MMS March 2019 Newsletter

The latest issue of the “M” News is out. Be sure to take a look to stay up to date on important deadlines as well as the many exciting events and activities underway at our school:

MMS March Newsletter









2019-20 Calendar Hightlights

The preliminary calendar for the 2019-20 MMS school year is out. Please make note of these key dates and watch for updates as they are announced:

  • August 16: New Student Visits
  • August 19: First Day for Students – Primary Extended Day, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School
  • August 20: First Day for Students – Returning Primary Morning Friends
  • August 21: First Day for Students – New Primary Morning Friends
  • August 22: Ice Cream Social @ Danner Meadow Park
  • August 27: Back to School Night-Primary and Middle School
  • August 29: Back to School Night – Elementary
  • September 2: School Closed/Labor Day
  • September 9: Annual Meeting for All Families
  • October 14-15: Parent Conferences/No Classes/Plus Available
  • November 27-29: School Closed/Thanksgiving Break
  • December 20: Noon dismissal/Winter Concert
  • December 23-January 3: School Closed/New Year’s Break (School resumes January 6.)
  • February 17-21: School Closed/Winter Break
  • March 19-20: Parent Conferences/No Classes/Plus available
  • April 6-10: School Closed/Spring Break
  • April 27-May 1: Standardized Testing Week (grades 3-8)
  • May 25: School Closed/Memorial Day
  • June 5: Last Day of School/Early Dismissal/Picnic

Spreading Our Wings Gala to soar on May 18




At Mountaineer Montessori School, children are free to fly!

Our child-centered approach to education fosters learning without limits, offering students the time, space and encouragement to go as far and as high as they can.

Since our school’s founding in 1976, we’ve given wings to an estimated 1,000 children, freeing them to discover their passions, fulfill their unique potential and create stronger communities and a promising future.

“Spreading Our Wings,” our annual spring fundraiser, will be held Saturday, May 18, 7:00-10:00 p.m., at the Charleston Woman’s Club.  Buy tickets now


This very special evening will benefit our financial aid, teacher appreciation and specialty programming funds.

We invite our friends to join us as we:

  • Celebrate education that elevates
  • Applaud MMS programs and faculty
  • Bid on amazing class art projects and an array of exciting silent auction prizes Bid online now
  • Enjoy music, dancing, wine/beer, hors d’oeuvres…and more!
  • Mingle with old friends and new
  • Lift up the next generation of business and community leaders, innovators and creators, dreamers and doers

Great night for a great cause!

DJ Mark Davis loves helping people celebrate good times with music, bringing 25 years of musical performance and decades of collecting the best music of every genre to our annual spring event. Mark and Vinyl Village will get you — and keep you — on the dance floor all night long. Surprise appearances by well known musicians and performers are also planned!






Going, going, gone!


A highlight of SPREADING OUR WINGS will be an exciting auction of amazing class art projects and other works of art created by individual students as well as an extensive silent auction featuring an amazing array of vacation and entertainment certificates, fashion and beauty prizes, children’s packages..and more. Take home a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and support education that elevates!

Bid online now!

Text MMS Wings 52181

Auction donation information

Donation receipt













MMS is pleased to offer a wide range of exclusive education investment opportunities to our SPREADING OUR WINGS partners. We invite you to make a splash with a unique themed sponsorship…. bluebird to finch! Your partnership in this high-profile, unique event will showcase your commitment to West Virginia’s children to thousands throughout our region through a sustained marketing campaign and provide critical support to MMSContributions to MMS, a 501(c)(3) organization are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Complete sponsorship information is available on our online giving platform or here:

Spreading Our Wings Sponsorship Menu

Spreading Our Wings Sponsor RSVP Form


Spreading Our Wings Auction Letter


















Individual reservations start at $85 per person and include a tax-deductible contribution to MMS. Your reservation includes admission to the most uplifting party of the year, live music, beer/wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres, creative entertainment…. and affirms your support of our mission, faculty and students.  MMS will maintain a guest list and no individual tickets will be mailed.

