BIG SKY – Big Sky Discovery Academy, the only local Montessori school, is moving to a new space and expanding its programming for the 2015-2016 school year.
Formerly located above American Bank on Lone Mountain Trail, the Montessori school, which opened last year, previously offered grades one through six. The school is temporarily moving to Big Sky Town Center to accommodate the new programming, which will include pre-k and kindergarten; a junior high with grades seven and eight; winter sports training; and single classes for high-school aged kids focusing on individual needs.
“Big Sky is a growing community and it is only a natural fit to have a Montessori option for all kids of every age,” said BSDA board member Kene Sperry. “Montessori is a program that gives the child the ability to follow his/her inner passions and grow.”
Construction is almost finished in the new space, which is located off Aspen Leaf Drive, on the second floor of the building that sits between the fire station and the Hungry Moose Market and Deli.
The school’s calendar is the same as the public schools’, meaning classes start on Aug. 31, and all holidays are in alignment with Ophir School.
BSDA CEO Tom Yahraes and Executive Director Brenda Yahraes both worked at Lone Peak High School during the 2014-2015 school year, as the assistant superintendent and program coordinator, respectively.
“[We’re] taking the one through six Montessori model to the next level to be a fully comprehensive, premier private school,” Tom said. “The goal is to do this in five years.”
The five-year plan covers three phases.
Phase one begins this year, as the school moves to a larger space and adds more programming. Phase two is building enrollment – filling in and refining the junior high and high school portion of the programming, and building a stronger partnership with skiing opportunities.
“Leaping ahead to phrase three means we will obtain an environmentally connected facility for our Montessori base, our middle and high school students, and access to training and trails for local and seasonal students,” Tom said, adding they might add a boarding option for students.
Laura MacPherson, former lead teacher and owner of Mountain Kids Montessori in Big Sky has merged her preschool with BSDA and is joining the team as the early childhood teacher, where she will instruct pre-k and kindergarten classes.
“We can now offer an array of programming such as Kindermusik, Spanish, and seamless transitions into higher levels of Montessori education,” she said.
Other staff additions include Nicole Scheibel as MacPherson’s team teacher, taking on kindergarten and lower elementary, and Hannah Victory, teaching elementary and middle school with Brenda Yahraes.