FAQ

What are the school hours?
Drop off is between 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM; pick-up is at 3:00 PM.

Are there plans to expand the school through 12th grade?
It is the desire and vision of the board of directors to expand in the future, but nothing has been determined at this time.

Does the school offer any after-school programming or options?
(Question for board -- what are the summer plans for programming?)
At this time, we offer aftercare from 3-5:00 PM, four days a week. Students may engage in art, hikes, and outdoor play.[1] [2]  ($20 for one child, $30 for two children)

What kind of academic support does the school offer?
(This may be able to be expanded upon if a sped. Teacher is hired)
We are a small, growing school with resources commensurate to that status. The teachers are able to differentiate within the classroom, but students who require significant support may require private tutoring above and beyond what the teachers are able to accommodate.

How are social-emotional issues and overall needs supported at MRS?
Social-emotional health is identified in our domains of learning, and as such, is at the core of what we do.  We strive to create an environment in which students can simply be who they are and regularly receive feedback from our parents that supports this.  “It’s so great to see him being himself...this is the first time she’s ever been excited to go to school...he just seems so energized…”   We work very hard to form very deep relationships with our students, which, in addition to student goal setting and ongoing social-emotional work, allows us to recognize the needs and styles of our students and ensure that they are met. Through the normal course of the day, we shift through multiple modalities, which ensures that each child has access to our curriculum in a way that best meets their needs.

Are there extra costs that would fall outside of tuition (field trips, etc.)?
There may be additional costs for field trips, including Winter Thursday ski package, but it generally does not place a burden on any of our families.

Where do you see the TSS partnership heading for the 2018-2019 school year?
We are working with the Teton Science School Place-Based Schools Network and have developed our domains of learning, which are linked to proficiencies. Next year, we will be working on showcasing the varying milestones of learning through a software program called Novare. This will enable us to report out on the proficiencies, manage portfolios and project-based learning, and provide a communication portal for parents.

How is technology used to support teaching and learning at MRS?
MRS has developed a technology policy for students in 4-8th grade, although very little is used. Some students access technology for online math programming or for word processing. When we do use it, there is emphasis placed on healthy, balanced access to those resources.  Our teachers have full access to online and technological resources to support their teaching and planning.

Since the school rents their space right now, are there any known plans for the school moving forward?
(This was asked recently, not sure if you want to keep it as a Q & A)
The MRS location committee made a recommendation to the board this spring to stay in the current building for the 2018-2019 school year and the board approved that recommendation.

How does the school measure student achievement and progress?
Currently, we use Fountas and Pinnell for reading assessment and parent-optional Aimsweb Plus in math, (and also in reading as needed).  Teachers also use rubrics which are linked to our proficiencies and ultimately to Novare, which is a software program that will provide a parent portal to student progress.  Student work is compiled in a portfolio and student progress overall is thoroughly reflected in our student profiles each trimester.

What is Mountain River School's educational philosophy?
MRS believes that children must unfold to their fullest potential: emotionally; socially; intellectually; physically, creatively, artistically, and spiritually (nonsectarian). Our approach honors all parts of a child’s development and offers opportunities to learn in a nurturing, learner-centered environment focusing on core skills, leadership, self-awareness, and mastery of foundational curriculum and project-based learning. (Link back to place-based model)

As children learn about themselves as individuals and become part of a community, they learn to speak a language of kindness, respect, and compassion for all. Exposure to nature helps students explore the connection between all living things, drawing upon their own innate knowing, intuition, and empathy. We practice daily mindfulness practices and are committed to cultivating and deepening our own awareness, personal relationships, and connections with community.

How are the grades divided at MRS?
Within our multi-age structure, we currently offer (change this, as appropriate) classes in our Rivers (K), Meadows (1st-3rd), and Forests (4th+) programs. 


2017 FAQ

What is holistic nature-based education?
Holistic nature-based education allows children to unfold to their fullest potential-- emotionally, socially, intellectually, physically, creatively, artistically, and spiritually (non-sectarian). The children learn about themselves as individuals and as part of a community while speaking a language of kindness, respect and compassion for all. Nature is one of the main classrooms in which children learn through nature-based activities and open explorations. Drawing on their innate knowing, children cultivate empathy and understanding by exploring the connection between all living things.

 

What is the holistic approach at Mountain River School?
Our approach from a holistic perspective honors all parts of a child's development; social, emotional, physical, spiritual, our connection with nature and intellectual development. Our unique model offers opportunities for children to learn in a nurturing, learner-centered environment focused on foundational curriculum that offers students both choice and voice in their education. By honoring each child’s passion for learning, inspiring curiosity and empowering students, the Mountain River School's approach fills a unique niche in Vermont. Daily mindfulness practices and a commitment to every child’s social, emotional and spiritual needs cultivate and deepen self-awareness, relationships and connection to community. View our video about our collaboration and training with Teton Science Schools to learn even more!

What is the student-teacher ratio?
Our mixed grade classrooms will strive to have a low student to teacher ratio. There is a potential for older programs to have a slightly higher ratio than younger programs.

How many grades are at MRS? 
Currently we have four programs at MRS. We have the Rivers (K), the Meadows (1st-3rd), Forests (4th-6th) & the Mountains (6th-8th). MRS is currently exploring expansion and are working to expand to a K-12 program.

What is the family involvement at MRS? 
Family involvement is an integral part of the MRS community. We honor each child’s familial relationships and how they are an essential component to a vibrant school community. We expect families to sign up to bring snacks and it is our hope that families volunteer for special projects and/or events. Our teachers encourage families to share their expertise, interests, and culture with students.

Are there standardized tests at MRS? 
We do not have standardized testing. Instead, teachers assess students’ growth by compiling a portfolio of learning which includes photo documentation, sample work, and student voice. Teachers also maintain a running record of each child’s growth in the following areas: social, emotional, literacy, artistic, mathematical, physical, and scientific. At the conclusion of the school year the teachers will summarize each child’s learning in narrative form.

How much time is spent outdoors each day?
Nature is one of the main classrooms at MRS.  Our community will be outside for at least two hours a day and depending on emerging curriculums or other scheduled adventures, this time might be longer.  If our students are excited about climbing a tree, building a fort in the snow, or following a hopping frog, we want to make sure they have the space and time to see these journeys through.

How are relationships viewed at MRS? 
MRS honors and celebrates the whole child and the relationship he/she has with his/her  learning, and communities. We realize the importance of cultivating loving, respectful relationships that allow children to learn in a safe and supportive community. This helps to nurture emotional balance within each individual child and allows the children to develop personal responsibility for self and an understanding for others.

Is MRS a recognized school?
Yes, MRS has recognized independent school status with the Vermont Agency of Education.

Is MRS a non-profit?
MRS is registered as a non-profit corporation with the State of Vermont and approved by the IRS for Federal 501(c)3 status.

What is the annual tuition?
Please refer to our tuition section as well as contacting us with any further questions.

Is there financial assistance available?  
We currently are offering a tuition assistance program for the 2017-2018 school year! Please refer to our tuition section for more information or please feel free to contact us to discuss.

Are donations made to MRS tax-deductible? 
Yes they are. Since we have received our 501(c)3 approval, any donations made after May 15, 2015 will be considered tax-deductible.