Because it’s important for our entire school community to join in the celebration, a limited number of free and reduced price reservations will be available. For more information, please contact MMS Director Jennifer Carriger,  Your sponsorship dollars support this important community-building effort.

Early bird prices end on April 30, 2019….make your online reservation or complete this form today: Spreading Our Wings RSVP Form



Education that elevates

Mountaineer Montessori serves 140 students ages 3-14 in Charleston, West Virginia — the heart of Appalachia.  Our mission is to elevate our students and region with forward-thinking, 21st century-aligned education that nurtures tomorrow’s problem solvers, creators, entrepreneurs and community builders…a new generation that will lead the way to a brighter tomorrow and a better world.

MMS is a community-based non-profit organization created to unlock the potential of West Virginia’s children through the scientifically-based, time-tested, child centered approach to education pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori. We receive no government funding. Our operations are funded solely by tuition, foundation and business partnerships, and personal donations.

Community support helps keep our program accessible to the growing number of families seeking access to high-quality alternatives to one-size-fits-all schools. Enrollment has grown 83 percent over the past five years and we are currently unable to enroll all applicants due to space and financial constraints.

SPREADING OUR WINGS provides critical funding for financial aid, teacher training and classroom materials and programs, and help us continue to grow a world-class education option in our region.


Celebrating friends, fun and friendship with MMS!














































Re-enrollment underway for 2019-20

Re-enrollment is underway for the 2019-20 school year.

Current MMS families must complete the online re-enrollment process by February 15. Please follow the directions as outlined in the enrollment communication distributed to all parents.

Please note that applications for new siblings attending MMS next year must be also submitted by February 15.

After February 15, we will offer remaining any classroom spaces to new families.  Because space is limited in all classes, if we do not receive your materials in by February 15, we cannot guarantee that your child will have a place next year. 

Families with students enrolled at MMS will have priority placement for a future Toddler program outlined in our strategic plan.

Financial aid applications are due by March 30.  

If you plan to apply, please contact Jennifer Carriger ( or Beth George for a link to the online application. Notification of awards will be sent in writing by April 25. If your financial aid award is not sufficient to meet your needs, your tuition deposit will be refunded to you. 

Please be aware that is this the last year that returning families will need to re-enroll their children. Effective for the 2020-21 year, MMS will implement a continuous enrollment model that will automatically ensure your child’s space at our school throughout his or her academic career at MMS. This new policy will streamline the enrollment process for families and administrators and help us plan for the facilities, materials and staffing to support the best learning experience for your child.

New families interested in enrollment should begin the admissions process by requesting a tour at their very earliest convenience. Classes fill quickly.

We look forward to welcoming new and returning families MMS for our 43rd year of excellence and innovation in education!

Student-run food program resumes for 2019-January/February information

The MMS lunch program, run by our sixth year students, has resumed for the new year year. Please see the order form for details:  MMS Food Program January-February 2019

The deadline to place orders is Wednesday, January 9.

After school ukulele and guitar classes start January 28

After school music lessons with Alasha Al-Qudwah, Lower Elementary II Assistant/Middle School Specialist, will start January 28.  Here is more information from Alasha:

Ukulele and guitar sessions will start the week of January 28, 2019 and end the week of March 25. The cost per session is $150 by check made out to “Alasha Al-Qudwah.” There will only be 10 spots available in each class and payment is due in full before the session begins. If your child needs to stay in Plus from 3:00-3:30 p.m., and is not normally enrolled in Plus, please contact Beth George in the MMS office at 304/342-7870. There will be a nominal fee charged and your child will participate in Plus snack.

Students are responsible for obtaining their own instrument and the required music for the session:


  • Guitar – nylon strings- 3/4 size if under the age of 11.
  • Ukulele- soprano or concert size


  • Guitar – Hal Leonard Guitar Book 1 and 1” binder with 3 section dividers
  • Ukulele – Hal Leonard Ukulele Book 1and 1” binder with 3 section dividers.

