MMS launches Parent University with ‘Montessori 101’


Children won’t be the only ones heading back to the classrooms this fall at Mountaineer Montessori School.

Moms and dads will also be students this year as MMS launches a new program, “MMS Parent University,” to provide expanded opportunities for its school community and the public to learn about Montessori education, child development, parenting and other issues of interest to parents and educators.

Montessori educates the “whole child,” and part of that involves educating the whole family.

“Parent education and involvement is an important component of our total education experience”, says MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. “The Montessori approach differs from traditional education in many key areas, and giving parents insight into the philosophy and method can help them apply Montessori principles at home and optimize their child’s success in the classroom,” she said.

The first three MMS Parent U classes will be devoted to “Montessori 101,” and will cover the following:

  • “What is Montessori Education?,” Thursday, August 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Topics include the four planes of development and basic human tendencies and characteristics.
  • “Freedom Within Limits,” Wednesday, September 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • The Individual Within the Community” and “At Home with Montessori,” Wednesday, September 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Jennifer Carriger
MMS Director

Becca Moore
Lower Elementary
Lead Guide

Susie Newhouse
Plus Program Guide
Positive Discipline Educator









Faculty for the first three sessions will be:

  • Jennifer Carriger, MMS Director, AMS certified Montessori Administrator.
  • Becca Moore, MMS Lower Elementary II Lead Guide, AMI certified Elementary (ages 6-12) Educator.
  • Susie Newhouse, MMS Plus Guide, AMS certified Early Childhood Educator and certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator.

In addition to Montessori education, future Parent U programs will cover topics such as positive discipline, nutrition and technology/social media and children.

The first three MMS Parent U programs will be limited to current MMS families.  Programs open to the public and educators are planned for later this fall and spring 2019.

MMS Parent U will be held in the Upper Elementary classrooms. Childcare and dinner will be available for students through our Plus Program for a fee.  At this time, Plus will be available for current MMS students only.

Space is limited and priority will be given to new MMS parents.

All families new to MMS this year should plan to attend.

To RSVP, please contact Beth George, with your name and number of adults/children attending.


“Mountaineer Montessori isn’t just your child’s school—it’s your school too,” says Carriger.

“We are excited to present Parent U as Mountaineer Montessori continues to experience growth and expansion.”

When parents become engaged in our school through Parent U, volunteering, Board service or other avenues, it not only benefits their own child but strengthens our entire educational community and positions us to meet the growing interest for world class education options in our area.  Parents should watch their email for upcoming announcements about new opportunities to get involved with MMS Committees and the Board of Directors in the year ahead.




MMS teachers first in nation trained for Wilson Reading, 4th edition

MMS faculty members were in the first group of educators nationwide to be trained for the Wilson Reading System, 4th Edition. Five teachers from our school (Alasha Al-Qudwah, Jennifer Carriger, Lindy Hoeft, Kathryn Rhoads and Darlene Spangler) completed the three day Wilson training on July 16-18, which was hosted The Appalachian Reading Center at the South Charleston campus of Marshall University. The program was led by Lori Josephson, an educational consultant and teacher trainer.

Wilson is a multi-sensory, research-based reading and spelling program based on Orton-Gillingham that supports students and adults with dyslexia and other learning differences. By participating in ongoing professional development opportunities, MMS faculty learn from and connect with national experts and peers and bring the latest research and best practices back to our classrooms. Thank you, teachers, for your dedication and commitment to providing a world class learning experience to our students!

It’s not too late-summer enrollment information


MMS is growing!

Due to classroom expansions of our Primary and Upper Elementary programs, a limited number of new slots has opened up for the 2018-19 school year. A small number of seats are also available at the Middle School level.

Interested families are urged to make an appointment for a tour as soon as possible. We expect all classes to be filled before the start of the school year on August 20.

Plant the seeds for a great future for your child by filling out this online form.



2018-19 staff announcements and other back to school updates


Dear MMS Parents:

Thank you for being part of our school community!  We look forward to seeing you soon as Mountaineer Montessori School opens its doors for our 43rd school year, and our first full year as an AMS Pathways School.

We are pleased to announce our 2018-2019 staff, who will provide a solid and supportive Montessori foundation for your children. (Please see our staff overview page for links to bios.)


Our Primary program will consist of three classrooms this year, with students guided by Kathryn Rhoads (Primary I), Isabelle Bournigault (Primary II) and Samantha VanDenBerghe-Lynch (Primary III).  Michelle Scarbrough will return as an assistant in Primary II, with assistants for other classrooms to be announced soon.

