Tomah Area Montessori School Questions

  1. Why does Tomah Area School District have a Montessori Charter School?
  2. What is a Montessori school?
  3. What are the goals of Tomah Area Montessori School?
  4. Who can attend Tomah Area Montessori School?
  5. How do I enroll my child in the Tomah Area Montessori School?
  6. Why is there a lottery for admission to Tomah Area Montessori School? How does the lottery work?
  7. Where is Tomah Area Montessori School be located?
  8. What grades do Tomah Area Montessori School serve? Will the school expand to serve more grades?
  9. How can I be more involved in the Tomah Area Montessori School?

Why does Tomah Area School District have a Montessori Charter School?

Tomah area school is committed to transforming education to ensure the Tomah School District remains a school district of choice for students and their families by equipping students with 21st Century Skills needed for college and career readiness. One of the many ways Tomah Area School District is carrying out this goal is by offering another choice for families in elementary education. We know all students learn differently, and Montessori education has shown to be an excellent path for many students, particularly because of its emphasis on self-directed learning.

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What is a Montessori school?

Montessori education is based on the ideas of child development expert Maria Montessori, who studied and taught children in the early 20th century. Her educational methods have been adopted by schools throughout the world, and there are more than 15 public Montessori schools in Wisconsin. All teaching is done with three things in mind: the students, the teacher, and the classroom.

The Classroom
  • Bookshelves containing hands-on activities on individual trays
  • Activities that progress from easiest to hardest, simple to abstract 
  • Tables and rugs, rather than desks, used for workspace
  • Six different areas to freely choose work from: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Culture, Art
The Children
  • Learn at their own speed and progress
  • Decide what that want to work on within the parameters of the space and materials
  • Enjoy freedom of movement within the rules of the classroom
  • Gain self-motivation, which produces joy in learning
  • Teach each other in a multi-age setting that typically consists of pre-K/Kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, and 4th-6th grade classrooms
  • Are the primary focus, not the teacher
  • Display cooperation and empathy rather than competition
The Teacher
  • Observes children's learning and behavior to determine their needs
  • Keeps careful records of what materials each child has mastered or is ready for
  • Prepares the room to look inviting to the child
  • Small group lessons are given to present each material
  • Sets and maintains firm limits while empathizing with the child
  • Is warm, kind, calm and polite, and respectful to each child
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What are the goals of Tomah Area Montessori School?

The mission statement of TAMS is "Lighting the Fire Within." Recognizing that the first years of learning are vital to future success, TAMS will foster a lifelong love of learning by creating a classroom that is individualized and engaging for the child.

Goals
  • Develop a lifelong love of learning and executive function skills with engaging, hands-on materials and child-centered instruction
  • Create a respectful and nurturing classroom and school community
  • Increase family involvement in school
  • Close the achievement gaps among students of varied socioeconomic statuses in math and literacy
  • Retain Montessori-certified staff committed to professional development through a Professional Learning Community and collaborations with elementary and university educators
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Who can attend Tomah Area Montessori School?

TAMS is open to all students 4K-3rd grade. it is a free, public school.

Students who do not live in the Tomah Area School District will need to follow the DPI Open Enrollment application procedures. Information and an application can be found online from the Department of Public Instruction's open enrollment website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sms/psctoc.html

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How do I enroll my child in the Tomah Area Montessori School?

Enrollment forms are found on the TAMS home page.  Waiting lists for each grade are being maintained for grades 4K-1, and if there are more applicants than vacancies in 4K, a lottery will be held after the Open Enrollment deadline. If your child is not currently enrolled in the Tomah Area School District, you will need to enroll them at the District Office.

Students who do not live in the Tomah Area School District will need to follow the DPI Open Enrollment application procedures. Information and an application can be found online from the Department of Public Instruction's open enrollment website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sms/psctoc.html.

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Why is there a lottery for admission to Tomah Area Montessori School? How does the lottery work?

  1. In order to meet the requirements of the charter school grant, TAMS must have a minimum of 40 students attending. The TAMS Governance Board has designated a maximum number of students for each grade level in order to build a controlled, high quality program within space and funding constraints. Since Montessori classrooms include multiple grade levels, it is important to set these grade level caps to make sure that the class sizes stay manageable in future years.
  2. If the number of persons seeking admission exceeds the capacity of the open seats available, then a lottery shall be conducted by the TAMS Governance Board and District Administration to select the individuals who will be assigned the open seats. A totally random selection will ensure fairness and equal access without regard to ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, or income level. 
    1. The TAMS Board and District Administration will perform the lottery, and it will be part of the school record.
    2. To be eligible for admission through this lottery-placement process, individuals must have submitted complete and valid enrollment applications by the end of the established registration window.
    3. Each family applying will be given one container in the lottery as not to unfairly increase the odds of being chosen.
    4. Those students not accepted by the lottery will be placed on a priority waiting list in the order drawn. If or when openings occur, students will then be contacted in the order established by the lottery, or if no lottery is required, in the order applications were received.
  3. As defined by the charter school contract between TAMS and the Tomah Area School District, exemptions from the lottery shall be granted, in the following order:
    1. Siblings of students attending TAMS as commitment to keep families together. According to federal law, sibling preference only applies to the siblings of students currently enrolled in TAMS.
    2. Children of TAMS full-time professional and support staff
    3. Children of the founders of TAMS
  4. If an unusual situation arises where some siblings have been selected for seats and other siblings are on the waiting list, the TAMS Governance Board will meet to make case-by-case decisions for admittance. However, the most important priority is maintaining class sizes that can be sustained in the coming years.
  5. All students will be notified by mail of their status. Students who have been selected will need to return an intent to enroll form in order to confirm their seat.
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Where is Tomah Area Montessori School be located?

Tomah Area Montessori School is located at 1720 Academy Avenue in Tomah.

Transportation is provided for students who live in the Tomah Area School District in accordance with district transportation policies.

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What grades do Tomah Area Montessori School serve? Will the school expand to serve more grades?

During the 2019-2020 school year, TAMS will educate 4K-3rd grade students. We hope to add classrooms and expand to serve students through 6th grade. We are currently looking for an E2 (4th-6th grade) classroom teacher.  If you are interested in applying for the position, please contact the Distrist Office or email jolynnschmidt@tomah.education.

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How can I be more involved in the Tomah Area Montessori School?

Increasing parent involvement is a big goal of TAMS, and we welcome any feedback from parents or community members.

If you are interested in serving on the Governance Board or various committees, please e-mail JoLynnSchmidt@tomah.education.

 

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