Mountain Village Charter School FAQs
Is this school open to anyone?
Yes. The Mountain Village Charter School is open to any resident of New Hampshire.
What ages or grades are in the school?
We have been approved to offer 1st - 8th grade. For the 2018/19 school year, we will have grades 1-7. Grade 8 will be added in the 2019/20 school year. Classes are organized into two 1st - 3rd grade classrooms, two 4th - 6th grade classrooms, and one 7th grade classroom. Students remain in their classroom for multiple years, which allows teachers to develop a deep understanding of students' competencies.
Where are you located?
MVCS is located at 13 Route 25 in Plymouth, NH on a 38 acre wooded campus, with nature trails and outdoor classrooms.
What towns do MVCS families come from?
We have students attending from 17 different towns in NH, including Ashland, Plymouth, N. Haverhill, Groton, Campton, Gilmanton, Warren, Dorchester, Rumney, Franklin, Wentworth, Holderness, Bristol, New Hampton, Alexandria, Lancaster, and Northfield
How often do students at MVCS go outside?
MVCS students go outside every day, usually between 1-3 hours per day.
Will students go outside even if it’s raining?
Safety is our first priority. Yes, students will go outside even in inclement weather. We adopt the adage, “there is no bad weather;" we ask that students have appropriate outdoor gear for sun, rain, snow, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at us. In the event of a frostbite warning or other extreme weather event, students will not go outdoors, so that everyone remains safe. Teachers are sensitive to the needs of the students and will respond accordingly if someone is uncomfortable. However, students are expected to dress appropriately to be able to participate outdoors on a daily basis.
What are school hours?
- School runs from 7:45am - 2:45pm
- Drop-off 7:45am - 8:15am; pick-up 2:45pm - 3:00pm
- Half days pick-up 11:45am - 12:00pm
- We follow SAU 48 schools for school closings due to inclement weather.
How will my child be evaluated?
We administer the same tests as other public schools in NH. Our program helps children prepare for these tests without “teaching to the test.” We provide practical skills on how to read the tests, but otherwise the content of state testing is incorporated into our scope and sequence, which is aligned with the NH Common Core.
How do I enroll my child?
Is there a waitlist?
There is not a waitlist at this time. We are committed to maintaining a favorable teacher to student ratio and if interest in enrollment passed the number of students we can accommodate we will begin a waitlist.
What is the cost? Is there tuition?
There is no tuition to attend Mountain Village Charter School. It is a public school.
Are your teachers State-certified?
Yes, at a minimum, 50% of our teachers are certified in New Hampshire. In addition our teachers have Montessori certification or are in training to complete their certification.
My child is in grade school and has not been to a Montessori school; can they come to MVCS?
Yes. No previous exposure to Montessori education is required, though it is recommended that they are evaluated to be transitioned into MVCS by both the sending school and MVCS.
Does this school have to meet the same standards as other public schools?
Yes. We have created the Mountain Village Charter School as a vehicle to meet the New Hampshire common core standards. As a public school, we are accountable in the same fashion as all other public schools, which includes standardized testing.
Will the school offer extracurricular activities and sports?
A student who wants to play an organized sport not available at MVCS, may return to his or her district to play that sport. The student must follow all the standards and try-out procedures that the school district requires. We do offer a fee-based after school naturalist program.
How can I get involved?
Family volunteers are crucial to the success of our school. MVCS Family Committee, a group of parents that acts as mediators between the administration and families, can help you find ways to participate.
Is there a way to donate to the school?
Yes. Thank you for your interest in supporting us! Donate here!
How do I apply for work at the school?
Click here for employment opportunities.
Montessori Nature-Based FAQs
What will my child do in a Montessori school?
Students work in mixed-age classes and stay in the same classroom for three years. Students are taught individually or in small groups and are allowed to learn at their own pace. The daily schedule incorporates a long uninterrupted work period. During this time, students receive individual instruction from the teacher, work with groups or partners on projects, or work alone practicing and progressing with their skills. The environment is non-competitive and fosters children’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
What does it mean to be nature-based?
Nature based learning implies that students will primarily learn through, and “in” nature rather than just “about” nature. Our students will have access to outdoor and natural settings as a part of every school day and will use those environments to explore elements and experience learning opportunities.
Why is nature-based learning important?
The mission of the nature-based program at MVCS is to create students with an intimate familiarity with their natural environment, and feelings of comfort and connectedness to the natural world, while enhancing student achievement in all elements of the school’s curriculum. They will achieve this familiarity through extensive direct experience with unstructured, undeveloped natural environments, as well as through opportunities for gardening and harvesting activities.
We believe that looking forward into the 21st century, students prepared in this way will have many advantages. They will be less susceptible to the numerous modern afflictions traceable to excessive screen time and a phobia of nature. They will possess the content knowledge and the inner wisdom to address the many environmental problems their society and planet will be facing. They will have active, healthy lifestyles that are well-suited to this rural location. And they will perform academically at a higher level than peers who are prepared predominantly in indoor settings.
How does nature-based education affect student achievement?
Education research in the last few decades supports these philosophical arguments for a nature-based approach, especially for children ages 4 - 12. The Children and Nature Network, a non-profit group working to re-connect families with nature, has shown that school aged children exposed to outdoor classroom experiences show significantly improved achievement in academic, social-emotional and physical development. In an era when more and more schools are reducing recess and outdoor time to meet the demands of state and national testing, MVCS embraces outdoor learning as an effective means of going above and beyond these goals.
