Ridgeline Montessori Public Charter School opened in Fall 2000 with a single lower-elementary classroom with grades 1–3. We grew over the years, adding students and grade levels, including kindergarten and middle school. In fall 2004 we enrolled 170 children and offered the full K–8 program our founders envisioned. Ridgeline now serves about 200 students, and the school is thriving.
Our original home was the former Willard Elementary School in South Eugene, and we enjoyed use of the property’s large playgrounds and playing fields. Sadly, a campus fire destroyed our main classroom building during summer vacation in 2009. Three classrooms remained at Willard, and we relocated more than half our school to the former Dunn School campus, about a mile from the Willard site. In summer 2011 the Willard classrooms and office moved, and we were reunited at the Dunn building. The search for a "forever home" continued. In spring of 2012 Board President Adrienne Black was pleased to share that the school was about to purchase a permanent school home, and that over the summer the school would move to 4500 West Amazon Drive (the former Eugene Christian School site). We are thrilled to finally be together at one site and have been busy putting down roots at our new home. Ridgeline's new campus is nestled at the base of Eugene's South Hills, in a residential neighborhood across the street from the Amazon Creek and its running and walking trails.Operating a young school such as ours requires many hands and hearts, but the effort shows every day. Our children are learning in happy, industrious classrooms that are rich in materials and experiences.
Our experienced, Montessori-trained teachers demonstrate their commitment in the long hours they devote to creating the learning environment, and in their standing availability for parent questions and concerns. Teachers and staff deserve the lion’s share of the credit for what Ridgeline is today, but we couldn’t get far without the leadership of Executive Director Chrystell Reed and Principal Michelle Texley. We also have instructional assistants in each classroom; they bring their own Montessori experience and wisdom to every child. And we can’t forget our specialists in art and PE! They are gems—people with whom students have genuinely bonded.
The magic that is Montessori proves itself powerful each year, without fail. Even new students who have no previous experience with the Montessori method have quickly grasped their responsibilities as learners. Parents say their kids are eager to get to school and start on their work. Teachers report that their students become so engrossed in what they’re doing that sometimes even recess seems like an interruption.
This wonderful school is, like every school, a work in progress. Questions abound: Can we continue to grow? Are there new ways to enrich the learning experience for our students? But this much is certain: Ridgeline Montessori will be all that our committed community—parents, students, and staff—is willing to make of it. As long as we have an excellent staff, and families who share their time, talents, and treasures with us, we know we will continue to offer one of the best public Montessori programs available anywhere.