School Blog

Increasing Access The Montessori Way

Good Day,

We have exciting news – we are increasing access and building community, the Montessori way!

Our Board of Trustees unanimously approved a bold change to meet the needs of St. Croix’s families while also decreasing our tuition and fees for all families! We created a leveled tuition and fee model, to begin August, 2019, and to continue for at minimum 2 years.

Here are a few questions and answers to help you:

Why the change?

We could see a consistent pattern forming over the past few years of enrollment, community, and financial data:

  1. Annual increases of applicants to our programs
  2. Increases in the total number of families who qualify for scholarship awards
  3. A widening gap of income statuses represented in our St. Croix community.
  4. A widening gap of independent school tuition prices on St. Croix.

St. Croix Montessori is founded on a commitment to remain a quality early childhood provider that is accessible to all families and to create an equitable learning community across every area, policy, and practice of our school – from classroom to leadership.

Why change now?

Given the picture of our community, we ran some numbers.

By providing all families a consistent, affordable tuition structure, we can also:

  • Maintain the excellence and value of what we do;
  • Greatly simplify our scholarship criteria; and
  • Adopt a stable model that represents what we value and reflects our community.

The analysis showed that this model works! We did not want to wait to make a change that can help so many of our families.

We are now in the process of completing our documentation and electronic enrollment systems. 

Is your admissions criteria changing?

We believe that this update is aligned with our current enrollment process and criteria. In fact, the leveled model helps our school have even more consistency across our enrollment process, scholarship awards, and service agreements.

The full criteria is on stcroixmontessori.com.

We expect that over time, we will be able to identify any additional improvements.

What happens to current scholarship applications?

You may not need a scholarship!

Look over the tuition and fee structure carefully.

If your family’s resources cannot reasonably accommodate the leveled tuition and fee structure, then please tell the school that you would like us to still consider your scholarship application. You may be requested to provide additional documentation.

Your response is requested by June 10th so we can complete the award process.

Is scholarship criteria changing?

For this period, we are not changing the application. However, the new model enables more families to access the school without a scholarship.

Therefore, our school is able to concentrate our scholarship pool on those who represent our Montessori philosophy and who truly could not attend our school without this support.

Will service hours and agreements change?

Service will remain a core value of our community.

Like all Montessori and independent, nonprofit schools, we rely on parent participation to support our students, to feed a healthy school culture, to keep tuition affordable, and to support our fundraising and development.

Our service committees can be found on the parent portal. Policies are in our Parent Handbook. Our volunteer log in the main office.

If you are interested in taking a leadership role on any of the committees, please let the school know!

What opportunities does this create within and outside of our school?

Our school is supported by fundraising, grants, individual and business donors, and service donations. These often require data that numerically represents the investment of our enrolled families and community partners, and a qualitative picture of the ways that shape our family service experiences.

The change to tuition leveling will hopefully leave some families with a greater opportunity to consider forms of support that meet families’ skills and match their family budgets.

Have the fee structures changed?

As you can see from the Tuition & Fee Schedule, we maintained our due dates, the per student registration fee as well as 3 (three) options for installment plans.

We also maintained a discount for paying tuition in full.

A review of data from the previous 4 (four) years, led our school to refine the materials/classroom fee. Currently represented as an annual fee, this ensures our classrooms have full, quality learning materials and resources.

What happens if this changes our enrollment decision? 

 We of course hope that this reaffirms the decisions made by our enrolled families.

Understandably, this may also spark more inquiries into the Montessori approach at the pre-school and Elementary levels.

We are prepared to respond by following our current enrollment practices and criteria throughout the summer.

Our intention is to build, maintain, and celebrate a strong and healthy school climate that we will serve students and families who are intentionally engaged with the Montessori philosophy.

We further would want new families to know (and returning families to recall) that our school’s plans are to grow, and that as part of our longer range plans, we have considered enlarging our enrollment and our school’s physical size to support this growth in the community.

What are our next steps?

Families who have been accepted are asked to:

  1. Submit their registration fee
  2. Complete their 2019-20 Forms (Agreement to Attend, Tuition Contract, Admissions Form, etc.)
  3. If you are a scholarship applicant, notify the school whether we should still consider your application.
  4. Notify the office which Tuition Installment Plan you are selecting.

Families who are pending an enrollment decision:

  1. Please complete the remaining steps in your enrollment process, including all applicant visits, forms and documentation requested.

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