Six Rivers Montessori Blueprint, 2016

Our Vision

Our broadest vision is of a world that lives in peace, and a world community based on interdependence and respect for all life and all people. Our vision for our school is a Montessori school community of supportive parents, dedicated teachers and staff, and joyful learners.

Our Mission

Our mission is to nurture students’ character, compassion, respect and curiosity; to cultivate their means to learn, to invent, and participate fully and joyfully in life independently and collaboratively; to establish and sustain a quality Montessori holistic elementary and middle school program that encourages students to develop a deep sense of interdependence and responsibility as caring, global citizens and stewards of the earth.

Five Pillars

1. The cultivation within our students of a passion for excellence in everything they do in the classroom, in their community, in nature, and the world.

2. The development of a strongly held set of universal values, which include self-respect, respect for others, honesty, integrity, responsibility, empathy, compassion, kindness, peacefulness, warmth, and a love of community.

3. The development of a global perspective and sense of international understanding.

4. A lifelong commitment to give something back through service to others.

5. The active participation of everyone in our school community to fulfill our vision, follow through on our mission, and strengthen our pillars.

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 1. Educational Program

1.1. The Fundamental Nature of our School

1.1.1. The Montessori approach to learning is the educational framework of our educational program.

1.1.2. Six Rivers Montessori is an international and multicultural school.

1.1.3. Six Rivers Montessori is designed to prepare students both for the university and for life.

1.1.4. Our school teaches children to be at home in the world of nature.

1.1.5. Six Rivers Montessori is a family-friendly school.

1.1.6. We are committed to character and values.

1.1.7. We are committed to diversity.

1.1.8. Six Rivers Montessori is a close-knit community of students, educators, parents, and friends of the school.

1.2. The Montessori approach to learning is the educational framework of our educational program.

1.2.1. We use the Montessori approach, supplemented with compatible curriculum and elements of additional approaches and materials from the non-Montessori educational community, to provide opportunities for enrichment beyond the basic curriculum.

1.2.2. The nature of the child and the learning process.

1.2.2.1. We affirm that education begins at birth and continues throughout life. While our emphasis is on our children, we are a center of support for all of us to continue learning and developing toward becoming whole, balanced, and healthy individuals.

1.2.2.2. We believe that intelligence is not rare among human beings, nor is it fixed at birth.

1.2.2.3. We believe that the vast majority of people have the intelligence and natural ability required to learn everything they need to lead full, happy, and productive lives.

1.2.2.4. We believe that wisdom can be cultivated.

1.2.2.5. We believe that true wisdom is the ability to listen to your heart and know how best to put your intelligence to work for you. In order to achieve this goal, self-esteem, human dignity, and emotional well-being, as well as the ability to communicate and cooperate effectively with others, must be valued at least as highly as academic and material success.

1.2.3. We seek to understand each student’s uniqueness and provide individual guidance at their own pace.

1.2.4. We celebrate the natural diversity of human beings in learning style, interests, and definition of what makes a happy and successful life.

1.2.5. We affirm the ideal of the renaissance person. Our ultimate goal is to produce renaissance men and women who have not only learned how to learn, but also have an innate love of learning, a wide range of interests, and an openness to new ideas and possibilities.

1.2.6. We nurture self-esteem and self-efficacy beliefs. We affirm that self-esteem and self-efficacy are the crucial ingredients for the full expression of a person's potential. We strive to base every interaction between community members on this principle, from how we discipline, to respecting personal learning styles and stages of development. This is the very fabric of our community and our educational methods.

1.2.7. We encourage students to not be afraid of failure. We consciously encourage our students to not be afraid of taking risks, but rather to learn from all their experiences (both success and failure) and to receive non-threatening specific feedback on their progress and personal growth.

1.2.8. The development of a whole, healthy human being requires the nurturing of our many dimensions.

1.2.8.1. Intellectual

The intellect is an important tool in the shaping of our world. Through the development of our thinking abilities we refine our emotional responses, we clarify our picture of the universe, and we develop the discipline to maintain vibrant health.

1.2.8.2. Emotional

Our emotions are complex and powerful and it is very important that we learn to feel them fully and without fear, identify them correctly (in ourselves and others), respect them, and accept them. It is equally important, however, that we learn to harness their power and not let them control our lives unchecked.

1.2.8.3. Physical

We seek to help our students discover, understand, and adopt the lifestyle habits most appropriate and beneficial for our bodies and minds. Among these are fresh air, pure water, exercise, sunlight, and proper diet.

1.2.8.4. Spiritual

While we feel it is each person's task to develop his or her own understanding of the nature of the universe and the individual's place in it, we proceed on the premise that our world is a beautiful, positive, loving place, a setting that provides the potential for each person to lead a full, free, joyful, and healthy life. While we do not teach religion, nor advocate any particular belief system, we encourage students to explore questions raised by religious teachers and develop the spiritual side of their lives (the ability to find peace within and hear the small, still inner voice that we all possess).

1.2.9. Our educational program follows a developmental approach.

1.2.9.1. Developmental Stages

Our faculty is actively involved in a continuous study of human development. This study includes keeping abreast of current theories on development, regular student observation, and a constant evaluation of the curriculum to ensure that it is appropriate for the developmental stages of our students.

1.2.9.2. Individualization

We strive for individualized pacing and adaptation of the classroom program (when possible) to meet varied styles of learning.

1.2.9.3. Flexibility

Our educational program is designed for flexibility in its methodology and use of resources.

1.2.9.4. Academic Expectations

In designing this individualized program we follow an established curricular framework that includes the school's expectations for basic academic achievement at each level of the school, leading toward graduation and guidance toward appropriate placement for each child in the next level of his or her education.

1.2.10. We promote active rather than passive learning.

1.2.10.1. We encourage spontaneous activity in education by supporting students to pursue studies in areas of their personal interests.

1.2.10.2. We use hands-on, experiential learning whenever possible, whether through concrete manipulative learning materials, experimental discovery, seminar discussions, independent library research, field investigation, or computer simulations.

1.2.10.3. We bring the student to a sense of accomplishment, closure, and recognition of having reached a pre-established goal for learning.

1.2.11. The passage to abstraction: to facilitate this process, we consistently work from a very concrete level of experience to the abstract. To aid students in learning, we begin by giving them the "big picture" (a sense of gestalt), and work from this toward an increasing level of detail. This concept has created a spiraling curriculum in which skills and concepts are presented and reintroduced at increasing levels of complexity and abstraction over the years.

1.2.12. External structure: as necessary we provide students with sufficient external structure and support in a committed effort to ensure that their developmental needs are met. We do this in a manner that reflects our expectations and philosophy.

1.2.12.1. We interpret the general principle of Montessori education, "follow the child" to refer to the importance of allowing people to pursue areas of spontaneous interest whenever possible. However, if a child needs more direction at certain times or is not internally motivated in a given area, we feel it is our responsibility to acknowledge the personal preference but to still require that the necessary work be completed.

1.2.13. Freedom within order: we strive for a balance between freedom, order, and responsibility.

1.2.14. Diverse learning styles: we acknowledge that children learn in different ways and at different paces. We seek to provide an open environment to share our values in a truly diverse community.

1.2.14.1. Our goal is to consider each child as a unique human being and to be as flexible as possible in addressing his or her learning styles and needs as an individual learner.

1.2.14.2. We seek to provide an environment open to students with diverse learning styles, but our primary focus will always be the well-being and best interests of those students who will thrive in our Montessori environment. In every case, we assess whether our school is able to meet a student’s needs while keeping the integrity of the classroom. If not, we will recommend an appropriate alternative.

1.2.15. We nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination.

1.2.15.1. As educators we consciously work to encourage people to think creatively in their writing, problem solving, and research.

1.2.15.2. Our program places great emphasis on the Fine Arts, both in the classroom environment and through the contributions of specialists in the visual and performing arts.

1.2.15.3. As is appropriate for each age group, we encourage students to become aware of the major social, political, economic, environmental, and ethical issues of our day, and, having carefully considered all sides, to take a responsible stand for themselves and to explore ways of making a positive personal contribution to society in the tradition of our founder, Dr. Maria Montessori.

1.2.15.4. We are constantly modeling and encouraging communication between all members of our community. We would like all community members to be versed in skills of active listening, non-violent communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, dialogue, empathy for another person's position, and the ability to stand up for oneself and say no without guilt if someone is encroaching on their rights.

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1.3. We are a multi-cultural school.

1.3.1. We embrace and teach a global perspective as a philosophy for building a diverse community grounded in knowledge that leads to understanding, respect, and acceptance of all peoples.

1.3.2. We welcome a truly diverse multi-cultural and international community of students, faculty, and staff.

1.3.3. We recognize that contemporary society must embrace pluralist beliefs to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by an ever-growing world population that is integrating well beyond traditionally established cultural borders. We celebrate diversity in our community and acknowledge the unique contributions of all individuals who enrich and inspire our personal growth.

1.3.4. We deliberately teach inclusive thinking and encourage children to identify the assumptions from which they form their beliefs.

