Read the fine print on your contract thoroughly. Regarding the weather closures of the 2016-2017 school year, I believe the director states herself well:
I regret to inform you that we are forced to be closed due to predictions of freezing rain from 7:00 a.m. to 2 pm Tuesday. PPS called a full day closure. As much as I would love to try a late start,I am not confident that staff will get to school school safely. Many called in prior to the PPS announcement informing me they would not be driving or walking in icy conditions.
As inconvenient as this is for all of us. It is better than finding out that a staff person or parent in our community was injured because we decided to open in unsafe conditions. That would be tragic.
On the upside, we have not had an ice storm like this since 2008. I hope it is a sign that we will not see another one for 8 more years.
With the news talking about PPS making up snow days. PPS is required to be in attendance 180 days. We already meet this requirement as our last day is June 30th. Their last day is June 11th.
Here is our inclement weather policy from our parent handbook and contract. This is standard amongst private pre-schools and Montessori schools.
Tuition is based on an annual fee broken down into convenient monthly payments. There are no refunds due to illness, planned school closures, vacations, school closures due to inclement weather or power outage, holidays or staff illness. Monthly tuition is set up for convenience and does not reflect a true monthly rate, therefore no reductions or credit are given. It is the responsibility of the parent to find child care when school is closed. Please see the Nonrefundable Payment Policy Agreement for more details.
Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time,
Tammy and the admin team"
My child attended MOA for a one year. We were attracted to the "bilingual" aspect of the school. And while it is true that your child will be exposed to a Spanish speaking guide (often a teach assistant), it is not a true immersion experience (ie, don't expect your child to come home and converse with you in Spanish--which we actually have now at the new school). Initially, we were very happy with the school. Our child was happy. However, her class went through a significant amount of teacher turnover--this was too much. Crying every day, refusing to go to school. It was too much for us, so we pulled her out. I'm sure that the turnover is multi-factorial--and truthfully, we heard about this potential through other reviews. The admin was often blamed. I'm not sure. We did feel the nickel and diming that we had read about. I'm sure it added to our frustrations. Overall not a bad school--we expected more (and actually have it now). To those parents looking--check it out. But when you meet with administration, trust your gut (we wished we had).
We are very positive about Montessori of Alameda. The teachers are very well trained, and the bilingual instruction is a plus. Whenever a problem crops up, the teachers and administrators are very prompt to notify us and schedule a discussion. They seem genuinely interested in learning about the possible roots of the situation and view the conversations as an ongoing dialogue with the parents. I appreciate that they take the time to understand how we discipline, what's worked with us, and I especially appreciate that they share what the kids are working on at school so we can be consistent at home.
I am an employee of Montessori of Alameda and have worked here for several years. The Administration is great. As staff we are treated very well as the Admin takes a collaborative approach and we all have a voice in making decisions about our community. True, some teachers have been here for over 8 years others may only stay a few. Most staff leave to open their own schools not because they are unhappy or not well treated. I love working here as this is the only Montessori school where the mission is Montessori for Everyone. They have a sliding scale program for low income families and they also accredit adults to be Montessori teachers. Most of the staff is sponsored by the school via a scholarship program , a great value as otherwise we would not be able to afford to become Montessori teachers. I thank the Administration for investing in us and also making Montessori available to low income families. All staff are paid well, have excellent benefits, etc. All classrooms have Montessori accredited teachers as well as students who are doing their student teaching. The owner is amazing. She has brought Montessori to everyone via The Ivy School and Maria's Place.
My child has been exhibiting some undesirable behaviors, our counselor asked about consistency. After digging deep, I see that the school is the problem. More specifically, the greedy owners. This school has tremendous turnover and is understaffed. This makes the teacbers and their assistants stressed, how can this NOT rub off on the children? Where is the peaceful altruistic Montessori environment I expected? Many employees regularly work 50-70 hours a week, with no overtime. They must clean their own classrooms - as there's no cleaning service. Weekend and after-hours meetings are the norm. I would prefer that my child have the same teacher every day instead of the constant variety that is necessary because they are understaffed. I'm not saying they always are...but the lack of administration support for tbe staff has caused problems for my child. Shop around, ask about turnover from the last 5 years. Workers need a 40 hour week - even if the owner chooses to work 15 hours a day. There are problems here. I suggest a time clock and a parent board with guest teachers in attendance.
The administration of this school is a big, big problem, in my view, and it eventually drove us away. The director is extremely difficult to deal with, and she seems motivated by money, not by education. At every turn, we were nickel and dimed. All of this spills over -- many staff (teachers) were demoralized and, inevitably, some of them quit or abandoned ship. It's a shame.
I believe your child will be happy and thrive at this school. The Montessori philosophy is a wonderful foundation and exposes young children to many real life topics. The teachers have been wonderful, open and great with the children. Currently,the staff does tend to move classrooms or leave the school completely. There are some teachers that have been there for years and I think teacher turnover rates are declining. Having said that, as a parent, I am highly put off by the administration. Rude and condescending are some words that come to mind. It amazes me that the owner is likely to be the reason people leave this school, or decide not to enroll. This is a shame, because lots of great things are going on at this place. If I was just rating the teachers/classroom-student experience I would have given it 5 stars, but taking into account everything, I can only give it 3.
We have had our toddler at Montessori of Alameda for 1-1/2 years... He has been in the Spanish Immersion class for the past year. He speaks perfect Spanish and completely understands it. The staff and administrators are well educated and very organized. This school would be an excellent choice for your child. We are extremely happy with the school and staff. Our little boy love's to go to school. It's amazing to see the skills he's learned! You can't beat this! THANK YOU Miss Tammy, Miss. Norma, Mr. Valentine, Miss. Page, and everyone else!!!