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The Montessori School of Denver was established in 1964 by a small group of dedicated parents committed to providing Montessori education in Denver. Since then, MSD has expanded to meet the demands for quality education for its students. We currently serve over 330 students, Toddler through 8th grade, and offer a wide variety of educational opportunities year-round.
MSD is the first Montessori school in Colorado to be accredited by both the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS). MSD is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
The Board of Trustees is the governing and policy-making body of the school. The Board is composed of parents of children who are currently enrolled in the school or alumni students, faculty representatives, and community members.
The Head of School is responsible for all aspects of the school and is the school's representative both locally and nationally. MSD is very proud of its faculty members who are selected from among the finest educators in the country. The head teachers have all received their training from a variety of Montessori teaching training centers affiliated with AMS and hold at least a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences degree.
We are proud to report the following accomplishments in the 2015-2016 school year.
The Board of Trustees completed a Long-Range Plan that will guide MSD into a bright future. The plan has three main areas of focus: 1) expanding innovative programming for our community and beyond; 2) creating an enlightened community where students and adults are empowered to be fully and meaningfully engaged in our educational program and philosophy; and 3) finding innovative ways for our school to remain financially sustainable.
We sustained enrollment and continued to provide excellence in programming, and advanced our role as a nationally recognized model school for Montessori and independent school education.
Through the generous support of a donor, we were able to fund and prepare for an Early Toddler Class, launching in the fall of 2016. This class, specifically designed for students ages 18-23 months old, will fill the need parents have for a quality Montessori education at a young age.
A family foundation supported our professional development efforts in a big way by not only sending many of our faculty and staff to workshops and seminars but also extended our reach into the community through by funding a number of new Community Parent Education Outreach Initiatives off-campus. In this new program, our teachers were able to go out into the larger Denver community and share what they know with others.
We strengthened the Parent/Home/School Partnership and connection through a diverse parent education program. MSD offers a series of unique adult education events during the year, but a new offering this year was the Parent Choice Nights. On these nights, parents could choose from a wide array of parenting topics from Toileting 101 to keeping kids safe online.
We significantly enriched our curriculum this year with a number of new offerings at each grade level. With funding from a family foundation, we added new literacy materials in the Primary classroom with the Orton Gillingham (OG) Literacy Training Initiative which increased reading readiness and decreased the need for learning support; with additional foundation support from the Morgridge Family Foundation, an anonymous donor and a MSD parent, we funded a new Robotics Lab, 3-D Maker Lab, and a Ukulele-Building Class in the Middle School; we added a Kindergarten Service work Program, known as Kinderness; because of a grant from the Whole Kids Foundation, we expanded the Urban Farm Program to include a small hydroponic garden this winter in the Commons Area of the Arts and Athletics Center; with generous support from the Kiita Foundation, we created a partnership with St. Elizabeth's School to give other middle school students access to our farm curriculum, and make some new friends along the way.
Our Middle School student hosted a Seedling Sale-along with our friends from St. Elizabeth's School-- that raised nearly $2,000 to support the farm and their two Farmers Markets raised nearly $1,000 to support their 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. Besides being entrepreneurs, they are also learning how to be social entrepreneurs by donating a portion of the harvest to those in need.
We partnered with Penny Harvest, a program of the Young Philanthropist Society. The Penny Harvest is a student-run program that allows kids to not only raise the funds but also to determine how the funds will be distributed. A council of students from our Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms managed the program from start to finish; organizing the classrooms, collecting, and disbursing $3,150 in pennies, interviewing nonprofit organizations, and, ultimately, donating to five worthy causes.
Each year, the Tracey Collins Schwartz Endowment Fund makes an extraordinary experience possible for MSD students. The Endowment (TCSE) Fund was established in memory of Tracy Collins Schwartz, President of the Montessori School of Denver Parent Association for the 2007-08 school year. The mother of three MSD students, Tracy worked tirelessly on behalf of the school. Although Tracy's unexpected passing left a void in our hearts, Tracy's work and spirit live on. This year, the Fund supported a mosaic and pottery project that adorns the wall outside of the Foreign Language Lab on the Middle School Building.
