Who will your donation help?

Your donations have a significant impact on real families in our community. We'd like to share one of these family's stories with you, in their own words:

Dear Blue Mountain School Community,

Without scholarships, many of the families and children enrolled at BMS would not have the opportunity to join. My family is a single income family, and like most families we live paycheck to paycheck. We don't drive the newest car from the car lot, we don't buy the latest electronics on the market. What matters to our family is our child and his future, his social interactions and connections. We have found that this matters to BMS, too.
It was important to us to find a school where our child could grow and be respected as an individual and where his artistic, creative and adventurous mind could explore both in and out of the classroom. After meeting a few of the teachers on several different occasions, we knew we found the right place for our child. Without scholarship
awards, our son would not have the wonderful experience of cultivating these early relationships between friends and teachers that are necessary for a balanced education.

- A Blue Mountain School Scholarship Recipient

We'd like to give back!

As a token of our gratitude, we want to give a little something back to you! Everyone who donates will receive a handmade thank-you card featuring student art.

Donate $25 and we'll send you one of our unique Blue Mountain School bumper stickers.

Donate $50 for a chance to win one of three gifts donated by local businesses. One winner will be drawn each Tuesday afternoon. The first gift is a stunning necklace designed and made with love in Floyd, Virginia, by Anne Vaughan Designs.

Donate $100 and choose either a Blue Mountain School Free-Range Parent or Free-Range Kid t-shirt.

Donate $500 and qualify for a 65% Virginia state tax credit through the Neighborhood Assistant Program.

Share with a friend and win!

Please consider sharing this information with your family and friends. For every first-time donor (of $25 or more) you refer, we'll enter your name an extra time in our weekly drawings. Just make sure the person puts "Referred by <your name>" in the special info section on the donation page.

Shopping on Amazon?

Use our link below and a portion of your sale will go towards the school!

Shop Amazon Now

Shopping at Kroger?

If you shop at Kroger, you can help BMS earn money for its scholarship fund. Our Community Rewards number is 84005.

Link your Kroger Card