1.3.5. We seek to develop a global perspective and understanding. We weave these themes through our curriculum at every age level. This includes the study of modern foreign languages and of physical, cultural, and economic geography. As is age appropriate this also includes correspondence, service learning and international travel. We encourage families to share their cultural traditions, travel experiences, and traditional festivals.

1.4. Six Rivers Montessori prepares students for university.

1.4.1. We want our students to be well trained in the basic academic disciplines, to fulfill their creative potential, and to gain satisfaction in their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.

1.4.2. Academic Standards

In all cases we set our expectations high, not asking individuals to do more than they are capable, but consistently stressing the importance of careful work and pride in accomplishment. The reward is not in a quantity of work achieved but the satisfaction of work done well for its own sake. We carefully build a supportive environment for the unhurried mind to move steadily toward the pursuit of excellence.

1.4.3. Competition

We believe that it is neither necessary nor appropriate to inspire unrestrained academic pressure and scholastic competition among students. We cultivate the ability to accept success with grace, and failure or loss with dignity, and resolve to build on the experience. We ensure the right to choose whether or not to participate in competitive activities, and we stress the principles of good sportsmanship.

1.4.4. Success

We design our educational program to maximize each person's academic and personal success. We strive to encourage people to build on their strengths and personal learning styles and learn from their mistakes.

1.4.4.1. Academic Success

We encourage skills that support independent and successful learning, critical thinking, cooperative projects, reflective reading, problem solving, library research, use of technology, techniques for effective study, test-taking strategies, and techniques for focusing attention.

1.4.4.2. Personal Success

We consider it equally important that our community members be successful human beings who can establish healthy relationships and achieve happiness in their personal lives. We teach our students to pay attention to and respect feelings, both their own and those of others. We help them to learn to solve conflicts effectively and fairly, and to express their feelings in a healthy manner. Group dynamics and communication skills are also stressed.

1.4.4.3. We offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.

1.4.4.3.1. Science

We teach students not only scientific theory, but the process, history, and the nature of science. In our science curriculum we want to make sure that students have the experience and knowledge to make informed decisions that are supportive to the ecological well-being of our planet. We want them to understand that science is not only the subjects that scientists study, but the process of studying the world, with the goal of arriving at conclusions about what is probably true, and what is probably not. Its end product is simply reliable information. Students will study science every year. Our curriculum will be consciously integrated, incorporating topics from botany, zoology, physical science, machines and technology, astronomy, geology, ecology, earth science, weather, and the medical sciences.

1.4.4.3.2. Foreign Language

Our students will study a modern foreign language every year.

1.4.4.3.3. Mathematics

Our approach will be integrating topics in arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, statistics, logic, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Whenever possible, we will help students grasp the underlying concepts of math through the use of concrete apparatus and through application of mathematics to real world tasks.

1.4.4.3.4. Economics

We want students to understand basic economic concepts. Students will explore topics such as conscious consumerism, globalization, economies of scale (local to global), financial planning, and financial responsibility.

1.4.4.3.5. Geography

We seek to develop a global perspective, and international understanding, teaching world geography (physical, cultural, political, and economic) at every level of the school.

1.4.4.3.6. History

We develop a strong historical perspective through the study of prehistory and history, following an anthropological orientation into fundamental needs of humankind and the cultures, lifestyles and technologies of the past. We seek to explore and understand history through multiple perspectives and interpretations. We cultivate an appreciation of family and community heritage. History sets the stage for integrated learning at every age level.

1.4.4.3.7. Anthropology and Myth

We teach students the basic elements of anthropology, addressing the question of what makes us human, the nature of culture, and how cultures have attempted to explain or illuminate the great questions of life through story, myth, and cultural archetypes.

1.4.4.3.8. Major World Religions

We believe that our students should be familiar with the traditions and basic beliefs of the world’s major religions. While we do not teach religion, nor advocate any particular belief system, we support students to explore questions raised by religious teachings.

1.4.4.3.9. Architecture

We all live surrounded by buildings. We believe that our students should understand the patterns of architecture found around us, how buildings are constructed and designed, alternative building practices, and develop an appreciation for the timeless beauty of well-designed spaces.

1.4.4.3.10. Civics and Law

We strongly believe that our students should understand how government works at the local, state, federal and international levels, and the role that citizens can and should play in shaping consensus, advocating their point of view, and making informed decisions. They should understand how our electoral system operates and be encouraged to participate later in life. They should also understand how the legal system works and have an informed working knowledge of and respect for the law and to develop their own conclusions in regards to justice. Our goal is to lead young men and women to keep informed about current issues and to play an active and responsible role as citizens of our nation and world.

1.4.4.4. Language Arts and Literature

We are looking to develop students who read and write with facility, and both read voraciously and write with enjoyment. We explore all forms of human communication. We recognize that we live in a time when the various languages of art, (visual, written, spoken and musical) particularly through mass media, have a profound impact on our lives. We develop in each person the ability to understand and filter this influence. We also believe that by developing our ability to use these languages we strengthen our self-esteem and enhance our ability to express more effectively our thoughts and feelings.

1.4.4.4.1. Research Skills

Rather than having students memorize facts mindlessly, we would rather teach them to learn mindfully and develop great skill in the process of doing investigations and research using the library, internet, public records, and primary and secondary source materials. Interviewing skills are also very important skills that we emphasize. We seek to have our students learn how to organize the information that they compile into increasingly sophisticated reports and presentations. As a result, textbooks will play an insignificant role within our educational program.

1.4.4.4.2. The Visual and Performing Arts

Our program places great emphasis on the Fine Arts, both through the contributions of our music and art specialists and through classroom programs and experiences initiated by the teachers to foster art, music appreciation and creative drama.

1.4.4.4.3. Physical Education, Health, and Athletics

We want our students to understand, appreciate, and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, proper diet, intelligent choices regarding personal health, and stress reduction. We believe that individual sports and competitive team sports make up an important element in reaching these goals. We insist upon good sportsmanship in all athletic activities.

1.4.4.4.4. Peace Education

Skills in human relations, conflict resolution, nonviolence, leadership training, cooperative teamwork, and communication are all important elements in nurturing our students. Peace Education will be as vital an element of our curriculum as mathematics and science.

1.4.4.5. Creative thinking and problem solving skills are highly valued and to be incorporated into all curriculum areas

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1.5. Six Rivers Montessori prepares students broadly for life, balancing academic excellence with the development of personal and practical life skills. Our goal is to inspire a passion for excellence and a lifelong love of learning.

1.5.1. We teach universal values.

1.5.1.1. We make a concerted effort to empower people at our school, helping them to learn how to make responsible choices for themselves, to recognize that they are assuming increasing control over their lives as they mature, and to discover how to make a difference in the world around them by positive efforts and contributions to others.

1.5.1.2. Our goals for students are for them to be open-minded and compassionate, to gain a sense of themselves and others, and to understand and appreciate the diversity of the human spirit.

1.5.1.3. To facilitate the development of independence and a sense of engagement with the community we strongly encourage participation in day-to-day classroom management, care of the environment and decision making. We seek to help each student to feel a commitment both to the local and the global community of humankind. We want each student to understand that the good of the individual and that of the community are interdependent.

1.5.1.4. We want students to love learning and to value knowledge, creativity, and humor. Finally, we hope they will be responsible, critical, and caring members of a pluralistic society and recognize that they have the power and resources to effect change as well as the self-esteem and confidence to pursue their goals.

1.5.1.5. We respect the fundamental human needs, rights, and dignity of each person, no matter how young, as a full and independent person who is engaged in the ongoing process of development. During this process, while honoring the right to self-determination, we model and encourage certain values: kindness, honesty, compassion, warmth and openness, respect for each person's uniqueness, tolerance, cooperation, good sportsmanship, and nonviolence.

1.5.1.6. Celebration of diversity as educators, parents and citizens of the world with the mutual goal of world peace, we consider it our responsibility to model and encourage acceptance and celebration of cultural, racial, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, appearance, socio-economic position, and other differences among people, both to our children and to each other.

1.5.2. Discipline

1.5.2.1. Ultimately we wish for every community member to be willing to accept full responsibility for their behavior, their attitudes, their experiences, and in short, for their lives. The enormous reward that comes with accepting this responsibility is the freedom to choose and create the type of person they wish to be, and the life they wish to lead.

1.5.2.2. In keeping with the true meaning of the word discipline, which is to teach, we prefer to model and encourage appropriate, kind, and considerate ways to behave in various situations.

1.5.2.3. School should be safe. We endeavor to provide a school environment that will promote and protect the physical and emotional well-being of our students and staff.

1.5.2.4. Rather than focus on rules and the consequences for students of breaking them, we prefer to teach students beforehand appropriate, kind, and considerate ways to behave in given situations. We use positive reinforcement whenever possible to praise their progress, acknowledge their contributions, and strengthen character. As necessary, we cue and remind students of appropriate behaviors before they forget, and, when behavior is inappropriate and a gentle reminder is not enough, we intervene and respectfully, but firmly, stop the behavior.

1.5.2.5. We will never permit the use of corporal punishment.

1.5.2.6. We encourage and model ways to negotiate in conflict situations so that whenever possible everyone can find resolution and at the very least everyone feels heard and that their feelings and needs are respected.

1.5.2.7. Our ultimate goal is to encourage self- discipline from within and not expectation of external rewards or fear of punishment.

