In 1999, a passionate group of parents and community members, wishing for the opportunity of Montessori education into adolescence, worked to complete the first charter for The Grove High School. The group brought together an inaugural community of 37 – 9th and 10th graders. In response to a growing demand and population, and with the help of generous contributions by Jack Dangermond, Stan Weisser, as well as the Montessori in Redlands community, the school grew to occupy a full building, and expand to serve grades 7-12. Soon after, the Grove school was able to realize part of Maria Montessori’s vision of adolescent education with the lease of 9 acres of property of agricultural land. On the historic VanGrouw Dairy, housed within Heritage Park, students learn through the real work and entrepreneurial venture of farming.
In 2008, the Barton Schoolhouse, the oldest standing school structure in Redlands, was moved to Heritage Park and given to the school. Through a trying restoration, renovation, and certification process that included monetary support from the San Manuel Band of Indians, the City of Redlands, and many other public and private donors, the community worked together to finally open the doors in 2017. A project that continues to be in progress, the house sets the backdrop for the Farmers Market at the Grove School, one part of the prepared environment for Montessori adolescent education, as well as support for local and sustainable agriculture.
Throughout its history, the Grove School has been a catalyst for the realization of the Montessori adolescent model. Many of its teachers and staff have gone on to travel the world, develop Montessori adolescent practice, and teach others. During the summer of 2017, it hosted the first Symposium for Adolescent Montessori Practices, which brought representatives from similar programs around the country to collaborate and define best practices. In the summer of 2018, the Grove School served as the site for the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association course, Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies, drawing educators from around the world.
Currently, the Grove School continues to serve a community of 230 students, their families, and the Inland Empire at large. While it has grown and changed in many ways, at its heart, the Grove School remains a community of passionate individuals, committed to bringing holistic Montessori education to adolescents.