Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School (MVMPCS) serves grades pre-K through eighth. It functions semi-independently, with its own governance and instructional design. It was the first charter school established in Maryland. The school's academic program is based on the philosophy and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori classroom is a prepared environment with a multi-aged group classroom community of children. The Montessori curriculum fosters independence and self-directed learning through carefully facilitated lessons that include hands-on manipulatives, small and large group work. The teacher directs students based on their interests, level and pace, allowing for individualized curriculum implementation.
In addition to books, art supplies, maps and other resource materials, Montessori classes utilize specially designed manipulatives that focus on particular concepts or skills. These special Montessori materials allow teachers and students to receive immediate feedback regarding their understanding and proficiency. Teachers use this, as well as observation and one-on-one interaction, to plan and implement individual, grade level and whole class instruction.
In the classroom, the teacher will rarely be found talking to the entire class, but instead will be circulating among the students assessing their progress and introducing them to new lessons individually or in small groups. The teacher keeps records of progress and mastery of each student's specific skills. Montessori believes strongly in the process and that product is only one component of assessing understanding and mastery.
At MVMPCS, education achievement is measured against the same performance standards used by the local and state boards of education.
Enrollment is open to all Frederick County residents and new students are chosen via an annual lottery. Lottery information is available at http://www.mvms.info/enrollment.htm.