1.5.2.8 We do not label a child as "bad," but instead try to recognize the mistaken goals of the misbehavior that usually involve an attempt at searching for a place in the family or community, even if it is an undesirable place. We then look to find appropriate ways to encourage the individual.

1.5.2.9 While we are normally successful with a very wide range of students, we can never be right for every child. One of our greatest challenges is to be objective, compassionate, yet realistic in considering the needs of each child as a unique individual. When we fail, despite our best efforts to work with the child to help him/her meet appropriate behavioral expectations within the school’s fundamental ground rules, we sadly and reluctantly counsel the family to seek out another school setting in which the child can experience success.

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1.6 Community Service

We seek to show and teach our students that the freedom and education they receive here come with the responsibility to help others both in the community, and those in need. To show them that the responsibility to change our world for the better lies with all of us, and that service needs to be an accepted part of everyone's life if we are to achieve this goal. Various opportunities to perform community service in the community will be emphasized and initiated by the students.

1.7 Practical Life Skills

To facilitate and encourage a sense of independence, we deliberately teach a wide range of practical life skills appropriate to each child's level of development. We regard this as a vital element affecting the design of our entire curriculum.

These practical life skills include the following:

1.7.1. Hand-eye coordination and the use of simple tools.

1.7.2. Grace and courtesy: appropriate ways to handle situations kindly.

1.7.3. Practical economics: the value and use of money, including how to earn and manage spending money.

1.7.4. Technology: the safe use of technology, such as more complex tools, telephones, computers, classroom audio-visual equipment, and household appliances.

1.7.4.1. Computers

We use the computer as a fundamental tool for learning, not only as an element of contemporary practical life, but also as an aid in the development of logical planning and problem solving. Classroom computers need to be used in alignment with the educational program.

1.7.5. Transportation: as appropriate at each age level in our school, the safe use of alternate means of transportation other than a parent's car, such as hiking and bicycling, and public transportation.

1.7.6. Communication: the appropriate use of the technology of personal and mass communication, from writing letters to using the telephone, using the word processor, preparing the newsletter, speaking before an audience and designing audio/visual presentations.

1.7.7. Care of one’s environment: how to clean and set tables, do dishes, cook, sew, and do laundry.

1.7.8. Health and Safety: the development of sound habits of safety, nutrition and hygiene, along with the acquisition of first-aid skills and as developmentally appropriate, CPR.

1.7.9. Middle School Farm Program

1.7.9.1. Crops

This includes the preparation of soil, planting and harvesting, storing, canning, processing, preserving.

1.7.9.2. Animal Care

This includes the maintenance of buildings and fences, animal husbandry.

1.7.9.3. Marketing

This includes distribution and record keeping.

1.8. The world of nature.

1.8.1 Strengthening our connection with nature and the environment is an integral part of Six Rivers Montessori.

1.8.2. We seek to instill in our students, parents, and staff not only a reverence for the earth, its waters, and all living things, but also a sense of stewardship for the environment based on a conviction of our individual responsibility for the beauty of the land and the health of our ecosystems.

1.8.3. We believe that being at home in the world of nature is basic to being a whole and healthy human being.

1.8.4. We consciously work to foster in each person a strong sense of belonging to the web of life. We accomplish this goal through:

1.8.4.1 Programs in outdoor education, and field biology at every age level in the school, using the natural setting of our campus and the wide variety of natural resources around us.

1.8.4.2 Programs in gardening and small animal care.

1.8.4.3 Programs in camping, canoeing and field ecological studies in natural wilderness settings.

1.8.4.4 We stress recycling and environmentally friendly packaging for lunches and all foods and products used in our community.

1.9. We are committed to being a family-friendly school.

1.9.1. In establishing policies and procedures, we attempt to remain sensitive to the needs, desires, and factors that might add unnecessary stress and pressures onto our families.

1.9.2. In establishing policies and procedures, along with setting the calendar of school events, we will attempt to avoid conflicting with the religious traditions and holy days of our families. We recognize that this at times may be virtually impossible considering our diversity, but at the very least every effort will be made to create a balanced and respectful approach to this issue.

1.9.3. From time to time, we will survey our families or hold special community meetings to explore how the school could be more family-friendly.

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2. Faculty

2.1. We carefully identify the duties and responsibilities of each position in the school.

2.2. We carefully identify the skills and knowledge, experience, training, educational philosophy, core values, and interpersonal skills needed to be successful in each position at our school.

2.3. We take great care in our hiring process to find new members of our faculty and staff who bring the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience, values, and personality to succeed at our school.

2.4. We will clearly communicate to all members of the faculty and staff our expectations, personnel policies, benefits and professional development opportunities that may be applicable to their positions.

2.5. In evaluating the school’s programs and performance of each member of the faculty we will be as objective and positive as possible, encouraging individual initiative, self-evaluation, and continuous professional growth.

2.6. We consciously follow fair and equal employment practices in hiring, assigning, promoting, and compensating both teaching and non-teaching staff members. We endeavor to employ persons solely on the basis of the factors necessary in the performance of the job and the operation of our school without discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and any other factor on which discrimination is prohibited by the laws of the jurisdiction within which our school is located.

2.7. No official of our school will seek to induce a teacher who is under contract at another school to break that contract. [There is nothing deemed improper if a member of the teaching or administrative staff of one school independently approaches another school about possible employment.]
2.8. Our school will not offer employment to a member of the faculty or staff of another school without communicating with the Board of the school at which he or she is presently employed or committed for the upcoming school year to request a frank evaluation of a candidate’s qualifications. This information will be considered absolutely confidential.

2.9. Our school will take all reasonable and lawful precautions to maintain the confidentiality of records and information concerning teachers and other staff members who are applying for employment at another school, in accordance with the rights of the individual.

2.10. Any materials brought to Six Rivers Montessori by a member of our faculty and staff, purchased with his or her own funds, shall remain his or her property.

2.11. It is mutually understood that any teacher-made educational materials produced by a member of the faculty and staff during the term of this agreement using school materials and supplies shall be considered the property of the school. However, faculty and staff members may use school materials to make a duplicate set of these materials for his or her own professional library.

2.12. Should a faculty member develop any new curricula, teaching techniques, teaching aids, or any other educational materials during the course of his or her employment with Six Rivers Montessori, he or she grants to the school a perpetual license to utilize said materials or ideas in its educational programs with both children and teacher training.

2.13. Any teaching aids, materials, or curricula developed by Six Rivers Montessori, as well as any mailing lists of the school’s students and families, represent the proprietary property of the school. No member of the faculty will be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, or disseminate said materials to a third person or a competitor of the school without first obtaining the Board’s written approval.
2.14. The faculty shares a deep sense of commitment to Montessori philosophy and will uphold the core values and beliefs of the school.

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3. Facilities

3.1. We will deliberately seek to create a campus of timeless beauty that communicates to our students that the buildings and grounds are expressions of our love and commitment to their education and success.

3.2. Whatever the size of our enrollment, or the age levels encompassed in our programs, our buildings and grounds will support the implementation of our educational program and institutional mission as ideally as possible.

3.2.1. We are committed to providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.

3.2.2. We seek to include a community gathering space on the campus.

3.3. Buildings will not be constructed for the sake of having space. Consistent with 3.1 and 3.2 and this blueprint, each will be carefully considered in terms of need, ideal space, and configuration.

3.4. As a Montessori school, a very high priority for us will be to have a campus large enough to include a playscape and areas set aside for natural habitat, as well as areas set aside for extensive programs in horticultural education, outdoor education, and animal husbandry.

3.5. Whenever possible, Six Rivers Montessori will do everything in its power to keep the buildings and grounds free from toxic substances and environmental irritants. Whenever possible, pesticides and cleaning products will be found that are non-toxic and which do not induce allergic reactions in students or staff members.

3.6. The school will consciously follow safety procedures designed to protect students and staff.

3.6.1. All power tools, fuels, paint removers, and other hazardous substances will be stored in a safe manner.

3.6.2. No lawnmowers or other potentially hazardous machinery will be used anywhere in the vicinity where children are present without adequate supervision.

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4. Finances

4.1. Our school honors its financial commitments to parents, staff, vendors, and others.

4.2. The board will not pass a deficit operating budget. We will operate on a balanced budget. We are committed to building a contingency/reserve fund. We will endeavor to maintain a balanced operating budget without depending on income from fund-raising projects.

4.3. Tuition and payroll will be set on the basis of what it costs to do the job right and meet the fundamental beliefs and values embodied in this blueprint, and will be considerate of the local cost of living.

4.4. We are committed to making this experience truly inclusive by managing our tuition policy in such a way that no child invited to the school through our admissions policy is denied entrance due to financial hardship.

4.5. We will communicate accurate information about the financial state of the school in an annual report to the community and, from time to time, on a more frequent basis.

4.6. We expect all of our families, as members of our community, to honor their financial obligations to the school in a timely and responsible manner.

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5. Admissions

5.1. Our primary goal in the admissions process is to help each family determine whether our school is a good match with their values and goals, and the school setting that will work best for their individual child.

