CMA Featured School
Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School
Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School
Farm School (7th, 8th and 9th), High School (10th, 11th, 12th)
Part I: School profile (Provide a two paragraph narrative about your school; age of school; what is special about it; programs you are focusing on; awards; etc):
Denver Montessori Junior High (DMHS) is a DPS public Montessori farm school that is specially designed to meet the needs and characteristics of younger adolescents during this crucial stage of adolescent brain development. Through the use of a carefully prepared environment and Montessori adolescent trained teachers, we guide our students to become adaptable, independent, ingenious and creative emerging adults with excellent communication and problem solving skills. Denver Montessori Senior High (DMHS) is a DPS public Montessori high school that offers a personalized and rigorous college preparatory program. Our students have the freedom to tap into their inner drives, determine and study their discovered passions. At DMHS, students are given the agency to act, with responsibility, on their autonomous intentions.
Part II: What is unique or special about your school (Provide a 2-3 paragraph narrative description of something unique or special about your school that would be of interest)?
The DMHS academic program is divided into two “sub-planes”. The 7th - 9th grade program is a land-based program with real life problems solving scenarios. Students combine didactic, academic lessons with real world scenarios. They are working daily with both their head and their hands to deeply internalize academic concepts. The 10th - 12th grade program is a highly academic program that prepares students for university or a career. Having come through the Montessori program to this point, students are well able and ready to handle the most rigorous content. The high school remains centered on core Montessori values. This includes Montessori trained teachers, long periods of uninterrupted work time, key lessons, and a variety of methods whereby a student can demonstrate mastery of knowledge. Assessments include rubrics, portfolios, presentations, quizzes on vocabulary and skills, end of unit knowledge assessments plus all Federal and Colorado State mandated testing.
The 7th grade through 12th grade Montessori curriculum at DMHS is rigorous, innovative, interesting and designed to engage students to produce optimal academic achievement as well as social and emotional maturity and well-being. In order to effectively implement the curriculum, DMHS has adopted its own schedule, its own standards for hiring teachers, its own school calendar and professional development plan, its own assessments, and adolescent Montessori Curriculum. DMHS uses the National Montessori Curriculum for grades 7-9 for science, history and language arts. For mathematics, DMHS uses the Montessori Integrated Math curriculum that is a spiraled curriculum reinforcing skills already learned with lessons on new skills and includes project based math and math seminar. The small group lessons are designed to meet each student at the particular benchmark the student is currently working, and the teacher uses a variety of instructional methods, including Montessori math materials, to assist the student in mastering that benchmark and preparing to work on the next unit of study. Farm School students are expected to apply math towards a variety of hands-on projects utilizing the farm, the culinary arts program and micro-economy. For grades 9 – 12, the Montessori Integrated Math curriculum matches district standards for Algebra II, Geometry and pre-Calculus. Students who complete MIM 3 are ready for and encouraged to take college level Calculus using the District’s concurrent enrollment program.
The high school, grades 10, 11 and 12, is an integrated college preparatory curriculum using DPS approved curriculum, with the exception of math as noted above. Although most of the curriculum for high school is similar to DPS’s conventional schools, there still are innovative differences required to meet our mission and vision. The curriculum is integrated so that literature studied in Language Arts simultaneously supports the history curriculum for an overall integrated humanities curriculum. The math and science teacher work together to insure students are obtaining the mathematical skills needed to work out currently studied complex scientific equations. Linkages between science, math and history are explored. There is in-depth reading and writing instruction throughout all areas of study, along with AP, Honors and concurrent enrollment opportunities. The schedules for both the junior high and the senior high support the Montessori approach. There are minimal required transition times. Instead, students are called to small group lessons as those lessons are needed to support the next level of study.
The expectation is that there is a culture of respect and hard work that is resolutely held by both the staff and the students. We also expect that one hundred percent of the students is on task and engaged because they are enjoying their academic studies. This on task and engaged behavior is the hallmark of Montessori education, and this is how we measure success at DMHS.