Sun, Dec. 08

Catholic school to open in Bridgeport
Montessori will start with 20 students in k-4

A new Catholic Montessori school set to open after Labor Day is already filled to capacity.

"I have no openings," said Elaine Anderson, who will serve as the school's first teacher.

With a first-year enrollment of 20 students, the school will start with classes for kindergarten through fourth grades. Anderson said the school will expand to include pre-school and fifth grade.

"We'll have over 100 next year," Anderson said. The faculty will also expand to four teachers.

Located at the corner of UVX Road and Main Street in Bridgeport, Saint Joseph's Montessori will occupy grounds and buildings donated to Immaculate Conception Church by the Mongini Family.

The school will eventually fall under the overview of the Diocese of Phoenix. But sanctioning will take a full year, according to Anderson. She said compliance with the diocese comes in phases.

"Every time a Roman Catholic school opens it must show a tremendous amount of intent and competency," she said.

For now, the school is part of what Anderson said is the Ministry of the Roman Catholic Church. Although the diocese will provide oversight of the school's curriculum once the school is sanctioned, it will be a separate entity, which must be financially independent.

Because the school will be church affiliated it cannot open as a charter school and receive public funding. Anderson said tuition is $200 per month per student, but families with multiple children will be given discounts.

Anderson expects the sanction to come in the time expected. "The Bishop has seen the facility, and he was very excited," she said.

The school will open basically as a one-room schoolhouse, according to Anderson. She said it will have an integrated 4-H program. "The children will show rabbits at the [Verde Valley] fair."

Anderson opened the first Montessori school in Cottonwood in 1979, and she has been a religious educator for 40 years.

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