We unveiled our new logo which connected a big M with Montessori and MSD and many marvelous things, giving us a oneness of look, identity and spirit. Last year we launched our mobile responsive site to help simplify the navigation of our website. This year we are excited to add an App to our communication tools. The MSD App will enable you to access much of the general school information, such as the school calendar, Weekly Reminder, lunch ordering, and much more right on your phone.
We have support for what we do. In the 2015-2016 GoodWorks Annual Fund, we reached 100% participation from our Board of Trustees, 100% participation with our faculty and staff and 75% parent participation of our goal this year. Also we enjoyed record-breaking financial support at the auction. Our community was so generous that we were able to raise enough funds to built a first-of-its-kind-in-Denver Aeroponics Farm, launching in the fall of 2016.
The outcome of a MSD education is the result of so many of these interconnected parts as well as the experiences that nurture the students' connections with each other. Our 8th grade students move on to high schools that present the uniqueness of each of them, and we realize that they will always leave a bit of themselves here at MSD.
This June, we celebrated the 2015-2016 class of MSD graduates, and we are looking forward to what see what they will achieve beyond the walls of MSD. Current and past graduates have attended a variety of schools, among them: Alexander Dawson School, Center for Communications Technology Magnet Program at Thomas Jefferson High School, Colorado Early College in Parker, Denver Academy, East High School, Denver Center of International Studies, Regis Jesuit High School, Kent Denver School, Colorado Academy, St. Mary's Academy and Wheatridge High School.
We are proud of our graduates' success and celebrate along with them as they accomplish great things. We hosted our first alumni event for MSD kids this year and over thirty students came to campus one evening to reconnect with their MSD classmates. When asked how their MSD experience prepared them for high school, they said, "Academically it has taught me time management and responsibility. Socially, I learned good people skills and how to make friends," and "I think it gave me a strong academic basis, as well as helped me develop into the person I am today."
Executive Director Statement
Welcome to Montessori School of Denver!
Founded 54 years ago, Montessori School of Denver serves over 340 students including 42 Toddlers, 112 Primary, 34 Kindergarten, 84 Lower Elementary, 34 Upper Elementary, and 35 Middle School. Combined with our 78 Faculty and Staff, including 2 Educational Leaders, 24 Head Teachers, 19 Assistant Teachers, 2 Educational Support personnel, 8 Substitute Teachers, 11 Administrative Personnel, and 5 Building/Grounds/Security personnel collectively, we are the largest student body and staff ever in our history.
Our school-wide theme for the 2015-2016 school year was interconnectedness and it was the perfect framework for not only thinking about our academic learning but also reinforcing the way we act as a community. As a Montessori School, we thrive in the place where all things are connected because when we learn how one thing relates to another, it helps us to understand the larger meaning. When classroom lessons and activities can be integrated, not only the parts but that whole makes more sense. When our parents, faculty, and staff find commonality, it only makes our community bonds stronger.
Here are a few examples of our how interconnected we were this year:
•We completed our Long-Range Plan that will carry MSD into its bright future. The plan has three main areas of focus: 1) expanding innovative programming for our community and beyond; 2) creating an enlightened community where students and adults are empowered to be fully and meaningfully engaged in our educational program and philosophy; and 3) finding innovative ways for our school to remain financially sustainable;
•We funded a new Early Toddler Class that will begin in the fall of 2016 to meet the needs of students ages 18-23 months old;
•We formed a partnership with St. Elizabeth's School to connect with our Middle School students in the Urban Farm Program;
•Kindergarten students began their service work in earnest with the new Kinderness Program;
•We strengthened the parent/home/school partnership through a diverse parent education program that offered a series of unique, adult education events during the school year;
•We offered a variety of ways for parents to share their time, talent, and treasure with us; parents, Trustees, grandparents, faculty/staff, current students and alum families donated to the GoodWorks Annual Fund because we are a community that supports our mission;
•Our new logo was unveiled, connecting a big M with Montessori, MSD, and many marvelous things, giving us a oneness of look, identity, and spirit;
•We worked hand-in-hand with over 374 parents who graciously donated over 9,500 hours of their time to MSD.
Last, but not least, we watched as another talented group of do-gooders graduated from MSD. Not only were these students accepted into such prestigious schools as Kent Denver School, Regis Jesuit High School, Colorado Early Colleges in Parker, Center for Communications Technology Magnet Program at Thomas Jefferson High School, Denver Academy, Alexander Dawson School, St. Mary's Academy, East High School, Wheatridge High School, Colorado Academy, and Denver Center of International Studies, but we also celebrated as our Class of 2010 left for college.
