Franciscan Montessori Earth School & Saint Francis Academy

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Franciscan Montessori Earth School & Saint Francis Academy
Portland, Oregon, USA
Type Private School
Established 1977
School district Centennial
Head of school Sister Kathleen Ann Cieslak
Staff 60
Grades pre K - 8
Number of students 350
Mascot Bulldog
Affiliation Catholic, Montessori

The Franciscan Montessori Earth School & Saint Francis Academy (FMES/SFA) is located in Portland, Oregon, United States. FMES/SFA is the only accredited pre-K through grade 8 Catholic Montessori school in the United States. It is operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist from Bridal Veil, Oregon.


Established in 1977, the school is in its 31st year. When the school started out, there were only seventeen students in one 1st grade classroom. As the school got bigger, it then added on with a Kindergarten and then a "Lower Elementary", 1st through 3rd grade. Then there was Upper Elementary, 4th through 6th grade and the St. Francis Academy, 7th through 8th. In 2002, the High School was closed because of the heavy financial challenge it presented. Now the Children's House, Lower and Upper Elementary have their own halls in the main building. SFA is taught in a building called "Clare Hall." It is an out building.

Exchange Program[edit]

FMES/SFA students who choose to take German as their foreign language have the option of going on a German exchange to Potsdam, Germany. The exchange with their sister school, Montessori Oberschule Potsdam, has had an exchange three times. The most recent was in October 2009 when the German students came to spend time with their exchange and March/April 2010 when the Americans did their part of the exchange.

Heidi Walz, the only German teacher, organizes the exchange every two years. Students stay with host families while attending the school for two weeks. For a third week, the American students get to travel southwestern Germany and Salzburg, Austria. Places like Berlin, Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Linderhof are visited.

In the Spring, Laura Funk and Amanda Gerke will take 8 students to Guadalajara, Mexico for the first Spanish exchange. They will be spending two weeks in Guadalajara, in southern Mexico. 8 students from Guadalajara will return to Portland with their partners for a 2 week stay in Portland.

Current Head Staff[edit]

  • Founding Administrator: Mother Francine Cardew
  • Associate Administrator: Sister Kathleen Ann Cieslak
  • Development Director: Michael Winning
  • Development Associate: Sandy Healy
  • SFA Head Guide: Laurie Langevin
  • Upper Elementary Head Guide: Sister Karol Marie Hagerty
  • Lower Elementary Head Guide: Alice Talbott
  • Children's House Head Guide: Priscilla Winning

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°30′06.57″N 122°30′42.53″W / 45.5018250°N 122.5118139°W / 45.5018250; -122.5118139