History of Grove

Welcome to a new decade of Grove history. It is time to celebrate our new charter. It is also time to review our accomplishments and plan for the future. As most of you know, our school was started under unique circumstances by a group of visionary parents and reform minded teachers with the input of students who wanted to attend a school that continued in the tradition of Montessori they had experienced in elementary school. The group researched and found a way to establish a school that was free from California educational code restraints with regard to curriculum and method and the chartering process began.

After a challenging learning curve about the charter process, Grove worked with the Redlands Unified School District and received its charter and opened its doors in 1999 to 37 high school 9th and 10th graders. Housed in building “B” of Montessori in Redlands, Grove grew and soon it became evident that we would require a new, purpose built facility. With the help of Stan Weisser our board chair and Jack Dangermond, our landlord, we built the high school building and opened the doors to 97 high school students. That same year, we worked to acquire a lease on the Van Grouw dairy farm and soon we welcomed our first class of Jr. High level students at the farm campus.

Based on Montessori’s belief that the role of adult educators is to prepare a developmentally appropriate environment for students, the high school and junior high school are unique. The farm provides a living lab for students who study while they run a working experience day-to-day life on a working farm. This is a place where things are born, live, reproduce and eventually pass away, where food is produced, shelter is provided and the fundamental needs of humanity provide relevancy to the curriculum.

At the farm, the skills most required are collaboration, cooperation, communication, and the values of personal responsibility, reliability, and integrity are essential. Math, Science, English and Social Studies become more than subjects. They become the tools for successfully navigating day-to-day life as we construct fences, greenhouses and patios, make decisions about native and non-native species, breed animals for food, and restore historical buildings. All of this work requires a certain level of written and verbal communication skills as we seek funding, do marketing for the store, and come to consensus on important issues while creating and sustaining their community.

The high school leads the 15-18 year olds on a new path into the adult world as the students embark on a college preparatory journey. The classes are designed to meet the challenging standards of the University of California and students must complete the coursework necessary for admission to the UC system. In addition to academic work, high school students must challenge themselves with increased responsibility in the real world as they plan and raise funds for Winterim courses and trips, design and create their culminating senior projects, and prepare for the responsibilities of adult citizenship.

It is important that everyone at Grove, the students, parents, teachers, faculty and staff all share the same vision and mission and that we discuss, and come to a common understanding of the reasons we are here. Maria Montessori’s challenge to us is nothing less than to create a more peaceful and productive world by maximizing the unique human potential in each individual. This is Great Work and is not always easy or fun but is more than worth the effort. This year, as we struggle through budgetary shortfalls, the academic challenges of projects, praxis and testing, and the struggle to communicate and make our ideas clear and understand others, let us keep in mind our mission. The future of our world depends upon our young people and with the proper preparation, these young people will lead us into the next decade and the years to come and create a better world for humanity.

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