MSD Alumni students who graduated from high school this year are off to study at colleges such as University of California, Santa Barbara, Whittier College, Loyola University, Columbia University, University of Denver, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, and the University of Southern California. Most importantly, decades of alumni stories show that MSD is creating self-aware, generous, independent young people who grow up to lead successful lives, advocating for themselves and others to make our world a better place.
We hope this gives you a look inside this special school we call MSD. Please call and stop by for a visit or learn more at www.montessoridenver.org!
Stephanie Pax Flanigan
Head of School
We continue to rely on our community's support of the Annual Fund to provide the necessary funding for new technology in the classroom, financial aid for our families, professional development for our faculty and staff, and wherever it is needed most on campus.
This past year, we exceeded our Annual Fund goal because of the generosity of the MSD community. A portion of these funds provided the necessary support to allow 100% of our faculty and staff to participate in professional development opportunities including attending workshops, conferences, and seminars offered by the Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (MACAR), World Language Expo, Orton-Gillingham Basic Training, the Computers in Libraries Conference, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the American Montessori Society, to name a few. We also invited speakers to campus including P. Donohue Shortridge for an all faculty presentation of "the 4 Planes of Development/Journey and Discovery for Montessorians. This year, a family foundation also funded an off-campus Community Parent Education Outreach Initiative in the larger Denver community whereby our teachers could share what they know about a Montessori education with others.
We invest in our faculty and staff each year, giving them the opportunity for the best Montessori professional training opportunities within the state of Colorado and nationwide. We believe that the educational enrichment of our faculty and staff is vital to delivering the quality education our community is accustomed to--and obviously our parents agree!
We also achieved record-breaking financial support at this year's auction fundraising event. Because of our community's generosity we were able to fund a revolutionary Aeroponics Farm. The new Aeroponics Farm is designed to foster collaboration, hand-on learning, and innovative thinking. In this upcoming year, MSD students will have the opportunity to learn about the future of farming in this up-cycled, 40' shipping container that will grow more than an acre of food in 320 square feet. This environmentally-controlled, indoor, vertical farm will use artificial, LED lighting and high pressure aeroponics technology developed by NASA to grow food sustainably. This system makes it possible to cut the cost of growing local food by reducing water by 95% and eliminating all pesticides.
With this new learning space, students of all ages will not only learn about the future of farming, but also about giving back as a portion of the locally grown food will be donated families in need in the Denver area. MSD is excited to be at the forefront of the local food movement with the installation of our new Aeroponics Farm since there is nothing quite like this on any school campus in Denver.
Board Chair/President Statement
As I begin my first year as the Chair of the MSD Board of Trustees, I am honored to have the opportunity to lead with such talented and dedicated Trustees by my side. I am privileged to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brinkman, our outgoing Board Chair, who has been an extraordinary leader in MSD's history, and I am grateful for the tireless support of our esteemed Head of School, Stephanie Flanigan.
During Tom's tenure as Chair, we completed an $8 million capital project that expanded our classroom offerings and our space to nearly six acres, we dreamed of and then realized a Middle School at MSD, we built an Urban Farm Program and funded a revolutionary Aeroponics Farm, bought a small fleet of buses, funded and prepared for our first Early Toddler Class, garnered foundation support to innovate in the classroom with new 3-D Maker and Robotics Labs and a Ukulele Class, forged a partnership with St. Elizabeth's School to share the goodness we have on our campus, built a treehouse as a unique outdoor learning space, completed a solid Long Range Plan for MSD that will guide our school into a bright future, and much more.
We're proud of what we've been able to accomplish, and we're looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year where our community of do-gooders - Trustees, parents, grandparents, current students, alumni, faculty and staff and friends of our school-will come together again to make the world a better place.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Montessori School of Denver
"Friendships and community, wonderful teachers and staff, the dynamic learning experience to build and support growth in academics, confidence, leadership, creativity, and social development in the children."
Middle School Parent
"MSD is like family. We truly felt cared for as parents and that our children were loved, cherished, and protected. The entire staff had our boys' best interests at heart and are truly passionate in the work that they do."
