Letter: Support expressed for Montessori

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We want to thank the more than 65 families representing nearly 100 students who have expressed support for the Montessori method being offered as a choice in our school district.

We've even had many existing public elementary school parents express their support for our efforts.

You may have read the op-ed piece in Tuesday's Steamboat Today by Jason Throne, chairman of the district accountability committee for the Steamboat Springs School District. In it he applauded our efforts and even offered to help us start a charter school at a separate location. We appreciate his willingness to have an open dialogue with us about charter school options. We will meet with him as we continue our discussions with Superintendent Cyndy Simms.

There were several inaccuracies in Jay Throne's opinion piece we'd like to correct. While we appreciate his concerns, and he did bring up several good points, it's our belief that each of these can and has been successfully addressed in many other public Montessori schools in Colorado.

One was admissions. It is our goal to make Montessori education available to every student who wants to attend, which is why we are so adamant that this be a public school.

To that end, we will work hard to manage school size and grow with demand so that we can avoid having to turn away any students. We intend to make new spots available at kindergarten for those families who do not wish to, or cannot afford to, attend preschool and we will work to provide scholarships to those preschoolers who need them. We also want to point out that, if we end up being a charter school, we are required by state law to provide a tuition-free, half-day kindergarten program.

Another concern of Jay's was finding dual-credentialed teachers (carrying Montessori credentials as well as a Colorado teaching certificate). It is common for many public schools to receive a waiver for the state teaching credential to open up more hiring options. Nearly all public Montessori schools have received this waiver and are able to hire excellent and well-trained teachers.

The important thing to remember is that there are dozens if not hundreds of successful examples of each type of public Montessori school. We can look to these to answer just about any concern anyone could have. What we need are your letters of interest and support. Again, we already have nearly 100 of these. Accurate numbers will help us design and implement the best public Montessori program for Steamboat Springs.

If you have any questions you would like addressed, please feel free to call 875-0168 or any of us individually.

Gail Garey, Jody Patten, David Patterson, Carrie Requist, Caroline Fisher
Steamboat Springs
Montessori Steering Committee

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