This is an absolutely wonderful school. I love the Montessori style of education and Baltimore is so privileged to have a public Montessori school that students can attend free of charge. The teachers and staff are amazing, the school is extremely well run, and it is a wonderful learning environment for children.
I can't figure out why the school does not offer a full-day program for the 3 year olds. Where is the extra cost? 3 year olds are part of the 3-5 year old classrooms. When they go home, no teachers or aides from those classrooms leave. They stay with the 4-5 year olds. So if there is no additional personnel cost, what is the issue? I understand the difficulty of finding an aftercare vendor for 3 year olds (staff ratio problems for that age), whether the kids are released at noon or 3pm, but with those children already in the building, they have the ability to create their own aftercare program. There are other inner city, public Montessori programs in other cities where the 3 year olds are included in the full-day program, and have an aftercare program. Only certain families can afford and arrange the logistics for the 3 year old program, and it shuts out working and middle class working parents especially. As the entry point to the school, the design of this excludes children of working parents from the school long-term, as those 3 year olds move into the 4 year old slots.
I wish I could abstain from the star rating as my child does not attend this school, but I am not able to do that. I do want to chime in regarding the 3-year-old half-day issue. My 3 year old was accepted to Baltimore Montessori via the lottery, but the fact that it is half day for the 3-year-old class WITHOUT ANY AFTERCARE made Montessori not possible for this working mom. And while it is true that there are no other public school options for 3-year-olds, a 2.5 hour day is harder logistically and more expensive for working parents (assuming you have to hire a part-time nanny) than most day-care facilities. I do wonder what is behind the half-day/no aftercare policy and what effect that policy has on the demographics of the families who accept places in the school.
I have to say in response to the 02/09 post that I have never seen open wires in the school and that I know for a fact that the leadership does send there children there since two of the kids are in my daughters class. Also, where else can you send your 3 year old ALL day? five days a week?? besides daycare. I would venture to say it may be BCPS policy that three year olds can not attend an all day 5 day a week program but I do not know for sure. I don't think it exists which is one of the reasons this school is so popular because it is a free pre-k program.Regardless, its too long of a day for a 3 year old anyway past 11:30. I feel genuinely welcomed.
I once felt the way the person who posted on 2/9 did. Most of what s/he says is true. (leadership does send their kids here and I never saw 'open wires') To bring a free Montessori school into a depressed neighborhood is tough and I don't see a way around the problems mentioned. People who love Montessori are going to flock to the public version of it, and that's going to create a cultural disconnect between 'hipsters' and others. I'm not sure how hard the school is working to fix that. It also is a pretty tough thing to fix. But my daughter loves it, the interactions between all involved are loving and real, the kids seemed challenged in ways I haven't seen ever in public school. I always have a nice feeling in the school despite my desire to be a hater. Montessori education is about the whole child, and that's evident here from top to bottom. I think it may be difficult for kids to come in after several years of regular public education because the focus is on self-motivation, not the system of rewards they are used to. But what more valuable thing could you learn than to be self motivated? When I consider the public school choices, this is the best one by far that we have.
What could be a great school suffers from ineffective leadership, inconsistent teaching, and a social divide between the upper middle class white hipsters and low-income black parents at this school. The school leader is cold and doesn't have control. The half day 3 year old program, the entry point to the school, in effect discriminates against working parents, as those 3 year olds must pick up their children at 11:30am. I believe this is an intentional admissions policy meant to attract a certain demographic to the school. School leadership seems wary of parents. The motions of welcoming parents are performed, but the feeling of being truly welcomed in the school is missing. I think it speaks volume that school leadership does not send their children to the school. The elementary school lacks air conditioning, and the school is filled with open wires. The school does have some positive points: a nice outdoor space with gardens and play areas. The kids have recess. The 2nd graders have the opportunity to cook. The school embraces art. I think with different leadership and a culture that blends the demographic divides of the school, the school could really shine.
The teachers, some of whom are fantastic others just okay, are doing the best they can with absolutely no support from the administration or board. The leadership is erratic, decision-making is sporadic and the sunshine attitude is generally unhelpful. The school is all vision with no means to fully implement the fantastic curriculum the teachers plan. So it ends up being, in so many ways, a dishonest experience for the children. That said, my child is happy and learning from a wonderful teacher. But the school is not what it should be.
This is based on 7 months experience with the school/staff through attending open houses, tours, doing the lottery application process, doing a shadow day, being accepted to the school and entering the first month. The entire staff have been courteous at every encounter, gotten back with us promptly, given clear and useful responses throughout our application process up to and including getting our 5th grader settled into a new school. A culture of true hospitality in the genuine sense of the meaning is evident at every level of interaction and engagement! We value how the teacher is thoughtful, sharp and committed.
This school has its pros and cons just like every other school; however, if you want heart, mind and the social integrity of your child to be in tact this is the school for your child. If you are only interested in your child meeting the test score requirements and focused only of the academic accomplishments send them to any other decent city school... This school is uniquely for families that want their children to think outside the box and create a better more socially, emotionally humane community for our future.
This school is hit-or-miss depending on the classroom. Our class was so bad that we had to pull our child out. Other parents we know seem to love the school. However, every year should not have to feel like a crapshoot. While granted, this is a Montessori model, due to the high student-teacher ratio and the eclectic mix of kids (ie, some are a bit spastic), the classrooms could definitely benefit from more STRUCTURE. A completely laissez faire environment is dangerous for kids, counterproductive for learning, and doesn't help the children feel grounded emotionally.
