MMS celebrates Montessori Education Week 2018

MMS is joining with schools around the world in celebrating the child-centered approach to education that has been transforming lives for more than a century during Montessori Education Week February 25-March 3.


We’ll be highlighting Montessori education and our school through media outreach and social media platforms and organizing special events and ongoing activities for our school community in the week ahead.


Please mark your calendars for the dates below:


  • “Ask Jennifer,” Thursday, March 1, 8:15-9:30 a.m., at the Middle School (804 Myrtle Road – Unity Church). In honor of Montessori Education Week, Director Jennifer Carriger will host a special coffee for parents. This is a wonderful opportunity to have your questions about Montessori education, what’s happening in our classrooms and/or school operations addressed.


  • “M” shirt day, Friday, March 2. Everyone is encouraged to show their Montessori spirit by wearing M gear to school.


  • “The thing I like best about Mountaineer Montessori is…” Students, parents, alumni and our community are invited to share what makes MMS special to them via social media posts (starting next week) and fun art sheets that will be distributed at school. You and your child can get started now by completing the attached form. Responses will be posted throughout our hallways! MMS Education Week Art


Please watch your email and social media for announcements of other activities that will take place in the week ahead. After 111 years of Montessori education around the world and 41 years in Charleston, we have a lot to celebrate!


2018-19 MMS School Year Calendar Highlights


The 2018-19 MMS school year calendar is being finalized and will be available in its entirety soon. We know many families plan vacations well in advance and want to make sure you have the basic information now.

Here are some of the 2018-2019 calendar highlights:


  • August 17:    New Student Visits
  • August 20:   First Day for Students – Primary Extended Day, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School
  • August 21:    First Day for Students – Returning Primary Morning Friends
  • August 22:   First Day for Students – New Primary Morning Friends
  • September 3:  School Closed/Labor Day
  • November 19-23: School Closed/Thanksgiving Break
  • December 20:   Noon dismissal/Winter Concert
  • December 21-January 1:  School Closed/New Year’s Break
  • January 21:  School Closed/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February 18-22:   School Closed/Winter Break
  • April 15-19:    School Closed/Spring Break
  • May 27:  School Closed/Memorial Day
  • June 7:  Last Day of School/Early Dismissal/Picnic

An inspired partnership: Mountaineer Montessori Middle School and Unity of Kanawha Valley

One of the oldest buildings in South Hills has started a new chapter in its long and storied history.

The stone structure, located at 804 Myrtle at Bridge Road, has been home to several religious congregations since it was built in 1902. For the first 55 years, the building housed Elizabeth Memorial Methodist Church before the church relocated to Oakwood Road in 1977, and later welcomed a Presbyterian congregation.  In 2007, it was purchased by Unity of Kanawha Valley (UKV).

The sanctuary, which features majestic stained-glass windows, was completed before Bridge Road was paved. The original building was constructed from stone quarried on Davis Creek and hauled over mud roads on horse drawn wagons. In 1955, the building was expanded with a community room addition.

UKV, which had moved from North Charleston to the South Hills location, undertook extensive repairs and updates to help restore the sanctuary to its original splendor. The building soon became home to not only religious services, but a wide variety of community events.

But while the building was a hub of activity on the weekends and evenings, it was generally quiet during weekdays. So when Mountaineer Montessori School began looking for locations to add an adolescent component to its existing preschool to sixth grade program, 804 Myrtle Road, it seemed like a natural fit:  the two organizations shared a similar vision and commitment to service, the building offered a large lower level and kitchen and the location provided a perfect home base for community-based, experiential learning that is a hallmark of then Montessori Middle School model.


Mountaineer Montessori Middle School opens

Lead Guide Bridgett Steveson, Unity President Sharon Mullins, Designer Jill Watkins and MMS Director Jennifer Carriger

In August 2014, Mountaineer Montessori Middle School (MMMS), serving seventh- and eighth-grade students, officially opened its doors at the South Hills church and an inspired partnership was born.