5.1.1. When we admit a new student, we are not simply bringing him or her into the school community. We are bringing the child, his or her parents, siblings, and extended family into the mix.

5.1.2. In making admissions decisions, we will weigh many factors, placing the greatest emphasis on whether the parents are deeply committed to sending their children to our school, hopefully for the long run and hopefully for the right
reasons.

5.1.3. In making admissions decisions, we will normally give strong preference to families who we believe are committed to keeping their children in the school at least through the elementary years.

5.1.4. Hopefully the children whom we admit in the early years will graduate from our school. Ideally it will be so much a part of each family’s life that eventually the children of our graduates will attend our school as well. We want to be a family tradition.

5.1.5. In the admissions process, we consciously treat parents with respect as partners in exploring whether or not we would be the good match for their child. We do not use gimmicks, such as the hint that spaces are filling up fast.

5.1.6. We will not try to convince prospective parents that our school is right for them and for their child. Instead we will tell the truth, help them to grasp the true nature of the school and what it has to offer, and allow them to weigh all the factors out as they consider whether our school is indeed the right match for them and their child.

5.1.7. We will welcome prospective parents with open arms and make it as easy as we can for them to learn what our school is really all about:

5.1.7.1. We will hold open houses and gladly schedule individual tours during school hours if for some reason the normal open house time is inconvenient.

5.1.8.2. We will normally make a list of the names and home phone numbers of Ambassador parents available to prospective parents who would like to speak with another family.

5.1.8.3. We will arrange frequent and convenient times when prospective parents can observe in our classrooms.

5.1.8.4. We will consider applications for admission on a case by case open admission basis. We will do our best once an application has been received to arrange for the student’s visits and evaluations, gather all of the information needed to evaluate the application, and schedule all meetings and interviews in the most timely manner possible. We will endeavor to make and communicate all admissions decisions to the families as quickly as possible.

5.2. Our school does not discriminate in matters of admission on the basis of race, sexual orientation, creed, religion, national or ethnic background origin. We consciously teach children to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the global community. We regard a mix of backgrounds and abilities as a positive and important element in our community.

5.3. We pledge to represent our school truthfully and accurately to the general public and internally to our parent community.

5.4. We further pledge ourselves to respect the diversity of the community of Montessori schools. We will not engage in
negative public relations nor make any negative statements about another Montessori school or any other school.

5.5. We will promptly consult with parents should it ever become clear that a student is not benefiting from the school’s program, or if the school is not the best program to meet his/ or her needs.

5.6. Our school recognizes each family’s right to visit and consider other schools and to hold preliminary discussions regarding admission without feeling compelled to notify our school.

5.7. While we welcome inquiries and interest in our school, we will never knowingly attempt to recruit and enroll an individual student away from his or her current Montessori program who is presently enrolled in or committed to attend another Montessori program.

5.8. Before filing an application for admission, we ask that families advise their children’s present schools and authorize us to contact the school to find out more about the child’s background and needs.

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6. Building Community

6.1. We are a close-knit community of students, educators, parents, and friends of the school.

6.2. Community is the invisible web that structures our pluralistic beliefs. Culturally, historically, and individually, our communities represent the best of our shared experiences. Our school presents an opportunity to expand the web of inclusion in our local community.

6.3. We recognize that a Montessori school is more than a place of learning; it is a community of children and adults that has a significant impact on our students’ capacity to learn, grow, create, develop, assimilate values, and relate peacefully and respectfully to other people and to the natural world.

6.4. We treat all students, families, teachers, and staff members, and all people with kindness, warmth, and respect regardless of age.

6.5. We consciously work to build a constructive partnership between the family and school in support of each child’s educational development.

6.6. Within reasonable guidelines established to ensure the integrity of our educational program and the privacy of other students’ records, parents are welcome to visit the school to observe their child in class or to review his or her academic progress.

6.7. We place a primary emphasis on building partnership relationships with families as early as possible in order to help parents recognize the uniqueness of their child. We also work together to enhance parents’ ability incorporate Montessori philosophy into their family life.

6.8. We are an extended family community whose participants are supported at all levels by all others in the community.

6.9. We believe in the principle that those matters which affect individual community members directly impact all others in our community. We consider input from all of our community members in our decision-making processes in order to take into account the needs of our total community. We are committed to the creation of programs that stress personal development for all members of the community.

6.10. We encourage parents to participate in programs that can help them to refine their parenting strategies, to facilitate the development of independence, responsibility, self-confidence and self- respect in their sons and daughters and in themselves. We recognize parenting as an extremely difficult, rewarding, and valuable job for which we have had little preparation and for which in the modern world we get little support. We are committed to find ways to provide that support for families from birth through adulthood by the creation of parenting resources.

6.11. We understand the special needs of new participants in the community and the necessity of a program to match new families with ones experienced in the community to provide support and information.

6.12. We will encourage and facilitate methods for members of our community to access the services of other community members.

6.13. We encourage the establishment a program of adult classes and seminars on a variety of topics guided by community interest, in keeping with our commitment to a lifelong process of learning and personal growth.

6.14. We expect all adult members of the school community to treat one another and the children in accordance with the core values of the school as embodied in this document. All adult members of the school community will engage in the participatory experience central to the school’s core values.

6.15. We believe in holding community meetings to allow and encourage a free and open exchange of ideas and information. Children are welcome to participate in these meetings.

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7. Administration

 

7.1. The goal of our administration is focused to provide both educational leadership and business administration. Administrative faculty is defined as: head classroom teachers, the office coordinator, and support staff.

7.2. In partnership with other governance committees, the primary role of our administrative faculty is to articulate the core values and vision, provide academic leadership, take leadership in the admissions and recruitment process, build community, address concerns among students and families, recruit and coach faculty members and staff, support the financial health of the school, serve as the school’s spokespeople to the larger community, and lead the process of internal self-evaluation and long-term planning.

7.3. The Administrative faculty will ensure that excellence and consistency with our values and vision permeate the school seamlessly from class to class, from level to level, and from one year to the next.

7.4. The Office Coordinator will support classroom teachers and attempt to provide similar support and counsel to the school’s families.

7.5. When conflicts arise within the school, whether they involve parents, staff members, students, or administrators or board, every attempt will be made to find the best and highest resolution of the issues under dispute that is most consistent with the school’s fundamental values and is most oriented to a partnership model.

7.6. The administration of the school will ensure a smooth and timely flow of communication about important dates and information to parents, students, staff, and board.

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8. Governance

8.1. The Board of Trustees shall be comprised of men and women who share a deep sense of commitment to Six Rivers Montessori and Montessori philosophy. In all matters, they consider the overall best interests of the school over their own interests or over the interests of any constituent group within the school community.

8.1.1. The primary responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that the institutional identity, mission, and core values and beliefs about education that define the nature of the school are established and re-examined and refined.

8.1.1.1. Other principle roles of the Board will be to keep school financially sound, interface between school and community, make classroom visits, and obtain and maintain a level of Montessori knowledge and healthy Board operations.

8.1.1.2. The Board will not micromanage but will oversee and support teachers.

8.1.2. That the school’s mission, institutional identity, and core values and beliefs will be set down in writing in a working community document called the "Blueprint."

8.1.3. The Board of Trustees will consult the Blueprint to identify the underlying values and beliefs that would support whatever decision is made on the issue before the Board.

8.1.3.1. The Board will only approve motions that are supported by the core values and beliefs that are consistent with the Blueprint.

8.1.4. If the Blueprint does not address the issue, or if a school community member concludes that the Blueprint needs to be amended to more completely address the school’s underlying values and beliefs, it will go through the process of amending the Blueprint.

8.1.4.1. Any member of the school community can propose an amendment. The Blueprint Committee will set amendment and
evaluation sessions. The proposal should be in writing and include a clear argument. The Blueprint Committee will facilitate a community discussion and review of the proposed amendment(s). The Blueprint Committee will facilitate voting protocol. Voters include staff, parent-guardians, Board members (non-parent) and sixth, seventh, and eighth year students. An amendment requires a three-fourths vote to pass.

8.1.5. Accept when confidential matters are being considered, Board Meetings are open.

8.1.6. Except for confidential issues, the major actions of the Board will be communicated to the school community in a timely fashion. These communications will include the motions passed.

8.1.7. Concerned parents, staff members, and students may request the opportunity to address their opinion to the Board.

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9 Fundraising

9.1. Every gift given to our school will be a gift of love, generously offered in support of our work.

9.2. We will not nickel and dime our families to death with petty fundraisers. We will limit fundraising to programs that don’t drain community energy, are sensible, lucrative, and in accordance with school culture and values.

9.3. While donations of funds, tangible goods, services, or real property are deeply appreciated, the school can never accept any gift that would require it to violate any of its core beliefs outlined in this document.

9.3.1. While individuals wishing to donate funds to the school are welcome to designate the use to which they may be used, it is up the Board of Trustees to establish policy about who will decide on behalf of the school if they can be accepted in light of the conditions established. The Board will also decide how donors will be recognized.

9.3.2. Only the Board of Trustees can accept a gift of real property or tangible goods on behalf of the school that would potentially require the expenditure of funds to repair or maintain.

