About

Did you know?

Students work in multi-age classes.

SMCS students serve regularly in the community.

Seven staff members are Montessori certified.

Students care for and help each other across grade levels.

SMCS Mission & Vision

Mission

Our mission is to create kind, confident, self-reliant learners who are globally aware and impactful in and beyond their community.  We enrich students’ academic excellence, social and emotional learning based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.

Vision

Our vision for Soldotna Montessori is to deliver a three-year curriculum at both the primary and intermediate levels based on a unified understanding of Montessori philosophy.  We will nurture and celebrate each students’ unique abilities in order to develop the whole child.

Additionally, students will attain high levels of academic proficiency.  As life-long learners, students will develop environmental, global, and cultural awareness to influence a personal understanding of their role in a community.

SMCS Core Values

Values:

  • We agree children’s best interest is our first priority when making decisions.
  • We speak to students with composure and respect.
  • We agree to work consistently on sustaining a welcoming and safe school culture.
  • We agree to work consistently to improve implementation of our agreed-upon Montessori practices.
  • We agree to work consistently on improving communication and teamwork.
  • We agree to ensure that all team members involved in the daily education and care of a student are alerted to areas of concern.

Norms:

  • We strive to achieve consensus on important topics.
  • We express our own ideas and opinions respectfully.
  • We strive to listen to others without interrupting them.
  • We acknowledge we may respectfully agree to disagree.
  • We acknowledge the need to work with individuals who may have differing opinions.

Focus for Students

  • We commit to be positive and encouraging to each child.
  • We commit to make a positive connection with each child, so we can meet their social and emotional needs.
  • We will provide opportunities for, and actively celebrate, student interests and strengths.
  • We will honor the spirit of each child as we facilitate positive student growth to their fullest potential.
  • We commit to develop students who are life-long learners capable of being personally accountable, self-directed, and self-reflective.

Focus for Academics

  • We commit to use formative data to provide individualized instruction to increase student achievements.
  • We commit to be responsive to individual student needs through the use of best practices, effective instructional strategies, and common, formative assessments.
  • We commit to the use of a variety of ongoing monitoring devices and to seek out the most promising instructional strategies and practices to support student learning and success.
  • We commit to monitor and improve our 3-year curriculum implementation with a coordination between primary and intermediate grades.

Focus for Community and Global Awareness

  • We commit to help each child understand how they contribute and play an important role in our school, community, and the world.
  • We commit to develop and implement opportunities for students to be involved with their community & environment, and in global & cultural issues.
  • We commit to develop and implement field studies.

Focus for Montessori Approach

  • We commit to support staff in Montessori training, so we may all have a unified understanding of Montessori philosophy and how that applies to each individual.
  • We commit to continuing education and implementation of Montessori philosophy.
  • We will be active in clarifying our understanding of Montessori implementation in each classroom, by observing in other Montessori classrooms and actively seeking Montessori professional development opportunities.
  • We commit to teacher autonomy in the implementation of Montessori practices within their classroom.
  • We commit to the Montessori practices agreed upon by staff and APC.

Agreed Upon Montessori Practices

Many people assume that all Montessori schools are essentially alike.  In reality, just like any public school, every Montessori school is unique. However, most Montessori schools do share a set of common principles. The following Montessori principles are practiced at Soldotna Montessori Charter School.  

Multi-age Classrooms

Our Montessori curriculum, with the exception of kindergarten, is delivered in three-year cycles in multi-age classrooms.

Hands-on Learning

Our school emphasizes hands-on learning using concrete learning materials, including Montessori manipulatives.

Grace and Courtesy

Students learn to recognize and respect the rights and needs of themselves and others. Students are encouraged to solve problems using peaceful words and actions. School practices encourage self-regulation and conflict resolution.

Field Studies

Field studies encourage students to gain information and experience from the real world, as well as apply their own knowledge in real world situations.

Understanding and Gaining Deep Respect for the Natural World

Our curriculum incorporates many opportunities to interact with the natural environment through instructional activities, research and field studies.

Global Understanding

Studentslearn about culture, global issues and the vast diversity of people and ideas in our world.

Follow the Child

Instruction is differentiated according to individual student readiness, academic performance and student interest.

Community Service          

Students learn to contribute to others and to society through community service.  

Student Investigation and Research

Students conduct class and individual investigations as a common method for acquiring curriculum knowledge.   Technology, library archives, guest speakers and field studies support student research efforts.

Self-Direction and Student Accountability

Students in all grades gain experience in time management and work responsibility. Students develop self-direction and accountability in their day. 

Practical Life Skills

Children use Practical Life Skills to take care of the classroom, themselves and the environment.  They also learn to properly utilize technology, manage time and organize effectively.  Early practical life skills are also used to develop concentration skills, help develop fine and gross motor control and help develop impulse control. 

Principles of Montessori

The Soldotna Montessori Charter School Academic Policy Committee supports and expects the implementation of these Montessori principles at SMCS.

Multi-age Classrooms

Our Montessori curriculum, with the exception of kindergarten, is delivered in three year cycles in multi-age classrooms.

Hands-on Learning

Our school emphasizes hands-on learning using concrete learning materials, including Montessori manipulatives.

Grace and Courtesy

Students learn to recognize and respect the rights and needs of themselves and others. Students are encouraged to solve problems using peaceful words and actions. School practices encourage self-regulation and conflict resolution.

Field Studies

Field studies encourage students to gain information and experience from the real world as well as apply their own knowledge in real world situations.

Understanding and Gaining Deep Respect for the Natural World

Our curriculum incorporates many opportunities to interact with the natural environment through instructional activities, research and field studies.

Global Understanding

Students learn about culture, global issues and the vast diversity of people and ideas in our world.

Follow the Child

Instruction is differentiated according to individual student readiness, academic performance and student interest.

