UC-MMS collaboration sprints ahead




Mountaineer Montessori School has enjoyed a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with our educational “landlord” and partner, the University of Charleston.  That collaboration has taken many forms over the years, from UC student teachers and interns in our classrooms, to PE at UC facilities, to special projects and events. Now, that collaboration is sprinting ahead through a new running program to be offered this spring that connects UC and MMS students as they train for a 5K run.



Message from Hallie Chillag, MMS parent and UC faculty member:

Greetings from the University of Charleston!  Most of you know me as an enthusiastic Mountaineer Montessori mom, mother of Cora who was at our school from 2003 through 2012 and mother of current MMS student, Matilda, who is a third year student in Nancy and Tara’s class. I am writing to you today though as a faculty member of the University of Charleston.

In the current academic year, I have returned to teach in our freshman experience program.  The design of the freshman orientation class at UC has a community change assignment in the spring semester that is aimed to highlight the larger role of the university and the responsibility of graduates to contribute to the larger community throughout their lives. My students expressed interest in working with children and addressing the issue of health and fitness in area youth.  Specifically, they want to gently train area youth to participate in a 5K on Saturday, March 19, that begins and ends on the UC campus.  Ultimately, the project process will be developed into a mini-documentary film for review by freshman experience faculty.

ReadyorNotTo this end, my freshman experience class and I looked to build upon our existing relationship with MMS. I approached Co-Directors Jennifer Carriger and Suzanne Sanders about collaborating on this idea with MMS students.  They brought the idea to the larger staff and last week we agreed to try to work out a schedule to prepare MMS elementary students to participate in the UC 5K event.  Further, I was able to collaborate with Nancy Johnston to work in our PE classes between now and the event to do some walking and jogging, gently building on jogging and running skills week to week, to prepare students for the 5K.

We would further like to offer training to supplement our PE work-outs after the school day as well.  We will open up post school training, starting on February 3, as well to any interested MMS staff, parents, siblings, the middle school, etc. over the course of the next six and a half weeks.


Training starts February 3

Race for Education 2015 101We will be offering said training, beginning in front of the school, from approximately 3:15-3:45 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until our race date (March 19) as long as interest and participation are present.

Ideally, those preparing for the race will be repeating the activity they experience in their PE class twice more during the week, for a total of three work-outs a week.  It is our hope that MMS elementary students will either do this on their own or join us for the post school training.  We have worked to ensure a minimum of three trainers (combination of faculty, teaching assistant, and students) for both our PE class and post school training sessions.  Please be sure to dress your child in comfortable clothing suitable for brisk walking, jogging, and running on PE days and if he or she is able to attend post school trainings as well.

I understand that not all students will be available for the race date, but we are hopeful that our MMS runners will largely be able to participate on race day.

As I mentioned, the race is set at UC on March 19.  A link to the race registration can be found here: http://www.uchalfmarathon5k.com/#!shop/cz1e

Race for Education 2015 098The race has an entry fee of $15 as long as the runner is registered before noon on March 18. Students will receive a race bib and shirt with their entry. If this fee presents an economic hardship for any MMS student, I will waive the entry fee – please just reach out to me as soon as possible so I can make the necessary arrangements to get these students registered.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I am more than happy to answer any questions/concerns you might have.  In 2012, the same type of UC class collaborated with upper elementary to produce a community change project and mini-documentary about American Sign Language and larger deaf culture and it was a wonderfully rich experience for MMS and UC students (and faculty) alike.  I am most hopeful we will have the same significant experience in this go-around!  Thanks for your time and consideration.  We look forward to running with MMS over the coming month and a half!



Hallie Chillag Dunlap, Asst. Professor of Social Sciences


304-553-2437 (mobile, voice or text)