SFPM is an excellent alternative school within SFUSD. We have a new principal this year and a district funded full time Montessori coach. I had my own doubts about if the district was going to get behind the school and give us what we need to succeed. Adding the Montessori coach this year is an exciting development. She is Montessori trained and has been a teacher at the school for a few years. Her guidance will give the teachers tremendous support. We have been monitoring our progress for the past year and made the decision to keep our daughter there for 1st grade. She really thrived in her kinder class with an wonderful, thoughtful teacher. She made the effort to really understand my daughter and how to reach her, trying to develop a real love for learning in her. My youngest daughter will join her next year. The group of involved parents is growing. The principal has started this year with great momentum and open communication to the parent group. She's committed to making the school successful with the Montessori approach. I feel a very "can do" attitude from her and look forward to continuing to invest in our SFPM school.
SFPM has really gone through it's ups and downs over the years. Working within SFUSD is challenging, and having a specialized learning philosophy adds complexity. However, the parent community is amazing, and that's what makes the difference. The district has put some muscle behind the school and chosen a strong new principal. As with every public school, each teacher makes it or breaks it for the kids. The teachers currently at the school are outstanding so we'll stick it out with great hope for another year.
I love San Francisco Public Montessori - my son's school! This school, first and foremost, has the clear and agreed upon purpose of providing an authentic Montessori education to children on a public level. And they ABSOLUTELY do a great job. There is a strong base of loving and passionate Montessori trained teachers and an excellent, dedicated support staff. Our Assistant Superintendent, Nur Jehan Khalique, has stood behind the school all the way and 100% supports the Montessori curriculum. It is not easy running a Montessori school within a public framework but we have the back-up and the staff to do it. And the school is expanding! In Fall 2013 we will have a brand new full-time Montessori trained implementer in place. This educator will assist all teachers and the principal in ensuring standard Montessori is practiced in each classroom. I am VERY excited about this as it will free up the principal to handle the administrative running of the school (which is A LOT of work) without a hitch occurring in the Montessori curriculum. Lastly, there is a really strong parent base here. There is a lot of fundraising activity and after school activities done all by parent volunteers.
Our son has been here for almost four years now. This is a public school, and is subject to the same district and state oversight as any other public school in California (state standards, laws, school district and union bureaucracy etc) and the strict AMI approach hasn't always worked well with these. The problems other posters mention stem from times when the school has been led towards the "pure" AMI Montessori goals, but when we've had teachers and principals with regular elementary training (as well as Montessori training) the school has been really great. The nature of the Montessori classroom seems to have insulated the kids from this turmoil somewhat, and many test above their grade levels in STAR testing, and the parent community at large is pretty friendly with a lot of folks helping out in many different ways. But the 'Montessori' tag does seem to attract some parents who expect more than a public school can provide, which is a shame.
We are glad Sharon Richardson is gone. Crying in a meeting when our children did not have a teacher was not a way to lead the school!
Sharon Richardson is not gentle, She fakes being that way! I give the school district 4 stars for getting rid of her in less than a year. I don't care why she left, it is just good that she is gone. How many people have to leave because of her. You can check anyone out if you just do a minimal amount of leg work. Sharon Richardson's reputation at other schools is very disturbing.
I and my other colleague had HORRIBLE experience of the preschool of San Francisco Public Montessori. School principal Sharon is very gentle and nice person but lacks the command to be the principal (she recently resigned from her job). Our daughters were assigned Teacher Regina s class. On the day one I told her that I want to stay for some time to see how you run the class, she did not allow me and asked that I need to get a date of her choice to watch her class work, which I felt weird because you don t want the teacher to be prepared for you to see how she runs the class. When my and my friend s daughters started the school, we accompanied them to Regina s class but as any toddler will behave in the new environment, my child started crying and clinging to me. Teacher Regina will shut-off the class door on your face and ask rudely to her assistant that whenever child is ready bring her to class. Most importantly we had asked for vegetarian lunch, but our kids did not get lunch for a full week and they did not even inform us about that. I wish teacher Regina reads this review. Plz read my detailed review on Yelp.
This school community has been contentious and in disarray. There is a lack of stability in the school and the change in staff every year along with poor morale among parents and teachers has been disruptive in the children's learning journey. My daughter and her peers are behind in reading and writing relative to other children at their grade level. The current principal is the third principal in the past three years. Several teachers have also left since my daughter has been in the school. There is a small group of parents who pretty much run the school and are very militant about how the school should be managed. Please consider the full spectrum of opinion about this school. A lot of parents have pulled their children out of this school and we will be joining this exodus next year. You will have your own reasons for either enrolling or not enrolling your child in this school. As a concerned parent, I would advise you to consider all factors before entering your child into this community. For us, we are moving our daughter to a school where she can be provided the level of attention and education she needs in a loving and supportive community of teachers and parents.