The third MMS primary classroom, serving Morning Friends only this year, is being phased in as part of our strategic planning process.  The MMS Board is actively exploring several opportunities for expanded facilities to meet the exceptionally strong community interest in our school.  We have been making great progress and resolution on some exciting possibilities is hoped in the very near future.


Our Lower Elementary program will again consist of two classrooms.  Tara Fought and Nancy Johnston will continue to lead Lower Elementary I.  Becca Moore will return to guide Lower Elementary II, assisted by Alasha Al-Qudwah.   We are excited to announce that our Upper Elementary program will expand to two classrooms this year, led by Jason Winesburg and Emily Capece and assisted by Kristie Simmons.

Our Middle School Program (at Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle Road) will be led by Sarah Halstead (humanities, grammar/writing, micro economy), Julie Margolis (math and PE) and Emily Beal (science and math).  They will be joined by specialists Alasha Al-Qudwah (creative expression) and Colleen Anderson (writing workshop).

Plus Program and Specialists

Karen Kelly returns to lead Montessori Plus this year.  Karen will be assisted by Maria León Kershner, Susie Newhouse and Tysean Lynch.

Curriculum specialists will include Maria León Kershner, Spanish teacher, and Beth George, computer teacher.  Nancy Johnston will lead physical education classes and art classes and Darlene Spangler and Lindy Hoeft will provide Learning Support services.   Bernard DiGregorio will once again offer private-pay strings lessons to elementary-age students on Fridays. Please see Bernard’s letter for details.  Karen Morris will return as our Music Teacher for extended-day Primary and Elementary.

We wish a fond farewell to Kristyn Anderson and Bridgett Steveson, who will not be returning to MMS this fall due to out of state moves.  We thank each of them for their contributions to Mountaineer Montessori School and wish them all the best.

Ice cream social

Be sure to attend our Ice Cream Social on Thursday, August 23 from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Danner Meadow Park so that you can get acquainted and re-acquainted with all of our talented staff, MMS families, Board members and alumni.


Back to school start dates and orientations     

Staff returns to the building on Wednesday, August 8.  If your child is new to MMS or moving up to a new classroom (primary to lower elementary or lower elementary to upper elementary), you will need to register for an orientation session for you and your child with his or her teacher.  Orientation sessions for Primary, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary will be held on Friday, August 17.  This provides an opportunity to see the classroom, meet the teachers, and to have questions answered in a relaxed, informal manner.

All middle school students and parents (returning and new) should attend our middle school orientation session on Thursday, August 16.

Class lists and instructions for registering for orientation sessions will be emailed by Thursday, August 9.

2018-2019 Student start dates will be as follows:

  • Monday, August 20 – Primary Extended Day, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School
  • Tuesday, August 21 – Returning Primary Morning Friends
  • Wednesday, August 22 – New Primary Morning Friends

Arrival for all students at the main campus begins at 7:50 a.m.  Morning Friends will be dismissed at 11:50 a.m.  Extended Day and Elementary students will be dismissed at 2:50 p.m.  Middle school arrival begins at 8:00 a.m. with dismissal at 3:10 p.m.

The Plus Program will be available from the first day of classes.  Please contact the office by August 8 in order to reserve a space in the Plus program for your child if he/she will attend from 11:50 a.m.-2:50 p.m.  Montessori Plus also accommodates students on a drop-in basis as space allows.   Advance registration (at least a day ahead) is required to reserve a spot.


Thank you for your patience over the past year as we debuted our new school management system, RenWeb.  We will continue to use RenWeb/ParentsWeb this year.

To create your ParentsWeb account:

  • From your laptop or desktop, go to:
  • Type the school’s District Code:   MM-WV
  • Click Create New ParentsWeb Account.
  • Type your email address and click Create Account.
  • An email will be sent which includes a link to create your ParentsWeb login. The link is active for 6 hours.
  • Select the Click to Create your ParentsWeb login link.
  • A web browser displays your Name and RenWeb Person ID.
  • Type a User Name, Password, and Confirm the password.
  • Click Save User Name and/or Password. A message displays at the top of the browser, “User Name/Password successfully updated.”
  • You may now log in to ParentsWeb using your new User Name and Password.

Once you have logged in, please access and complete/update the following forms through ParentsWeb.  All forms should be completed before August 20.

