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San Francisco Public Montessori School5
Posted February 10, 2014
- a parent
We have been at SFPM for 4 years. My son started in kindergarten. I was not well versed in the ways of Montessori but my brief research into this method of teaching and running it past his preschool teachers, it seemed like a good fit. The district has been generous to this growing school. The district allows the school to not use the district assigned text books and lets the children use all the Montessori learning tools. The school has a full time Montessori coach who works very well with our district savvy principal and great teachers to guide students at their own pace in a deskless environment where kids work at tables or on carpets. If you are interested in Montessori check this school out and see if it fits with your kid's learning style. It's a growing school with a diverse set of parents who speak many different languages and come from all walks of life. My child's experience has been a positive one.
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.
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.