How does CVMS meet students’ educational needs? How is this school different from others in the area?
Here’s what makes a CVMS education distinctive and helps to turn students into curious, self-motivated, self-disciplined learners:
- Individualized education. As CVMS a private, nonprofit school, we are wholeheartedly committed to providing individualized education for each student. Our outstanding faculty and small class sizes are critical to enabling individual students achieve learning goals. As we help students to master fundamental academic skills, we also focus heavily on developing those abilities that enable students to become independent, skilled, lifelong learners: we actively promote their innate curiosity, love of learning, creativity, sense of responsibility, and self-confidence.
- Montessori education. We employ the Montessori philosophy, methods, and materials as established by the American Montessori Society. These are backed by decades of research. Our school day includes both structured learning and independent work time. Teachers serve as enthusiastic guides, establishing individual learning plans, observing students’ activities, monitoring their progress and directing efforts towards meaningful results.
- Multi-age classes. At CVMS, we group students into multi-age classrooms, where they are best able to progress at their own pace in each subject. Individualized lesson plans allow students to pursue their interests as they are developmentally ready to do so. Activities in every subject are sequenced, ensuring that students have the solid foundation of understanding they need in order to meet the challenges of the next level. Most materials contain built-in cues to help students succeed in their work. Step-by-step mastery of each task builds confidence, promotes independence and encourages experimentation and creativity.
- Curriculum. Our approach to curriculum is broad and thoughtful. For example, we incorporate Spanish throughout our curriculum and we also place strong emphasis on the arts as a foundation for creatve thinking. Our teaching focuses on developing thoughtful and thorough understanding of concepts and critical thinking.
- Strong values, not religious. CVMS has no religious affiliation. We are committed to developing our students’ character and emphasizing a set of core values: respect for oneself, others, and the environment; compassion and empathy for others; appreciation for diversity; cooperation with others; responsibility and independence, and a broad world view focused on peace and understanding. Learn more about our philosophy and culture.
How do students fare after they leave CVMS?
Informal communication and formal surveys over the years indicate that CVMS graduates make an excellent academic and social transition to larger, traditional schools. Teachers and administrators comment very favorably on our students and consider them a great asset to their communities. They note superior academic preparation, enthusiasm for learning, the ability to organize schoolwork, and leadership skills, as well as kindness to others. Our graduates find these skills valuable for college admission and later in their careers.
How do you approach discipline?
Discipline at CVMS is guided by our strong values and culture. Our goal is to help all students develop their own self-discipline. Throughout the school, we establish clear expectations for acceptable behavior and hold students accountable. Rules are consistently and simply stated. Students are taught to respect and care for themselves, others and their environment.
Our classes operate on the principle of freedom within limits. If a student is being destructive, disrespectful or using materials in an aimless way, our staff quiety and calmly redirects that individual to purposeful work. Teachers and older students model proper behavior. In the rare occasion when a student is consistently disrespectful or disruptive and does not respond to efforts of staff and parents, we remove the student from the school, rather than allow a negative impact on others.
May students enter CVMS when they are older?
Absolutely. While we believe that a Montessori education benefits children beginning at an early age, we have had many successful students enter at various points in their education. We consider applicants of all ages, based on available space. If we have an opening, the applicant visits a class to make sure she or he will make a successful transition. Our staff works with new students to help them become assimilated and gain proficiency with the Montessori materials and concepts.
Do you accept children with disabilities?
Since we do not receive local, state or federal aid, we do not have staff or facilities to meet the needs of children with serious challenges. However, we consider each applicant on a case-by-case basis, and if we believe we will be able to help a student thrive, then we offer placement in a CVMS classroom.
What if my child attended a Montessori school elsewhere?
We do our best to accommodate Montessorians from other schools.
What about testing?
CVMS administers Stanford Achievement Tests and a number of Regents Examinations. We absolutely do not teach to tests, but the solid curriculum enables our students to perform very well on standardized tests in high school and beyond. They consistently exceed state standards and outperform area public and parochial school students.
Are there opportunities for parent involvement?
Yes. We strongly encourage parents involvement, and in fact have structured part of our tuition program to include parents’ service to the school, whenever possible. Families are asked to participate in volunteer activities that contribute toward the school’s operation, growth and development. We value the diverse talents of our parents and welcome their involvement in a manner that they find meaningful. Among the opportunities for involvement are fund development, in-class projects, committee work, and participation in the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO).
Do you hold parent-teacher conferences?
We hold planned parent-teacher meetings twice each school year, but parents are also welcome to observe their children informally in the classroom at other times and are encouraged to communicate with teachers, particularly about changes in the family and any concerns they may have.
Does CVMS offer physical education and athletics programs?
Physical education is an important part of our curriculum at all ages,and all students participate in weekly physical education classes. Our ultimate goal is to promote students interest in and ability to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, and we place emphasis on good nutrition as well as physical activity. Our campus includes a well equipped gymnasium and a generous outdoor area including space and equipment for play and a garden that students cultivate. We also incorporate cooking into our curriculum, with an emphasis on developing cooking skills as well as learning about nutrition. At the middle school level, our students are eligible to participate in swimming and outdoor track in Section IV of the NYSPHSAA.
When are students introduced to computers and technology?
Computers and technology training are introduced at the lower elementary level and students continue to advance these skills throughout their CVMS education. Students receive practical instruction in keyboarding and learn to use software programs including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel at age appropriate levels. They also work with special programs in subjects like history and geography. They also learn to conduct research for school projects on the Internet.
Do you have before- and after-school programs?
As a service to our families, we offer a very high quality before- and after‐school program for enrolled preprimary, extended day, elementary, and middle school students when school is in session. Kaleidoscope provides a variety of supervised activities including art, music, drama, dance, games and opportunities for socialization through indoor and outdoor play. Older students are afforded an opportunity to complete school‐related assignments in a quiet environment. Kaleidoscope is offered before school from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and after school from 11:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Students may leave at any time, but must be signed out by a parent or designated adult.
Do you offer any summer programs?
We offer four weeks of camp immediately following the close of the school year for children age three through thirteen. The camp is run by our Kaleidoscope staff and provides a combination of cognitive, physical, and social activities that are both enjoyable and valuable learning experiences. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with an hour of child care offered before and afterward for an additional fee.
Is CVMS affiliated with any other schools?
No, CVMS is not affiliated with any other area schools. Although the Montessori name can be used by any school, there may be substantial differences in approach and in the quality of education delivered. At CVMS, our curriculum and teaching methods are based on best practices established by the American Montessori Society, and most of our teachers have been AMS trained and certified.
Do you offer tuition assistance?
We make some tuition assistance available each year to students from preprimary through middle school levels based on financial need. We regret that aid is not available for our toddler program.
Is transportation available?
By parent request, bus transportation is available through the local school districts, including Horseheads, Elmira, Elmira Heights and Corning. Children usually must be at least five years old, but bussing policy varies from one district to another.
How do I enroll my child?
In general, we encourage parents to apply between January and April prior to the September start of the following school year. We act on applications as they are received, with most offers of enrollment made by May. We also offer the opportunity for students to transfer into CVMS at any point during the school year, if space is available.
Parents should tour CVMS and then submit an application. If space is not immediately available, you will be placed on a wait list. If space is available, you will be contacted to set up an appointment for your child to meet with a teacher to determine appropriate placement.
Call Admissions at (607) 562-8754, extension 110 for information, to set up a time to observe a class, or to request an application form.