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Montessori school comes home at last

The entrance to the new location of Sierra Montessori Academy on Wolf Road is punctuated by a small kiosk and maple and pine trees. A long driveway leads to a cluster of beige cottages set amid acres of rolling greenery.

Sierra Montessori Academy moved to its new location on Aug. 21. This is the first time the young K-8 public charter school has a stable home.

“The school exists because parents and teachers came together,” Executive Director Susan Turof said. “We believe we are here for a reason, and the reason is the children.”



The 34-acre property was bought by some parents and a benefactor. But since its founding in mid-2005, the school has bounced from Wolf Road – after some neighbors objected to the traffic the school would generate – to the Elks Lodge in Grass Valley to having classes split among three venues in town.

Today, the academy has 130 students, aged five through 13, and six full-time staff with state credentials. Turof, who has 30 years of experience in designing and implementing Montessori school education, is training the teachers in the Montessori technique.




Facilities consist of five modular classrooms outside the main building, besides the classes within.

Challenges ahead

But the challenge is not over for Sierra Montessori.

The Nevada County Planning Commission wants the school to build a left-turn lane from Wolf Road, a nod to the concerns of neighbors and parents. The lane must be completed by the beginning of the 2007 academic year.

“My interest is to put tractors on the ground as soon as the weather permits in spring,” said Dan Moine, a parent and member of the school’s Council of Directors. “I’ve been in contact with several engineers. According to them, expanding the road toward the school is the best option. They’ve just done the initial overviews.

“I expect the Sierra Montessori Academy Foundation to reach a decision of who will be contracted to do the engineering, within a week,” Moine said.

To raise money for the construction, the school is hosting a raffles. Each ticket costs $100, and only 1,000 tickets will be sold.

“We’ll sell our tickets at the Auburn Farmer’s Market every Saturday in November from 8 a.m. to noon,” said Kim Crone, vice-president of the Parent Teacher Association. “The chance of winning is one in 1,000.”

Moine is optimistic about the project to build the left-turn lane.

“Things are moving right on schedule,” he said. “I have no doubt this thing can be done.”

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

About Sierra Montessori Academy

Number of students: 130

Number of full-time teachers: 6

Acres of campus: 34

For more information: See http://www.sierramontessoriacademy.org or call 268-9990.

– Soumitro Sen


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