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Buckeye approves third Montessori charter

By From page A1 | February 19, 2014

Buckeye Union School District officials recently approved an additional charter Montessori school.

Rising Sun Montessori Charter will open in August 2014 to serve 75 students in first through sixth grades, said school board chair Robin Saia. The school will add to its enrollment numbers and serve students through eighth grade by its fourth year. Classrooms will be capped at 25 students.

Kindergarten is not included because there’s a vital, three-year age grouping in the Montessori method where two years of preschoolers are placed with kindergarten, explained vice-chair of Rising Sun Montessori Brenda Rios.

Saia said they are currently focused on outreach and staffing the school. More than 250 signatures were collected from interested families since the board petitioned to Buckeye Union School District last summer. Saia said they would also publicize the new offering to area childcare facilities and local community groups.

A head of school has not been named and Saia said potential instructors would be hired based on being “qualified, mission-oriented Montessori teachers.”

Rising Sun Montessori Charter will be a Buckeye Union school housed at Lakehills Covenant Church in El Dorado Hills. Senior pastor Ron Short told Village Life, “We originally built Lakehills (in 2008) with a school in mind, but we’ve been waiting for just the right partner. Rising Sun Montessori is just that.”

The founding members of Rising Sun Montessori submitted a comprehensive 600-plus-page petition to the Buckeye Union School District last summer. Special meetings were held to discuss it further through the fall and on Feb. 6 it was approved during a regular BUSD board meeting. “Four board members voted yes and one board member excused himself from the vote due to his relationship with Lakehills Church, where the school will be located,” said Saia.

“We are pleased to welcome the Rising Sun Montessori Charter into the Buckeye Union School District,” Buckeye Union Superintendent David Roth said in a statement to Village Life. “The charter was conditionally approved, by the board, after the district’s careful analysis indicated that all legal requirements were met and that the program proposal represented a sound educational program. California’s Education code mandates the establishment of charter schools that represent a sound educational program and other legal criteria.”

Saia said the conditions are standard protocol and isn’t concerned. “They are requirements more than anything,” she said. “Like getting our lease together; they also want to be sure our start-up grant is being funded and that we have insurance.”

Though there are two other Montessori charter options in the Buckeye Union School District — the California Montessori Project located in Shingle Springs and the Blue Oak Montessori Charter housed at Blue Oak Elementary in Cameron Park. Saia said she thinks there’s room for one more. “It’s exciting,” she said. “It shows how important Montessori is to residents here.”

If demand outweighs space the school would hold a lottery, per California state law. Preference goes to children with previous Montessori experience, founding members’ children (there are only two who would apply) and students living within the Buckeye district.”

“We are very pleased to offer this Montessori charter school option in El Dorado Hills,” said Rios. “We look forward to a positive working relationship with the Buckeye Union School District.”

For more information visit risingsunmontessori.org.

Julie Samrick


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