This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted October 12, 2014
- a parent
I have had my child at this school for 6 years. I am not an advocate of standardized testing. I am an advocate of Maria Montessori s philosophies and pedagogy. This school is a sorry attempt. It is run by a Director who acts more like a Dictator. As mentioned by other parents they have a strict, "no-gossip" policy which cripples parents from questioning anything the Director does. The school is not accredited regionally, nationally, or internationally. Teachers there don't have Montessori credentials or teaching certificates and most lack Bachelor's degrees. On top of this students struggle academically as well and when any parent expresses concern the family is ostracized and bullied out. A tried and true program would not be afraid to have accreditation.
I graduated from this school two years ago. I was there the year it opened; I never went to any other school. There were many times that I wanted to leave, but thought, probably correctly (from what I've seen of the other students who left after attending for a long time) that I would be ill-equipped to succeed in any other environment. My main criticisms are: *Abysmal test scores. Now, obviously, standardized testing is not the only (or the best) way to understand a child's educational development, but they ARE important. *Poor treatment of children with special needs. I can't even remember how many parents I've heard complaining about this. This school has neither the resources, nor the inclination to properly assist children with special needs. And the social implacations of this are huge: do not think for a moment that because the school is so "liberal" and "progessive" that the students attending will respond any better to this problem than the teachers. I have seen several special-needs children taunted, ostracized, and otherwise abused by fellow students. It is utterly sickening, and the teachers do little to nothing about it.
I'm a rising junior at CMS and frankly find some of these reviews insulting. It's not the perfect school but its also not the school for everybody. I do perfectly well here because I'm driven and want to learn and CMS provides school as a way to explore my interests rather than take time away from them to waste on AP Art History or something that I don't find as intriguing. If your child needs someone to drive them, some external catalyst to inspire them to learn, then CMS isn't the school for them and that's fine. However, the foreign language support at this is school is pretty terrible. They try to support you but they have no staff that teach a foreign language(though American Sign Language is very well supported, which is cool). Standardized testing wise I'd say scores are low because CMS doesn't teach to the test, as that runs contrary to the Montessori philosophy of being against standardized tests. Students don't even try on tests because they know they don't matter(though they should probably change that attitude when it comes to the SAT). The biggest issue is quality between classes. Some are amazing*cough cough* Sequoia*cough* but others are not challenging at all.
If you are considering this "school," then do yourself a favor and look into who Maria Montessori was and exactly what she believed. Because this school has a way to out conservative Christians through an annual "lesson" in which your child talks about what they believe as to how the world was created. Once they know where you stand, your child will be bullied by teachers and/ students and any time you assert your values, you and your child will be punished in discreet ways. Don't expect help from the director or staff who deem any complaint as negativity and who enacted a "no-gossip" rule to keep parents from communicating with each other - not because they're reaching for a higher standard, trust me. Because when you do start asking around, you find many other folk with the same experience. You can also expect your child to be at the very least one grade level behind their peers when you finally move them to a real school. After too many years there, I am now aware of their agenda and it is a very different type of education, not the kind any right-loving family would want for their child. But you know, they do promise good things and the building is pretty. Be alert and be wise!
First, do your homework on who Maria Montessori was and her true religious beliefs. This school outs conservative Christians using an annual exercise in which each child presents how they believe the world was created, then your child will be bullied by the teacher and/or other students. Requesting to opt out of any part of their curriculum will result in punishment. Any complaints are deemed negative and shut down by staff and director. Your child will be at least a grade level behind if you pull them to another school. My 6 year experience opened my eyes to their true agenda, which includes the LBGT agenda. Be wise, and move on.
I am a student at Community Montessori, if you are a prospective family, please don't let the rude, and hateful parent comments on here change your mind, because you have made a great choice (: CMS is an amazing school, it has guided me to be the amazing person I am today. The main reason parents withdraw their children from this school is because their child's ISTEP test scores are low, at CMS we find the right balance between focus on test scores and true meaningful learning. Time after time it is being proven how misleading test scores can be. Standardized testing is not an adequate measuring tool for a child's developmental success. I have never been around more caring adults in my entire life, every staff member in this school makes it their personal mission to make the students feel safe, comfortable, and welcome in this school. I am a motivated, responsible, smart, creative, respectful, insightful individual and there is no doubt this school has helped shape who I am today. Barbara and Glenn Fondren are two of the most caring individuals I have ever met. They are such smart, and educated people. To the bad comments: Reevaluate yourself as a parent, I feel bad for your kids.
This will be out last year at Community Montessori. My son attended this school from preschool and is now in the 6th grade. I began to have serious doubts about the school's academics when he was in the 4th grade but decided to hang in there based upon the representations that had been made to me by the director about how children progress at CM. Now, two years later, I realize that my son is behind his peers at other schools academically. My son has never received a negative report in any teacher conference. My husband and I have always been told that he is doing just fine with no concerns but when he completes grade level work at home (we bought him 6th grade work books to supplement his education at school), he struggles with basic concepts including the concept of hypothesis in science (my son informed me that "we don't really do much science in my studio"). I pride myself on being someone who is not easily taken advantage of but even I was sucked in. I send my child to school to learn the basics of what he must learn as defined by Indiana law and after 8 years at this school, I can see that it is not happening . Steer clear.
Please do yourself and your child a favor and read the reviews for this school before you consider it. I wish I had. I was not turned off by the poor test scores, because I am a believer in alternative methods of education and do not think much of teaching to the test. I dismissed the stories I heard from former CM parents as well because I thought maybe they just didn't understand Montessori and how it works in the long run, and I do. However, the negative reviews on this site are true in my experience. I really have nothing to add, it has all been said on here before. I just encourage anyone considering this school to think long and hard about it and not get romanced by the tour and the hype. Once you are on the inside, it looks very different. I must add that there are some wonderful teachers there working very hard and doing the best they can, and they are not the problem.
I graduated from here two years ago, after attending for seven years. I was so fortunate to have found this school, without it I doubt my life would be as successful as it is. This school is not for everyone, but I had a fantastic education that gave me a true love of learning. Montessori education is very different from the education normally received in public schools, so if your child is coming into the program in high school, and sometimes even middle school, it's likely too late for them to adjust to the Montessori method. This school has many issues, staffing issues, lack of security, inconsistency between classrooms, the director, but overall I was fantastically lucky to attend there and have the love and support that I did. It's not perfect, it underfunded and stressful to the employees, but it's miles above more common education. I have never met teachers that cared so much and worked so hard as I did there. Thank you Montessori, for such a great start.
Both of my chidren attend school here and while I don't think it is perfect, I do believe that it is the best option for my children right now. My son did not learn to read until he was in the 1st grade but he had no interest in reading and within two months of being around older kids reading, he was reading without any trouble and he loves to read and now, at 7, is reading chapter books. I spend a good amount of time at this school and have never in two years witnessed kids running up and down the halls or screaming or fighting. Both of my children, one in K and one in 1st last year, brought home work that showed they were learning math and reading and english and science. Having multiple parent teacher conferences throughout the year is great. It was in these conferences that we really saw all the hard work they were doing while at school. Overall I believe it to be a great environment for kids that want to learn and parents that want to be involved even if that involvement is only cleaning classrooms. What's wrong with cleaning classrooms? If your child isn't learning here it is because they lack motivation to want to learn and as a parent you're probably not involved.