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Highland Mill Montessori
Elementary School
3201 Clemson Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
Courier #: 413
P: 980-343-5525  |  F: 980-343-5589 
LC: Central 2
Bell Schedule: 9:15 AM - 4:15 PM
Grades: PreK-6
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Dear Highland Mill Montessori School families,

Our school first opened in the fall of 1996 as Billingsville Montessori School on Skyland Avenue. That first year, Montessori materials and philosophies were used for students in pre-kindergarten through third grade, while grades four through six operated in a traditional format. During the initial year, nearly half of the students did not have previous Montessori experience, which resulted in a true challenge for the teachers. Several staff members transferred from Amay James, the first Montessori program in CMS, which added experienced educators to our program. Parents and staff worked together to prepare the school by painting rooms, creating garden areas and moving furniture and materials. In August of 2002, we relocated our magnet program to Highland Mill Montessori on Clemson Avenue, where it is today.Our school prides itself on offering our students and their families a nurturing environment, which challenges all of our children to do their very best work. We emphasize the teaching of social skills along with academic instruction. Our goal is to create lifelong learners who are self-motivated, responsible, caring citizens. Our school environment is filled with Montessori materials that provide a hands-on approach to learning. Children work with concrete materials until they are able to transfer the concepts to abstract thinking. Teachers help students gain independence by providing the freedom to self-select materials and work at their own pace in a multi-age classroom.Our school community relies on the active participation of students, staff, and parents working together to achieve our school mission. Highland Mill Montessori fosters a peaceful and caring environment by embedding elements of grace and courtesy throughout the curriculum. We provide individualized, rigorous instruction that addresses unique learning styles and encourages curiosity and creativity.

We are building each year on a tradition of excellence and academic success as we set higher goals for ourselves and our students. Highland Mill Montessori is a full magnet school based on the philosophy that learning should be enjoyable, engaging, and interactive. Our school has been recognized as a School of Distinction/School of Excellence and earned the prestigious designation of a Certified Magnet School of America. Highland Mill Montessori has consistently met or exceeded state growth benchmarks and we have always achieved a grade of A or B from the state.

I invite you to participate and volunteer in our school community as often as possible. Please remember to register as a CMS volunteer. All volunteers must register each year and select Highland Mill Montessori as the site. Please also remember to bring your ID to sign in upon entering the school as we are working diligently to keep our school safe.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I have been in education for 31 years, 20 of them as a principal. I earned my bachelor's degree and my master's degree, both in education, from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. I earned an educational specialist degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. I received certification in Montessori School Leadership from Montessori Live Educator Training Program in Venice, Florida. Prior to joining Highland Mill Montessori, I served as a principal at University Meadows and Polo Ridge elementary schools.

As a principal, I am committed to providing the best educational experience for every student. Developing a passion for lifelong learning in all children is my primary goal. I look forward to working collaboratively with you to achieve this for your child. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at 980-343-5525 or

Thank you for choosing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Highland Mill Montessori School.

Dr. Patricia Riska, principal

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website ( is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.