February 5, 2014 in City

Spokane Public Schools’ board to discuss merging Montessori programs

By The Spokesman-Review
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Public invited

Spokane Public Schools’ board will hear the proposal in a work session tonight at the Administration Building, 200 N. Bernard St. The public may attend the meeting, but no comment is allowed. The board is scheduled to vote Feb. 12.

Comments can be emailed to: schoolboard@spokaneschools.org.

• Data will be collected at the Montessori orientation meetings, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Balboa Elementary School and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Jefferson Elementary School, to determine parent interest in having a regular kindergarten class and a regular seventh-grade class offered at the unified site.

A proposal to combine two Montessori programs within Spokane Public Schools started with parents.

They sought one parent group, a central location for students, expansion possibilities to offset the current student admission lottery and training for future Montessori teachers.

School administrators will pitch the idea to the school board tonight during a work session. Public comment will be allowed at Feb. 12’s regular meeting before the board votes.

Balboa and Jefferson elementary schools each operate first- through sixth-grade Montessori programs. The programs together have 250 students. Most classrooms are comprised of a three-year age span, such as ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11.

Board approval would move the entire program into The Community School building at 1300 W. Knox Ave., said Kevin Morrison, district spokesman. That site is capable of holding up to 400 students. Also, “it has a more community-type space” for Montessori instruction.

While the move could free up more seats in the current program, the district also is surveying parents to see if they want kindergarten and seventh-grade classes at the site, said Christi Harter, coordinator of K-12 innovative programs at the school district. If parents are interested, these two classes might evolve into the Montessori model in the 2015-16 school year.

The change would trigger the move of a few programs.

The Community School, a project-based high school, would be moved to Bancroft School’s location at 1025 W. Spofford Ave. The mothballed Pratt Elementary School at East Fourth Avenue and South Bradley Street would be reopened for Bancroft’s students.

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