My child attended High Desert Montessori all though primary and elementary and he had a wonderful experience. He left recently because we had to move, so he is going to another Middle School, but he transitioned beautifully, gets great grades, and is considered a leader by his teachers and peers. A recent review stated some serious inaccuracies about the primary program. Children are absolutely allowed to read fiction; in fact, his primary classroom had hundreds of fiction books available daily. He even brought them home nightly to read with us in kindergarten. I do know that there in an emphasis in primary on non-fiction, though, because they want to expose children to real world concepts. Elementary classrooms do allow parents in the classroom (I know because I volunteered in his classroom). They are just more stringent in primary because they want to preserve the work environment to ensure that young children are disturbed or distracted by adults who aren't trained in Montessori. The teachers at this school focus on the whole child. At High Desert, my son learned how to be kind, compassionate, and how to work problems out. You can't put a rating on that.
High Desert Montessori School is a sweet school with a lovely playground and caring teachers. I like that the children are taught self-responsibility and that there is a healthy food policy. The teachers are caring and sincere. The children learn to work independently and collaborately. I think others should know that in primary (including kindergarten), there is no fiction allowed. The children only read nonfiction books until first grade. Superheroes are banned as well. The lack of fiction and the lack of art in primary really bothered me as things like arts and crafts are what makes kindergarten special. Parents are allowed to volunteer at the school, but not in the classroom. The school could improve its communication with parents as to the goals for the children and how they are meeting those goals. The school should also allow for more creative pursuits like art as well as science. Their writing instruction seems a little weak so far although I don't know if that improves in later grades.
I LOVE this school. My daughter attends the infant/toddler program and will be moving into the Primary Program soon. My nieces both attend the Elementary Program. I have spent a ton of time researching this program, observing the classes, talking with the staff, and even attending the events and fundraisers. It is a fabulous combination of Montessori Method and Charter School (meeting all Washoe County Educational Regulations). When you walk into a classroom, the first thing you notice is how quiet it is! Not because the kids are forced to be quiet, but because they are all so focused on what they are doing. The project based learning method, allows kids to get excited about learning. Plus, I have to applaud their SUPER healthy lunch program. Not to mention the garden and chickens they keep. This school is worth its weight in gold.
I love the infant program! They are so nice and the environment is perfect for my son:)
We have been at HDMS for several years and are very happy with the academic process that both of our children have made. Their math and reading scores are well above grade level, yet they are both still challenged. Most of Montessori learning is hands-on and project based. The assignments are multidisciplinary and encourage creativity. For example, one Nevada Day project for the middle school children was to create a historically accurate chili recipe from the mid-1800s. The students had to research food availability in Nevada at the time, cooking methods, spices, etc. It was a fun and very educational project - and I'm sure most of them will remember the information they learned through that project much more than anything they would have learned by writing a report on the same topic. The school is only 10 years old and has experienced growing pains, but we feel that it has definitely 'come into its own' in the last couple of years. The teachers are passionate and truly do care about the needs of each child. We are confident that our children will be socially and academically successful when they move on to high school and college.
Thank you High Desert for challenging my children academically and teaching them social responsibility. Both my oldest and youngest son are able to work at a level that challenges them academically in every core academic class and then some. My youngest son works above grade in math without being treated like an anomaly. My oldest is twice exception, yet at High Desert he is thriving. In a traditional middle school, he would be a statistic, a special education box to check for more funding. At High Desert, he is an individual treated with respect and valued for his strengths, while still being supported in order to overcome his lack of social skills. When I see him interacting with other children, thriving, and being accepted for who he is, I forget he's been labelled on the autism spectrum. The ability of my sons to thrive and grow is only possible because of a highly skilled, caring group of teachers, parents, and students.
High Desert is a wonderful school for kids of many different levels. Since Montessori is student driven they are working at their performance level instead of working on work that may be above or below them. The use of the eye catching materials helps to grab the attention of the students and they become more interested in their own education, all without feeling like it is "work". I love this school and what they offer.
High Desert Montessori is a hidden gem in the Reno area! The teachers are highly trained and knowledgable. The staff is well-informed and can help out with basic questions about the school. Students are happy and the community is involved. I am proud to be a member of this amazing community!
Both our daughters attended HDMS for six years and received individual attention from their teachers. They gained so much more than just academics. Now that they've moved into high school, we're proud at how well-balanced they are and able to stand against peer pressure. The school has grown a great deal and certainly had growing pains but the staff is dedicated to improvement and "following the child." It's important to look at your child's needs and your family's commitment to trying a different philosophy of education before judging success or failure.
