deCroce blog of photography

Best School in Denver?

Is DMIS the best school in Denver?
Parents of kids anywhere probably feel that their school is tops.
And the parents of kids at DMIS are no different.  Although its private, its not snobby.
Denver Montclair International School (DMIS) is a full immersion
language elementary school.  If offers full-immersion,
bilingual education in French, Mandarin Chinese
and Spanish to students ages 3 through 5th grade.
And its middle school is an International Baccalaureate Candidate School.
A job I look forward to every year is to photograph the kids and the classes at DMIS.
As a professional photographer, I’ve portrayed the lives of thousands of people in Colorado
and around the world.  But as the parent of a second grader in the French program,
no job is more fun than this one.  Photographers get to see behind the scenes,
and it’s my job to document life as my lens sees it.  So in this way,
capturing everyday life at DMIS is not unlike other assignments.
But as I move from one class to the next, I feel as though I’m traveling the globe.
Full immersion means that whatever subject the class is studying, be it math or history,
is spoken in Mandarin or Spanish or French.
And the differences between the classrooms is every bit as unique as the
countries they represent.  When I enter a Mandarin class to make photographs,
it not only sounds like China, but the sense of order and style is Chinese.   The Spanish
program is ranked as one of the top four elementary Spanish language immersion schools
in North America by the Spanish Ministry of Education. And the French program has been the
foundation of DMIS since its inception in 1977.  It is accredited by the
French Ministry of Education.  One step inside a French classroom at DMIS is to smell the crepe-suzette.
It’s incredible to think how we found this path.  When our son was
in preschool at Paddington, several teachers commented about his
natural ability for speech.  We tried a summer French camp and then enrolled
him in pre-K at DIS (before the merger with Montclair).  We don’t speak anything but English at home, and my knowledge of French
contains only the most basic words.  I did a lot of photography for ballet, so I knew the meaning
of merde.  But now, 4 years later, our French speaking neighbor from the island of
Mauritius tells us that our son sounds more like a little French boy than an American
speaking French.
Incredible DMIS!

Amira Ghanam (upper left) grew up speaking English, French and Arabic with her family in Saudi Arabia and later in France. All the kids at DMIS are bright. Of course, this blog is partial to the boy in the white t-shirt (upper right). Expressive Spanish lead teacher Marta Lopez (center) has also volunteered in an orphanage in Peru and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English.


Kung Fu class for the DMIS elementary students in the Mandarin program.



Spanish program coordinator Luis Diaz works with DMIS middle school students during drama rehearsal.


Leah Bassoff (upper left) is an English teacher at DMIS. The School offers comprehensive instruction in English in conjunction with its other language programs. The school also offers an English-only program for students in grades 3-5. In the upper right photo, Bénédicte Ogilvie, originally from Paris, shows a newly hatched duckling to French students. Edith-Emilie Riedel (center) is the French Program Coordinator. Each September, she leads the 5th grade French students on a sojourn to France.



Mandarin lead teacher Jia Jia works with students in the classroom at DMIS. Jia was a contributing author of a textbook on Chinese literature that was published in 2006.


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