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LA CROSSE, Wis., (March 7, 2023) – There are two changes coming soon to the School District of La Crosse’s Montessori program at the Elementary 2 (E2) and Coulee Montessori Adolescent Program (CMAP) levels that will begin in the fall of 2023. These changes will affect school options for students currently in grades 5 – 7. 

The district is pleased to announce that Elementary 2 (E2) will be extended to sixth grade starting in the fall of 2023. This means current Montessori fifth graders will have the option to continue in E2 for one more year. The standard Montessori model includes an Upper Elementary (E2) classroom for ages 9-12.  Returning sixth grade to the E2 classroom allows students to complete the full 3-year Upper Elementary cycle if they choose. Our E2 teachers are excited about this opportunity for students and have already started planning the sixth-grade curriculum for this fall. SET will be communicating with Logan Middle about sixth-grade participation in extracurricular activities and will send out more information on that at a later date.

The second change is that the Coulee Montessori School Effectiveness Team, along with Montessori staff and administration, have made the difficult decision to close the Coulee Montessori Adolescent Program (CMAP) housed at Lincoln Middle School at the end of the 2022-23 school year. This was approved at the most recent Board of Education on March 6. The following have been significant factors in this decision:

  1. Declining enrollment – The adolescent program’s enrollment has dropped by about 45% since 2018.
  2. Overall Staffing – CMAP enrollment numbers have in recent years floated at a difficult level: high enough to support one full-time teacher, but no longer high enough to support two. This means that Ms. Dodge has held sole responsibility for 3 grades’ curriculum across the cycles of the Montessori curriculum, which is a demanding assignment.
  3. Attrition between buildings – Fewer Montessori students are continuing from E2 to CMAP. This means fewer students in the school with Montessori background and experience.
  4. Staff Departure – Ms. Dodge has decided to pursue other adventures after 10 dedicated years at CMAP, and this school year will be her last. Hiring teachers is a challenge nationally and Coulee Montessori has the added challenge of attracting either a Montessori-trained teacher or a teacher who is financially willing to commit to the training. 

While no one is happy to see the closing of the adolescent program, it does allow the Montessori program to offer sixth grade as part of E2 where it is historically designed to be, and to consider what windows might be opened even as this door closes. Additionally, we would like to recognize that Ms. Dodge has been the longest-serving CMAP teacher and we are grateful for her work with decades worth of Montessori students. 

Current sixth and seventh students at CMAP will have the following school choices: 

Families, please feel free to connect with your teacher and/or check out each school’s website to learn more about your middle school options. The district will be sending out more detailed information about middle school options soon.

The Montessori board, staff, and administration remain committed to providing an outstanding Montessori education at Coulee Montessori. Please, reach out to your grade-level principal with any questions.