Friday, October 9, 2009

Closing Blog for Now

This blog is closed for the time being, as this project has been placed on hold indefinitely. I haven't lived here long enough to do the necessary networking effectively.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Public Hearing

I was unable to attend the public hearing, but will post if I hear from anyone who did. If you attended, please also post some notes if you have the chance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Public Hearing December 9th

On Tuesday, December 9th in the Saxe Room of the Worcester Public Library at 3 Salem Square, Worcester, MA 01608 there will be a public hearing from 4-6pm on the following proposed charter school:

Spirit of Knowledge Academy Charter School (SOKA), serving Leicester, Oxford, and Worcester students in the 6th-12th grade. Enrollment capacity: 585.

This school is one of three finalist charter applications being considered in MA. The schools each need to have community support in order for approval. I am hoping to attend, as is at least one other person interested in the Worcester Montessori charter. It will be a good time to see the process in action, network, and learn. Please attend if you are available.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Interest Update

Some momentum is collecting around this project, and several folks are expressing some tentative interest in being involved in the founding group for the school. Once we have five or six interested folks, I think we'll have enough folks to set up a first meeting to start discussing this possibility. Ideally this would happen by March or April so that we could fit our project efforts into the Department of Education's process most seamlessly.

It would be great if you are interested if you could post here as well as contacting me (, simply so we can collectively have a better visual indication of the level of interest that is building. Also, don't forget that you can subscribe/sign up as a "follower" of this blog (and you don't need to post to do so).

I am excited!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three Questions Answered

Why Montessori?
I personally was drawn to Montessori first by my understanding of children. Children are ready to absorb information and learn from birth. It is my belief that it is the nature of each child to grow into the environment we provide through a natural process of learning. Thus, by simply creating the right environment, I believe it is possible to create a classroom in which the learning needs of every child-- whatever his or her particular strengths and challenges may be-- are addressed in a joyful rather than oppressive manner.

Over the years, I've accumulated more and more experiences with Montessori education, including in the lives of my two children, and I am continually impressed by the way in which Montessori classrooms are designed for the whole child, and the way in which they creatively engage children and nurture true excellence in learning. Montessori has made a difference in the lives of my children (both of whom happen to have special needs), and though it is a historic model of education that has been supported by generations of research, I believe it is also a cutting edge model of education that simply hasn't caught on quickly enough in the public setting.

Why a Charter School?
Last spring, my son turned three and was admitted into Worcester Public Schools. In anticipation of the transition, I visited and spent many hours observing 16 different early childhood education programs, including the one offered by my neighborhood Worcester public school. Tuition for the private schools ran between $3,600-$17,000 per year! Most of these schools were Montessori with accreditation from a Montessori organization of one type or another. Only a few went beyond the preschool years. Not one was in Worcester. As far as I know, there are currently no accredited Montessori schools within Worcester. Only the most expensive school offered a handful of modest scholarships. This same school also does not accept children with special needs, such as Deaf students. Few children will be so privileged to attend these schools.

Our public schools are struggling to educate our children, and the schools that are successfully educating our children are simply not accessible to the public. This is an alarming fact that deserves our attention.

Why Worcester?
I believe that the children of Worcester deserve to have access to something as stellar and as powerful as Montessori. And I believe Worcester, the second largest city in New England, should have cutting edge public schools. In fact, the Department of Education is soliciting applications for public charter schools in Worcester, and even providing grants for charter founding groups because the need for innovations is clear.

I have a vision of a diverse, urban public Montessori school for kids in preK-1st (traditional Montessori 3-6 classroom) and 2nd through 4th grade (traditional Montessori 6-9 classroom), with the possibility to expand into upper grades once the school has been established (expand one grade per year).

Worcester is an ideal location for this effort.

A Few Links of Interest

A Very Small Selection of Charter School Links

1. The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association
2. The Massachusetts Center For Charter School Excellence
3. The National Alliance For Charter Public Schools

A Very Small Selection of Montessori Links

1. An Introduction to Montessori
2. Why Choose Montessori for Elementary Education?
3. New Montessori School Startup Information (non-public focus)

There is one other Montessori public charter school in Massachusetts: Hill View Montessori. This was the application its founding group submitted for charter back in 2002. Of course, I encourage you as well to browse online videos on Montessori, some of which show up in the sidebar here.


I haven't even begun to spread the word yet, so this is a presumptive welcome. But welcome anyway! I've put together this blog because I am hoping to start a network of community members in Central Massachusetts who might be able to join with me in the vision of a public school in Worcester built around the idea of helping each child reach his or her own innate potential through a wholistic, child-centered, community-based, cutting edge but historic, research-supported model of education: Montessori.

If this idea intrigues you in the least, I hope you will stick around and join in the conversation. If we can build momentum here and in our personal conversations, there is a very good chance we can actually create this school. In fact, the Department of Education has grants specifically to support the creation of charter schools in Worcester, and such a school could open as early as fall 2010. Now is definitely the time!