My family currently has one child in lower elementary at BMPCS and she has been at this school since 4 yrs old. We are consistently impressed with the teachers and staff involved in her lessons and amazed sometimes with the level of math and reading she's doing at that age. We like also that the Board is mainly comprised of former teachers and also includes others with finance, legal and real estate backgrounds.
Charter schools generally, and this one in particular, are about property, not education. It's a shame, because it could have been a great school. But the founders and many members of the board are real estate developers or related to developers, not educators. They leave critical educational needs to volunteers or completely unfunded and undone, but seem always to have enough money to chase the next property purchase. Don't send your children here. Stay in the district schools, even if dull and uninspired.
I have been involved with this school for the past several years and find that this is a welcoming, nurturing community of people that are working pretty hard to educate and inspire our children. It is too easy to make blanket statements of why you think it is a success or not. But I find the real worth of this school in the small things-for instance, in the happy smiles of children walking to / or being dropped off at the start of their day where they are greeted by many staff who know their names, or in the wonderful smells from the kitchen where students work together to prepare a healthy school snack. Those are just a few examples of what makes this school unique and wonderful.
Baltimore Montessori Public school has many issues that it needs to work out. While there seem to be some good teachers at the school, the leadership does not understand the needs of the community. The school also doesn't run well. When visiting the school, it is chaotic and the principal doesn't seem to know how to handle the issues. Each year many of the good teachers leave, and it is a bad sign that the school cannot keep good teachers. The leadership has many nice words to say, but they are not truthful. As a member of the community, I find this dishonesty to be the most problematic, and want to warn parents that they need to have both eyes and ears open when visiting the school.
I currently have 3 children at Baltimore Montessori. They are in both lower and upper elementary. We are very happy with the school overall. I feel that both the teachers and administartion truly care about the well being of every child. The school strives to teach not just academics but social and physical well being as well. The whole child. I think it meets this goal. The children are not taught to the test - if this is what you want, and you are not willing to teach to the test a little at home - than this may not be the school for you. We love this school because our children are not only getting a fantastic base for all the traditional subject areas, they are also getting truly amazing lessons in art, music, community and being inspired to make a good contribution to society.
A 3 star school that could b/c a 5 star school. B/c of the intelligence & dedication of the school leadership & the talents of many staff, there is a good chance it will. My 2 daughters b/g attending 3 years ago. Much good will & effort has been hampered by the realities of starting a new public school, of absorbing children w/ a wide range of social & learning delays whose parents sought this school out in droves because of its progressive approach, &, I think, b/c of some dogmatism about Montessori practices devised for a world no longer in existence. The Upper El. curriculum should be updated to provide kids w/ the kind of intellectual anchors & frameworks that were not needed before the web-age. More direction needs to be given today than was 100 years ago so that students may construct a framework of core knowledge, concepts & skills enabling them to understand their complex, fast-changing world. The plethora, subjectivity & superficiality of information today make it crucial that thoughtfully sequenced & linked knowledge be offered. Use of the best textbooks would assist this & would reify the value of books in the Google Age. Self-directed learning w/in parameters.
I am very happy with this school. It is very well organized and they strive to make sure each child's needs are met. As a parent of one returning child in the Children's House and a new student going to the 3rd, I feel that Baltimore Montessori Charter is a Community Building School that wants to teach the children what they need to be successful workers, enthusiastic life long learners, problem solvers, and young people who have a desire to give back to their community and build a better future. Not a limited future ; but a future that is uniquely their own. I believe this school can and will allow room for pioneers and visionaries to grow and give something inovative solutions to problems of today and tomorrrow.
It amazes me that this school is allowed to expand to include middle school-aged children. A previous responder talked about the changing demographics, but he stopped short of saying that more Black children are enrolling and that throws a wrench in the plans of the founders who wanted to cater to well-to-do white children from the surrounding affluent neighborhoods. The staff has not demonstrated cultural competence and instead of meeting the needs of the Black children, the staff labels these children as problems, angry, disobedient and frustrated. The demographics of the school on the City School s website says it all. How is it that a public school in a poor Black neighborhood end up with a majority white affluent population? Most of the White families are pulling their children out in droves because the school is not living up to the Montessori philosophy. The slots are filled by poor Black children and even more Whites pull their children out. Pattern? When you look at the MSA scores, only the Black students are failing especially the Black males that get labeled. What is wrong with that picture? At this rate, the school only has a few more years of existence.
I don't feel these posting are inaccurate. The test scores speak for themselves, the children are not learning and/or thriving as they should. I found some staff to be racist, students were being bullied with staff present and the ratio of children being transferred out of this school is as high as staff turnover. Do the math!!! This school is well known by North Avenue, because of the numerous complaints!!! If you dont' care about your child's education this is a GREAT school. If you do, don't even bother stopping - a true waste of time!!
The mission is great. The initial plan was terrific. However, it is changing as the demographics are changing. The school is great for the younger ages, however once kids reach an age where they need to know certain work techniques it is not happening. There is the love of learning but also the actual process that needs to happen. There are a lot of new teachers (which is good & bad). New teachers have to learn how to be receptive to parents. A better city school but not a huge gem in the rough.
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