Montessori among top public charter schools in the state, according to recent ratings

Mountain Village Montessori School fourth and fifth graders work on an advanced math lesson. The public charter school recently earned a "Performance with Distinction" rating from its state authorizer, the Colorado Charter School Institute.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Mountain Village Montessori School was one of just eight of the 39 schools under the Colorado Charter School Institute’s governance to earn a Performance with Distinction rating for the 2018-19 school year.

“Receiving this rating represents all of the hard work and strategic efforts that went into our programming last year,” said Head of School Michael Girodo. “We are proud of the results and look forward to maintaining the same rigor and fidelity of instruction this year.”

Schools rated Performance with Distinction by Charter School Institute rank in the top 25% of all schools in Colorado with reportable academic data for academic performance.

Mountain Village Montessori also showed significant improvement in English language arts from the previous year, placing it in the top 4% of schools in the state in terms of academic growth.

“This is a wonderful achievement for our school and reflects the great strides our teachers have made in the integration of Montessori’s amazing curriculum with state standards,” Girodo said in a news release. “Seeing the positive impact that the intentional focus on English language arts had on the school’s academic growth last year, Mountain Village is placing a greater emphasis on mathematics and is continuing to align content standards to Montessori programming this year.”

Now in its fourth year of operation, the school is a tuition-free public charter school that is not part of the Steamboat Springs School District but is authorized by the state entity and evaluated annually through the Charter School Institute’s Annual Review of Schools.

There are only a handful of other public charter schools under the institutes’s authorization on the Western Slope. There are three other Montessori schools in Fruita, Salida and Carbondale.

Currently, the school in west Steamboat serves about 120 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. They also operate a tuition-based preschool.

Montessori is defined as “a system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods,” and one “based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.”

Girodo said the ultimate plan is to add a middle school, with sixth, seventh and eighth grades. However until then, the school decided to make it a clean transition to Steamboat Springs Middle School by only serving students through fifth grade.  

Girodo and his staff have worked hard to find a balance between maintaining a strong allegiance to the Montessori philosophy while adhering to the same state standards applied to all public schools.

The 2018-19 results from both the Charter School Institute and the Colorado Department of Education’s preliminary state assessment results provide evidence the school’s efforts are paying off, according to Girodo.

“This rating reflects directly on the success of the strategic implementation of our Montessori curriculum as it aligns with Colorado state standards and signals to us that we are on the right curricular arc for future success,” he said. 

In addition to the academics, the charter schools also are assessed on organizational and financial management, benchmarks also met by Mountain Village Montessori.

“This rating certainly elevates our status in the Steamboat educational community,” Girodo said. “And we hope that parents will see us as a viable and important school of choice for their families.” 

 Mountain Village Montessori is accepting enrollment applications for the 2020-21 academic year, and its enrollment lottery is scheduled for Feb. 10. Visit for more information.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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