Monday, February 20, 2012

List of Montessori Secondary Schools

What follows is a (so far, incomplete) list of American Montessori secondary schools and the unique qualities they have.

Hershey Montessori School
Huntsberg, Ohio, USA
Ages 12-15
Tuition - $28,000 (not including trips)
Hershey Montessori School is the most widely recognized Montessori secondary school. It is a three year boarding school on a 97-acre farm. According to the website, "Students [learn to] take care of themselves, their community and many of the lives that surround them by: Growing and cooking their own food, managing natural resources, caring for dependents (animals), overseeing a budget and operating businesses, repairing and maintaining facilities, [and] providing services to neighbors."

Montessori High School at University Circle
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Founded in 2008
Ages 14-18
Tuition - $15,000
Student population - 80
Staff - 27 (4 of which have AMI or AMS degrees, 4 of which have taken the NAMTA Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies)

The Montessori High School is a four year boarding school located in University Circle, a prestigious community in Cleveland. Their focus is teaching to the whole child, part of which is achieved through the family-like atmosphere. The students have access to the wide range of what the Circle community has to offer, from note-worthy guest speakers that come to speak to one of the several universities, to the many libraries and museums. Students are expected to volunteer with their choice of surrounding institutions, including among others, retirement manors, medical centers, museums, a historical society, and a food bank. Students also have the option to travel abroad for class projects during their junior and senior years.

Chiaravalle Montessori School (pronounced "Care-a-volley")
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Incorporated 1965
School includes infant, early childhood, elementary, and middle school classes (children 6 mo. - 14 years)
Tuition was not found online, but tuition assistance and financial aid are available
Student population - 130 students in grades 1-8
Staff (middle school) - Three full-time and one part-time teacher with either Masters' or Doctoral degrees. One of the three has a Montessori license. Also available are a Montessori licensed head of program as well as three extra-curricular teachers (art, drama, Spanish) and a "Coordinator of Special Resources"
Student-Teacher ratio - not higher than 12:1

Chiaravalle seems to have a large community support system, which is reflected in an online community. Searching for the parameters "Chiaravalle Montessori School" brings up many videos created by both students and parents taken at school events and activities or just proclaiming devotion and support for the school. The middle school boasts long periods of uninterrupted work time, similar to traditional lower grade classes, as well as six-week focused work cycles, frequent progress reports and self-assessments, and homework of merely classwork that was not finished during the day.
Notable classes for students include a Speech and Communications course in which is taught "grace and courtesy, listening skills, note-taking, active participation in group discussions, clear articulation of ideas, and ... frequent individual and group presentations. Students learn a variety of communication skills, such as acknowledging others, using "I" messages, active listening, goal-setting, and group decision-making. ... Students are able to practice communication skills daily by working in community meetings, class committees, small group cooperative projects, and peer and multi-age teaching activities." Another notable class, as suggested by Maria Montessori, is Outdoor Education, in which students, for one week, "experience real responsibility as they budget, shop, cook, and clean for themselves and each other. They use nature as a source of inspiration for academic work, studying ponds, streams, lakes, land management, astronomy, and related topics." Other non-traditional classes Career Education/Service Learning in which students are given a choice of assisting a teacher in lower grades or taking up an internship with a local business; Spanish; a health class that involves daily reflection; and "several" field trips each year.