Purchasing Resources:

  • Kerr’s Music World (Charleston, WV)
  • Fret and Fiddle (St. Albans, WV)
  • *please email me and I will send links to instruments I personally recommend if ordering online. They have great deals on good brands of student guitars and ukuleles.*

Within these sessions, students will learn how to play songs while singing, learn how to read music, learn a vocabulary of chords, learn basic music theory, and learn strumming techniques at a pace designed for first time players. In addition, students will learn the quality experience of performing in an ensemble which teaches awareness of players around them, the ability to match the tempo and pitch of others, and learning how to follow and lead with one another. These life skills translate to many other situations.

To register your child, email with your child’s name, age, and instrument. All purchased materials and instruments must be approved before the first lesson.

MMS Ski Club returns for 2019 season

Winter is here and it is time for MMS Ski Club!   Here is a a message from MMS parent Hollie Hubbert on this year’s program:

Last year we had 18 participants from Mountaineer Montessori for the Winterplace school groups program. There was a variety of skill levels represented and we had a great time together enjoying the snow! 

For those not familiar, Winterplace is a ski resort about one hour and 15 minutes south of Charleston on I-77, just past Beckley.  By becoming part of their school group program, MMS students and their families can visit the resort once a week for five weeks for an evening of skiing or riding at a reduced rate, starting at $122, including lift tickets, rentals and lessons.  If children are under 8, a parent needs to be with them for the lesson.  




What’s included?

  • A full mountain lift ticket, valid from 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., one day per week, Monday–Thursday, for five weeks.
  • All necessary ski rental equipment (boots, skis, and poles) **snowboards are available for an additional fee**
  • A helmet for each participant 
  • A 90-minute beginner group lesson by a professional ski instructor during each visit.

Our official ski day will be Wednesdays and lessons will begin at 6:00 p.m.  Lessons are not mandatory, nor is Wednesday attendance. Families do not have to go on the same days and can change the day for which they registered.  For example if a family signs up for Wednesdays with our group but needs to go on a Tuesday instead it is OK.  

Please note, you will be responsible for your own transportation to and from Winterplace.  Once we know who is participating, we can coordinate possible ride sharing.  

Please let me know if your child(ren) and other family members are interested in participating and I will send you more information on how to register.     If you have questions please email me at, call or text at 304-389-3031.   Thanks!



Spreading Our Wings: 2018 Annual Appeal Lifts Off

At Mountaineer Montessori School, we’re spreading our wings!

Our elevated approach to education fosters learning without limits, freeing children to go as far and as high as they can.

We’re nurturing West Virginia’s future community builders, problem solvers, innovators, business leaders and peace makers…creating a brighter tomorrow…today!

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a world-class educational experience to 140 students ages 3-14 right here in Charleston–the heart of Appalachia.

“Spreading Our Wings,” the 2018 MMS Annual Appeal, will provide critical funding to help us meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and sustain our 42-year tradition of excellence and innovation in education.

Give now!

Your gift will help us:

  • Increase community access through financial aid. Our annual tuition support fund is approaching nearly $50,000!
  • Fund expansion of the early childhood program and enhance programs at all other levels. We have maintained a waiting list for Primary classes for several years.
  • Benefit our teacher appreciation and training funds.

The goal of this year’s campaign is $25,000. We plan for 100 percent school participation to meet that goal….

every gift of every size makes a difference.


Thanks to your generous contributions to the 2017 campaign, MMS was able to:

  • Implement several major upgrades to our facilities (including windows, air conditioning, flooring and furniture).
  • Sponsor out of state training for teachers, contribute to the staff retirement plan, and bring in national consultants to guide our curriculum alignment through the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement process.
  • Provide financial assistance to 12 percent of students/families.

Learn more about the milestones reached over the past year in the MMS Annual Report 2017-18.

At MMS, potential unfolds and possibilities take flight. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and our community in the year ahead. The sky’s the limit.