  • Family demographic form:  please check the form for completeness and accuracy
  • student medical form
  • custodial parent form(s)
  • transportation form
  • field trip form
  • consent for use of student images form
  • in lieu of transportation form

Parents Web also contains the following resource documents:

  • Classroom supplies lists
  • WV Department of Health and Human Resources immunization requirements.  A complete and up-to-date immunization record must be signed by your physician and filed at school on or before August 20.
  • Plus Program information and supplies list
  • Strings letter
  • Arrival/Dismissal Procedures
  • Summer Assignments (Upper Elementary and Middle School) 


Stay in touch with MMS!

Visit our website at   It contains staff biographies, the school calendar, events calendar and other important information.  Our Facebook page and Twitter feed are updated regularly with school news and photos.

We will be communicating with the parent body primarily by e-mail, ParentsWeb and Constant Contact this year, so if you have not confirmed your current e-mail address, please contact Beth George at to do so.  If your e-mail address should change during the course of the school year, please let us know as soon as possible.   Please note that any information that is sent out via e-mail is important and may not be followed up with hard copies.  Our goal is to be as environmentally responsible as possible.

We are excited to be able to continue providing our families with an exceptional educational experience at Mountaineer Montessori School.  Thank you to the MMS Board of Directors, families, and alumni, all of whom continue to provide enthusiastic and generous support.

Best wishes,


Jennifer Carriger

MMS Director



Reaching new heights as an AMS Pathways School


For the last 42 years, MMS has built a strong tradition of excellence and innovation in education. And while we are very proud of our where we stand today, we understand that a commitment to superior quality never ends.

This year, that commitment was raised to a new level through the American Montessori Society (AMS) Pathways to Continuous School Improvement program. Pathways, a mission-driven, standards-based process that helps schools achieve and maintain Montessori excellence, is administered by AMS, the nation’s foremost Montessori organization. Mountaineer Montessori is the only full member AMS school in West Virginia.

MMS has made great progress on the Pathway, achieving Level 7, which requires schools to incorporate the core components of quality Montessori education and standards for learner outcomes. We are on track to complete the entire Pathways program in the near future. We congratulate MMS Director Jennifer Carriger on her leadership and commitment to this priority initiative and the MMS Board of Directors for their support.

The Pathways project builds on our annual investment in AMS/AMI teacher training and professional development. These educational opportunities equip our faculty and staff with the resources, knowledge and connections to offer the best learning experience possible for our students. Tuition for these courses is costly and most are only offered out of state and require extended study on campus. We believe that supporting professional development is one of the most important investments we can make in your child’s education.

As part of the Pathways project and other quality initiatives, MMS consults with nationally- and internationally-recognized Montessori experts who offer guidance on curriculum, facilities and governance. In the past year alone, four nationally prominent Montessorians have traveled to Charleston to continue to strengthen our school. These include:

  • David Kahn, executive director of the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA), for school resource development and adolescent programming.
  • Peter Piche, AMS Pathways adviser, on operations and curriculum.
  • Katie Ibes, Pedagogical Consultant, on math curriculum alignment (all levels, primary through middle school), upper elementary program expansion, and coaching for connection parent education
  • Susan Kambrich, AMS Administrator consultant, regarding governance and operations.

Recommendations from these experts are already being implemented as part of our goal to continually raise the bar at MMS and be a model for excellence and innovation for other schools across the state.

Important work like this goes on behind the scenes every day at MMS. Our teachers, administrators and board are committed to offering a superior education experience that helps children achieve their full potential. We are grateful to the support from our families, community partners and fundraising activities, which allow us to realize this commitment to your child.

MMS is honored to have been a trusted school home for more than 1,000 children over the past four decades. As we close down an amazing year and prepare for another to start up in the fall, we want you to know how very happy we are that your family is a part of this special tradition.

We look forward to Montes-SOARING with you to even greater heights in the year ahead.



2018 Montessori Meet-Ups Calendar


The 2018 MMS Summer Montessori Meet-Ups line up has been set.

Meet-Ups are opportunities for MMS families and friends to connect and have fun over the summer. This is a great way for new families to meet others and for current students to say in touch with their friends in the weeks ahead.

While most events have a contact person listed, no RSVPs are needed unless noted…just show up and hang out with your Montessori friends… wear your “M” shirts and look for others wearing their MMS colors!

Please note that this calendar may be updated with additional activities or changes as events and/or weather dictate. Watch your email, social media and the MMS blog for updates.

