New tuition-free public Montessori charter school approved for Asheville

Press release from Mountain City Public Montessori:

After receiving unanimous approval by the N.C. Charter Schools Advisory Board in September 2022, Mountain City Public Montessori received unanimous approval by the N.C. State Board of Education at its December 1, 2022 meeting to open in August 2023 for the 2023-2024 school year. Mountain City Public Montessori will be Western North Carolina’s only tuition-free, public Montessori school. Its mission is to provide equitable access to a high-quality, relevant Montessori education to meet the unique needs of all students and strengthen our community. It will serve children in Kindergarten through sixth grade in year one and expand to include 7th grade in 2024-2025 and 8th grade in 2025-2026. Mountain City Public Montessori will partner with a local preschool to offer programming for younger children ages three to five on its campus.

Mountain City Public Montessori will be centrally-located in downtown Asheville at 27 Church St. on the campus of Central United Methodist Church and will offer bus transportation and free breakfast and lunch to those who qualify. The school will offer special education services and will honor Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Accommodation Plans.

Mountain City Public Montessori teachers will utilize the strengths of the Montessori method and their experience in serving often-marginalized students to ensure that all children see themselves as learners and realize their potential.

“As someone who attended a Montessori-style school as a young child, I can attest to the value this approach brings to children who struggle academically and behaviorally as well as those children who are gifted,” said N.C. State Senator Julie Mayfield.


–        Montessori is an educational method that allows for a high degree of student autonomy and responsibility from an early age, with students caring for their classroom environments and spending three years in the same classroom with the same teacher to build a sense of shared community.

–        Executive function skills are embedded in day-to-day learning as students plan and carry out their learning activities with teacher guidance during a three-hour work period each day.

–        Multi-age classrooms of children in three-year groupings (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15) allow students to move from novice to mentor in a collaborative environment where cross peer-teaching is valued.

–        Students who struggle academically have opportunities to lead younger students, maintaining their identity as an important person in a learning community.

–        Intrinsic motivation is highly valued, as is the student’s learning process, rather than product. Montessori educators observe students for evidence of their intellectual, social-emotional, and physical development and plan all activities around the children’s developmental levels.

“We are thrilled to be within sight of opening Western North Carolina’s only public Montessori school to partner with families and the community to cultivate a supportive and inspiring environment where all can thrive,” said Mountain City Public Montessori Board Co-Chair Wren Cook. “Our school is founded on the belief that all students deserve access to a quality education that affirms each individual and enhances the collective by giving them an opportunity to practice living in and contributing to a more just society. We will educate the whole child, integrating their physical, social-emotional, cultural, and academic needs and interests.”c

Visit the MCPM website for upcoming information sessions, including virtual sessions and open houses at the CUMC campus.

The enrollment period for Mountain City Public Montessori begins January 1, 2023 and will run through March 31, 2023. As a tuition-free public charter school, Mountain City Public Montessori is subject to an enrollment cap. If the number of applications exceeds the number of enrollment slots available in any grade level, applicant names are drawn at random. The lottery date is April 7, 2023 at 10:00 am.

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