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Group pushes for Montessori program

Ryan Graff

A group of parents is busy this month plotting and planning to open a new Montessori school in Carbondale by this fall. The Ross Montessori School Steering Committee plans to solicit the Colorado Charter School Institute for funds to open a K-8 charter school, said steering committee spokeswoman Carolyn Fisher. The school would be public, but entirely separate from the Roaring Fork School District Re-1. The district runs a K-5 Montessori program at Carbondale Elementary School. But the Ross committee would like to see the education available through eighth grade, said Fisher, whose daughter is in the CES Montessori program. “(Montessori) has had a 100-year history of great success,” she said.Montessori programs give students the skills they need to succeed, and don’t rely on rote memorization, Fisher said. Students are also grouped with other age groups where older students teach younger students, which is especially effective for English language-learners, she said. In the Montessori program at CES, 35 to 40 percent of the students are Latinos, Fisher said. The Ross Committee decided to apply for money through the state instead of Re-1 because of time constraints, she said. Re-1’s deadline for a charter application was in October, she said. The state deadline isn’t until Jan. 31. Applying for money through the state was simply a way for the school to open by next fall, she said.Fisher said the Ross Committee has several locations for the new school in mind but preferred to wait and see if it had funding before going into details.Dr. Martha Urioste, an expert on Montessori education, will talk about the benefits of Montessori education at two meetings tonight, and Claudia Ragar of the Colorado League of Charter Schools will discuss the process of the charter application.The Ross Steering Committee is named for Mark Ross, who founded the private Mt. Sopris Montessori Preschool in 1984. The Ross Montessori Steering Committee welcomes all interested parents to attend its informational meeting.


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