If you have an idea for an additional activity, please contact Hollie Hubbert, the 2018 Montessori Meet-Up Coordinator at; 304/389-3031 (cell).

Montessori Meet-Ups Summer 2018

Sunday, June 3: Symphony Sunday. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a free West Virginia Symphony Orchestra performance and fireworks! A variety of great food vendors will be available. Contact: Hollie Hubbert,; 304/389-3031 (cell).

Sunday, June 10: Greenbrier Pool Party starting at 1:00 p.m., 5103 Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City. Admission is $3 for non-members. Concessions open for lunch and snacks. Bring bathing suit, sunscreen and towel. Contact: Holly Hubbert,; 304/389-3031 (cell).

Saturday, June 16FestivALL Art Parade. Celebrate Education in Living Color at MMS by participating in this fun and casual parade, which runs from Kanawha Boulevard down Capitol Street ending with a party at the Capitol Market. All ages (strollers, etc.) are welcome. WEAR YOUR M SHIRT. The parade steps off at 10:00 a.m. Participants should line up no later than 9:30 a.m. at Haddad Park. Coordinator needed

Saturday, June 23: FestivALL Children’s Art Show. Join MMS from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for make-and-take creative fun at our booth at the Kanawha County Library, presented annually as part of the the FestivALL Children’s Art Fair. Volunteers needed . Contact: Jennifer Carriger,

Wednesday, June 27: Dakota & Friends Dino Party , Kanawha County Public Library Main Branch, third floor, in downtown Charleston at 6:00 p.m. Dino Ed will be bringing realistic dinosaurs to the library! You may even get to ride one. See a baby dinosaur hatch from an egg and meet the triceratops triplets! Contact: Hollie Hubbert,; 304/389-3031 (cell).

Saturday, June 30: Magic Island Picnic , 10:00 a.m. (West Side of Charleston). Meet for splash park and playground fun and a picnic. Bring your sunscreen, bathing suits, beach towels, volleyball for sand volley ball, soccer balls and bikes–so much to do on Magic Island. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and blanket or lawn chairs. Contact: Enybe Diaz,

Monday, July 9: West Virginia Power vs. Hagerstown , 7:05 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park. Head out to the old ball game with MMS! Meet around section 102. Contact: David Bailey,

Friday, July 20: Live on the Levee , Haddad Riverfront Park. Live on the Levee brings live music to Charleston every Friday during the summer. Opening acts start at 6:30 p.m., with the headliners taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. Food vendors begin setting up at 5:00 p.m. Meet up near the sandbox.

Sunday, August 5: Greenbrier Pool Party starting at 1:00 p.m., 5103 Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City. Admission is $3 for non-members. Concessions open for lunch and snacks. Bring bathing suit, sunscreen and towel.Contact: Holly Hubbert,; 304/389-3031 (cell).

Saturday, August 18: Downtown Streetfest, 4:00-9:00 p.m., Capitol Street.

Thursday, August 23: MMS Back to School Ice Cream Party at Danner Meadow Park. Details TBA.

Reminder: This calendar may be updated with additional activities or changes as events and/or weather dictate. Watch your email, social media and the MMS blog for updates


Recycle yard signs through MMS ‘Art of Politics’ project

Every candidate is a winner with the MMS Art of Politics project!

The May 8 West Virginia primary is over and the yard signs have come down. Now rather than heading to the trash, the ubiquitous signs can take on a new life as garden art through a project at Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS), 308 20th Street.

The community is invited to place unwanted political signs along the front fence of the school, which is located in the South Ruffner/University of Charleston neighborhood from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, now through May 31. Drop offs will be limited to two signs per person.

The discarded signs will be repurposed into works of art by area children enrolled in the school’s seven-week “Campessori” Summer Program in June-July.

“The ‘Art of Politics’ project will involve our students in caring for the environment, inspire conversations about civic engagement and offer a wonderful opportunity for creative expression,” says MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. “We look forward to the signs taking on a new life as beautiful art throughout our community this summer.”

MMS is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, serving 132 students ages 3 to 8th grade. Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is a pioneer in bringing student-centered learning to the state, and is the only West Virginia school to be a full member of the American Montessori Society, the nation’s foremost Montessori organization.


For more information, please go to

MMS adds second Upper Elementary class for 2018-19

We are happy to announce that MMS will offer TWO Upper Elementary classes next year, a development that is a long time in coming due to the growing and sustained interest in our programs. Next year’s classes will be led by current Lead Guide Jason Winesburg and Emily Capece.

