District uses new approach to find teacher

A new search is under way for the person who will teach the Steamboat Springs School District's first Montessori class.

But unlike the past one, this search is being conducted outside the district.

After agreeing in February to create a Montessori strand at Strawberry Park Elementary School, district officials had planned to look within the school system for the program's teacher.

But scheduling conflicts for the three in-house teachers who expressed interest in taking over the Montessori program have forced the district to look elsewhere.

Advertisements for the opening have appeared in the Steamboat Today as well as on the district's Web site. No one had applied for the full-time teaching position as of Wednesday, district secretary Diane May said.

Hiring an existing teacher was the district's first option because school officials didn't want to displace one of their own for an outside, Montessori-trained instructor. One of the district's biggest concerns with implementing the Montessori program was maintaining unity among the staff, and many within the district felt training a Steamboat teacher in the Montessori method would be the best way to ensure that.

Three teachers expressed an interest in taking over the Montessori program, but none of the three is able to commit their summer to the necessary Montessori training, Strawberry Park Principal John DeVincentis said.

"The whole summer is tied up in that training, and all three have some kind of commitment for at least a couple of weeks," he said.

And because one Strawberry Park teacher likely will request a yearlong leave of absence, an in-house teacher won't be displaced, DeVincentis said.

The district is seeking candidates trained in the Montessori method of education, which emphasizes multi-age classrooms, hands-on learning activities, self-directed learning and a cooperative, not competitive, classroom environment. Candidates should have a Colorado teaching license or be eligible to receive a provisional license, DeVincentis said.

An application deadline of April 16 is listed on the district's Web site.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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