I can't help but feel these reviews that are so great are either rigged by the school or written by parents who are not that involved. There are too many other parents who are leaving or have already left that say so much different.
We have been a part of GMA for four years and that is, sadly, too long. While it is under the current leadership, I strongly discourage anyone who wants to be involved in their child’s school to go here. Obviously, I am highly disgruntled but for good reason. The director of the school, Susan Fries, has run the school into the ground. Student turnover year-to-year is huge and community spirit is completely absent. The school board, because it is a charter school, is run by community volunteers, all who have no stake in this school, other than to put on their resume they are part of a board. I had to file a formal complaint with the Ball State Charter Office to get any response to my issues. When my daughter started at GMA in Kindergarten (Ms. Fries’ first year also) I was so excited to send her to a Montessori school so close to home and envisioned her being there through 8th grade. I am beyond disappointed this did not turn out to be the case. Being a highly-involved parent, I learned A LOT about how that school is run and it is not pretty. When I tried to help, I was turned into the enemy by Administration, as were other parents who were trying to help. There is so much more to this story but I’ll stop there. We will be sending her to a REAL Montessori school next year. I can also speak for others who have had children with special needs and this is NOT the place for them. The SPED department is embarrassing. Bottom line: Run Away – Far, Far away from this school until they get a proper Montessori Administration that knows how to create a true community.
Our daughter has been at Geist Montessori Academy since the beginning of her 3rd grade year, 2010, and is now in 8th grade. We are thankful every day that she has this school to attend. It's so amazing that we have a tuition-free Montessori school as an option for her. Just tonight her grandmother commented on what a blessing it has been and how positive the environment is every time she enters the school. She noticed that the students conducted themselves well voluntarily as opposed to having discipline maintained by having it thrust upon them.
Parent involvement is high, which has a very positive impact as well. Often there are more chaperones for a field trip than are needed and all school events are well attended. There are often opportunities for parents to help out that do not require them to be at the school (can be done at home), which allows working parents to participate/help as well. All of these factors and many more work together to provide the students and their families with a unique feeling of community.
Our son started GMA in the first grade and is now in 6th. It was a rough start with the teacher turnover, but we have been fortunate to have the greatest teacher for the last three years. She teaches leadership skills and challenges him academically. The kindergarten teachers are amazing and i have been impressed with my other son's current lower el teacher.
My children do well here because they are able to work at their level without having to wait for the rest of the class to catch up with them. Alternatively, if they need more time on something, it will be given instead of moving on without mastering the material. We also don't deal with judgement here. My children don't have to worry if they are wearing the latest and greatest or else be ridiculed like you find in nearby public schools. Acceptance and respect is taught early on.
My daughter is extremely shy and struggles to engage with peers and teachers. In the couple months she has been there she had made friends and come out of her shell. She has enjoyed learning new things and seems to learn quickly the montessori way. Looking forward to seeing her progress even more.