Community Service

Students learn to make a contribution to others and to society through community service.

Student Investigation and Research

Students conduct class and individual investigations as a common method for acquiring curriculum knowledge. Technology, library archives, guest speakers and field studies support student research efforts.

Self-Direction and Student Accountability

Students in all grades gain experience in time management and work responsibility. Students develop self-direction and accountability in their day.

Practical Life Skills

Children use Practical Life Skills to take care of the classroom, themselves and the environment. They also learn to properly utilize technology, manage time and organize effectively. Early practical life skills are also used to develop concentration skills, help develop fine and gross motor control and help develop impulse control. Practical life skills may also include learning to use technology, time management, and organization skills.

In addition, as a public school, SMCS is accountable to all state standards and mandated assessments.

About Montessori Classrooms

A Montessori Classroom offers a prepared environment that is specifically designed to meet the needs of individual students. Special materials encourage a hands-on approach to new concepts. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace and pursue personal interests within the scope of the curriculum.These prepared environments allow students to take responsibility for their own learning, giving them the opportunity to become increasingly able to work independently. The Montessori approach emphasizes open-ended research and in-depth study with less emphasis on traditional textbooks or worksheets.

According to Maria Montessori, “A child’s work is to create the person s/he will become.” For this reason, a Montessori classroom provides some freedom while maintaining an environment that encourages a sense of order and self-discipline.

A special emphasis is the development of a strong sense of community and family friendliness within our school. We also emphasize Dr. Montessori’s focus on building a better world by helping children discover their capacity to live in peace and harmony with one another.

The Montessori Curriculum includes instruction in grades K – 6 in geography, biology, history, language arts, mathematics, science, music, art, and physical education. Exploration of each area is encouraged through trips outside the classroom to a variety of community resources.

With the exception of Kindergarten, our Montessori classrooms are designed for a three year age mix which allows for maximum individual and social development.

Charter School FAQs

Why do we have charter schools? Charter school legislation is a result of federal and state initiatives and statutes. Alaska passed charter school legislation in 1995. The law was established in response to requests from parents and teachers for more educational choices for their students.

According to state law, up to 60 charter schools are allowed to operate in Alaska. Charter schools provide free, public school choice for students and their families. Charter schools allow parents, teachers and students to choose an alternative curriculum or program of study. Charter schools also offer a choice to parents who want a style or type of instruction that they believe best fits their child’s needs.

How are charter schools started?

Charter schools are started by a founding group which submits a charter proposal to the local school board. If the charter application is approved, the proposal is sent to the State Board of Education where it must be approved before a charter school can begin. Charter schools must meet the same requirements for financial, instructional and curriculum accountability as any other public school.

Who is eligible to enroll in a charter school?

Parents/guardians may apply to enroll any student eligible for public school enrollment. A charter school must enroll all students who submit a timely application. According to Alaska state statute, if the number of student applications exceeds the capacity of the charter program, class, grade level or building, the charter school must first consider providing additional space and teachers.

If additional space is not available and it is not possible to accommodate all eligible students then students shall be accepted by random drawing or lottery and placed on a wait list in the order in which they applied to the charter school. All charter schools in our district follow the same lottery guidelines.

How are charter schools funded?

Charter schools are public schools. Charter schools receive the same state foundation funding for education as other public schools. Foundation funding is determined by a formula based on the number of actual students enrolled in the school.

Do charter schools charge tuition or admission fees?

All charter schools are free public schools. Charter schools do not charge tuition or admission fees. Charter schools offer free admission just like other public schools. If a charter school is a free public school, what makes it different? Charter schools operate like all other public schools with three exceptions.

• Charter school curriculum varies from the school district adopted curriculum. The charter school submits a “charter” requesting an alternative curriculum or teaching approach. The alternative curriculum must be approved by the local district school board and the state school board.

• An Academic Policy Committee of school parents and staff oversees the mission of the school, ensuring that the integrity of the charter is maintained.

• The charter school administrator is hired and fired by the Academic Policy Committee. The charter school administrator is responsible to the Academic Policy Committee but must ensure that the charter school adheres to local and state educational policy.

Who can teach in a charter school?

Charter school teachers must meet the same teaching certification criteria as any other public school teacher unless the charter school applies to the local school board and to the State to request a waiver from these requirements. No charter school in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has requested a waiver. All teachers in KPBSD charter schools are selected according to the same criteria as all other KPBSD teachers. Some charter schools require additional training or certification of their teachers in order to meet the educational mission of the school.

How are charter school teachers paid?

KPBSD charter school teachers are paid according to the same salary schedule as any other KPBSD teacher.

Do charter schools pay for public school services?

Each charter school has a contract with the local school board. These contracts are reviewed annually. Costs for bussing, food services, worker’s compensation, special education services, nursing, library aides, custodial services, building utility fees, property and liability insurance, and state-required indirect cost fees are all deducted from the charter school budget by the district.

Are charter schools religious schools?

In addition to other requirements of state law, a charter school must be nonsectarian. Religious affiliation is not permitted.

Can charter schools restrict class size or enrollment?

According to Alaska State Statute, a charter school is required to establish a teacher-to-student ratio in the original charter application. This number may only be changed by negotiating the contract with the local school board.

Are charter schools exempt from school district policy?

All KPBSD charter schools operate under existing school board policy.

What other schooling choices do we have?

Alaskan families can choose to send their students to:

  • Free local public schools that offer the district adopted curriculum choices
  • Free local public charter schools that offer an alternative curriculum choice
  • Free public school district optional and alternative high school programs
  • Free public local school district home-schooling programs
  • Free public out-of-district home-schooling programs
  • Private school programs

For more information about the free public school options in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, and a link to the District’s schools, visit http://www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/schools.aspx.