Thank you for attending the Montessori Town Hall meeting last week (23 parents + 3 educators). We're all really excited that DCPS is planning to expand the program and move us to our own space effective SY11-12 (Fall of 2011!).
Below are the highlights of the discussion (but please read the attached discussion notes for pros/cons and more details on the questions raised, etc ).
DCPS has not yet expressed support of keeping the Montessori program in the Cluster as a fourth campus under one principal. Cluster families/stakeholders (Montessori and beyond) are all in support of the Montessori program staying within the Cluster. Reasons behind this include
More efficient (and incentive) to share resources, in particular with Stuart Hobson at the middle school age. Examples: Share fields, labs, libraries, special subjects, music, after school activities, and the principal will continue to have latitude to shift resources among campuses as needs arise.
Maintain stability within Cluster community while Montessori transitions out of Watkins, while the 5th grade transitions to Watkins (from Stuart), and while Ludlow Taylor transitions to Stuart Hobson.
Location: The four options of Van Ness, Gibbs, Logan and Jefferson were discussed. Logan provides the most efficient option to enable the Montessori program to share resourceswith Stuart Hobson (classes, library, after school activities). It’s proximity to Metro, and H St. street cars provides the best opportunity for city-wide access to the program and for the students to easily get to city resources (museums, etc)
Grade Configuration: There was confusion around why DCPS proposed the option of PS-5. The Montessori expansion is part of the middle school conversation and the Montessori community’s desire to complete the age 6-12 cycle and then go through 8th grade. The consensus is that the Montessori families want to go through 8th grade.
Follow up with DCPS on outstanding questions and determine how they plan to engage the Cluster (see email to Claudia Lujan below)
Draft communications to Cluster and gather parent feedback in a transparent, unified manner
Questions? Please don't hesitate to ask questions, provide feedback, and get involved. Contact Sandra Moscoso (email@example.com) and Sanja Bebic (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(See attached file: Montessori Town Hall 5_24_10 Discussion Summary.pdf)(See attached file: Montessori Town Hall 5_24_2010.pdf)
The Montessori Expansion Team
----- Forwarded by Sandra P. Moscoso/Person/World Bank on 06/03/2010 06:26 AM -----
Sandra P. Moscoso/Person/World Bank
05/27/2010 09:51 AM
Ward 6 and Montessori - Next Steps?
Hope you're well.
I'm contacting you in an effort to get a sense of next steps on addressing the outstanding questions around the Watkins Montessori program.
We held a Montessori town hall on Monday (5/24) where the community (parents, teachers, principals) discussed the Ward 6 May 19 meeting and provided feedback on the questions of grade configuration, relationship with the Cluster, and facility.
A couple of things came up that I'd like to share w/ you and get your advice on:
- The feedback remains that we want to stay in the Cluster, want to go through grade 8 and of the building options, prefer Logan (though we would like to assemble a tour for a small team of teachers/parents of the 3 elementary schools). I'm organizing notes from the town hall that I'll share w/ you.
- While the parents are open to communicating directly with you, some expressed concern about the lack of transparency around sending feedback to an individual's email address. Question for you - will there be an opportunity for us to see the feedback that has been provided to you along the way?
- The parents are planning on drafting a communication/petition to distribute to the Cluster at large in support of the above feedback. We're in the process of figuring out the best way to do this so that it is efficient and transparent. (Sandra's editorial: If possible, I would like to do this within a DCPS-friendly structure and avoid reinventing the wheel. On May 19, you mentioned DCPS was looking into polling parents to get specific feedback. Question for you: will there be something in place along these lines? How soon? Please bear w/ me, as I'm trying to balance being responsive to the requests of the community, while working in a manner that also makes things easier for your team to get the information you need.)
- (This is my own question). We (the Montessori community) have done a lot of talking about what we want and the rationale for why we want those things. I may be wrong, but I think I sense a little hesitation from DCPS around some of the positions currently taken by the Montessori community. It has occurred to me that I'm not sure of DCPS' positions and the 'why's'. I would like to understand more/hear more from DCPS around what DCPS would like to see in this Montessori program and perhaps issues that we may have not yet considered. Is this possible?
Finally, thanks again for all your hard work on this.