Clark Fork School

  • Founded in 1982, Clark Fork School offers children a unique educational experience, combining a strong academic program and diverse experiential learning.
  • Clark Fork School is an independent parent cooperative, dedicated to nurturing the whole child and to furthering the vital role parents play in the education of their children.
  • Clark Fork School accommodates the interests, needs, and learning style of each child.
  • We maintain a low student-teacher ratio, which allows our teachers to know their students well and provide individualized instruction.
  • Clark Fork School focuses on experiential, or hands-on, learning, much of which takes place outdoors.
  • Our teachers use place-based curriculum to help our children discover their unique and important roles in the communities to which they belong: their school, their town, the natural environment, the nation, and the world.

Top Placements

Clark Fork School places among the top 20% of private schools in Montana for:

School Overview

School TypeAlternative School
Religious AffiliationNonsectarian
Grades OfferedGrades Prekindergarten-Kindergarten
Year Founded1982
Summer School OfferedYes
Summer Program Cost NotesPlease see website
Summer Program DetailsLink to Summer Program Details

Student Body

Total Students196 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
Students by GradeClark Fork School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers20 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio10:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
35%
Average Class Size16 students
Classroom Dress CodeCasual

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineNone / Rolling
Tuition NotesPlease see website
% on Financial Aid
10%
Average Financial Aid Grant$2,000
Acceptance Rate
50%
National avg.: 85%
Admissions DirectorJoy Brooke, Director
Admissions AssociateKris Litz

Extracurriculars

Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.5 extracurriculars
ExtracurricularsExtra-curric.French Classes

Club or Organization:
After Care, Before Care, Ski Program, Swim Program

School Notes

  • Since its inception, Clark Fork School's mission has remained the same: to create a cooperative educational community in which a sense of belonging fosters the unfolding of children's individual abilities, interests, and gifts.
  • We help children to participate successfully, contribute effectively, and to take delight in their community and their world.
  • Our classes encourage each student to develop a strong sense of self within a multicultural world, and we emphasize our connections with the natural world through many outings and in-class projects.
  • Our low student-teacher ratio and team-teaching approach allows our teachers to know their students well and help each child establish his or her own pace of learning.
  • Parents at Clark Fork School are involved in the important decisions concerning their children's education and are essential participants both in and out of the classroom.
  • Children enrolled in our Preschool program enjoy diverse opportunities to explore independence and working with others, building friendships and community, making choices, trying new activities, and practicing skills that prepare them for future learning.
  • Among our typical activities are: painting and drawing; building with blocks; writing, dictating, and acting out student-created stories; investigating natural materials; using clay and dough; role-playing and dress-up; singing; looking at books and listening to stories; running, jumping, and climbing; and counting, measuring, and comparing. Students may attend two, three, or five days a week, partial or full days.
  • Students in the Kindergarten and Primary programs enjoy an integrated curriculum, combining traditional teaching with thematic, real-life applications of science, language arts, social studies, mathematics, and physical activity. Outside free-play, movement, cooperative games, and hands-on learning are part of every day. We participate in ski and swim programs. Fine arts, such as music, drama, painting, sculpture, or visual arts are part of our curriculum. Our school is equipped with computers and a 1500-volume library. Our students participate in frequent field trips and receive classroom visits by members of Missoulas community for an enriched learning experience.
  • We encourage our students to think of themselves as part of a larger school community. We provide many opportunities for children of all ages to interact with one another. These include everyday activities, such as joint playground time and special school-wide events in which older and younger children work on projects collaboratively.
  • Our after-school programs are for students 2 years old through 5th grade. We offer pick-up at Rattlesnake School. All activities focus on having fun in the out-of-doors and deepening students' sense of place in the Missoula Valley.
  • Our summer program offers an opportunity to acclimate younger children to our Preschool program during two four-week sessions. Older children participate in theme-based adventure camps, each lasting one week. 
  • We seek families of all backgrounds who wish to participate in our school. We maintain waiting lists when our classes become full. We can offer limited scholarships to income-qualified applicants, and we are a certified childcare provider for those receiving state-pay assistance. All children must be fully immunized and toilet trained to attend Clark Fork School.
  • Please contact us if you have any questions about the school. Our phone number is (406) 728-3395 and you can find us on the Internet at http://www.clarkforkschool.org.

Profile last updated:

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in Montana is $8,878 for elementary schools and $6,582 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Montana is 80% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).