Recent Questions

The school offers the Montessori philosophy. How do I know my child is receiving a high quality Montessori education?

Bella Mente is proud to be laying the groundwork for Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and American Montessori Society (AMS) accreditations. In particular, AMS requires the school be in operation for three complete years (Bella has been open for two) before beginning the official accreditation process. To begin, the school must complete and submit a self-study which our experienced Principal has completed for other schools. Both the Principal and Assistant Principal have been in contact with the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Clairemont for guidance. Bella Mente looks forward to the expertise The Center can provide the school.


For curriculum related questions, please contact Principal, Carrie McCraw,


Bella Mente is a public Montessori school. When will my teacher hold dual certifications?

Our mission statement: “The mission of Bella Mente Montessori Academy Charter School is to provide students with the opportunity to acquire an education based on an “authentic” curriculum founded on the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.”  As a public school, Bella Mente strives to provide education based on the Montessori philosophy while meeting the standards of the state of California. To teach in a public school in the state of California, including Bella Mente, teachers must possess a valid California teaching credential. Our Assistant Principal recently spoke with the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Clairemont to discuss training opportunities during the year and certification over the summer. In addition to certification, teachers receive continuous professional development from their teaching teams, lead teacher, and organized professional development.


For certification related questions, please contact Principal, Carrie McCraw, at


My child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Will Vista Unified be providing services?

Bella Mente has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vista Unified, our charter authorizer. This MOU gives Bella Mente the freedom to hire service providers, either as employees or independent contractors. The school has two Resource Specialists on staff, one designated for Primary and Lower Elementary and another for Upper Elementary and Adolescent students. One of these Specialists will be your child’s case manager and direct contact regarding your child’s progress towards IEP goals.


For special education and resource questions, please contact Coordinator of Student Services, Sandra Finch,


How often does the Board of Directors review finances and does it complete audits?

Each month the Board of Directors review the cash flow, including revenues and expenditures, check registers, and ensure funds are spent according to the approved annual budget. Annual budgets are approved in May or June of each year at a regular board meeting. In addition, the Board also contracts an independent third party auditing firm (2014-2015 school year- Wilkinson, Hadley, King and Co, LLP) to review all finances. The audit report for the 2014-2015 will be available by December 31, 2015.


For questions regarding the Board of Directors, please contact Executive Director, Erin Feeley, at


What are Bella Mente’s strategies for retaining its teachers and staff and to stay competitive in the 2016-2017 school year?

After our students, our faculty and staff are our highest priority. During the last school year, the Board of Directors approved a 403b retirement plan for all employees. New employees receive a 3% contribution to their retirement (no matching required) and returning employees receive a 5% contribution. Also, with the rising cost of the Affordable Care Act, the Board increased the monthly benefits allowance to $700 per month ($8,400 annual per full time employee) to completely cover an employee’s medical, dental, and vision plans. To be an attractive option, the school offers multiple health insurance carriers and levels: Anthem Blue Cross PPO or HMO and Kaiser.

Before the 2016-2017 school year, the Board will revisit salary schedules to increase competitiveness with Vista Unified and other local public and private schools.

On our current pay scale, a teacher with 0 years of teaching experience and without dual credentialing begins at $45,480, $36,000 per year base pay, plus $8,400 in medical benefits and $1,080 in retirement contributions.


For salary related questions, please contact Human Resources Assistant and Executive Secretary, Jennifer Meeker at


I am interested in becoming a volunteer at the school but I’m not sure what I need to do.

Bella Mente loves volunteers! To complete an application, visit our volunteer page. Training is held the first Wednesday of each month during a morning and evening session. Parents unable to complete the volunteer requirements can speak with their child’s teacher to learn about volunteer opportunities which can be completed from home.


For volunteering related questions, please contact Office Manager, Brandy Albanese, at


I would like to become more involved in the school but I am not sure how.

Bella Mente offers many different ways for parents to be involved. Parents can volunteer during the school day in classrooms, as a noon duty, or during pick-up. For those looking to help shape the future of Bella Mente, the school offers multiple opportunities.

Our Assistant Principal chairs the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) which oversees the development of the Local Control and Accountability Plan for the upcoming 2016-2017 year and monitors progress towards 2015-2016 goals. She also chairs the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) which advises the school on English Learner instruction and services.

Our Interim Principal chairs the School Site Council (SSC) who reviews and updates the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) including proposed expenditure of funds allocated to the school through the Consolidated Application.


For more information on these committees, please contact the appropriate chair:

SSC, PAC or ELAC, please contact the Principal, Carrie McCraw at



The attendance policy is different from last year. My child was absent for one school day due to illness. Can I complete Independent Study?

The attendance policy for the 2015-2016 school year set the minimum consecutive days for Independent Study at three (3). Students can participate in Independent Study up to 10 days in a school year. Families should meet with their teacher before the absence to create a plan of study.


For attendance related questions, please contact Coordinator o Support Services, Gladys Espino, at