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Montessori final report in the works

Red Wing School Board members got a look at a preliminary final report on Riverbend Montessori. Final financial information was not yet available, Board Chairwoman Heidi Jones said.

However, the report that the Board received Monday night covered things such as how to structure a future Montessori program, recommendations to have an advisory committee and regular meetings and to house a Montessori program in one of the district's early childhood centers.

"It was extremely valuable for us to come out of this and understand what that conversation needs to be in the future," Jones said.

Riverbend Montessori opened in 2007 and was supposed to be a three-year pilot program that would eventually be self-sustaining through tuition as well as funding from the Jones Family Foundation.

The school's doors closed at the end of the 2010-11 school year after two years. At the time, former Supt. Stan Slessor said that decision was based on a recommendation from the Montessori's advisory committee and a lack of integration into the rest of the district.

The specialized Montessori materials will be stored in the basement of Twin Bluff Middle School for three years, just in case the possibility of another Montessori school in the district comes up.

In all, board members, as well as members of the Jones Family Foundation, seemed to look back at Riverbend as a learning process.

"There were things that came up that we didn't even know what to ask," Board member Paul Kramp said.

"The district learned from this process and we did too," said Scott Jones, member of the Jones Family Foundation. "Montessori may come back at some point as preschool offerings for the district. If it does, it doesn't have to, but if it does, I think the road map is pretty clear."

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.