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Our Vision

Our broadest vision is of a world that lives in peace, and a world community based on interdependence and respect for all life and all people. Our vision for our school is a Montessori school community of supportive parents, dedicated teachers and staff, and joyful learners.

Our Mission

Our mission is to nurture students’ character, compassion, respect and curiosity; to cultivate their means to learn, to invent, and participate fully and joyfully in life independently and collaboratively; to establish and sustain a quality Montessori holistic elementary and middle school program that encourages students to develop a deep sense of interdependence and responsibility as caring, global citizens and stewards of the earth.

Five Pillars

1. The cultivation within our students of a passion for excellence in everything they do in the classroom, in their community, in nature, and the world.

2. The development of a strongly held set of universal values, which include self-respect, respect for others, honesty, integrity, responsibility, empathy, compassion, kindness, peacefulness, warmth, and a love of community.

3. The development of a global perspective and sense of international understanding.

4. A lifelong commitment to give something back through service to others.

5. The active participation of everyone in our school community to fulfill our vision, follow through on our mission, and strengthen our pillars.

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1. Educational Program

1.1. The Fundamental Nature of our School

1.1.1. The Montessori approach to learning is the educational framework of our educational program.

1.1.2. Six Rivers Montessori is an international and multicultural school.

1.1.3. Six Rivers Montessori is designed to prepare students both for the university and for life.

1.1.4. Our school teaches children to be at home in the world of nature.

1.1.5. Six Rivers Montessori is a family-friendly school.

1.1.6. We are committed to character and values.

1.1.7. We are committed to diversity.

1.1.8. Six Rivers Montessori is a close-knit community of students, educators, parents, and friends of the school.

1.2. The Montessori approach to learning is the educational framework of our educational program.

1.2.1. We use the Montessori approach, supplemented with compatible curriculum and elements of additional approaches and materials from the non-Montessori educational community, to provide opportunities for enrichment beyond the basic curriculum.

1.2.2. The nature of the child and the learning process.

1.2.2.1. We affirm that education begins at birth and continues throughout life. While our emphasis is on our children, we are a center of support for all of us to continue learning and developing toward becoming whole, balanced, and healthy individuals.

1.2.2.2. We believe that intelligence is not rare among human beings, nor is it fixed at birth.

1.2.2.3. We believe that the vast majority of people have the intelligence and natural ability required to learn everything they need to lead full, happy, and productive lives.

1.2.2.4. We believe that wisdom can be cultivated.

1.2.2.5. We believe that true wisdom is the ability to listen to your heart and know how best to put your intelligence to work for you. In order to achieve this goal, self-esteem, human dignity, and emotional well-being, as well as the ability to communicate and cooperate effectively with others, must be valued at least as highly as academic and material success.

1.2.3. We seek to understand each student’s uniqueness and provide individual guidance at their own pace.

1.2.4. We celebrate the natural diversity of human beings in learning style, interests, and definition of what makes a happy and successful life.

1.2.5. We affirm the ideal of the renaissance person. Our ultimate goal is to produce renaissance men and women who have not only learned how to learn, but also have an innate love of learning, a wide range of interests, and an openness to new ideas and possibilities.

1.2.6. We nurture self-esteem and self-efficacy beliefs. We affirm that self-esteem and self-efficacy are the crucial ingredients for the full expression of a person's potential. We strive to base every interaction between community members on this principle, from how we discipline, to respecting personal learning styles and stages of development. This is the very fabric of our community and our educational methods.

1.2.7. We encourage students to not be afraid of failure. We consciously encourage our students to not be afraid of taking risks, but rather to learn from all their experiences (both success and failure) and to receive non-threatening specific feedback on their progress and personal growth.

1.2.8. The development of a whole, healthy human being requires the nurturing of our many dimensions.

1.2.8.1. Intellectual

The intellect is an important tool in the shaping of our world. Through the development of our thinking abilities we refine our emotional responses, we clarify our picture of the universe, and we develop the discipline to maintain vibrant health.

1.2.8.2. Emotional

Our emotions are complex and powerful and it is very important that we learn to feel them fully and without fear, identify them correctly (in ourselves and others), respect them, and accept them. It is equally important, however, that we learn to harness their power and not let them control our lives unchecked.

1.2.8.3. Physical

We seek to help our students discover, understand, and adopt the lifestyle habits most appropriate and beneficial for our bodies and minds. Among these are fresh air, pure water, exercise, sunlight, and proper diet.

1.2.8.4. Spiritual

While we feel it is each person's task to develop his or her own understanding of the nature of the universe and the individual's place in it, we proceed on the premise that our world is a beautiful, positive, loving place, a setting that provides the potential for each person to lead a full, free, joyful, and healthy life. While we do not teach religion, nor advocate any particular belief system, we encourage students to explore questions raised by religious teachers and develop the spiritual side of their lives (the ability to find peace within and hear the small, still inner voice that we all possess).

1.2.9. Our educational program follows a developmental approach.

1.2.9.1. Developmental Stages

Our faculty is actively involved in a continuous study of human development. This study includes keeping abreast of current theories on development, regular student observation, and a constant evaluation of the curriculum to ensure that it is appropriate for the developmental stages of our students.

1.2.9.2. Individualization

We strive for individualized pacing and adaptation of the classroom program (when possible) to meet varied styles of learning.

1.2.9.3. Flexibility

Our educational program is designed for flexibility in its methodology and use of resources.

1.2.9.4. Academic Expectations

In designing this individualized program we follow an established curricular framework that includes the school's expectations for basic academic achievement at each level of the school, leading toward graduation and guidance toward appropriate placement for each child in the next level of his or her education.

1.2.10. We promote active rather than passive learning.

1.2.10.1. We encourage spontaneous activity in education by supporting students to pursue studies in areas of their personal interests.

1.2.10.2. We use hands-on, experiential learning whenever possible, whether through concrete manipulative learning materials, experimental discovery, seminar discussions, independent library research, field investigation, or computer simulations.

1.2.10.3. We bring the student to a sense of accomplishment, closure, and recognition of having reached a pre-established goal for learning.

1.2.11. The passage to abstraction: to facilitate this process, we consistently work from a very concrete level of experience to the abstract. To aid students in learning, we begin by giving them the "big picture" (a sense of gestalt), and work from this toward an increasing level of detail. This concept has created a spiraling curriculum in which skills and concepts are presented and reintroduced at increasing levels of complexity and abstraction over the years.

1.2.12. External structure: as necessary we provide students with sufficient external structure and support in a committed effort to ensure that their developmental needs are met. We do this in a manner that reflects our expectations and philosophy.

1.2.12.1. We interpret the general principle of Montessori education, "follow the child" to refer to the importance of allowing people to pursue areas of spontaneous interest whenever possible. However, if a child needs more direction at certain times or is not internally motivated in a given area, we feel it is our responsibility to acknowledge the personal preference but to still require that the necessary work be completed.

1.2.13. Freedom within order: we strive for a balance between freedom, order, and responsibility.

1.2.14. Diverse learning styles: we acknowledge that children learn in different ways and at different paces. We seek to provide an open environment to share our values in a truly diverse community.

1.2.14.1. Our goal is to consider each child as a unique human being and to be as flexible as possible in addressing his or her learning styles and needs as an individual learner.

1.2.14.2. We seek to provide an environment open to students with diverse learning styles, but our primary focus will always be the well-being and best interests of those students who will thrive in our Montessori environment. In every case, we assess whether our school is able to meet a student’s needs while keeping the integrity of the classroom. If not, we will recommend an appropriate alternative.

1.2.15. We nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination.

1.2.15.1. As educators we consciously work to encourage people to think creatively in their writing, problem solving, and research.

1.2.15.2. Our program places great emphasis on the Fine Arts, both in the classroom environment and through the contributions of specialists in the visual and performing arts.

1.2.15.3. As is appropriate for each age group, we encourage students to become aware of the major social, political, economic, environmental, and ethical issues of our day, and, having carefully considered all sides, to take a responsible stand for themselves and to explore ways of making a positive personal contribution to society in the tradition of our founder, Dr. Maria Montessori.

1.2.15.4. We are constantly modeling and encouraging communication between all members of our community. We would like all community members to be versed in skills of active listening, non-violent communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, dialogue, empathy for another person's position, and the ability to stand up for oneself and say no without guilt if someone is encroaching on their rights.

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1.3. We are a multi-cultural school.

1.3.1. We embrace and teach a global perspective as a philosophy for building a diverse community grounded in knowledge that leads to understanding, respect, and acceptance of all peoples.

1.3.2. We welcome a truly diverse multi-cultural and international community of students, faculty, and staff.

1.3.3. We recognize that contemporary society must embrace pluralist beliefs to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by an ever-growing world population that is integrating well beyond traditionally established cultural borders. We celebrate diversity in our community and acknowledge the unique contributions of all individuals who enrich and inspire our personal growth.

1.3.4. We deliberately teach inclusive thinking and encourage children to identify the assumptions from which they form their beliefs.

1.3.5. We seek to develop a global perspective and understanding. We weave these themes through our curriculum at every age level. This includes the study of modern foreign languages and of physical, cultural, and economic geography. As is age appropriate this also includes correspondence, service learning and international travel. We encourage families to share their cultural traditions, travel experiences, and traditional festivals.

