In 1963, the concept of a Montessori school in the Virgin Islands captured the imagination and support of a group of St. Thomas parents. A one-room building emerged in January 1964 with a preschool class of 12 students. Over the ensuing years, our school has grown steadily to meet the needs of our St. Thomas/St. John community. Today, our beautiful 7.0 acre campus offers instruction for toddlers through 12th grade and is accredited by Association Montessori International (AMI) for our Montessori Lower School and our International Academy (grades 7-12) is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
VIMSIA's first Primary Class was located on half an acre of land, generously donated by Bill and Jim Evans (both of whom had children in that class). Our early growth focused on additional preschool classes.
Lower and Elementary Classes were added in the early ‘70’s, moving our program upwards through the sixth grade.
Responding to the needs of our parents and students, we added our La Casa Toddler Program for two-year-olds in 1994. We also initiated the Bougainvillea Enrichment Center that same year. This center is designed to be a “home away from home”, offering quality, loving and friendly care with fun activities for students until 5:30 p.m. each school day.
The long-awaited addition of our Middle School became a reality in 1997. With a 7th grade class introduced that September, the eighth grade was added the following year. Our Middle School combined the Montessori approach with traditional methods to ensure a smooth transition to Upper School and beyond.
Our Upper School began in Sept. 2004 with the addition of the 9th grade. Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, we introduced the International Baccalaureate Organization’s (IBO) secondary school pedagogy for grades 7 and up. During that same time period, we developed a relationship with Peter Gruber - whose vision for humanity paralleled our school principals and we changed our school name, to include the strong focus that we now have on our secondary school program and to honor the contributions of Peter Gruber. Virgin Islands Montessori School became VI Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy.
The Peter Gruber International Academy is authorized as an IB World School by the International Baccalaureate Organization. We offer the Middle Years (MYP) and the Diploma (DP) Programmes, for our 7th through 12th grades. All levels of the school are accredited by The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The IBO has a mission to “create a better world through education” and offers a curriculum that is a perfect complement to our proven Montessori program.
The IBO is a nonprofit educational foundation motivated by its mission – focused on the student. It is a recognized leader in the field of international education, encouraging students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals and engaged world citizens. Founded in 1968, it currently works with 1,763 schools in 122 countries. There are more than 943 schools in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean offering one or more of the IBO’s academic programs. For further information, visit their IBO website: www.ibo.org.
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