Montessori represents the community |

Montessori represents the community

Dear Editor:Mr. Wall says he wants the public schools to represent the community; the Ross Montessori School does also. While Ross Montessori School has an overall Latino population of 18 percent, we draw students from Silt to Basalt. If you examine our Carbondale population alone, our Latino population is 25 percent, while the official census of Carbondale is 32.1 percent. The Ross Montessori School’s Carbondale population more closely represents the official census than any of the Carbondale Re-1 schools. RMS has attracted 30 percent of our students from outside the Carbondale area. We have a geographic diversity that the district Carbondale schools do not. We have a combined Asian/African-American population of 5 percent.While it is great that Mr. Wall now wants to “attract Anglo students back,” he could have avoided some of this if he had not eliminated the Montessori strand at the district school. Previously he stated to Randy DeHoff (RMS superintendent) that he was “willing to sacrifice” the 140 students in the Montessori strand at Carbondale Elementary School. In 2004 the Carbondale schools had a 70 percent Latino population (37.9 percent higher than the official census data). “Anglo flight” obviously took place long before RMS. Mr. Wall should focus on the 500 Re-1 students who left to attend various private schools in the valley (2004 CDE statistics: and 452 students who left to attend other districts, before RMS. It is easy (and inflammatory) to blame and label the small number of Carbondale Anglo students at RMS as “Anglo flight,” but it isn’t the truth. In fact, the Montessori method of education is particularly successful for English language learners, and the Montessori philosophy embraces cultural diversity throughout its curriculum. There has been a lot of invalid criticism of RMS, but the focus should be on what Re-1 can do to make their schools better. Creating a successful outdoor education program is a great idea. We implemented our outdoor education because we feel it is important for all students, not just to be used as a marketing tool on a selected target ethnic group. I welcome this change from Mr. Wall’s previous statement that “outdoor education is not a priority,” as I have supported outdoor education for over 25 years. I would love to cooperate with the district on a great outdoor education program for all of the students in Carbondale. I feel that there are many areas where RMS and Re-1 district can cooperate and expand opportunities for all children. RMS parents have chosen to enroll their children in RMS because they feel that the Montessori method of education will best fit their child’s needs. As a parent of two children, I know the difficulty of deciding where you want your children to be educated. I do not understand why many people cannot respect the decisions these parents have made.I am intent on making Ross Montessori School the best school possible for our children and any students that enroll, and we have openings! I challenge Fred to do the same for his schools. Mark Grice, head of Ross Montessori SchoolBasalt

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