1.4. Six Rivers Montessori prepares students for university.

1.4.1. We want our students to be well trained in the basic academic disciplines, to fulfill their creative potential, and to gain satisfaction in their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.

1.4.2. Academic Standards

In all cases we set our expectations high, not asking individuals to do more than they are capable, but consistently stressing the importance of careful work and pride in accomplishment. The reward is not in a quantity of work achieved but the satisfaction of work done well for its own sake. We carefully build a supportive environment for the unhurried mind to move steadily toward the pursuit of excellence.

1.4.3. Competition

We believe that it is neither necessary nor appropriate to inspire unrestrained academic pressure and scholastic competition among students. We cultivate the ability to accept success with grace, and failure or loss with dignity, and resolve to build on the experience. We ensure the right to choose whether or not to participate in competitive activities, and we stress the principles of good sportsmanship.

1.4.4. Success

We design our educational program to maximize each person's academic and personal success. We strive to encourage people to build on their strengths and personal learning styles and learn from their mistakes.

1.4.4.1. Academic Success

We encourage skills that support independent and successful learning, critical thinking, cooperative projects, reflective reading, problem solving, library research, use of technology, techniques for effective study, test-taking strategies, and techniques for focusing attention.

1.4.4.2. Personal Success

We consider it equally important that our community members be successful human beings who can establish healthy relationships and achieve happiness in their personal lives. We teach our students to pay attention to and respect feelings, both their own and those of others. We help them to learn to solve conflicts effectively and fairly, and to express their feelings in a healthy manner. Group dynamics and communication skills are also stressed.

1.4.4.3. We offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.

1.4.4.3.1. Science

We teach students not only scientific theory, but the process, history, and the nature of science. In our science curriculum we want to make sure that students have the experience and knowledge to make informed decisions that are supportive to the ecological well-being of our planet. We want them to understand that science is not only the subjects that scientists study, but the process of studying the world, with the goal of arriving at conclusions about what is probably true, and what is probably not. Its end product is simply reliable information. Students will study science every year. Our curriculum will be consciously integrated, incorporating topics from botany, zoology, physical science, machines and technology, astronomy, geology, ecology, earth science, weather, and the medical sciences.

1.4.4.3.2. Foreign Language

Our students will study a modern foreign language every year.

1.4.4.3.3. Mathematics

Our approach will be integrating topics in arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, statistics, logic, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Whenever possible, we will help students grasp the underlying concepts of math through the use of concrete apparatus and through application of mathematics to real world tasks.

1.4.4.3.4. Economics

We want students to understand basic economic concepts. Students will explore topics such as conscious consumerism, globalization, economies of scale (local to global), financial planning, and financial responsibility.

1.4.4.3.5. Geography

We seek to develop a global perspective, and international understanding, teaching world geography (physical, cultural, political, and economic) at every level of the school.

1.4.4.3.6. History

We develop a strong historical perspective through the study of prehistory and history, following an anthropological orientation into fundamental needs of humankind and the cultures, lifestyles and technologies of the past. We seek to explore and understand history through multiple perspectives and interpretations. We cultivate an appreciation of family and community heritage. History sets the stage for integrated learning at every age level.

1.4.4.3.7. Anthropology and Myth

We teach students the basic elements of anthropology, addressing the question of what makes us human, the nature of culture, and how cultures have attempted to explain or illuminate the great questions of life through story, myth, and cultural archetypes.

1.4.4.3.8. Major World Religions

We believe that our students should be familiar with the traditions and basic beliefs of the world’s major religions. While we do not teach religion, nor advocate any particular belief system, we support students to explore questions raised by religious teachings.

1.4.4.3.9. Architecture

We all live surrounded by buildings. We believe that our students should understand the patterns of architecture found around us, how buildings are constructed and designed, alternative building practices, and develop an appreciation for the timeless beauty of well-designed spaces.

1.4.4.3.10. Civics and Law

We strongly believe that our students should understand how government works at the local, state, federal and international levels, and the role that citizens can and should play in shaping consensus, advocating their point of view, and making informed decisions. They should understand how our electoral system operates and be encouraged to participate later in life. They should also understand how the legal system works and have an informed working knowledge of and respect for the law and to develop their own conclusions in regards to justice. Our goal is to lead young men and women to keep informed about current issues and to play an active and responsible role as citizens of our nation and world.

1.4.4.4. Language Arts and Literature

We are looking to develop students who read and write with facility, and both read voraciously and write with enjoyment. We explore all forms of human communication. We recognize that we live in a time when the various languages of art, (visual, written, spoken and musical) particularly through mass media, have a profound impact on our lives. We develop in each person the ability to understand and filter this influence. We also believe that by developing our ability to use these languages we strengthen our self-esteem and enhance our ability to express more effectively our thoughts and feelings.

1.4.4.4.1. Research Skills

Rather than having students memorize facts mindlessly, we would rather teach them to learn mindfully and develop great skill in the process of doing investigations and research using the library, internet, public records, and primary and secondary source materials. Interviewing skills are also very important skills that we emphasize. We seek to have our students learn how to organize the information that they compile into increasingly sophisticated reports and presentations. As a result, textbooks will play an insignificant role within our educational program.

1.4.4.4.2. The Visual and Performing Arts

Our program places great emphasis on the Fine Arts, both through the contributions of our music and art specialists and through classroom programs and experiences initiated by the teachers to foster art, music appreciation and creative drama.

1.4.4.4.3. Physical Education, Health, and Athletics

We want our students to understand, appreciate, and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, proper diet, intelligent choices regarding personal health, and stress reduction. We believe that individual sports and competitive team sports make up an important element in reaching these goals. We insist upon good sportsmanship in all athletic activities.

1.4.4.4.4. Peace Education

Skills in human relations, conflict resolution, nonviolence, leadership training, cooperative teamwork, and communication are all important elements in nurturing our students. Peace Education will be as vital an element of our curriculum as mathematics and science.

1.4.4.5. Creative thinking and problem solving skills are highly valued and to be incorporated into all curriculum areas

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1.5. Six Rivers Montessori prepares students broadly for life, balancing academic excellence with the development of personal and practical life skills. Our goal is to inspire a passion for excellence and a lifelong love of learning.

1.5.1. We teach universal values.

1.5.1.1. We make a concerted effort to empower people at our school, helping them to learn how to make responsible choices for themselves, to recognize that they are assuming increasing control over their lives as they mature, and to discover how to make a difference in the world around them by positive efforts and contributions to others.

1.5.1.2. Our goals for students are for them to be open-minded and compassionate, to gain a sense of themselves and others, and to understand and appreciate the diversity of the human spirit.

1.5.1.3. To facilitate the development of independence and a sense of engagement with the community we strongly encourage participation in day-to-day classroom management, care of the environment and decision making. We seek to help each student to feel a commitment both to the local and the global community of humankind. We want each student to understand that the good of the individual and that of the community are interdependent.

1.5.1.4. We want students to love learning and to value knowledge, creativity, and humor. Finally, we hope they will be responsible, critical, and caring members of a pluralistic society and recognize that they have the power and resources to effect change as well as the self-esteem and confidence to pursue their goals.

1.5.1.5. We respect the fundamental human needs, rights, and dignity of each person, no matter how young, as a full and independent person who is engaged in the ongoing process of development. During this process, while honoring the right to self-determination, we model and encourage certain values: kindness, honesty, compassion, warmth and openness, respect for each person's uniqueness, tolerance, cooperation, good sportsmanship, and nonviolence.

1.5.1.6. Celebration of diversity as educators, parents and citizens of the world with the mutual goal of world peace, we consider it our responsibility to model and encourage acceptance and celebration of cultural, racial, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, appearance, socio-economic position, and other differences among people, both to our children and to each other.

1.5.2. Discipline

1.5.2.1. Ultimately we wish for every community member to be willing to accept full responsibility for their behavior, their attitudes, their experiences, and in short, for their lives. The enormous reward that comes with accepting this responsibility is the freedom to choose and create the type of person they wish to be, and the life they wish to lead.

1.5.2.2. In keeping with the true meaning of the word discipline, which is to teach, we prefer to model and encourage appropriate, kind, and considerate ways to behave in various situations.

1.5.2.3. School should be safe. We endeavor to provide a school environment that will promote and protect the physical and emotional well-being of our students and staff.

1.5.2.4. Rather than focus on rules and the consequences for students of breaking them, we prefer to teach students beforehand appropriate, kind, and considerate ways to behave in given situations. We use positive reinforcement whenever possible to praise their progress, acknowledge their contributions, and strengthen character. As necessary, we cue and remind students of appropriate behaviors before they forget, and, when behavior is inappropriate and a gentle reminder is not enough, we intervene and respectfully, but firmly, stop the behavior.

1.5.2.5. We will never permit the use of corporal punishment.

1.5.2.6. We encourage and model ways to negotiate in conflict situations so that whenever possible everyone can find resolution and at the very least everyone feels heard and that their feelings and needs are respected.

1.5.2.7. Our ultimate goal is to encourage self- discipline from within and not expectation of external rewards or fear of punishment.

