The Lottery

Information regarding the 2018-19 lottery will be available in March 2018.

Montessori Application Due: March 23, 2018
Montessori Lottery: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Parent Q&A: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Did you know that Montessori is an option in Helena’s public elementary schools?

There are three Montessori classrooms in Smith, Central, and Broadwater schools, for a total of nine classrooms serving up to 180 students District-wide. Montessori classrooms differ from traditional classrooms in the following respects:

  • Mixed ages (1-3 grade and 4-5 grade groupings)
  • Students choose activities from a number of options to achieve goals defined in a weekly work plan
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Students work with specialized hands-on educational materials
  • Freedom of movement within the classroom
  • A trained Montessori teacher

Students have the opportunity to mentor their peers, thereby reinforcing learning concepts. Parent and caregiver volunteers are encouraged to contribute in the classroom to offer the support needed to facilitate the individualization of work.

In our district, decisions about Montessori are best made in terms of what fits each family’s needs. Montessori is not available at all neighborhood schools, so a child might have to travel outside his/her neighborhood to attend. When choosing Montessori, parents should be comfortable with the idea of their children using hands-on learning materials and learning methods different from those that they may have experienced in elementary school. Finally, parent participation is strongly encouraged as a key to student success.

How does the Montessori program operate in the Helena Public School District?

Every child in the Helena school district is eligible for the lottery at the end of kindergarten.  There are 36 guaranteed openings for rising 1st graders who enter the annual lottery. Vacancies in 2nd and 3rd grades are filled from the waiting list for their lottery year. Placements are not made in the 4th or 5th grade, except in special circumstances.

The district funds classrooms at the same level as all other classrooms—salaries and benefits and overhead for those nine classes comes from the general operating budget. Helena Public Montessori Parents (HPMP) provides funding for scholarships for specialized Montessori teacher training and continuing education, as well as for Montessori classroom materials.

For information on the Montessori method, go to http://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori.aspx .