Giving Tuesday

The 2018 Annual Appeal got off to an early kick off with annual #GivingTuesday “Take Out, Give Back” coin/cash drive. Proceeds will fund specific classroom materials and projects. Learn more







Thank you!

To show our appreciation for your donation to the 2018 Annual Appeal, MMS is pleased to offer the following thank you gifts:








  • Donations of $50-$499 by December 21: Entered into a drawing for one of five wooden coaster sets handcrafted in Roane County, WV, from wild cherry by Mark Bolton/Bolton Design Build. (Drawing to take place on 12/21 at MMS winter concert.
  • Donations of $500-$999 by December 31: $25 Capitol Market gift certificate and “M” grocery tote
  • Donations of $1,000 and up by December 31: $50 Capitol Market gift certificate and adult fleece “M” pullover jacket



Meet the 2018 Annual Appeal Ambassadors:


El-Gammal Family

“We love that our children’s education is in the hands of professionals who truly care about them, their well-being, and their future. They understand child development and behavior. Our children are encouraged to learn in ways that work for them and are supported in learning when they are truly developmentally ready to learn various concepts with a highly individualized curriculum. This allows our boys to expand upon their strengths as well as develop and grow in areas that are more challenging. Our goal is for our boys to reach their utmost potential, spread their wings and fly to whatever heights they aspire to. With MMS, we feel we are giving them the best foundation possible.”

Amanda Fields with Dr. Ahmed, Jacob, Rayan, Zach and Jonas El-Gammal

Read the El-Gammal family MMS story



David Victorson

“My favorite memory is as a kindergartner, eating honeysuckles that grew behind the school with my classmates.  I was amazed to discover that their beauty, smell, texture, and flavor grew in nothing more than soil and water.  I wasn’t in a classroom or a traditional learning environment, yet I was learning about nature, the food chain, and sustainability.  As I look back, this memory fully encapsulates what makes MMS so great – every moment is an opportunity to learn and the teachers encouraged us to do so.    

MMS is a special place for my whole family.  My sister and I both attended, and both loved our time as students.  I think we were especially able to appreciate it after attending other schools and being exposed to other methods of education. The academic freedom that MMS provided was unlike anywhere else and allowed us to advance as quickly as we were ready, rather than being bound to a lesson plan designed without any specific individual in mind.”  

David Victorson, litigation attorney, BA/MFA, University of Southern California, JD Harvard Law School

Read David’s MMS story





The West Family


“When one of our children seemed to need more than we could offer as home schoolers, we immediately considered Montessori. We enrolled our second grader, who felt befriended and needed as an important part of the school community from the first day. The individually driven and paced environment, created by the kind and enthusiastic staff, eliminated frustration and encouraged her to explore her interests at her pace and comfort level. We quickly realized our first grader needed the MMS experience too. The exceptional staff and students swept her into the school community. Our middle schooler soon became envious of the exceptional education her younger siblings received. As we looked into Middle School, we realized it offered opportunities for our eighth grader to expand her horizons. I love that my children’s teachers see each of them as a unique being, perched daily on the ledge of the learning experience, ready for guidance on   how to spread their wings and fly to the adventure of their choosing.”

Janell West with Dr. Brian and Amanda, Eve, Caleb and Jessica West

Read the West family’s MMS story



Julianna Storm



“I have gone to Mountaineer Montessori my entire life. I have met so many great friends, teachers and families. Now being in the seventh grade, Montessori has impacted me a lot. It has taught me how to read, write, listen, and learn in an environment where I am able to express myself and be who I want to be. Montessori has showed me it is ok to ask questions and go deeper into what you already know.”

Julianna Storm, seventh year student

Read Julianna’s MMS story




Karen Kelly

MMS really is a family. We care about each other in a way that I have never experienced anywhere else that I have ever worked or attended school.

