Boarding ExperienceGrades 7-12
At Home at Hershey
Hershey Montessori School’s boarding program is not your typical middle school and high school boarding school experience. Our adolescent residential experience has nurtured student’s lives for more than 20 years. Adolescents build relationships and memories with peers of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, and prepare for leadership in a global society.
Today, almost a third of the Adolescent Community lives on campus either four,five or seven days a week. Day students are invited to join the boarding community and stay overnight for academic, project-related, or social reasons.
Regional, national, and international students are attracted to Hershey Montessori School’s boarding program because of its beautiful environment, caring faculty, and the independence they develop alongside our warm and welcoming staff.
The boarding program provides a broad and deep range of experiences to meet a young person’s needs for social development, intellectual stimulation, creative expression, independence, responsibility, and personal growth.
Social Responsibility and Practical Life
Hershey Montessori School’s boarding program provides students the necessary tools for greater success in life. The fundamental needs of adolescents in this stage of development are being met through their belonging to a genuine community and taking part in meaningul work as part of their daily lives.
Day students and boarding students alike contribute to the operation of the farm and its businesses. Every student cooks and serves meal. Every student helps maintain the buildings and grounds. As a result, every student feels they belong, and is an important, contributing member of the Hershey community.
Additionally, campus life allows for new levels of independence and responsibility with the guidance of residential house staff. Boarding students help and share in these activities:
- Community work
- Microeconomy businesses outside of school hours
- Cleaning their rooms
- Cooking breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunches
- Doing kitchen and personal laundry
- Animal chores
Nestled in beautiful Northeast Ohio, the Huntsburg Campus is located 1 hour from Akron and Cleveland; within 2 hours of Pittsburgh, PA; and within 3 hours of Columbus, OH and Buffalo, NY. Boarding students take advantage of Cleveland’s museums, Northeast Ohio’s park system, sporting events, and more.
We keep our school small enough to reap the proven social benefits of a close-knit learning community while pursuing rigorous and developmentally appropriate academic programs. The Middle School has an enrollment capacity of 60 as does the Upper School. Our boarding students hail from Canada, China, Colombia, District of Columbia, France, Germany, Georgia, Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Peru.
Hershey Montessori School’s financial aid program helps eligible students receive financial assistance as needed and available.
One hundred percent of graduates are accepted into the college or university of choice..
What Parents Are Saying About Hershey’s Boarding Program
We have seen ever increasing independence and self-assurance for Sylvia – from basic self-care to leadership in the farm and community. Having Sylvia away has actually improved our relationship. Although we communicate somewhat less than if she were at home, it is more meaningful. Since Sylvia is an only child, it has been great for her to interact with such a large community family and learn to negotiate the joys and tensions of interaction.
The Pasaret family from Mexico chose Hershey Montessori School’s boarding experience because of the application of Montessori principles in the farm setting, guides, and staff. Their son Pablo is the fourth member of the family to benefit from the opportunity to attend Hershey. “As parents we have enjoyed each one of the children valuing their “holistic education” as they continue with their studies and in the continuous search for things that they have a passion for.”
Interacting and living with other students at a younger age, away from family, in a boarding setting, has provided the opportunity for their children to develop leadership and empathetic skills. “Being away from home, Hershey has provided the environment to allow students to be respectful and appreciative of cultural differences.”
“As we see the children continue to grow and mature in every stage of their personal and education process, they recognize and appreciate the values and principles promoted at Hershey; applying their acquired leadership skills, sensitivity to the environment, and the very natural and enjoyable way of learning into their day-to-day life.”
The boarding experience develops their sense of independence, helps them become more responsible and mature as well as learn how to interact with different styles of personalities both at their peer level as well as with adults. Many different situations, both negative and positive arise from the experience which becomes a unique part of their personal growth that can hardly be replicated at home at that or any age. I think the boarding experience touches every one in the family (pets included), as those periods of separation create opportunities for everyone to appreciate things that many times are taken for granted as well as providing space for different family members to interact with each other in new and different ways.
A Student’s Reflection
The Most Incredible Experience of My Life
At the tender age of 12, Athena left the safe haven of her community in Australia, her family, and her home, to travel to the United States of America, and and join her older sister as boarding student with 20 other adolescents from around the world. For many parents, this would be a bigger-than-life decision to send their child to the other side of the world, but for Athena, it was the most incredible experience of her life.
The farm experience made a huge impression on Athena, coming from a typical urban setting in Sydney. “Getting the experience on the farm meant a lot to me and I enjoyed gardening. If there was anything that wasn’t working, we always worked it out together, and if we disagreed on a rule, we would present a case to the school committee to make a change.”
