This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School5
Posted April 21, 2014
- a parent
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.