In regards to TMES, our experience with the teachers have been good and bad.
Some teachers take pride and have overarching concern for their students and some are just fearful, anxious, arrogant personalities.
What stops this school from being an excellent school are some common issues that often elementary schools face: leadership and lack of vision. The school deals with extreme details, micromanagement problems. Academic performance takes a back seat to other details. The school lacks true leadership. Music is a highlighted aspect of the school. Hopefully this area will become more robust with time. The school does have a desperate need for a library, lunch space/common auditorium, indoor gym, etc, etc.
Goes more downhill every year. Nepotism in the administration/staff. Being told "if you don't like it leave, I have plenty on the waiting list to fill your spot," refusal to address bullying, instead insisting that it just doesn't happen because this is such a friendly Montessori environment... Public school, yet they send kids on camping trips at a Christian camp where the staff requires a prayer to be said before meals are served. The principal is rude and unresponsive when concerns are raised, her daughter (somehow the Director of the preschool, but also the administrative contact at the main school??) is even worse. If you can't deal with parents diplomatically, politely, and actually pay attention to their concerns, you shouldn't be running a school... these are their children. No respect for PARCC opt-out and in fact they tried to force kids to test anyway. The only saving grace for this school is the fact that they have respect for art and music, and have managed to recruit some amazing teachers... but they are obviously steadily losing some really good ones, too. Sad to watch this. Parents have some great ideas to help things improve, but are dismissed, harassed, and even pushed into leaving the school.
First let me point out the positives, They offer a great art program and music program which includes cello, violin or viola. The school itself is fairly small which promotes a close community feel. However, for both of my children who started here since kindergarten, it has not been a very educational experience. The class sizes are too large and as typical montessori style, it is child led. But if your child doesn't have the self motivation to learn and would rather play for 6 hours a day, they will be allowed to. I was a *weekly* volunteer at this school in not just my own children's classes and I saw on several occasions where they allowed my child to lay on the floor and play with no redirection or help. My child was 2 whole grades behind in reading and math and has struggled since we left with self confidence because he doesn't have the same skills as his peers. He is barely now catching up 2 years later and has been doing excellent at a different charter school. Another draw back is there is no cafeteria and children bring their own food from home and eat on floor mats that are also used for class work. Not very sanitary.
I have two children currently enrolled at this school. We have had experience with APS and other Charter Schools. I firmly believe this is the BEST school Albuquerque has to offer. The ongoing e-mails for notifications and updates. The AMAZING teachers who put in soooo much extra time to make sure the students know that they are not just a number or just another kid. The Principal is one of the most honest but upfront administrators out there. You may not like what she says but she calls it like she see's it. I have read some of the reviews of some "so called parents" and am appalled by their comments. If you don't like the fact that you are dealing with people who go out of their way to make a safe and distraction free school that not only challenges your child but shows kindness and concern for each and every child then do us all a favor and take your child elsewhere. That way the wonderful teachers and administration can focus on the things that matter which are the children.
I do feel that the teachers are invested in helping students learn to solve their own interpersonal problems in a peaceful way. I have heard other people complain about bullying but every time our son has had an interpersonal problem, his teacher (whoever it was) was quick to respond in a way that helped my son and the other child work their issues out calmly and productively.
Our son has been at TMES for several years. There are good things and bad things about the school, as I imagine there are about every school. The school is wonderful for children - I truly believe that. My son is reading three grades above his grade level and doing math one grade above his level, and the art and music programs have taught him a lot. The school is not great for families, and does very little to engage parents in school activities beyond fundraising. As a parent, your input is not valued or welcomed, or even really accepted. If you have a problem with the school or the administration - one that you feel could be addressed, or one you are willing to help them fix - the attitude is very much "tough luck." The principal has been known to say to people, we have a waiting list a mile long of people who want into this school. So if you have a problem here, you're free to leave and someone is waiting to take your child's place. You as a parent have to learn to deal with a lot of incompetence, lack of communication, and disorganization, and know that not only will it not change, but if you say anything about it, you will be seen as a disruptive malcontent. Simple things like emails about schedules for testing or field trips, getting permission slips in a timely manner, or getting invoiced for after care on a routine schedule don't happen at TMES. And there is nothing you can do about it. The administration sees no reason to change what they are doing.
HOWEVER. While the administration of the school lacks a lot, the teachers at the school are fantastic, and really care about their students. We have only had one teacher who was absolutely unwilling to work with us to meet our son's educational needs - and the school allowed us to quickly transfer our son to another teacher's class before the school year started. There has been some teacher and EA turnover, but from talking to my friends with kids at other schools - that is happening everywhere. There are some great opportunities for students, like weekly art and music classes and overnight field trips.
TMMS, The Montessori Middle School Review.
The middle school is attached to the Elementary School. I am reading the comments regarding academic performance, and this is of concern. In middle school the teachers are very lax about testing, competence, achievement. Their hands are full with the children with very distinct special needs, however, they do not address the needs of the higher achiever. We are leaving this school because the teachers, test coordinators and principal do not address these issues.
TMES (elementary) & TMMS (middle school) is a wonderful school. The teachers, staff and administration are all very dedicated, caring and loving towards students and families. All of the teachers are state certified and also Montessori trained. Every student gets weekly general music, suzuki music and visual art. It is amazing the strides my child has taken in one school year! The new building is incredible. Each classroom is large with real Montessori material. There are Educational Assistant's in each classroom. There are more students in each classroom, but if you know anything about Montessori, you know that is so they form a 'community' and with the EA in the classroom, the few extra students are not a problem, it is actually a positive thing since they learn from each other. The school does do 2 large fundraising events every year to raise money for the EA's in the classroom since the state does not fund EA's salary. But MOST of the parents realize that the benefit to having an EA in the classroom outweigh a little extra effort from families on fundraisers. It is obvious the 3 reviews previous to mine were written by the same disgruntled, person. We LOVE TMES!