Bright Water Montessori preschool was founded by Ann Luce through a grant from the Hiawatha Education Foundation and opened toddler and preschool programs under her direction in February 2004.
The program has remained true to the original vision of Maria Montessori by operating a school in an area of the city where many children live in poverty. Since opening, the preschool has provided more than $450,000 in scholarships to low-income families; more than half of all Bright Water preschool students receive scholarship assistance.
In June 2007, the school received accreditation from the Association Montessori Internationale ; at the time, Bright Water was the only nationally-accredited early childhood program in North Minneapolis.
In January 2008, Bright Water was one of the first child care centers to receive a four-star rating, the highest possible, from the new Parent Aware Quality Rating System.
In September 2008, we opened Bright Water Elementary, a free, public charter school, to provide continued Montessori education to children through the sixth grade.
Bright Water family participation is very high. We average 90% participation for conferences and 95% of all families have participated in one school informational or social event.
In the spring of 2010, Bright Water Montessori was awarded a grant from the Hiawatha Foundation of $150,000 over a three year period for sustainability and Montessori outreach. This is part of a larger outreach grant through the Montessori Center of Minnesota that allowed Bright Water to help assist others in starting Montessori programs in low income neighborhoods. The resulting collaborative is called Montessori Partners Serving All Children; the goal of the project is to ensure high educational outcomes for children living in poverty.
Since 2010, Bright Water has been involved in the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) and is a NAZ partner school, helping provide high quality education to families that live in the 20-block high-poverty zone bounded by West Broadway, I-94, 35th Avenue and Penn.
2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of Bright Water Montessori offering high-quality education programs to the children of North Minneapolis.