I have so many ‘Montessori’ moments, if not every day, at least once a week: Older children teaching younger ones how to play a game or going across the monkey bars on the playground. The look on a child’s face when we go to Kanawha State Forest and they catch a crawdad for the first time, or the pride and enthusiasm when an older child asks if they can read aloud at story time. But, one of my absolutely favorite memories was when I brought orphaned kittens to school for the children to care for. They were meticulous about measuring the formula, testing the temperature of the milk replacement, and feeding them. The tenderness, compassion and exquisite kindness that I saw took my breath away. (All the kittens were adopted by MMS families after they were weaned.)”

Karen Kelly, Plus Director/Science Specialist and MMS alumni parent

Read Karen’s MMS story


Give now!


Coin box drive kicks off #GivingTuesday at MMS

There’s a day for giving thanks. Two for getting deals. Another for Shopping Small.

Now there is  #GivingTuesday , a global day dedicated to giving back. Celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

As part of this worldwide celebration of thanks and giving, Mountaineer Montessori School will launch its “Spreading Our Wings: Elevating Education and Our Community”annual fund campaign.

The fundraiser gets an early start today, Friday, November 16, when coin boxes were distributed to all MMS students, who are encouraged to fill them over the Thanksgiving holiday and bring them back to school on or before #GivingTuesday, November 27.

Give now.



This year’s coin drive will fund projects depicted on each box:

* Primary: art supplies for all classrooms

* Lower Elementary: a water bottle fountain/refilling station similar to the one in Upper Elementary

* Upper Elementary: dissection kits

* Middle School: kitchen ware

The “Spreading Our Wings” campaign will unfold over coming weeks through social media, news coverage, collaborations, annual appeal ambassador stories and personal invitations to engage the entire community in meeting the demand for world class education and serving families of all income levels through a tax-deductible donation to the school.

Last year’s MMS Giving Tuesday/Annual Appeal enabled Mountaineer Montessori to implement major facilities upgrades, sponsor out of state training for several teachers and sustain increases in increase financial aid support.


Model UN Team hosts a culinary trip to Poland on November 15


The MMUN Polish dinner has been postponed until February 2019. Please watch for updates.

Polkas, pierogis and more!

Enjoy a culinary trip to Poland at a festive dinner to be presented the MMS Model UN Team on Thursday, November 15, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 36 Norwood Road.

The menu includes:

* Polish chicken soup
* Pierogis
* Kielbasa with Polish condiments
* Baby potatoes with dill
* Roasted carrots
* Dessert table
* Polish punch!

The evening will include polka music and presentations on Poland by sixth year students, who will represent the country at the 2019 Montessori Model UN this March in New York.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children; under five, free. Proceeds will benefit travel and program expenses.

Reservations are necessary and seats are limited. 


Emily is the lead guide for Upper Elementary II and is the faculty advisor for the MMS Model UN Program.

This marks a new tradition for MMS sixth year students, who participate in special projects and enjoy special privileges as they transition from elementary to middle school. For the past several years, they have worked on a year-long research paper and taken an exclusive overnight trip. Starting this spring, sixth years will participate in the Montessori Model UN program in New York.


About the Montessori Model United Nations:

Maria Montessori supported the work of the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations as a forum where peace could be created. She recognized the hope for peace lay in the education of children.

Montessori Model United Nations has partnered with the United Nations to create a program for Montessori students who at the sensitive period for reason, justice and morality can participate in a life changing experience.

The Montessori Model United Nations program culminates classroom or after school study with a two day global education simulation experience at the United Nations that enables students in upper elementary, and middle schools to learn about the operations of the United Nations and its role as the world’s largest international peacekeeping and humanitarian organization. In addition, like the high school and university Model United Nations Programs, MMUN provides students from 9-15 years of age an opportunity to:

  • Learn about cultures, governments and peoples of nations throughout the world.
  • Use research skills, writing skills and written & oral communications skills.
  • Develop critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and evaluative skills.
  • Debate current global issues and world problems.
  • Practice and use leadership skills in a real life global situation.
  • Understand the need for peace and conflict resolution throughout the world while developing their own conflict resolution and debating skills.