Lower Elementary Parent
"The teachers! The staff! The beautiful campus! The fact that everyone really seems to enjoy being there."
All Day Primary
"At first, we were a bit apprehensive to send our daughter to a five day per week Toddler program. However, we felt positive about the welcoming classroom and believe in the Montessori educational philosophy. It was only a matter of weeks before we knew we had made the right educational decision. The Toddler program builds confidence, fosters age-appropriate social interaction, and provides a wonderful educational foundation setting the tone for further educational pursuits."
"We have nothing but positive things to say about MSD. Our children have and continue to thrive. "
Primary and Kindergarten Parent
"We are so happy and proud to be a part of MSD."
"I feel so blessed my daughter landed in such a caring environment."
"We are incredibly grateful that our son is an MSD student! His classroom environment feels like a customized world made just for him. His teachers truly see him as an individual and challenge him in the most encouraging ways. Our son looks forward to school every day and shares his daily experiences with so much excitement that we cannot wait to hear what is next."
"Our teachers are outstanding- the best I've ever seen and we feel incredibly fortunate that they taught our child. They care so deeply about their students and are committed, knowledgeable, and loving. MSD is an awesome school- we truly love it."
Lower and Upper Elementary Parent
"MSD did a wonderful job of sparking a love for learning and our daughter loves her teachers, the school and community. She has grown socially emotionally, and academically during her time at MSD, for which we will always be grateful."
Upper Elementary Parent
"We are delighted with our daughter's change in attitude about school, and I credit it all to the Montessori School of Denver. She learned wonderful relationship skills and problem-solving skills at MSD, and has maturity beyond her peers when it comes to making good decisions and seeing a situation objectively. Interpersonal relationships are still her focus in school, but she did the work necessary to keep her grades up, and she took initiative to communicate with her teachers and to get caught up when she fell behind. This was a dramatic change from the discouraged student who had all but given up on school when she started at MSD after 5 years in the public school system. You are doing great things. Thank you for making a lifelong difference for our daughter."
Upper Elementary Parent
"The past couple of years, when I would pick my daughter up from her former school, she was always very down. I would ask, "How was your day? Good, great or awesome?" Her answer would always be, "None. I didn't have a good day." It was always something; a bullying issue, boredom or frustration with teachers not answering her questions. Now, I pick her up from school at MSD and I ask, "How was your day? Good, great or awesome?" So far, everyday the answer has been, "Awesome!" Oh that is music to my ears! She has told me learning is fun. The teachers are always available to help and answer her questions. The best part, she is making lots of new friends! After chaperoning at Keystone this week, I was so impressed how welcoming all of the children were to the "new girl." There were no "clicks" among the girls. All of them were so inviting to each other during activities and very helpful and compassionate throughout the trip. My daughter had a blast! I am so relieved that I made the right decision to move her when I did."
Upper Elementary Parent
"We feel so fortunate to have discovered MSD over 11 years ago. Our son is currently in 8th grade and has been at MSD since he was three. He will be graduating from this amazing school in June. This will be a bittersweet event for him and our entire family. It has been an incredible experience to watch our son grow and evolve and ultimately blossom in middle school. We will be forever grateful to the teachers and staff for their dedication and devotion to our son's education and development. He began MSD as a primary student and will leave this school a confident, intelligent, self-motivated, kind-hearted, committed young man. The middle school program has given our son an unparalleled foundation academically and socially to move forward to the next phase of his education and life's journey. The teaching philosophy at MSD is top notch and encourages students to build on their strengths as well as their challenges. Our son knows how to problem solve, think globally and creatively, self-advocate, and dive deep into anything he's learning and exploring with an inquisitive mind. He has been exceptionally fortunate to have had strong, trusting, and mutually respectful relationships with all of his teachers during his time in middle school. The teachers and staff at MSD have demonstrated an unwavering commitment not only toward our son but our entire family."
Middle School Parent
"In my role as Director of Admission I work closely with high school admissions personnel to find the right fit for our graduates. I'm proud of the feedback I receive from my colleagues at the high school level. Here is a sampling of the feedback I received this year:
'MSD kids always rise to the top of our applicant pool'
'MSD kids are so confident in who they are'
'MSD kids just think differently than the other kids - They add a different dimension to discussions, debates, and conversations in the classroom'