The relationships Athena had with her teachers enhanced a desire to learn more about the world. “I’m grateful for my Montessori education. The school instilled in me a love for learning. Everything fascinates me and I want to learn more.”
A Typical Weekday for a Boarding Student
Like all aspects of the prepared environment, the daily schedule is designed for order, safety, and social development.
Wake up and do morning chores such as feeding animals, watering open pastures, shoveling walkways, or preparing breakfast.
8:50 a.m.-3:20 p.m.
Advisory, classes, lunch, community meeting, world language, math, humanities/occupation projects, and community cleaning.
Depending on the day, room cleaning, study hall, creative expression, or physical expression, and students on dinner prep arrive at the kitchen ready to work.
Weeknight study hall.
Meet Our Residential Life Staff
Joy was raised in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and attended college in Ankeny, Iowa, majoring in Elementary Education. She met Paul shortly after moving to campus and has greatly enjoyed the journey of living and working in eight states together. Joy enjoys building connections with children and adolescents since she was a young child. She is excited by the opportunity to begin creating and establishing relationships with the students at Hershey Montessori School. Joy and Paul have been house-parenting and living with boarding students together since 2013, and they welcomed their daughter into the lifestyle as well. Fresh air, sunshine, people and animals are all things that invigorate Joy’s spirit. When not on campus, Joy can be found somewhere outside with Micaela, gleefully exploring a new playground, park, or swimming pool.
Paul grew up in a small town in Michigan before gaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Youth Ministry. After spending six years as a youth pastor, he stepped into the world of being a houseparent where he worked for six years with at-risk youth and adolescents, before joining Hershey Montessori School. When Paul is not working with youth, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Joy, and daughter, Micaela. Paul’s interests include riding his motorcycle, woodworking, and training his two golden retrievers, Midas and Lucy.
Sharyn has studied theater, art, French, philosophy, business and English literature. She holds the AMI Primary certificate and has worked with Primary students for over twelve years. Most recently she has worked in Residential Life, initially as head of the food program and then director of residential life. Sharyn adores her son Avery, God, and her dog Hank. Her passion is running trails.
Middle School Guide and Residential Support
Nabila grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended the University Puerto Rico, where she earned a double degree in Biology and Psychology. After graduating, Nabila moved to Guadalajara, Mexico to pursue her Master Studies in Child and Developmental Psychology. She finished her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, in 2017, where she was involved in research projects about gender relations and cognitive neuroscience. She has taught adolescents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was able to develop and implement a Project-Based Learning Curriculum focusing in sustainability. Nabila is very passionate about language acquisition, and the interconnections with culture, history and identity. She completed her AMI Certification to Adolescents Studies and is joining the Middle School Faculty for the 2019-2020 year. In her spare time, Nabila enjoys cooking vegetarian dishes, reading poetry, gardening and spending time with her cat Memi.
Upper School Science Guide and Residential Support
Stella grew up on a perennial nursery in eastern North Carolina, which sparked her passion for science! She attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Geospatial Technology. From there, she worked and studied in many areas including organic farming, sustainable urban planning, pharmaceuticals, and even informal historic and science education. Stella earned her Master’s degree in Education from John Carroll University in May, specializing in 7-12th grade Life Science education. She centers her teaching around the application of the scientific process to investigate, understand, and potentially solve real-world problems. In addition to teaching, Stella and her husband, Daniel, enjoy hiking and exploring local natural areas, vegetable gardening, and cooking together. She looks forward to becoming a part of the Hershey Montessori Adolescent Community.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are meals like?
Boarding students help prepare meals regularly throughout the week. The kitchen crew prepares and serves the meal and stays afterwards to clean up. For reasons of order and social experience, students may not usually trade kitchen shifts. Trades for legitimate schedule conflicts must be approved by a staff member. School meals are planned with balanced nutrition in mind, and students are encouraged to make healthy, nutritious choices at meal and snack times. Boarding students have limited cabinet storage for personal food. Parents are welcome to send food to students, but are encouraged not to send candy. Specific guidelines for nutrition and quality will be sent out at the beginning of the school year. Parents should give direction to office and residential staff for any dietary needs or requests for students.
Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance to us. It is our policy to serve the most nutritious, wholesome and healthy options to the students while they attend this school. While it is our desire to be as completely self-sustaining as possible, we do need to rely on outside sources for a variety of our foods. We have successfully increased our selection of organic and bulk foods into our menu as well as supporting local farmers and vendors. We want to emphasize that all of our products that are purchased DO NOT include:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives (examples include red 40, MSG, etc.)
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
We ask that you support our nutrition policy when sending packages from home.
