Montessori approved for Buena Vista Elementary

       The District 11 School Board unanimously approved a Montessori program for Buena Vista Elementary at the meeting Jan. 28.
       “It was great, really great,” commented Sue Spengler, a parent from the Buena Vista attendance area who was at the meeting.
       The motion to approve was preceded by comments from various board members, saying the program is a good idea by creating choice within schools.
       The decision was expected after the favorable feedback from the District 11 School Board and Superintendent Norm Ridder to a presentation by Buena Vista staff at the Jan. 14 meeting.
       Assuming the necessary grants can be obtained, Buena Vista Principal Alan Rasmussen wants to start a Montessori program - which has never been offered before in District 11 - next fall.
       The grant-writing effort has already begun, with Buena Vista parents and staff working with the District 11 grant writer, said Spengler, who hopes to have both her 3- and 4-year-old children in Montessori at the school next fall. Rasussen has estimated “a few hundred thousand dollars” would be needed to train staff, obtain materials and set up the school for the initial three classrooms, ages 3 to 9.
       Montessori programs have resulted in academic improvement at public schools in the Denver area, according to studies by Buena Vista staff and parents.
       The Executive Summary of the Buena Vista Montessori Focus School Proposal reads, in part: “The Montessori method is an approach to education that enables teachers to help children educate themselves. By addressing 'whole child' development and emphasizing individually paced instruction with hands-on activities, students develop self-discipline and self-direction as they master skills and acquire knowledge.”

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