Since then, students and teachers have taken full advantage of the location, establishing classrooms and individual and collaborative learning areas throughout the church’s lower level, using the kitchen for weekly cooking sessions and frequent fundraising events and enjoying the beautiful Sunrise neighborhood and access to the Carriage Trail and downtown Charleston.

“It has been a treat for the staff and visitors to hear the laughter of the students both on the grounds and in the building,” says UKV President Sharon Mullins.“ School and church personnel find many ways to cooperate in enriching student experiences,” she said.

As the MMMS program continued to expand and it evolved, new needs surfaced and the two organizations took their partnership to a new level by collaborating on facility improvements last summer. Both parties wanted to upgrade the carpet, ceiling and paint the walls of the activity room. Students also had ideas for enhancing their school, and developed own wish lists and design concepts for new learning areas.


Transforming a vision into reality

Bridgett Steveson and Sharon Mullins.

Jill Watkins, a professional designer, volunteered her professional skills to transform those ideas into a reality.

 “I have friends whose children attend the school and I am familiar with the Montessori approach to teaching.  I wanted to merge ideas generated by the students with a professional design approach and have the final design be in line with Montessori values.  I do some community work occasionally, and this seemed like a good opportunity to help out,” said Watkins, who brought 24 years of experience to the project. She opened Watkins Design Works, a West Virginia-based commercial and residential interior design and green building consulting firm, in 2014. Her work features an emphasis on green design, sustainability and locally-sourced products.

The original space needed to be a bit brighter and updated so that the school could be more functional and lively, she noted. To achieve that objective, separate areas were created within the large activity room including a morning gathering space with the fireplace as focal point; a group project area with movable custom-made wood tables crafted from West Virginia trees by Mark Bolton; and the stage, which became more functional with book storage and bean bags.  New ceiling tiles, lighting and paint brightened the room, and carpet tile selected by the church will be easy to maintain, she said.




A community effort

Combining funds and volunteer labor and guided by the professional design plan, the Unity congregation and school collaborated to create a beautiful, functional space that serves both the school and weekend and evening church activities.

The refreshed spaces have met with rave reviews from students, Unity members and the public.

“Many church members enter the building from the parking lot. As they open the door, they see the beautiful new carpeting, the handsomely crafted maple tables, the stage with library bookcases and the bright color photos of students in their activities throughout the community. What a lovely introduction to the facility!,” Mullins said.

“Design is important in all aspects of our lives, and can affect our outlook, productivity and general well-being.  It is something we notice, even if on a subconscious level.  Everyone deserves good design,” Watkins said.

Unity of Kanawha Valley offers a wonderful home base to prepare students to go out into their community and world.

The redesign of the Unity community room is a big hit with students, teachers and congregants alike.









Stand up for our students: Tim Tebow law up for vote again


MMMS students shared their views with WV Senator Kenny Mann, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, at the Capitol last year.

For  the past several years, Mountaineer Montessori School has been involved in efforts to pass legislation to open access to publicly funded extra curricular activities covered by the WVSSAC to independent and home school students (“Tim Tebow Law”).

Due in part to advocacy by our students, teachers and families, a bill was passed by the WV Senate and House during last year’s legislative session. However, the bill was vetoed at the last minute by Governor Jim Justice.

Two Tim Tebow-type bills have been introduced this year.

Yesterday, the House Education Committee voted down one of them, HB4007, 16-9.

Our best hope is SB130, which was passed by Senate Education last week. It now needs to be approved by Senate Finance. Click here for the text of the current bill.



We encourage all MMS families and friends to write, visit and/or call Senate Finance Chair Craig Blair and urge him to put SB130 on the committee agenda.

He can be reached at:

Senator Craig Blair

Room 461M, Building 1

State Capitol Complex

Charleston, WV 25305




Lobbyists for groups opposing opportunities for our children have been very active and visible on this issue and it is important that our students’ voices be heard at the Capitol.