Will my child have a roommate?
Room assignments are made by the staff before student arrival with balance and fairness in mind and are not subject to change during the year except in extraordinary circumstances. Learning to live with roommates, to moderate one’s own behavior, and to resolve differences peacefully are essential aspects of community life.
Males and females live in separate dorm areas and are not permitted in each other’s rooms or dormitory hallways. Occasional exceptions are made during tours, for maintenance purposes, but always in the company of adults.
Can day students stay overnight?
Boarding and day students often form social connections and friendships, and visits can be arranged.
Day students are invited to join the boarding community and stay overnight for academic, project-related, or social reasons. Visits are arranged according to the following procedure:
- Day student parents request an overnight with the Huntsburg Office in writing or by email at least 24 hours in advance.
- Residential life schedule and activities, as well as social and behavioral considerations, will be taken into account when evaluating requests.
- The overnight weekday fee is $20.00.
Day students adopt a boarding life schedule when they stay overnight and are expected to participate in the responsibilities and chores expected of boarding students. Inappropriate behavior can result in a suspension of overnight privileges for day students, either temporarily or permanently.
Overnights are not scheduled during the first and last two weeks of school and on coffeehouse, school dance, or play performance nights.
Five-Day Boarding student overnights
- Five day boarding students are allowed to stay over either one or both nights in a weekend. The cost of each overnight is $75.00. This covers the cost of additional weekend staffing, transportation to activities, room and board. Parents must request an overnight with the Huntsburg office and Houseparents by email at least 48 hours in advance.
May seven-day boarders leave weekends to stay with friends?
Boarding students may spend occasional weekends or weekend nights at the homes of day students, but no more than once a month, and at the discretion of the Houseparents based on activities in the boarding community. These visits are arranged as follows:
- Day student parents check with the Huntsburg office in writing or by email at least 48 hours in advance to see if the week-end is appropriate for a visit and does not interfere with other scheduled boarding activities.
- Day student parents contact the boarding student’s parents for permission and to discuss the nature of the visit and its activities.
- The boarding student’s parents contacts the Huntsburg office to confirm permission for the visit and arrange
Except in unusual circumstances, boarding students are not typically permitted to spend weekdays overnight at a day student’s home.
Do boarding students participate in activities outside of academic and community work?
Beyond academic work, community work, and informal socializing, boarding students participate in a variety of activities.
Three times a week for approximately an hour, middle school boarding students participate in some form of physical or creative expression. Group sports and exercise equipment are available. Upper school students meet two times a week for approximately two hours.
Afternoon and Evening Activities
During open times students take part in a wide range of activities, including creative work, music, games, outdoor activities, etc
Streamed television shows or movies are typically presented twice a week. Adults and students collaborate in choosing appropriate, PG-13 (and under) movies or TV-14 shows. R-rated movies are not usually presented, although exceptions may be made, with parental permission, for movies considered socially redeeming or having educational value.
Weekend activities include on-site activities, as well as whole community and small group outings for recreation, education, shopping, and other needs and interests.
Weekend on-site activities include creative work, music, games, cooking and craft projects, outdoor activities, farm and garden work, and more.
Small Group Outings
Small group outings to places and events of interest are available on weekends depending on staff availability, schedule considerations, and student interest and planning.
Periodically, students and staff plan whole community outings to movies, plays, museums, cultural events, outdoor activities, etc. All boarding students participate in these events. Costs are typically covered by student activity fees.
From January to March, students have the opportunity to ski on Saturdays at a nearby facility. Boarding students who choose not to ski have the opportunity to play games, read, etc. at the ski lodge. Enrollment and payment are made directly to Alpine Valley through their online registration system.
Student Needs Outings
Weekends may include shopping trips for school groceries and student needs, along with visits to the local library. Students will spend no more than $20.00 of their allowance in one shopping trip, without approval (and relayed to the Houseparents) from their parents.
What happens when my child is sick?
Boarding students who show signs of illness (fever, vomiting, or diarrhea) will be excused from classes and will stay in their rooms for rest and care, or may be removed from their rooms for isolation and care if necessary. Staff and students will check on ill students throughout the day. Students who miss the entire school day are generally expected to stay in their rooms and rest for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
Boarding students who are ill may be evaluated by staff for further medical treatment, and may be taken off campus for medical care. Parents will be contacted as soon as possible, but the medical care will not be delayed if the situation warrants immediate response. Staff members will remain in contact with the parents about doctor visits, emergency room visits, prescribed treatments, and doctor recommendations.
Visit Hershey Montessori
The student experience at The Huntsburg campus is truly unique and must be observed to gain full understanding. We invite you to visit our campus to learn more.