We absolutely LOVE San Francisco Public Montessori. The teachers are so kind. The parent community is incredibly warm and welcoming. The principal, Sharon Richardson, is a strong leader with a passion for Montessori and an absolute love of children. The kids get to pick what they work on and for how long, so they are 100% engaged. It is amazing! As a public school teacher myself, I have never seen a teaching method that works as effectively as Montessori to maximize student engagement and foster in children an absolute love for learning. My son cannot race out the door fast enough each morning. He is so eager to get to school. And, he just bubbles over with excitement each afternoon, telling me about all of the exciting things he got to choose to work on. We cannot believe how lucky we were to have been assigned this school. Amazing. Please check out our school's website for more information at: http://sfpublicmontessori.org.
We've been at the school for three years. Principal Richardson is bringing the community together, doing all she can in order to support the children in being secure, confident and joyful learners. Sharon is a dedicated leader, who cares about students, families and the school. She is a knowledgeable Montessori educator with a strong background in public schools, having worked in Gen.Ed. in SFUSD in the past and as founder and head of a Public Montessori Charter School. A unique skillset, ensuring Montessori and public school state standards are met and Montessori materials to ensure children achieve in literacy and math. Exceptionally hard working, she has made great strides. Teachers and staff and the principal work together in ensuring ALL children and ALL families have what they need in a nurturing environment, whereby the school day is positive, peaceful and enjoyable. At meals, children proudly set their own tables, put fresh flowers out and tablecloths,enjoy quiet conversation with one another about what lessons they are doing that day ,engaging in a happily and politely. Within the first week Sharon instituted schoolwide fresh, organic nutritious snacks. Our kids love it!
With all due respect I have to disagree with the reviewer who states the school is "in shambles". While it is true that we had some pretty severe growing pains, for the last two years the school environment has been very stable. When the reviewer states that, "the kindergarteners are in isolated classrooms with little interaction with other lower elementary students", I'm not sure what s/he is complaining about. In all mainstream public schools kindergarten students are always kept separate from the older elementary students, per the state education code. It is true that in a traditional Montessori setting kindergarteners are usually combined with preK, and it is true that the district decided to keep the kindergarteners separate the last two years, despite heavy lobbying by last years principal, the School Site Council, and this year's principal. This is primarily a budgeting issue as preK and kindergarten are funded from two different revenue streams. Finally, I fail to understand how having Montessori only for the standard school year defeats the purpose of the pedagogy. Many private Montessori schools run on that schedule and their pedagogy doesn't appear to suffer.
It saddens me to have to write that SF Public Montessori is largely in shambles. It's true that the school is on its 4th principal in as many years. I am hoping that the new principal will regain control of the school from the small, but very vocal group of parents who don't let the teachers do their work, but nose in on everything. These parents alienate any parent who doesn't agree with them and walk lock-step to their demands. The curriculum is at risk. The kindergarteners are in isolated classrooms with little interaction with other lower elementary students. This is thanks to the SFUSD who don't seem to care if the school survives or not. The preschool is only Montessori for the standard school year now, which defeats the intent of the pedagogy. I encourage potential applicants to learn about the Montessori philosophy if they don't already know about it (many families only know it's an "alternative" school), and ask some hard questions on the tour that relate to what most appeals to you about the Montessori environment for your child.
My son has attended SF Public Montessori for the past 4 years. He began in the pre-school program at the age of 3 and is now in the 1st grade. My son has been doing very well in the multi age class rooms and enjoys working with the 2nd and 3rd graders during the work periods. The school has gone through major growing pains over the last 2 years and we are very glad to see a marked improvement and sense of stability in the school this year. The building renovation work is almost complete and the new teachers and principal have worked hard to establish a strong school community. This year s PTA has done a great job fundraising and the school library is really coming together in a great way. We are excited to see SFPM grow from the original 2 room pre-school into a thriving and successful elementary school that cultivates a love of learning in each child.
SFPM is an amazing school! My daughter is finishing her first year attending as a kindergardener and I can't say enough about how impressed I am with what she has learned. She struggled with preschool but loves school now. The families and staff at SFPM are great. The principal, David Shilt, Phd. is a great mentor for teachers, excellent leader for the school and the kids love him! I suggest placing SFPM at the top of your list and hope you get in. This is the only Montessori Public Elementary school you will find in the San Francisco. It is a true gem.
My son attends Pre-K here. Beautiful facility (though it is in the throes of renovation), superb teacher, adequate classroom resources which include the full complement of Montessori tools. Great principal, wonderful school secretary. Most of all, freedom for my son--to fall in love with learning at his own pace, according to his own interests.
Great pedagogy, teachers, principal, and community of families. My child has been in this program for 3 years now and we are liking this school more and more and finally we see things really taking off this year. The school is new and innovative for SFUSD, but the Montessori method is time-tested and is an amazing alternative to traditional teacher-centered schools. So happy to be part of a great group of parents and students and excited to see how Montessori education really shines at the Elementary level. The new principal is wonderful and has lots of experience in public Montessori school.
Abysmal school in an equally abysmal school district. Social engineering on steriods...with the performance results you would expect....horrendous. Stay as far away from this school district as possible. I truly do feel a great deal of sadness and the level of disfunctionality in this school and school district. I really do not have any ax to grind. I have seen this school and school district up close. It is so bad, my kids could hardly read or write a thing upon entering second grade.
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