How do nature-based learning and Montessori fit together at MVCS?
At MVCS we understand the natural environment to be a naturally “prepared environment” (in the Montessori sense) in which all manner of inviting works are already present to draw a student’s attention. Works of observation, arithmetic, art, writing, science, philosophy and all other types of exploration and study are waiting for any student who is given the time to dwell in the environment and attend to their innate curiosity. Our teachers are ready to assist in the interpretation of the natural environment, and to direct these works as they arise. Also, since some students may come to the school without an existing understanding to connect with or explore nature, our teachers (especially in the early grades) are ready to inspire this curiosity with inviting works (activities and resources) meant to open the door to inquiry and relationship. While conducting these works in the natural environment is not what is classically considered “Montessori” today, the approach is faithful to the overall approach advocated for by Dr. Montessori.
How does the MVCS nature-based Montessori program change as students get older?
As students age and develop through the grades of the school, their nature-experience will shift to accommodate their growing ability to focus and inquire. A first grade student, for example, might utilize nature studies to practice simple arithmetic (counting frogs for example) or to develop their sensory awareness or reflective ability. The focus of inquiry would remain short in duration, perhaps an hour or half a day. Meanwhile a sixth grade student might develop a week or multi-week long project that integrates all of their curricular elements (art, math, science, writing, personal reflection, social studies etc.) through the exploration of a forest stand, field, or stream. The teacher, by following the individual student’s interest, assessing their readiness for study, and anticipating their future directions, will be able to provide the mentoring, instructional support and materials necessary for this project to be successful.
For more information on Montessori education, visit XXX
For more information on Nature-based education, visit the Children and Nature Network, what else?
Charter School FAQs
What is a charter school?
New Hampshire charter schools are public schools of choice open to any resident of New Hampshire, free of charge.
Do charter schools take money from public schools?
Charter schools are public schools. When a family chooses a charter school, state money follows that child; however, no local tax money is allocated to the charter school. Charter schools receive additional federal funds specifically ear-marked for charter schools. Overall, there is no financial loss to the community when a family chooses to send their child to a charter school.
Are charter public schools held to the same academic standards as other public schools?
Yes. In fact, charter schools are academically accountable on two counts. They are held accountable by their authorizer (usually the State) and, most importantly, by the families they serve. When a team of school developers submits their charter application, they must define their academic goals. In order to be authorized, their goals must be rigorous. In order to stay open, they must meet or exceed those goals. Families make the choice to enroll their children in charter schools, and families can remove them if they are dissatisfied with the school. A charter school that neglects its academic duties will soon find that its enrollment (and budget) will dwindle.
Do charter public schools have selective admission requirements?
No. Unlike exclusive private schools, charter public schools cannot select or reject any student. When enrollment requests exceed the number of seats, charter schools are required by law to hold a public lottery to determine who will attend. Because they are free and open to all, charter public schools do not engage in selective admissions policies. Research shows that charter schools educate diverse students of varying aptitudes.
Do charter public schools provide special education services?
Like all public schools, charter schools understand their responsibility to serve all students, and charter schools are committed to serving students with exceptional needs. In fact, because charter schools are designed to have more flexibility than traditional public schools, they are uniquely situated to provide innovative, high-quality educational services to students with unique learning needs. For more information about Special Education at MVCS, click here.
What type of oversight do public charter schools have?
Charter schools must operate within the provisions of state and federal law. They must abide by health, safety and civil rights laws, and cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex or national origin. Charter governance bodies are subject to various business regulations, such as ethical financial practices, and public body rules, such as open meeting laws. Charter schools also have oversight from their authorizers (usually the State Board of Education). In fact, the very name charter refers to the “contract” that the school enters into with their authorizer. Authorizers review financial reports, have the authority to conduct audits, determine if the school is to be renewed at the end of the charter’s term (every five years) and can revoke a charter for certain reasons within charter law if the school is not meeting the terms of its charter.
Are charter public schools experimental?
The incredible growth in charter schools – more than 1,063+ schools nationally serving more than 484,000 students in 2013, as well as long waiting lists for most charter schools – suggest that families believe charters to be a common sense solution to their education needs. While they often embrace non-traditional approaches to education, this is seen a strength by participating families.
What’s the difference between charter schools and other public schools?
Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them. They operate with freedom from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They generally offer teachers and students more authority to make decisions than most traditional public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.
Can charter schools charge tuition?
No, charter schools are public schools and tuition-free for residents of New Hampshire. Out-of-state students may be charged tuition. While there is no charge for tuition, schools may charge small fees for specific services and support.
How are charter schools funded?
New Hampshire’s State Authorized charter schools are funded directly by the state at $5450 per student. This is far less than the statewide average expenditure of $11,000-$12,000 per student. Operating on a thinner margin, charter schools have historically demonstrated greater efficiency.
Which states have charter schools?
As of 2012, 42 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed charter school laws. The states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Do charter schools have admissions policies?
By law, charter schools must have a fair and open admissions process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community they serve. When more students apply than can be accommodated, charter schools must use a lottery to randomly determine which students are accepted. Many charter schools also have waiting lists.
What kind of federal support is there for charter schools?
Through the Public Charter Schools Program, the U.S. Department of Education offers grants to states, which then award subgrants to individual schools to assist them in planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools. Dissemination grants are also available to successful charter schools, with three or more years of experience, to support activities through which they help other groups open new or improve existing public schools. Charter schools are also eligible for funding under other federal programs.