Harry Stone Montessori has been wonderful for my child. I have a child in 6th grade, who has attended since Pre-K, and year after year they have scored at the top of the TAKS/STAAR rankings while never having been test-prepped into a forced lethargy. My child has not lost their enthusiasm for learning, and that's hard to maintain in the high-stakes testing environment that our schools are judged by. From what I understand, and have experienced, the teachers are given the freedom to teach without being reduced to paper-pushers by their administration. This is a big deal to me, because from what I read, teachers are not often allowed to teach what the kids need anymore. That's not the case at Stone, and it never has been in our experience. My children have benefitted from this, and I appreciate the fact that they have a school like this in a district that's so often maligned. I like living in Dallas, and schools like Stone allow me to do so, while keeping my children in top schools. I think that's great.
This is a great school for a good foundation in Pre-K and Kinder, but after that the academic program goes down hill. The principal allows the teachers to do as they please when it comes to grades because there is not a district guideline for Montessori schools after all these years. The principal does not monitor the teachers to ensure that they are sending out progress reports and they will not allow students to take home any kind of material, even though Texas Education Agency says that students can bring materials home for learning as long as it is returned to school the following day. Parents must be careful when it comes to matching the Montessori Curriculum to DISD or state public school curriculums. They do not let you know that there are several things that the Montessori Curriculum does not offer that is required in the public school. The principal is not supportive and most of the time hides in her office to avoid parents. She will not even see you unless you schedule an appointment with her and even then she may cancel.
My 8th grade son has had a wonderful experience at Harry Stone Montessori since he started in pre-K. The Harry Stone Middle School has been no exception. 7th grade classes are all Pre-AP and quite rigorous. Harry Stone has always had a terrific fine arts program, and I was even more impressed to learn that music and theater classes are offered every day for the Middle School students. My son has taken private piano lessons for four years, but having the opportunity to participate in piano class every day last year has taken him further in one year than the four years of private lessons combined. Harry Stone Middle School teachers are excellent and expect the best from the students. It has been my experience that Harry Stone is a nurturing place for students with high academic standards.
I have been very dissappointed in having my son here. This is his first year year and I truly don't know if my expectations were too high or they lack to be a productive school. When my son was struggling in his classes, I approached the teachers and then the principal and they all replied back to be that there are no tutoring hours available because of the lack of funds to pay teachers for such a service. I was appauled, as a teacher myself iw ould never expect to get paid for a service that I feel a teacher is responsible for giving all students. Most of my son's teachers lack technology skills when I asked them to print out a copy of the district mandated grade report they had no lcu was I was reffering to. Glad to say we will not be returning next year!