Our child attends Ruffing as well. I was concerned that this would be an 'uppity' private school as the other reviewer suggested but that has not been my experience at all. It's been quite the opposite actually. The staff and families are very inclusive. It is a true multi-cultural community of all backgrounds where children thrive. In my child's class of ~15, nearly half are from international backgrounds with representation from European, Middle East, and South American countries. The children hear other languages and experience different cultures through their friends. It is a wonderful place that has far exceeded any expectations we had.
I was briefly involved with this school. What struck me was that the student body lacked any diversity: mostly white, upper middle class and beyond children. Although caring in their own way, the administration and staff seemed similarly biased and turned toward very bougie ideals. This is not the school environment which can teach a child to respect people of all backgrounds.
I think it is important for every parent to visit and observe, and not take a stranger's word for what will work for you and your child. Having said that, Ruffing has been a wonderful academic fit for both of my children, warm community for my family, and we have not experienced the pretentiousness the other review indicated, and it saddens me to hear of their experience. The personal independence, ability to manage time, sense of greater social responsibility and social justice, as well as their excitement about school - even at ages 9 and 12 - have been a tremendous gift of the solid Montessori education they are receiving. There are many great school options in Cleveland - do your research online, but you must visit and experience the schools for yourself.
Wonderful school, my child has been here 5 yrs. Nurturing environment both emotionally and academically. True to Montessori methods and teaching. The staff and teachers are kind and because the school isn't too big, you have an opportunity to get to know everyone. I have never found the school to be pretentious or snobby. All private school runs the risk of being called those things, and that's unfortunate. My child has excelled and has such pride, independence, and confidence in his abilities and seeks knowledge, rather than waiting for it to be brought to him. Montessori is truely a way of life, it has been an amazing experience for my child and our entire family.
Observe more than once and come back unannounced. Our children received a great foundation at Ruffing, (pre-k-3rd) but there are many problems within the school. There is a BULLYING problem that is real and exists. We thought that our children were in a loving, caring, environment, but we learned that when you bring concerns to the teachers or administration, your family will be shunned. Some teachers do not like their methods or behaviors questioned at this school, and have targeted students of the parents who have complained. (except those with deep pockets) Our children now attend public schools and are excelling! Look at other Montessori schools first!!
Based on our observations of several Montessori schools in the Cleveland area, we did NOT choose Ruffing. Ruffing had a beautiful campus and friendly staff, but their Montessori Classroom model is no different than other excellent Montessori schools in the Cleveland area----without the pretentiousness or hefty pricetag. Remember when choosing a Montessori School for your child, you need to consider the other students and whether you want those students mentoring your child. We know parents who have removed their children from Ruffing based on the pretentious influence from their peers/classmates. And, yes, their admissions process is biased as well.
We absolutely love this school. My children have learned so much. The school encourages self-motivation and responsibility. For example, each student (beginning in 1st grade) makes their own academic goals and then reviews them a few weeks later. My first grade son loves going to school every day. He has worked his way up to long division in math and does many 'research projects' in geography, history and science. He has also learned a lot by collaborating with other students. Children of different ages are grouped together (3-5yrs, 1st-3rd, 4th-6th, and 7th-8th). This is a fabulous idea that works very well. The older students teach the younger ones - which benefits both. We haven't noticed that it is snobby. While some wealthy families do send their children, this seems to be a testament to the value of the school. I think US, HB and Laurel are 'snobbier' and more expensive.