Summit54 is pleased to announce that the 501c3 and Ross Montessori School have formed a new partnership to host the Summer Advantage program at the State Charter School campus.  The new program site is anticipated to serve 100 additional students this summer, bringing the total students served each summer from 550 to 650 in the Lower Roaring Fork Valley. 

“All students who live within the Roaring Fork School’s district boundaries have always been welcome to participate in the annual program, sponsored by Summit54 and Roaring Fork Schools,” explained Summit54 Executive Director Terri Caine.   “Although we annually serve about 550 elementary aged children each summer, our historical participation among students who attend charter, private or parochial schools has not been as high as Summit54 would like.”   

Ross Montessori Head of School Sonya Hemmen was determined to increase participation in the Summer Advantage program among her students and offered her school as an additional program site.  Her idea has proven effective, as 92 Montessori students have already registered for the program compared to historical tallies of about five Montessori students per summer. 

Hemmen says she was determined to provide an academic program for her students this summer because of the pandemic. “The many times we needed to isolate and quarantine took a terrible toll on our students.  We are seeing some of the biggest gaps in literacy, numeracy and socialization that I’ve seen in 12 years.”

“I thought about piecing together small group Montessori tutoring, but after seeing the Summer Advantage presentation I was sold on the program,” said Hemmen.  “Even though Summer Advantage is vastly different from the Montessori model, I believe it is a great idea, educationally, to give our students five weeks of additional time in a substantially different format.  I want to try this as something new to give our students.  I see it as an opportunity for our students to learn the same skills with different teachers and curriculum.  I wanted to host our own site because our parents feel comfortable with their children in familiar surroundings with their same school bus routes.”

As testimony to Hemmen’s commitment to the Ross program, she and one other person, will be driving the Montessori school buses each day and she and their on-site principal will be making all the lunches each afternoon.  “We’re all in and very excited to be able to offer additional academic and life enrichment time for our students using a different philosophy and program. Ross Montessori has always had a strong community which I believe will only be strengthened with the addition of the Summer Advantage program.”

Summit54 created a partnership with Ross Montessori based on the same model used historically with RFS. The District and Ross Montessori both provide facilities, utilities, janitorial service, computers, internet access, IT support, food service, bus transportation, and parent & teacher outreach; and both contribute approximately 10% of the total fee paid to Summer Advantage USA for implementing their award-winning program at their school sites. Summit54 contributes the balance of the program cost.  

“Our mission is to help bolster academic abilities among elementary aged children in the Lower Roaring Fork Valley.  If we can increase student participation within our service area by using an additional school site, we are happy to do so,” explained Caine. 

Registration for the Roaring Fork Valley Summer Advantage program is open to all elementary aged children who reside within the RE-1 school district boundaries.  Programs will be held at Basalt Elementary School, Crystal River Elementary School, Glenwood Springs Elementary School and Ross Montessori School. The registration deadline for the FREE five-week academic and life enrichment program is May 13th.    

Student registration is available on-line at in both Spanish and English.  Registration is also available via phone: 1-866-924-7226 (*9 for Spanish). 

Applications for teachers and teacher assistants are also available on-line at