As always, please pass this along to friends and family. We need all the help we can right now. Please email Dr. Heather Clawges, who has been spearheading this effort statewide, with any questions or suggestions:

For those who are interested, below is the committee vote for HB4007, which was defeated yesterday:


Chaiman Espinosa – Yea

Vice-Chairman Statler – Yea

Atikinson – Yea

Blair – Yea

Campbell – Nay

Cooper – Nay

Dean – Nay

Evans – Nay

Folk – Yea

Hicks – Nay

Higginbothom – Yea

Hornbuckle – Nay

Kelly – Yea

Moye – Nay

Pyles – Nay

Rodighiero – Nay

Rohrbach – Nay

Romine – Nay

Rowan – Nay

Rowe – Nay

Thompson – Nay

Upson – Yea

Wagner – Nay

Westfall – Nay

Wilson – Yea



Coaching for Connection: special event for parents of teens and preteens to be held January 25

Coaching for Connection: Tools for Parents

with Katie Ibes

Thursday, January 25

6:00-7:30 p.m.

Mountaineer Montessori Middle School (804 Myrtle Road)

Read about the program! Coaching for Connection




Being a parent of a pre-teen and teenager can be particularly challenging and confusing. And yet, incorporating just a few basic coaching techniques can offer support and guidance while opening a window into their world.

At this special MMS Parent Education event, Katie Ibes, Montessori teacher, trainer, consultant, and life and leadership coach, will lead parents through some simple coaching exercises that invite a new way to maintain connection with the young adults in our lives.

Ibes is a principal of Grow Wise Coaching, and the Pedagogical Director for Great River School, a first- through 12th grade Montessori charter school in St. Paul, Minnesota.

At the event, attendees will practice coaching techniques with each other, gaining first-hand experience and appreciation of how vital and powerful this methodology can be.

While this workshop is primarily geared towards parents of children ages 9-18, all parents are welcome – the earlier we bring this work to our children, the better!

This event is open to MMS parents and the public. Admission is FREE.

Plus Program Available

Childcare is available at the main campus for MMS students whose parents are attending the session. Please plan to drop your child(ren) off with Karen before heading over to the middle school. There is no charge. Please email Karen at to register.


MMS on two-hour delay January 17

Due to weather conditions, MMS will open on a two-hour delay on Wednesday, January 17. Stay warm and safe!







Re-enrollment deadline is February 1



Re-enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is underway at MMS!

We ask that all returning MMS families login to ParentsWeb and complete the re-enrollment process by February 1, 2018. A 5 percent tuition deposit must be paid upon enrollment. Please contact us if this is a concern for you.

From a desktop or laptop computer, follow these steps to access and begin the process:

  • Go to
  • Select Login from the menu bar and ParentsWeb Login from the drop-down menu.
  • Type in our district code (MM-WV), your username and password. If you have forgotten your username or password, please click on the link provided.
  • After logging in, click on the Family Information button in the left menu.
  • Click on the Enrollment/Reenrollment button.

Please note that a completed new application for enrollment for new siblings is required.

After February 1, we will offer remaining classroom spaces to new families. Because space is limited in all classes, if we do not receive your materials in by February 1, we cannot guarantee that your child will have a place next year.

The online financial aid application process is open, and applications are due by March 30.  Notification of awards will be sent in writing by April 20. If your financial aid award is not sufficient to meet your needs, your tuition deposit will be refunded to you.

New families should complete the admissions process, including a tour, as soon as possible. Classes fill quickly and we have maintained a waiting list for the past several years. Please see the Admissions page for more information.

We look forward to welcoming returning and new families to MMS for our 42nd year of excellence and innovation in education next fall!



MMS Ski Club is back!

The MMS Ski Club is returning this year thanks to Hollie Hubbert. Her message below has all of the details:


The MMS Ski Club is back. As a first step, I will register MMS with the Winterplace school ski groups at

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 will have the option to receive a weekly ski or snowboarding lesson and weekday evening passes at a reduced rate. There are a variety of package options for the after school 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.; five weeks or eight weeks, the day of your choice, Sunday – Thursday or Monday – Thursday for skiing, snowboarding or tubing.  The rates vary depending on the options you choose. All ski and snowboarding options include a weekly lesson and equipment. If children are under 6, a parent needs to be with them for the lesson.

