• Dear Fellow ECMCS Families,

    Like everyone, I remember the anticipation of waiting for the names to be called the morning of the lottery. It was 2009 and my oldest daughter was in kindergarten at a private Montessori school downtown, but I had recently learned from a friend about the small program in I’On called East Cooper Montessori Charter School. I was astounded that kids could attend a public-school Montessori education at no charge, that is, IF you could get a spot. That friend was a founding parent at that school and ironically, her oldest would go on to become a teacher at ECMCS and teach my youngest daughter in her last year of upper elementary! I went on the tours, filled out the application and headed to the Grand Hall for the lottery; along the way I heard there were spots for 40 first graders; however,  all but 11 of those spots were already filled with siblings. I saw several friends and with nervous anticipation, we watched as the Mt Pleasant firemen pulled the first name from the red velvet box… it was not my child. I started chatting to the person next to me as I vaguely heard the name “Carter Durst” read, and from that moment on, our family was on an intertwined path with ECMCS.


    Carter started her lower el education in the fall of 2010 and was followed by her sisters, Ella and Mae, two and three years later. Not to be left out, my husband Peter and I as well as my mother, Linda Jennings- a retired 4th grade teacher- volunteered whenever we could. I went on several field trips, planned the school's 10th grade birthday party, organized fall festivals and ultimately served on the board not once but twice.  I’m proud to say I was part of the decision making and planning process that opened ECMCS to so many more children by adding a primary program and moving into the much larger and more spacious building at Rifle Range. I was passionate in expanding this educational experience to more than a handful of children lucky enough to “win the lottery.” Pete became a repeat chili cook-off champion and my mom ended up volunteering in the classroom- first doing Monday funday projects in Carter’s lower el classroom and later as the volunteer science teacher for lower el specials.

    Last year our youngest Mae graduated from ECMCS and moved on to join Ella at the new Lucy Beckham High School, while Carter is now a senior at Wando. I can honestly say that ECMCS did an outstanding job preparing all of our girls for high school as well as the world in general. It was a safe place that nurtured the interests and expanded the intellect of all three of our daughters. It gave so much to them, but also so much to our entire family. In a traditional public school, there would be no way for an entire family to be so integrated in the fabric of their children’s education. In fact, my mom was so sad our family was leaving ECMCS, she returned this year as a teacher- you may recognize her in the halls as the grandmother of the school- Ms. Linda! Well into her 70’s, she loves the atmosphere of the school, and now that her nine grandchildren are “outgrowing her,” (her words, not theirs) she enjoys spending time giving back to the school and being a part of the ECMCS experience.

    Ms. Linda Jennings, aka Granna, graces the ECMCS halls as permanent substitute teacher.

    This school has an environment like no other such as the ability to personally know your teachers. Ms. Beth had a “decade of Dursts” teaching both Carter and Mae in lower and upper el. Ella and Mae had the unique experience of being together in adolescents and I got a “two for one” when I chaperoned them to Camp St. Christopher in lower el and five years later to  the Chattooga River in upper el. My oldest is in the process of applying to colleges and her essay is on how ECMCS shaped her as a student and a person, she states “before I was able to be friends with my peers, I had friends in my teachers.”

    Carter, Ella, and Mae on some of the ECMCS signature overnight field trips: Carter on the middle school Chattooga River trip, Ella on the lower el trip to Camp St. Christopher, and Mae on her 6th grade trip to New York for the Montessori Model United Nations. 

    Giving Beyond Graduation

    The 11 years the Durst family spent in  ECMCS felt more like a partnership than just an education, and from being on the board and spending way too many hours looking at budgets and finances, I know all the qualities that make the school special are not funded by the state and instead rely on the generous donations of the member families and alumni families. I encourage you to give generously, because the education that your child is receiving will help transform them into global citizens and will play a paramount role in their development into  successful high schoolers and adults. In the case of my family, the unique environment surrounding ECMCS has impacted three generations of our family, and so I continue to give to the annual fund, because the seed planted by  this school in my children continues to blossom even as they have moved beyond the physical walls of this school. I challenge you to plant the seed of philanthropy and support in the school, because the investment from the teachers, staff, administration and environment of ECMCS will continue to grow in your children for a lifetime.

    Kim Durst
    ECMCS Alumni Mom


    This is Where Your Annual Fund Donations go

    • high-quality Montessori materials
    • 13:1 student-teacher ratio
    • global learning opportunities
    • STEM program with a dedicated STEM coordinator
    • funding for the arts
    • professional development
    • technology upgrades

    The Annual Fund

    Our goal is to raise $70,000 to continue to provide the premier public Montessori education ECMCS is known for.

    Note: the Annual Fund also makes it possible for students who receive free or reduced price lunch* to attend field trips (including in-house field trips) for free. 
    *Families must apply and qualify for Free and Reduced Meals even though meals are free to all students this year.


    Together we make the ECMCS Difference - Help Support ECMCS!