We've been watching this school deteriorate over the past five years too. After investing so much into it, we will not be returning this fall. It is unfortunate that I will have to separate them from the friends they have had since primary just so they could receive a proper education. I have had to teach my children at home this summer in order to catch them up to where they will need to be academically in the local public school (not to mention the need to relocate so we would be zoned for a better public school). There have been numerous teacher and administrative turnovers. none for the better with the exclusion of the solitary quality lower-el teacher who will be returning in the fall. They dropped their hot lunch program consisting of organic, homemade food, which was by now their best asset. They have brought people in from local businesses to market directly to my children in their classrooms, sat my children in front of a television in their overpriced, undersupervised, childcare program, and don't even follow or enforce their own internal rules. I never thought I'd be sending my child to a public school, but at this point, in this town, I feel it is the best option.
I have watched this school deteriorate for three years and will not bring my child back in Fall 2012. The Montessori methods spoken of in the initial parent meetings are not in place at this school. For example, this school will talk about the Montessori method of having the same teacher for three years, but my child had three different teachers in three years due to the high staff turnover. In fact, June 2011, every single 1-3 grade teacher left the school and not one of the new hires is a certified Montessori instructor. This school will talk a lot about Montessori methodology, but they don't hire AMI instructors. This school is shortchanging students their Montessori education so they can pay for the middle school expansion into a new building. I don't know how long this school can operate in a deficit before it closes. The afterschool program is a nightmare of untrained, unfriendly office staff and teachers aides. The playground is small and has no shade so my child received several sunburns during the school year, especially on water day when they hose kids down and wash off their sunscreen. Overpriced, horrible care, poor education
I attended the parent meeting and read up on the montessori method. We decided to leave our private school with great expectations. Unfortunately, I regretted the two years we spent at HDMS. I must say the two teachers my children had were great but one of them left. As a matter of fact, ALOT of staff and families left when we did. My children were bullied physically and mentally. We also had problems with the before and after school program due to poor supervision. I hope the situation has improved there this year but we are back to private school.
When I first came to HDMS I was in the 4th grade, my G.P.A. was very low and I couldn't figure anything out. I am thankful to my upper elementary and middle school teachers at High Desert Montessori School. Upon leaving HDMS in my 8th grade year, I moved to the Southern Cal to a big desert town, there i found out I had a G.P.A. of 3.8. I progressed from the Bottom of the Bunch to Top Banana. I am now going into High school in a big city, my family has a big house now and I have grown another foot.
This school is led by a principle that shows no true leadership. The school does not show materials used for the student's learning progress upon request. The school changes policies and procedure each year during the year without warning. The school does not guide individual learning as preached by Montessori philosophy, nor do they fully staff with licensed teachers for Montessori. The students are then set back when they enter public schools.
My child has been there for preschool and kindergarten. I feel very lucky to have her receive the montessori education she has received. The classrooms are beautiful and have taught her well. Most teachers are AMI certified. The only complaint is that her teachers have been very good with her, but aren't super warm to the parents. But most important is that my child has loved them
I am very pleased with the quality of teachers and adminstration. Carole Andrews is a power horse. My kids are thriving and have been there since the begining. Great kids, great teachers and wonderful parents
I m still in awe that we found a school where both teachers and administrators work so hard to attend to the needs of every child. We spent several years at another school trying to make our child fit a public school mold that she just wasn t able to work within. After moving to High Desert Montesorri nearly two years ago, both our children are healthy, happy, and progressing well in what we feel is a exceptional learning environment. Obviously, from the other parent comments, it s not for everyone. But for us, the switch to HDMS has given us our children back.
Our children have been attending High Desert Montessori School since 2002. Both are designated 'gifted,' but were not receiving meaningful services in a traditional school. HDMS has removed obstacles from their education, and the results have been amazing. Our oldest has moved on to honors high school classes and is doing well. Our youngest already perceives himself as a researcher and writer thanks to the inspirational atmosphere. It is critical to understand all aspects of Montessori Method before jumping into HDMS. Some parents come for the peaceful atmosphere, but are unwilling to accept the responsibility of supporting a charter, Montessori education.
We've been very happy with our son's experience in his first 3 years at HDMS. The level of instruction has been tremendous. Families must understand that Charter schools in Nevada are chronically underfunded, hence the fundraisers. Figure out what you can give, and be part of the community. It's a young school, that's going great places.
I have had nothing but problems since my child has started at HDMS (2007). Problems are being experienced both with my child (which we had never experienced in the past) as well as problems communicating with the teachers and staff. During open house nights and other 'fund-raising' events (which are constant) other parents, staff & children are disrespectful & rude. Currently I am in conferences with my child s teachers and am looking to change classrooms/teachers to see if these constant issues can be resolved w/ a different dynamic/environment. If not...I am certainly ready to remove my child from the school altogether.
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