Please see the attached document for more information: Winterplace Ski Club Information

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 Tuesdays but needs to go on a Wednesday instead it is OK.  We must choose one lesson time, on the hour, such as 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.

Everyone must register on the same roster, seven days in advance of the start date. Each person/family can pay and receive their passes on their first visit.  Our school participant roster sheet will be submitted to Winterplace on Wednesday, January 10. This would make our MMS start date Tuesday, January 16. For those who want a five week pass the end date will be Thursday, February 15. For those who want an eight week pass the end date will be Thursday, March 8. Once we know the families who will participate we can coordinate possible ride sharing, a preferred lesson time, etc.  I will attend the all-family meeting, Tuesday, January 9 to answer and collect questions, etc.


Please let me know if your child(ren) and other family members are interested in participating by Tuesday, January 9. If you would like to join you will need to complete the last two pages of the attachment: safety checklist and roster information and send it to me or give it to me at the all-family meeting on Tuesday, January 9. If you have questions please email me at, call or text at 304.389.3031 or talk to me at the all family meeting.  Thanks!


Hollie Hubbert

(mom of Thomas Bailey – Primary I)



School closing policy reminder

With the arrival of harsh winter weather, we wish to remind you of our school closing policy:

When inclement weather causes school closings or delays, information will be posted on our web site and social media platforms (Facebook , Twitter , etc.) and sent by email to all families.

Additionally, local radio and TV stations will carry announcements regarding MMS school closings. (WQBE, V100, WVPR, WCHS, WCHS-TV, WSAZ-TV). Because there may be a delay in these announcements from the time we send them to when they air, please check your email and our social media accounts first rather than relying on local media outlets.

MMS does not follow any of the Kanawha County Schools weather related procedures.

If circumstances require a delayed opening, MMS may open one or two hours late.

If you feel that the roads are in such poor condition that it would be difficult for you to get to school safely, please do not attempt to drive. We would much prefer that children stay home than have parents take unnecessary risks to get them to school.

Note: If school is in session when snow begins to fall, and you think that the roads are becoming treacherous, please come for your child immediately without first calling the school. It is much better to come get children than risk having the roads become so hazardous that you are unable to get to the school to pick them up at all. Mountaineer Montessori School does not make up snow days.

Stay safe and stay warm!


Prospective parent tours underway for 2018-19

Tours for the 2018-19 school year are underway at Mountaineer Montessori School.

Prospective families are invited to reserve their space at an upcoming tour, which will be held on the following dates:

  • November 8
  • December 13
  • January 10
  • January 24
  • February 7
  • February 28

All tours begin at the MMS main school, 308 20th Street, at 1:30 p.m. The tours provide an overview of Montessori education, information on MMS admissions procedures and policies, and the opportunity to observe classrooms in action.  Tours are for parents only and reservations are required. Space is limited.

Prospective families will be notified of admissions decisions in early March. Classes fill up quickly and MMS has maintained a waiting list for the past several years. Future MMS families are encouraged to begin the admissions process at their earliest convenience.

To sign up for a tour, or for more information, please complete this “Request Information” online form.

Completion of this form is required to sign up for a tour or begin the enrollment process.

MMS serves 134 children ages 3-14 in a fully implemented Montessori environment, offering a rich academic and arts curriculum, along with an extensive after-school program, summer camps, computer classes, foreign language, chess, robotics, individual learning support, cross country and other enrichment activities. Founded in 1976, MMS is the largest and longest-established Montessori school in West Virginia, and offers the only Montessori Middle School program in the state.  Financial aid is available.

MMS considers all children for admission based upon their readiness for school, potential for success in a Montessori classroom and our enrollment capacity.  MMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, creed, religion or ethnic or national origin in its admission policy.

For more information, email, or call 304/342-7870.