1.5.2.8 We do not label a child as "bad," but instead try to recognize the mistaken goals of the misbehavior that usually involve an attempt at searching for a place in the family or community, even if it is an undesirable place. We then look to find appropriate ways to encourage the individual.

1.5.2.9 While we are normally successful with a very wide range of students, we can never be right for every child. One of our greatest challenges is to be objective, compassionate, yet realistic in considering the needs of each child as a unique individual. When we fail, despite our best efforts to work with the child to help him/her meet appropriate behavioral expectations within the school’s fundamental ground rules, we sadly and reluctantly counsel the family to seek out another school setting in which the child can experience success.

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1.6 Community Service

We seek to show and teach our students that the freedom and education they receive here come with the responsibility to help others both in the community, and those in need. To show them that the responsibility to change our world for the better lies with all of us, and that service needs to be an accepted part of everyone's life if we are to achieve this goal. Various opportunities to perform community service in the community will be emphasized and initiated by the students.

1.7 Practical Life Skills

To facilitate and encourage a sense of independence, we deliberately teach a wide range of practical life skills appropriate to each child's level of development. We regard this as a vital element affecting the design of our entire curriculum.

These practical life skills include the following:

1.7.1. Hand-eye coordination and the use of simple tools.

1.7.2. Grace and courtesy: appropriate ways to handle situations kindly.

1.7.3. Practical economics: the value and use of money, including how to earn and manage spending money.

1.7.4. Technology: the safe use of technology, such as more complex tools, telephones, computers, classroom audio-visual equipment, and household appliances.

1.7.4.1. Computers

We use the computer as a fundamental tool for learning, not only as an element of contemporary practical life, but also as an aid in the development of logical planning and problem solving. Classroom computers need to be used in alignment with the educational program.

1.7.5. Transportation: as appropriate at each age level in our school, the safe use of alternate means of transportation other than a parent's car, such as hiking and bicycling, and public transportation.

1.7.6. Communication: the appropriate use of the technology of personal and mass communication, from writing letters to using the telephone, using the word processor, preparing the newsletter, speaking before an audience and designing audio/visual presentations.

1.7.7. Care of one’s environment: how to clean and set tables, do dishes, cook, sew, and do laundry.

1.7.8. Health and Safety: the development of sound habits of safety, nutrition and hygiene, along with the acquisition of first-aid skills and as developmentally appropriate, CPR.

1.7.9. Middle School Farm Program

1.7.9.1. Crops

This includes the preparation of soil, planting and harvesting, storing, canning, processing, preserving.

1.7.9.2. Animal Care

This includes the maintenance of buildings and fences, animal husbandry.

1.7.9.3. Marketing

This includes distribution and record keeping.

1.8. The world of nature.

1.8.1 Strengthening our connection with nature and the environment is an integral part of Six Rivers Montessori.

1.8.2. We seek to instill in our students, parents, and staff not only a reverence for the earth, its waters, and all living things, but also a sense of stewardship for the environment based on a conviction of our individual responsibility for the beauty of the land and the health of our ecosystems.

1.8.3. We believe that being at home in the world of nature is basic to being a whole and healthy human being.

1.8.4. We consciously work to foster in each person a strong sense of belonging to the web of life. We accomplish this goal through:

1.8.4.1 Programs in outdoor education, and field biology at every age level in the school, using the natural setting of our campus and the wide variety of natural resources around us.

1.8.4.2 Programs in gardening and small animal care.

1.8.4.3 Programs in camping, canoeing and field ecological studies in natural wilderness settings.

1.8.4.4 We stress recycling and environmentally friendly packaging for lunches and all foods and products used in our community.

1.9. We are committed to being a family-friendly school.

1.9.1. In establishing policies and procedures, we attempt to remain sensitive to the needs, desires, and factors that might add unnecessary stress and pressures onto our families.

1.9.2. In establishing policies and procedures, along with setting the calendar of school events, we will attempt to avoid conflicting with the religious traditions and holy days of our families. We recognize that this at times may be virtually impossible considering our diversity, but at the very least every effort will be made to create a balanced and respectful approach to this issue.

1.9.3. From time to time, we will survey our families or hold special community meetings to explore how the school could be more family-friendly.

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2. Faculty

2.1. We carefully identify the duties and responsibilities of each position in the school.

2.2. We carefully identify the skills and knowledge, experience, training, educational philosophy, core values, and interpersonal skills needed to be successful in each position at our school.

2.3. We take great care in our hiring process to find new members of our faculty and staff who bring the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience, values, and personality to succeed at our school.

2.4. We will clearly communicate to all members of the faculty and staff our expectations, personnel policies, benefits and professional development opportunities that may be applicable to their positions.

2.5. In evaluating the school’s programs and performance of each member of the faculty we will be as objective and positive as possible, encouraging individual initiative, self-evaluation, and continuous professional growth.

2.6. We consciously follow fair and equal employment practices in hiring, assigning, promoting, and compensating both teaching and non-teaching staff members. We endeavor to employ persons solely on the basis of the factors necessary in the performance of the job and the operation of our school without discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and any other factor on which discrimination is prohibited by the laws of the jurisdiction within which our school is located.

2.7. No official of our school will seek to induce a teacher who is under contract at another school to break that contract. [There is nothing deemed improper if a member of the teaching or administrative staff of one school independently approaches another school about possible employment.]
2.8. Our school will not offer employment to a member of the faculty or staff of another school without communicating with the Board of the school at which he or she is presently employed or committed for the upcoming school year to request a frank evaluation of a candidate’s qualifications. This information will be considered absolutely confidential.

2.9. Our school will take all reasonable and lawful precautions to maintain the confidentiality of records and information concerning teachers and other staff members who are applying for employment at another school, in accordance with the rights of the individual.

2.10. Any materials brought to Six Rivers Montessori by a member of our faculty and staff, purchased with his or her own funds, shall remain his or her property.

2.11. It is mutually understood that any teacher-made educational materials produced by a member of the faculty and staff during the term of this agreement using school materials and supplies shall be considered the property of the school. However, faculty and staff members may use school materials to make a duplicate set of these materials for his or her own professional library.

2.12. Should a faculty member develop any new curricula, teaching techniques, teaching aids, or any other educational materials during the course of his or her employment with Six Rivers Montessori, he or she grants to the school a perpetual license to utilize said materials or ideas in its educational programs with both children and teacher training.

2.13. Any teaching aids, materials, or curricula developed by Six Rivers Montessori, as well as any mailing lists of the school’s students and families, represent the proprietary property of the school. No member of the faculty will be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, or disseminate said materials to a third person or a competitor of the school without first obtaining the Board’s written approval.
2.14. The faculty shares a deep sense of commitment to Montessori philosophy and will uphold the core values and beliefs of the school.

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3. Facilities

3.1. We will deliberately seek to create a campus of timeless beauty that communicates to our students that the buildings and grounds are expressions of our love and commitment to their education and success.

3.2. Whatever the size of our enrollment, or the age levels encompassed in our programs, our buildings and grounds will support the implementation of our educational program and institutional mission as ideally as possible.

3.2.1. We are committed to providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.

3.2.2. We seek to include a community gathering space on the campus.

3.3. Buildings will not be constructed for the sake of having space. Consistent with 3.1 and 3.2 and this blueprint, each will be carefully considered in terms of need, ideal space, and configuration.

3.4. As a Montessori school, a very high priority for us will be to have a campus large enough to include a playscape and areas set aside for natural habitat, as well as areas set aside for extensive programs in horticultural education, outdoor education, and animal husbandry.

3.5. Whenever possible, Six Rivers Montessori will do everything in its power to keep the buildings and grounds free from toxic substances and environmental irritants. Whenever possible, pesticides and cleaning products will be found that are non-toxic and which do not induce allergic reactions in students or staff members.

3.6. The school will consciously follow safety procedures designed to protect students and staff.

3.6.1. All power tools, fuels, paint removers, and other hazardous substances will be stored in a safe manner.

3.6.2. No lawnmowers or other potentially hazardous machinery will be used anywhere in the vicinity where children are present without adequate supervision.

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4. Finances

4.1. Our school honors its financial commitments to parents, staff, vendors, and others.

4.2. The board will not pass a deficit operating budget. We will operate on a balanced budget. We are committed to building a contingency/reserve fund. We will endeavor to maintain a balanced operating budget without depending on income from fund-raising projects.

4.3. Tuition and payroll will be set on the basis of what it costs to do the job right and meet the fundamental beliefs and values embodied in this blueprint, and will be considerate of the local cost of living.

4.4. We are committed to making this experience truly inclusive by managing our tuition policy in such a way that no child invited to the school through our admissions policy is denied entrance due to financial hardship.

4.5. We will communicate accurate information about the financial state of the school in an annual report to the community and, from time to time, on a more frequent basis.

4.6. We expect all of our families, as members of our community, to honor their financial obligations to the school in a timely and responsible manner.

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5. Admissions

5.1. Our primary goal in the admissions process is to help each family determine whether our school is a good match with their values and goals, and the school setting that will work best for their individual child.

5.1.1. When we admit a new student, we are not simply bringing him or her into the school community. We are bringing the child, his or her parents, siblings, and extended family into the mix.

