What is a teacher-led school?
Our school operates by representative leadership and consensus. All staff are participants in our decision-making process and our Head of School synthesizes and implements these decisions.
decision making through consensus
how does consensus work?
Consensus is the process by which our staff makes group decisions. The process involves graduated voting whereby members can voice concerns. If even one member of our staff feels uncomfortable about that idea, we work together to figure out a solution.
the a-z of teacher led
Head of School
Takes care of communications, financial responsibilities, human resources, curriculum development, every day running of the school, on-site support for teachers and students, and acts as the liaison between staff and the Board.
Front office support, communications support, admissions and enrollment, every day running of the school, on-site support for teachers and students.
board of directors
Our board is comprised of DMS parents, and is responsible for financial oversight and fundraising.
Part of the teaching team; supports Lead Teacher in class management and curriculum implementation.
Part of the teaching team; in charge of developing curriculum, inter-team communications, class management, student observations, parent communication.
In lieu of a traditional HR Department, our Mediation Team is comprised of teachers with experience in conflict-resolution, and they work in tandem with the Head of School to handle HR-related concerns, conduct peer feedback reviews among staff, and manage inter-personal dynamics.
ways to get involved even if you’re not a teacher!
Community-building and outreach, such vital elements of a school culture, are often just too much for one person acting as the Director to take on and easily fall through the cracks. With our new leadership model, however, we are spreading the work around and these kinds of tasks can now be taken care of by interested staff members and parents! We welcome parent involvement in our school and can’t wait to watch our school grow and thrive under the tender care of our community. We have many opportunities throughout the year for our community to come together and share their skills and interests. From fundraising events to family dinners to river clean-ups to volunteering, we feel strongly about creating a robust, unique, and close-knit community at our school. Some things our families can look forward to….
DMS hosts multiple Santa Fe River Cleanup days (in association with the Santa Fe Watershed) each year, as well as an Annual May Day celebration, where parents and teachers can come together to work on the garden, beautify our playground, and help organize essential items around the school grounds and building. We also aim to host multiple charity drives throughout the year, and welcome parent involvement in these.
From cozy afternoons creating nostalgic ‘family boards’ together to our enriching, Montessori-based Parent Night, we try to come together as much as possible for community building and learning experiences. Whether chaperoning on field trips, or helping with past events like the Pet Parade, Science Fair, and Climate Strike, parents are often invited to enjoy enriching experiences with their student.
Our famous Fall Festival and Valentine’s Silent Auctions are just some of the ways that we ask families to come together to help financially support our school. In recent years, we’ve added an outdoors, catered, fundraising dinner to our repertoire, and both our Board and staff always appreciate assistance planning and running these exciting fundraising days.
Swim Club, Soccer Club, and Spanish Club are a few potential extracurriclar activities we have on the horizon for the coming year. These things can’t happen without parent or teacher support, whether that’s driving students to the pool or cheering on competitors at a big game! Would you like to host a program for our students to participate in? We’d love to hear more about it!
YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
how are decisions made?
The Head of School is there to implement decisions made by the entire staff during our consensus-based all-staff meetings. Here big-picture and school-wide decisions are presented and every member of our staff has an opportunity to have their voice heard. Sound tiresome? We’ve actually found the opposite! Since the implementation of consensus-based decision making our meetings have been more productive and even shorter!
what does this mean for students?
In the day-to-day? Not much. Students still have the same hours in the classroom, the same wonderful and enriching specials, the same dedicated teaching teams, and the same inspiring Montessori materials and curriculum. In the grand scheme of things, however, students can expect more interaction with different classes, more community-building activities and events, and more opportunities for involvement for themselves and their families.
how do the teachers feel?
Our entire teaching team, from returning staff to new hires, are excited about our new model. Where the traditional model with a director can be very supportive, not being involved in decision-making can reduce teachers to little islands out in the educational ocean all by themselves. Our staff is ready to jump in and help to shape their work environment and work in teams to create vibrant learning for their students as well as consistency across classrooms and age-ranges. We have built-in time throughout the day where our teachers can do the work they need to do, without sacrificing time with their students.
From Our Teachers
Our teacher led school allows me to use my skills and talents beyond the classroom.
We are ready, willing, and able to take on a new role as a collaborative leadership team.