Many people don’t realize La Crescent Montessori Academy began in 1999 because a group of passionate parents and teachers wanted to give their children the option of a Montessori education. As the students grew, so did the requests to continue to grow the school, grade-by-grade. Our school now serves students pre-school through 12th grade, as a free, public charter school for grades K-12. On April 8th,2015, the Adolescent Program (AP) teachers held an informational session to teach parents more about what happens in their non-traditional high school.
Maria Montessori passed away before fully developing her program for adolescents, but she recognized it as a time of intense change. They have left the elementary phase of life and must actively prepare for adulthood. In a few short years, these adolescents will be able to be hired for jobs, be interested in dating, statistically be offered alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes, and the legal ability to drive. They are also interested in fairness and justice and will be adamant on sharing their views of what they feel is fair. How we view them today, not someday, is vital. In a Montessori school we will be actively preparing them during this time period through participation in real life scenarios and activities.
The curriculum is strong with courses in core areas as well as electives and many chances to get outside of the classroom to learn! For more information on our curriculum, visit our AP page! We follow Minnesota State Standards, just like traditional public schools. Unlike a traditional high school, we have block work periods. This allows time for a lesson, questions, one-on-one help and often time to complete their assignments, in the hopes that if students are working during the school day, the evenings are for family-time.
Students are also encouraged to show they have mastered material through a variety of creative ways, such as research papers, art projects, and timelines. All learners are accommodated and and allowed to excel to their fullest academic potential. We are proud of our Youth Outings and Explorations (YOEs), which are scheduled throughout the year. Adolescent development is at the core of Practical Life, Career and Job Readiness and social skills.
Examples of YOEs:
- Winona’s Cemetery Walk (history)
- Corn Maze (orienteering/navigating)
- Rock Quarry (history – fossils, geology – rock types)
- Tree Planting (Environmental Science)
- We Day (giving back to community/world)
- Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge (Environmental Science)
- College visits
Volunteering helps young adults understand the need and rewards of volunteering locally and globally, and it is an important part of our AP program. Students have a required number of volunteer hours to complete in a 12 month period. It starts at 10 hours for 7th graders, and increases each year to 35 hours for 12th graders. In addition to character and self-esteem building, college and universities like to see volunteer hours on applications. In addition, the only way students earn a ticket to the We Day event in Minneapolis is by completing volunteer hours, and it is a huge event which inspires and honors young people to continue to make a difference in the world.
In January and May the students have a chance to focus on a topic with great depth though our “J-Term” and” M-Term.” January usually focuses on the arts and sciences, such as the history of film, understanding personal finance, cooking classes, even a Forensic Science class. In May, the focus is on college tours, community service, and a week-long job shadowing. We feel this is so important to help students think about their future careers, have a chance to walk in those shoes for a day, and really know the expectations of their chosen profession.
The AP program is highly rewarding for students that are self-motivated and eager to learn. Courses are rigorous and frequently inter-disciplinary, encouraging students to notice the connections between different subjects. The independent projects and research pieces give students and opportunity to explore personal interests. Individual desks are yet another way students can take ownership of the classroom and their education.
If you are interested in taking a tour of our school, please call the office at 507-895-4054
and learn what our Adolescent Program has to offer!