Frequently Asked Questions

2020-2021 Specific Questions

When is the first day of School?

We are so excited for the first day of school, Monday, September 14, 2020! 

What are the school hours?

The school day begins at 8:15 am and dismissal is at 3:30 pm. Students learning in a hybrid setting are currently scheduled for two days per week in person and three days remote. Students learning in a remote setting will have schedules designed by their classroom teacher. Families can expect additional information from each child’s teacher in the coming weeks. Sample schedules can be found in the school’s Opening Plan

How early can I drop my child off?

Children attending school in person can be dropped off as early as 7:45 am. Children may not be dropped off prior to this time.

Are masks required on campus?

In an effort to further protect the health and safety of our children, teachers, staff and families, masks will be required for all children and adults while indoors and until further notice. Masks can be removed outdoors and when eating/drinking but only when social distancing can be maintained. All families are expected to review the face mask policy and additional guidance on pages 11,12 and 13 of the Opening Plan. Our teachers and staff are committed to support the children as they learn these new health and safety habits. All families have the choice of remote instruction if they cannot or will not wear a mask on campus.

General Questions

What is Sussex Montessori School?

Sussex Montessori School (SMS) is a public elementary charter school open to all Delaware children.  SMS uses the Montessori Method, a learning philosophy that has been consistently effective for over 100 years, to educate children through authentic personalized learning experiences, respectful relationships, opportunities to innovate, and a focus on global citizenship through multi-age classrooms. We believe that offering a Montessori public school in Sussex County, DE improves student learning in a diverse setting, allows for greater choice for parents, and serves as a model for alternative approaches to education by providing a proven and innovative teaching and learning environment not currently available in the area.


What grades will Sussex Montessori School serve?

The school will initially serve grades K-3 and will add a grade level each year until the school is serving its full capacity of multi-age grades K-6.

    • K-3 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3)
    • K-4 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3, 4)
    • K-5 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5)
    • K-6 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6)


How will my older 2nd or 3rd grader transition to Sussex Montessori School?

Children who start at SMS in our initial years will all be new to the Montessori classroom environment.  SMS teachers will be prepared to help children learn to develop the skills of independent learning and to adapt to the multi-age classroom environments. 


Where is the school located? 

The address is 24960 Dairy Lane and is located on the west side of Seaford, Delaware.  We are excited about the beautiful campus designed to provide a peaceful and engaging learning environment. Construction of phase one is well underway and additional features will be added each year.

What does it cost? 

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Sussex Montessori School is a free public elementary charter school.  It is open to all Delaware children at NO COST to their families – just like any of the traditional public schools in the community.  Funding is provided through state and federal education funding, private and public grants, fundraising and corporate sponsorship.  


How do I enroll my child? 

The Delaware School Choice open application period starts the first Monday in November and ends the second Wednesday in January (specific dates to be published annually) of the year preceding enrollment. 

  • Applications for the 2020-2021 school year were available online  as of November 4, 2019 at 8:00 am. Paper copies will also be made available and assistance will be provided. 
  • Applications received during the November – January window will be eligible for an admissions lottery. When there are more applicants for grade level enrollment than ‘seats available,’ admissions preferences shall be applied in the following sequence: 
    1. Children with siblings concurrently enrolled at SMS 
    2. Children of the school’s founders (no more than 5% of the school’s total enrollment) 
    3. Children of staff members employed on a permanent basis at the school for at least 30.0 hours per week during the school year 
  • Applications received after the second Wednesday in January will be placed on a waiting list. Applicants on the waiting list can expect to hear from SMS by September if a slot becomes available.
  • The 2020-2021 Lottery took place in early February 2020 and families who applied during the lottery period heard from SMS in February. Those who applied after the lottery or who are on a waiting list will be contacted as positions become available.

Additional Information about the 2020 lottery and acceptance process can be found HERE.


Is transportation be available?

Sussex Montessori will provide buses to children in the surrounding area, however exact bus routes are developed each year dependent on the addresses of enrolled children.  In 2020-2021 bus stops will be at community hubs. Carpools and parent/guardian transportation are also be welcomed.  


What times will school start and end?

The school day begins at 8:15 and ends at 3:30. Children can be dropped off as early as 7:45. 


Will the school utilize State and National Content Standards, and will children have to take the State assessments?

Yes.  SMS is a public charter school and the curriculum is aligned to state and national standards as required.  Public Montessori schools across the country have met this demand with great success. For more information on the successes of public Montessori schools, please visit the Montessori National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector website


Who is eligible to attend the school? 

All children living in Delaware are eligible to attend Sussex Montessori School.  There is no entrance exam and no specific requirements students must meet to be granted entry.  SMS provides supports for children who are identified as English Learners (ELs) as well as those with special needs, and works with parents, special educators and advocates to ensure Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are implemented with fidelity and all children are given the support they need to find success.  


What are the requirements to become a teacher at Sussex Montessori School?

Each SMS classroom is staffed by one full-time Delaware and Montessori-certified teacher and one part-time Assistant Teacher who is a permitted paraprofessional.  Training and certification in Montessori education is provided through a partnership with the University of Delaware and the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.  Teachers already certified in Montessori education are strongly encouraged to apply. There is also be a hiring preference for teachers with dual certification in special education and/or certification as a Teacher of English Learners. 


What happens after 6th grade, where do students enroll? 

Currently, SMS is not chartered to work with children beyond 6th grade.  7th grade options include the surrounding traditional and charter public schools and independent schools.  Once SMS is successfully operating a K-6 school, the board may consider applying for a charter modification to expand its grade configuration to serve children in grades 7 and 8.  


Will there be related arts and foreign language classes?

The arts and physical education will be integrated into the daily classroom experience for all students.  Locating in a multi-lingual community will give SMS the opportunity to hire professionals and partner with community organizations to ensure children are given the opportunity to gain language proficiency beyond their native languages. 


Is my child required to wear a uniform?

No. Sussex Montessori School does not require students to wear uniforms.  We encourage children to dress comfortably and to have two pair of shoes—a pair of shoes they wear for outdoor use and a pair of indoor shoes that are kept at the school (must be closed in with hard soles; not flip flops or slippers).