My child has been a student at FHM for 4 years. 4 years ago, FHM was ranked as one of the best schools in Jefferson County. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Although my child continues to rank in the 90th percentile on standardized testing, I no longer feel confident that this will continue to be the case. FHM's proficiency ratings continue to fall the higher the grade level. The turnover rate of their teachers is horrific and the quality of their teachers along with their test scores continue to decline. I can no longer trust that my child's education is a priority at FHM. We will be leaving this school at the end of the school year.
After touring 11 different Montessori's on the front range, we are happy to say that Free Horizon easily measures up to, or exceeeds, even the best private Montessori's. The staff is caring and responsive and the communication is excellent. After-school activities have been really enjoyed by our student, and their gifted programs have also been very enriching. Highly recommended.!
FHM gives our family a well rounded world view within education. I feel like I get my questions answered and my and my kids needs met in a warm, peaceful and loving environment.
Free Horizon Montessori has been like a magic wand for my daughter. She joined FHM as an unsure student with little confidence. Now, after 3 years @ FHM, she is thriving - she is happy, confident and proud. As I've read the other comments posted about FHM, it is accurate that no school is perfect, however, FHM does a terrific job of doing their best with limited resources. We are extremely thankful for FHM's spirit, community and commitment.
We came to FHM after a rough couple of years at a very test-focused, heavy homework school where we saw our son's love of learning and self confidence get worse every day. In just the 3 months he's been at FHM he is happier, healthier, more excited, and more in love with learning than I've ever seen him. This isn't a school for you if you think that test scores are the only thing that matters, or if you are an active participant in the sport of competitive parenting. But if you want a school that nurtures your child as a whole human being, and if you want a child that is in school to become a lifelong learner, not a test-taker, then this is a great school for you. And the long term evidence with Montessori shows that by high school these kids are doing better on the ACTs, getting into the colleges of their choice, and finishing college in 4 years - all without hours of homework at night and weeks of rote test-prep during the day. We are very happy with FHM - we wish they had more money for building repairs, etc. - but that's the district's fault, not the school's.
I could write a very long post about all the things I love about Free Horizon Montessori (but don't worry I won't!). My children LOVE to go to school each day and they are enthusiastic about learning - that is certainly at the top of the list. The school community is amazing - there is an incredible commitment to FHM at all levels (students, teachers, Administration, and parents). Respect for others and peace education are incorporated into daily classroom routines. This school meets my children's academic, social, and emotional needs and I wouldn't choose any other school for them.
Our family has been at Free Horizon for 6 years. Our two kids have thrived in the Montessori environment at Free Horizon due to the focus on individualized learning. We have always felt that our kids are being challenged on a daily basis. They are encouraged to "go deep" and truly understand their work. Free Horizon has even helped to enrich our home life through the school's focus on peace and global citizenship; we have learned so much by becoming a "Montessori family." Free Horizon educates the students in more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic; the school helps the students see the "bigger picture" of life through cultural studies and a peace curriculum. Our school's leadership and staff are fabulous! Our principal is *AMAZINGLY* dedicated to and passionate about Free Horizon. Parental involvement is very high at Free Horizon, which makes for a great school community and helps our staff in innumerable ways. Parents, want to make your school a better place? GET INVOLVED!
I have at times been impressed and at times disappointed with the schools ability. There seems to have been a challenge bridging the gap from 3rd grade to 4th grade in terms of skill level as measured by standardized testing and in our own experience. The school has struggled to maintain consistent leadership and staff in part due to the desire for Montessori background and training. The community though is supportive, diverse and interested. We have not been aware of any significant bullying and my child feels that he is cared about. Communication with home could be improved upon. They do have a reasonable plan to address their performance measures. It just appears to be a daunting process to mesh both a Montessori curriculum with state guranteed viable curriculum requirements. There is not enough consistency yet to address special or outside the box needs of students who would have them.
I moved my daughter to this school her 2nd grade year because I was not at all happy with the results at the public school she was in. She, like many other children did not thrive in the standard classroom and was academically far behind. She is now in 6th grade and is doing great and loves going to school. Free horizon has been the best thing I have ever done as a parent for my kid. We have moved in the last year and I make the 45 minute drive round trip to keep her there because it is that important to me.
My feedback was also removed! Good early childhood option, but the 1-5 combind classrooms are very large. Crisis of leadership and high faculty and staff tuenover make for a difficult environment. Teacher quality highly variable. Excellent in some cases and abysmal in others.
