There seems to be some confusion circulating on this site about SBMS--this, a somewhat difficult form of communication to moderate or even consider for accuracy or information. Despite its shortcomings, there is in this "greatschools" site this opportunity for a school official to respond to 'reviews' of the school. So, after reading one of these negative reviews my response is, "You must be kidding, right?" I mean, as founder (along with my wife and fellow teacher) I have been, at times, described by others as 'The Great Communicator.' Since I am responsible for the school's written communications, its text for websites, weekly bulletins, monthly newsletters, as well as video and other presentations, I take personal, as well as professional pride in all of SBMS's communicatons--to have it suggested that there is 'little communication' with parents at SBMS is, well, it's silly. Certainly, there are aspects of any school's programs that can be misconstrued, or mis-understood, and as a Montessori teacher and administrator over the past 40 years I've had parents and families occasionally express their confusion as to how "Montessori" works--'What does my child do all day, I don't get it?' is a familiar refrain, because a real 'Montessori' program doesn't look like a traditional school's classroom. In fact, 'parent education' in a Montessori school is essential for the school's programs to succeed with the children--the parents' understanding is vital to their child's classroom success. So, this review claims, "There is very little communication with the parents..." Really? The review also claims, "Lack of parent participation... high attrition rate..." Really? SBMS, now in its 36th year, may want to address these issues, otherwise the school's long list of alumni families and students, especially those attending our local high schools, or colleges and universities, including Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, USC, UCSB, or those developing their own businesses, or living and studying around the world, or contributing to this and the global community with their skills and expertise--they may all want to reconsider their time at a school where creative thinking, hands-on learning, and project-based activities fill each day in preparation for an appreciation for learning as an individual and in collaboration with others. As a parent, if you want to find out why and what the truth is about SBMS, drop by any time, my door is always open; I'd be proud to show you what a Montessori school looks like, and if you have the time I'll gladly explain why I think it's the type of educational experience you've always promised to provide for your child.
December 21, 2010
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
his school has been great for our child for the most part. However, there is a lot of truth in the complaints about communication, and they have lost by far their best teachers in the past 3 years. The remaining teachers are young and inexperienced or old and bitter. The way some of these changes were communicated was very poor - in fact most parents do not yet know that one of the teachers is gone. Unfortunately the HOS's claim to be a 'great communicator" is false. Frequent blathering does not equal communicating about salient issues.
Nevertheless this school has an excellent model of education at its core and hopefully it will grow out of this phase and become stronger. Overall our child had a good experience, the adults' was not as good. My average score reflects this.
Some teachers are very effective, others not. Unfortunately two of the most effective teachers retired, one quit, and one was fired for unclear reasons. Almost all of the teachers left are members of the Fitzpatrick family.
This school, takes care to talk out every situation which arises with the children, in a non blaming sensitive way to ensure all kids learn from the situation and understand the basis for respect and kindness. Its their highest priority. they teach life lessons because they are experienced and understand it creates a solid foundation and healthy environment for learning and building relationships and character. I appreciate that about this school so so very much.
This school is wonderful!! I have three very different type of kids and all three thrive here. and why?? because the teachers are AWESOME!!!!
The environment is ideal and dreamy. we have attended other schools public and private, and non can compare to having these very experienced teachers. if you want a non nonsense, solid fabulous school for your family, this is it !!
We are so thrilled to have our infant enrolled at SBMS. The care is above and beyond. He isn't just watched while we are working he is learning and developing beautifully in an incredible environment. I feel blessed that my child is able to spend his days there! I never have a worry in the world. I imagine him moving through this school until Junior High :)
Nowhere else are the teachers so in tune and attentive to the whole development of the children. Bottom line. And as a parent, that is the most important thing in the end, I think most would agree.
Yes there are things to improve, but isn't that true anywhere? And I can wholeheartedly say that they are improving. Most or all of the grievances here that were accurate have been or are currently being corrected.
The only thing wrong with SBMS is that it is TOO good! My children have graduated from the Junior High and there are no other school experiences that can touch what happens at SBMS each day for each child. My children joyfully went to SBMS for 11 years. Students are prepared academically for high school, but that is just a small part of the gift that is SBMS. Each child is accepted for who they are and taught to respect others. They learn the key Montessori lessons of grace, courtesy, freedom and responsibility - in all classrooms, on the playground, in the community and on their worldwide travels. The child is the priority and it can be seen in all aspects of the SBMS community. If you are looking for the best educational experience for your child, look no further, Santa Barbara Montessori School is that school.