Up until now, we have been reluctant to make the shift, because of the warm chemistry of our existing group. To keep this intact, classes will be split into separate classrooms for the crucial three-hour work period in the morning. Students will stay with their guide for the morning, with individual and small group lessons. In the afternoon, we will come together for free time and afternoon lessons, as well as specials classes. That way, no one misses out on seeing close friends and both teachers get to work directly with all students.

There will be many other wonderful enhancements to Upper Elementary, including a new sixth-year project with Montessori Model UN, a year-long project where students pick a country and travel to New York to present their country’s position on modern issues and events. With the experience they have gained from years of oral presentations and debates, they will put their work to use while interacting with students from around the world.

More about MMUN below:

Our faculty will be working hard over upcoming months to build on the cherished Upper Elementary curriculum and traditions to enhance our program for today’s students.

This isn’t the only exciting development in the works. Stay tuned for announcements of other important updates. Forty two years and stronger than ever! We’re so glad you and your family are a part of this amazing movement that continues to raise the bar for education.


Positive Discipline parent education to be held April 14 & 21


Plans are now in place for the 2018 MMS Positive Discipline (PD) parent workshops. This year’s classes will be held Saturday, April 14 and Saturday, April 21 in the Upper Elementary classrooms from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Susie Newhouse

Classes will be held by Susie Newhouse, an MMS educator with more than 20 years of experience in Montessori early childhood classrooms. Susie is a certified AMS Montessori Guide and certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator.







The cost for the workshops is $120 per family (1-2 participants). Space is limited. The fee includes:

  • Positive Discipline book
  • Positive Discipline workbook
  • Positive Discipline tool cards
  • Positive Discipline handouts folder
  • Light afternoon snack

Please download the workshop brochure for more information or to register:

2018 MMS Positive Discipline Parent Workshops

For more information, please contact Susie at


Workshops will cover:

  • Nurturing the development of character and life skills in our children
  • Using kindness and firmness at the same time
  • Developing routine charts to minimize bedtime and morning hassles
  • Encouragement vs. praise
  • Focusing on solutions rather than punishment
  • Natural and logical consequences
  • Family meetings
  • Developing mutually respectful parenting tools that invite cooperation
  • Helping children feel a stronger sense of belonging, significance and capability


Childcare is available for MMS students for $15/day. Snack is included.


About Positive Discipline

Positive Discipline is a time-honored approach for helping children develop a sense of belonging and contribution, responsibility, respect for self and others and problem-solving skills. PD teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).


Recent research tells us that children are “hardwired” from birth to connect with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their community, family and school are less likely to misbehave. To be successful, contributing members of their community, children must learn necessary social and life skills. PD is based on the understanding that discipline must be taught and that discipline also teaches.



But does it work? Montessori outcomes


Parents of Montessori students can see its benefits every day in the happiness of their children and their excitement for school. But what does that mean for the long term and is there proof that Montessori really “works?”

These questions are being affirmatively answered in a growing body of peer-reviewed research confirming the advantages of Montessori education for children from preschool all the way through high school:

  • A longitudinal study of public Montessori schools in South Carolina found a higher percentage of students in Montessori programs met or exceeded state performance benchmarks in language arts, math, science, and social studies, and showed faster growth in language arts over the course of the study.

Does a Montessori model work in public schools?

  • A three-year study of public Montessori schools in Hartford, Conn., found that Montessori children rated higher in academic achievement, social cognition, mastery orientation and school enjoyment than students in traditional classrooms. Even more important, the study found that Montessori closed the achievement gap between low income and more advantaged children.

Montessori education elevates and equalizes outcomes

  • A comparison of middle school students in traditional and Montessori programs found the Montessori students experienced higher levels of achievement, superior talent development and higher levels of interest and intrinsic motivation.


  • The Center for Montessori Education in the Public Sector compiles peer-reviewed research on Montessori. You can learn more here.


  • A comprehensive look at the research supporting Montessori education can be found in “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius” by Angeline Stoll Lillard. Lillard presents the research behind eight insights that are foundations of Montessori education, describing how each of these insights is applied in the Montessori classroom. The book offers a clear understanding of what happens in a Montessori classroom and, more important, why it happens and why it works. Amid the clamor for evidence-based education, Lillard presents the studies that show how children learn best, makes clear why many traditional practices come up short, and describes an ingenious alternative that works. Copies of the book are available in the MMS office or on Amazon. This is a must-read for every parent!