Had high hopes for Free Horizon as I my experience with their pre K-K classes was great. When it comes to Lower elementary (1-3rd grade), that is a different story. I feel my kids have not learned a whole lot this year at FHM. Learning was below average, and there was not a lot of Montessori teaching going on. We had to do a lot of supplemental work at home to feel like our kids were taking anything away from this school year. Between the bullying issues that seemed to go ignored by staff, the turnover of principles mid- year and the turnover of a classroom teach after 3 weeks, we cannot take any more and will not be returning to FHM next year.
Our school is excellent with regards to helping my children excel. Reading is a major focus, as is encouraging children to love learning (rather than having to study for tests). Communication with the school is ... well... terrible (failure to return phone calls, newsletters and school info isn't passed out until the last minute, etc), but that is my only major complaint. We love the staff, the majority of the teachers, and the montessori method that is embraced here.
FHM used to be an amazing school and while I am still happy there for the majority (my children love it and are excelling in reading and math), I remain disappointed in the communication problems, the concentration on expanding the school rather than expanding the quality of education, and the high turn over. For the past 2 years, we've struggled with whether to find a new school or not, because the emphasis on individual learning and montessori methods had significantly reduced here.
Free Horizon Montessori (FHM) is a place where you can see the light of learning in the children's eyes. My children have been going here since they were both 3 years old (6 years now), and while it has not been without its bumps, they are truly thriving. The teachers, principal and parents really care about student engagement, learning and autonomy. In our culture of school choice, it is very easy for a parent to bounce their children around from school to school rather than invest in the quality of the school they have chosen. Many parents and teachers at Free Horizon Montessori are investing in this school for the good of the children, the school community, and the community writ large. One example of this is teachers donating funds at the school fundraiser. It is common knowledge that teachers are not overly wealthy, but many teachers were willing to donate money back to their employer in order to further the mission of the school. It is impossible to remain completely true to the Montessori methods in this era of high-stakes testing, but FHM is close. (You can't expect to only use Montessori methods AND have kids know how to take the TCAP/CSAP/etc.). We <3 FHM!
This is a school that somehow balances individualized learning, while promoting teamwork; all aiding with growing the entire student. I have two strong learners that enjoy being challenged in certain subjects. Free Horizon provides this option allowing for students to work at their own pace. Administration changes in the last 3 months have also led to some huge improvements; teaching assistants are back with budget dollars planned for next school year as well. The assistant principal (6+ years with the school) has moved into the principal role with the staff happy and excited about this change due to her strong commiment to children, and staff at FHM. From an improvemennt area, the school could use an actual gym (they currently use a room that is more like a classroom on days when PE outside isn't an option), as well as updated computers. Both of these require money that would need to be raised.
Sadly, the quality of this school continues to decline with each passing month. Staff turnover has become a huge problem, and with it, test scores have drastically fallen, enrollment is dwindling, and a financial crisis is eminent. This is no longer a montessori school, and it no longer offers a viable alternative to traditional schools.
One of the magical elements of what Free Horizon Montessori offers my children is the connections that teachers make between subject areas. It's not just Language, Math, Science and Social Studies taught in isolation. Rather, the content is intentionally woven together. The learning is rich and purposeful. Talk about 21st-century learning - I love it!
We are extremely pleased with FHM after 18 months. Education is an important value in our family (my wife and I both have Masters degrees) and we've seen our daughter (grade K, age 6) flourish with planning her day, being a leader, getting help from older kids, and having a high degree of freedom to explore her world. FHM will make sense if you wish to play an active part in your child's education- daily attention to homework, volunteering, frequent community events, and being actively engaged in the school. As a charter school, we do have to work harder than mainstream schools (i.e. fundraising for capital projects, school expansions) but this also presents the opportunity to create and develop the classrooms and community we know is possible.
As a parent of two children at Free Horizon, I cannot tell you how happy I am about their growth and development here! They are curious, eager learners - supported by their teachers and the positive educational climate at school. Free Horizon Montessori rocks!
Free Horizon Montessori is the real deal! It is far better to walk with children as they learn, than to push them through concepts that they are not ready for. Joining the school community has been amazing for my family - not only my children. Living the "Montessori way" gives a life-enriching and life-affirming perspective to all that you do. I can't thank Free Horizon enough for the work they do with my children, and how that work has helped to shape our family.
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