8/30/2012 9:43:00 AM Central Montessori Elementary named MN School of Excellence
Central Montessori Elementary in Forest Lake became the first Montessori school to be named a Minnesota School of Excellence, according to an announcement Friday from the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA). Every elementary school in Independent School District 831 has now received this award, and Central Montessori (CME) is the third district school in the past four years to be validated as a School of Excellence. Wyoming Elementary and Lino Lakes Elementary received awards in 2010-2011 and 2009-2010, respectively.
“Central Montessori Elementary is a prime example of quality Minnesota education,” said Fred Storti, Executive Director, Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association. “The school strives to work and function as a professional learning community, successfully aligning student learning with six national standards that encompass Learning Centered, Diverse Communities, 21st Century Learners, Quality Instruction, Knowledge and Data, and Community Engagement.” “It is a true honor to be identified as a Minnesota School of Excellence,” said Central Montessori Principal Kelly Lessman. “The process brought the staff and Central Montessori Elementary families together and gave a framework to talk about the excellent education we provide for students at Central Montessori Elementary in Forest Lake." Unlike most Montessori schools, Central Montessori is part of a public school district, allowing it to provide a tuition-free education for its students and also free transportation.
The school currently serves 124 students in grades K – 6. Perhaps the most unique aspect of Central Montessori is the classroom set-up. The school is divided in multi-grade groupings for first through sixth – kindergarten students are educated together in one class. Students in grades 1-2-3 are grouped together as well as students in grades 4-5-6. Multi-grade classrooms allow students to continue with the same teacher and many of the same classmates for multiple years, developing strong relationships with peers and adults. Multi-grade classrooms support individual differences and natural diversity among students because they allow the development of relationships, which research has demonstrated is fundamental for learning.