Denver Montclair International School

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Coordinates: 39°43′22.03″N 104°53′53.37″W / 39.7227861°N 104.8981583°W / 39.7227861; -104.8981583

Denver Montclair International School
206 Red Cross Way
Denver, Colorado, 80230
 United States
Established 1977[1]
Executive Director Adam Sexton (Denver Montclair International School)
Grades Ages 3 - Grade 8
Enrollment 526
Language English, French, Mandarin, Spanish
Campus size 6.4 acres (26,000 m2)
Color(s) blue and green         

Denver Montclair International School is a private school offering language immersion in French, Spanish and Mandarin in the Lowry neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, United States. The Middle School is an International Baccalaureate Candidate School implementing the Middle Years Programme in grades 6 - 8.


The Denver International School was established in 1977 by a group of French parents. It added a German program in 2000,[2] a Spanish program in 2001[3] and then replaced the German program with a Mandarin program in 2003, recognizing the growing influence of China in the today's world.[4] French remains the school's most popular program,[1] but the Spanish and Mandarin programs have been gathering momentum.

Originally located at the Universalist Church at the corner of Hampden Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, growth led to the school moving to Holly St in 1982, to Race St in 2001[5] and then to Elm St in Park Hill[6] in 2005.

St. John's Academy was established in January 1981 to carry on the programs of St. John's The Evangelist Catholic School, which the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver planned to merge with St. Philomena's to form Good Shepherd Catholic School. The new school was housed in the educational building of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral through the end of 1985, then moved to a building at 930 Acoma Street. After moving to its present home in 1996, the school changed its name to reflect its new location and became Montclair Academy.

In January 2009, the schools merged to become Denver Montclair International School. The school has continued to grow since then, and now boasts record enrollment of 526 students ages 3 - grade 7. Grade 8 will open in 2013.


The school occupies a 6.4 acres (26,000 m2) campus in the Lowry neighborhood. A former barracks building will be remodeled to include classrooms and offices.[7] The former Peacekeeper building on the north end of campus was also remodeled in the summer of 2012 to house the growing middle school.


Denver Montclair International School is more than a language school. DMIS offers a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum that emphasizes art, English, history, math, music, physical education, science and social studies. The DMIS curriculum is divided into four learning cycles to correspond with student development.

The students begin with full-immersion in the target language – French, Mandarin or Spanish – and the amount of English instruction steadily increases as they progress through the cycles. Our students learn not only how to read, write and speak two languages, but they also gain a broader global perspective and achieve higher levels of academic success.

CYCLE 1 – IMMERSION The first cycle includes the Kinder 1, Kinder 2 and Kinder 3* classes and forms the base of the bilingual education model. Children acquire bilingual skills through play that set the foundation for future learning processes. Because the best time to acquire a second language is between the ages of three and six, language acquisition is very natural at this stage. All subjects are studied at age-appropriate levels in the target language, starting as early as 3-years-old in this first cycle. Students are not simply learning French, Mandarin or Spanish, but rather, they are learning ALL traditional subjects IN French, Mandarin or Spanish.

  • DMIS refers to the 3-years-old, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes as Kinder 1, Kinder 2 and Kinder 3, respectively, to accurately reflect the academic curricula offered at these earlier stages, and to correspond with the foreign curricula that DMIS follows from China, France and Spain.

CYCLE 2 – SOLIDIFYING THE KNOWLEDGE BASE In Grades 1 and 2, the emphasis shifts to the relationship between the oral and written language. English language instruction becomes more formalized and focuses on early literacy skills, while all subjects – including math and science – continue to be studied in the target language of French, Mandarin or Spanish.

CYCLE 3 – EXPANDING THE KNOWLEDGE BASE AND INTRODUCTION OF A THIRD LANGUAGE In Grades 3, 4 and 5, students expand their study of the target language. Students become bilingual at this stage, and are introduced to a third language which can be studied through Grade 8. Instruction in English accounts for approximately half of the time spent in class, moving beyond basic grammar and vocabulary, and delving into literature, science and math. English instruction of science and math complements the instruction already given up to this point in the target language.

CYCLE 4 – BECOMING RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS DMIS is the only middle school – public or private – in the Denver region offering the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme with this type of intensive foreign language instruction. It is not taught as a “second” language only a few periods a week, but rather as a “first” language through immersion, accounting for 20% of the school week. During this cycle, students in Grades 6 – 8 build the academic, technological, social, emotional and ethical skills that will allow them to succeed in high school, college and beyond. A strong set of values is consistently weaved throughout the middle school academics, building critical thinkers and responsible global citizens.

The school is accredited by the French Ministry of Education.[5] Its Spanish program has earned the highest level of recognition from the Spanish Ministry of Education. The Mandarin Program works closely with the Chinese Ministry of Education and houses a Chinese Arts and Literacy Laboratory in the Mandarin 5th grade classroom, working with the Confucius Classroom of Denver. The English program adheres to Colorado State Standards.

Former principals[edit]

Denver International School:

  • Herve Jardonnet (2000-2005)
  • Doug Mahon

Montclair Academy:

  • Grace Kimak (1981-1997)
  • Buffie Berger (1997-2006)
  • Anthony Sherer (2006-2008)
  • Esther Tipton (2008-2009)


  1. ^ a b Montero, David (2007-01-25). "Never too early to learn French". Rocky Mountain News. 
  2. ^ Garner, Joe (2000-04-13). "School plans German-language kindergarten". Rocky Mountain News. After 23 years offering bilingual education in French and English, the Denver International School wants to expand by introducing a German kindergarten this year, said Jean-Jacques Wagner, the school's director of development. 
  3. ^ Yettick, Holly (2001-08-13). "Kids on the leading edge: Dual language immersion a growing trend in education". Rocky Mountain News. 
  4. ^ Gorlick, Adam (2007-03-14). "Chinese more common for kids". Denver Post. 
  5. ^ a b McPherson, Doug (2001-10-19). "Reading, writing, arithmetic -- and German". Denver Business Journal. 
  6. ^ Simpson, Kevin (2008-08-28). "Their future, in any language". Denver Post. 
  7. ^ "EVstudio Selected to Design School Remodel at Lowry for Denver International School". 2008-12-07. 

External links[edit]