Frederick charter school celebrates a decade of service -- Gazette.Net


When a student at Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School celebrates a birthday, he or she walks around a model of a sun.

As the student circles the sun, an interesting fact or milestone is told about the child for every year of his or her life.

On Sunday, the school community made the walk to celebrate the school’s tenth anniversary.

Monocacy Valley Montessori, the first charter school in the state, marked 10 years of service during a celebration at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.

The montessori school is located at 217 Dill Ave. in Frederick.

Attendance is open to all Frederick County Public Schools students entering prekindergarten through eighth grade and is determined through an annual lottery.

The school enrolls 301 students.

"This is our belated birthday party," said Janie Nordstrom-Griffiths, an organizer of Sunday’s event.

During the “school's walk,” the crowd of several hundred learned or remembered several facts:

- The school moved to its current home on Dill Avenue during the 2005-06 school year.

- Then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) visited the school in the 2004-05 school year.

- The school hosted its first talent show during the 2009-10 school year.

Julie Martin-Hayn, a tutor and school founder, was excited to see alumni turn out for Sunday’s event.

"Our kids have grown up," she said. "It's great. It's a reunion. It's really wonderful."

As people mingled and reminisced, hundreds of pictures from the past and present flashed on a wall in the back of the school’s cafeteria.

A green basket was filled with pieces of red ribbon from the original ribbon cutting at the school. Attendees could pin the half-dollar sized ribbons onto their clothing.

Educational games the students used at school also were available. Several former students and their parents tried their luck at the trinomial cube, a timed apple transfer game and placing knobbed cylinders from highest to lowest.

Participants also played a trivia game and a version of musical chairs.

"We just want (the celebration) to be fun," Nordstrom-Griffiths said.

Nordstrom-Griffiths has two children in the school — a daughter in the sixth grade and a son in second grade.

Deana Greenberg is one of the founders of the school.

More than a decade ago, her family lived in downtown Frederick but her oldest child attended Spring Ridge Elementary, which is about half way to New Market. Unhappy that her child would have to spend up to an hour on a bus to get to school, she joined the movement for the charter school.

Today, her daughter, Julianna, is a sophomore at Urbana High School. Greenburg has two other children enrolled at the charter school — a seventh-grade son and a daughter in the fifth grade.

After graduating from the school, many go to high schools throughout the county.

While other students don't know many outside their own school, Julianna Greenberg said she enjoys having friends in other schools. When she visits rival high schools for a play or sporting event, it's nice to have a friendly face there, she said.

She continues to look back fondly on her time at Monocacy Valley Montessori Charter School.

"I had a really close group of friends," she said. "It was a nice family-like setting."