5.1.2. In making admissions decisions, we will weigh many factors, placing the greatest emphasis on whether the parents are deeply committed to sending their children to our school, hopefully for the long run and hopefully for the right
reasons.

5.1.3. In making admissions decisions, we will normally give strong preference to families who we believe are committed to keeping their children in the school at least through the elementary years.

5.1.4. Hopefully the children whom we admit in the early years will graduate from our school. Ideally it will be so much a part of each family’s life that eventually the children of our graduates will attend our school as well. We want to be a family tradition.

5.1.5. In the admissions process, we consciously treat parents with respect as partners in exploring whether or not we would be the good match for their child. We do not use gimmicks, such as the hint that spaces are filling up fast.

5.1.6. We will not try to convince prospective parents that our school is right for them and for their child. Instead we will tell the truth, help them to grasp the true nature of the school and what it has to offer, and allow them to weigh all the factors out as they consider whether our school is indeed the right match for them and their child.

5.1.7. We will welcome prospective parents with open arms and make it as easy as we can for them to learn what our school is really all about:

5.1.7.1. We will hold open houses and gladly schedule individual tours during school hours if for some reason the normal open house time is inconvenient.

5.1.8.2. We will normally make a list of the names and home phone numbers of Ambassador parents available to prospective parents who would like to speak with another family.

5.1.8.3. We will arrange frequent and convenient times when prospective parents can observe in our classrooms.

5.1.8.4. We will consider applications for admission on a case by case open admission basis. We will do our best once an application has been received to arrange for the student’s visits and evaluations, gather all of the information needed to evaluate the application, and schedule all meetings and interviews in the most timely manner possible. We will endeavor to make and communicate all admissions decisions to the families as quickly as possible.

5.2. Our school does not discriminate in matters of admission on the basis of race, sexual orientation, creed, religion, national or ethnic background origin. We consciously teach children to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the global community. We regard a mix of backgrounds and abilities as a positive and important element in our community.

5.3. We pledge to represent our school truthfully and accurately to the general public and internally to our parent community.

5.4. We further pledge ourselves to respect the diversity of the community of Montessori schools. We will not engage in
negative public relations nor make any negative statements about another Montessori school or any other school.

5.5. We will promptly consult with parents should it ever become clear that a student is not benefiting from the school’s program, or if the school is not the best program to meet his/ or her needs.

5.6. Our school recognizes each family’s right to visit and consider other schools and to hold preliminary discussions regarding admission without feeling compelled to notify our school.

5.7. While we welcome inquiries and interest in our school, we will never knowingly attempt to recruit and enroll an individual student away from his or her current Montessori program who is presently enrolled in or committed to attend another Montessori program.

5.8. Before filing an application for admission, we ask that families advise their children’s present schools and authorize us to contact the school to find out more about the child’s background and needs.

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6. Building Community

6.1. We are a close-knit community of students, educators, parents, and friends of the school.

6.2. Community is the invisible web that structures our pluralistic beliefs. Culturally, historically, and individually, our communities represent the best of our shared experiences. Our school presents an opportunity to expand the web of inclusion in our local community.

6.3. We recognize that a Montessori school is more than a place of learning; it is a community of children and adults that has a significant impact on our students’ capacity to learn, grow, create, develop, assimilate values, and relate peacefully and respectfully to other people and to the natural world.

6.4. We treat all students, families, teachers, and staff members, and all people with kindness, warmth, and respect regardless of age.

6.5. We consciously work to build a constructive partnership between the family and school in support of each child’s educational development.

6.6. Within reasonable guidelines established to ensure the integrity of our educational program and the privacy of other students’ records, parents are welcome to visit the school to observe their child in class or to review his or her academic progress.

6.7. We place a primary emphasis on building partnership relationships with families as early as possible in order to help parents recognize the uniqueness of their child. We also work together to enhance parents’ ability incorporate Montessori philosophy into their family life.

6.8. We are an extended family community whose participants are supported at all levels by all others in the community.

6.9. We believe in the principle that those matters which affect individual community members directly impact all others in our community. We consider input from all of our community members in our decision-making processes in order to take into account the needs of our total community. We are committed to the creation of programs that stress personal development for all members of the community.

6.10. We encourage parents to participate in programs that can help them to refine their parenting strategies, to facilitate the development of independence, responsibility, self-confidence and self- respect in their sons and daughters and in themselves. We recognize parenting as an extremely difficult, rewarding, and valuable job for which we have had little preparation and for which in the modern world we get little support. We are committed to find ways to provide that support for families from birth through adulthood by the creation of parenting resources.

6.11. We understand the special needs of new participants in the community and the necessity of a program to match new families with ones experienced in the community to provide support and information.

6.12. We will encourage and facilitate methods for members of our community to access the services of other community members.

6.13. We encourage the establishment a program of adult classes and seminars on a variety of topics guided by community interest, in keeping with our commitment to a lifelong process of learning and personal growth.

6.14. We expect all adult members of the school community to treat one another and the children in accordance with the core values of the school as embodied in this document. All adult members of the school community will engage in the participatory experience central to the school’s core values.

6.15. We believe in holding community meetings to allow and encourage a free and open exchange of ideas and information. Children are welcome to participate in these meetings.

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7. Administration

 

7.1. The goal of our administration is focused to provide both educational leadership and business administration. Administrative faculty is defined as: head classroom teachers, the office coordinator, and support staff.

7.2. In partnership with other governance committees, the primary role of our administrative faculty is to articulate the core values and vision, provide academic leadership, take leadership in the admissions and recruitment process, build community, address concerns among students and families, recruit and coach faculty members and staff, support the financial health of the school, serve as the school’s spokespeople to the larger community, and lead the process of internal self-evaluation and long-term planning.

7.3. The Administrative faculty will ensure that excellence and consistency with our values and vision permeate the school seamlessly from class to class, from level to level, and from one year to the next.

7.4. The Office Coordinator will support classroom teachers and attempt to provide similar support and counsel to the school’s families.

7.5. When conflicts arise within the school, whether they involve parents, staff members, students, or administrators or board, every attempt will be made to find the best and highest resolution of the issues under dispute that is most consistent with the school’s fundamental values and is most oriented to a partnership model.

7.6. The administration of the school will ensure a smooth and timely flow of communication about important dates and information to parents, students, staff, and board.

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8. Governance

8.1. The Board of Trustees shall be comprised of men and women who share a deep sense of commitment to Six Rivers Montessori and Montessori philosophy. In all matters, they consider the overall best interests of the school over their own interests or over the interests of any constituent group within the school community.

8.1.1. The primary responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that the institutional identity, mission, and core values and beliefs about education that define the nature of the school are established and re-examined and refined.

8.1.1.1. Other principle roles of the Board will be to keep school financially sound, interface between school and community, make classroom visits, and obtain and maintain a level of Montessori knowledge and healthy Board operations.

8.1.1.2. The Board will not micromanage but will oversee and support teachers.

8.1.2. That the school’s mission, institutional identity, and core values and beliefs will be set down in writing in a working community document called the "Blueprint."

8.1.3. The Board of Trustees will consult the Blueprint to identify the underlying values and beliefs that would support whatever decision is made on the issue before the Board.

8.1.3.1. The Board will only approve motions that are supported by the core values and beliefs that are consistent with the Blueprint.

8.1.4. If the Blueprint does not address the issue, or if a school community member concludes that the Blueprint needs to be amended to more completely address the school’s underlying values and beliefs, it will go through the process of amending the Blueprint.

8.1.4.1. Any member of the school community can propose an amendment. The Blueprint Committee will set amendment and
evaluation sessions. The proposal should be in writing and include a clear argument. The Blueprint Committee will facilitate a community discussion and review of the proposed amendment(s). The Blueprint Committee will facilitate voting protocol. Voters include staff, parent-guardians, Board members (non-parent) and sixth, seventh, and eighth year students. An amendment requires a three-fourths vote to pass.

8.1.5. Accept when confidential matters are being considered, Board Meetings are open.

8.1.6. Except for confidential issues, the major actions of the Board will be communicated to the school community in a timely fashion. These communications will include the motions passed.

8.1.7. Concerned parents, staff members, and students may request the opportunity to address their opinion to the Board.

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9 Fundraising

9.1. Every gift given to our school will be a gift of love, generously offered in support of our work.

9.2. We will not nickel and dime our families to death with petty fundraisers. We will limit fundraising to programs that don’t drain community energy, are sensible, lucrative, and in accordance with school culture and values.

9.3. While donations of funds, tangible goods, services, or real property are deeply appreciated, the school can never accept any gift that would require it to violate any of its core beliefs outlined in this document.

9.3.1. While individuals wishing to donate funds to the school are welcome to designate the use to which they may be used, it is up the Board of Trustees to establish policy about who will decide on behalf of the school if they can be accepted in light of the conditions established. The Board will also decide how donors will be recognized.

9.3.2. Only the Board of Trustees can accept a gift of real property or tangible goods on behalf of the school that would potentially require the expenditure of funds to repair or maintain.

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Nondiscrimination Policy

Six Rivers Montessori does not exclude or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin or disability in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by Six Rivers Montessori directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which Six Rivers Montessori arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

This statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued pursuant to these statutes at Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 80, 84, and 91.