Wake Ed

Wake County will consider expanding Montessori program

Some Wake County school board members want expansion of the Montessori model to be considered as part of the latest review of the magnet school program.

Kingswood Elementary School in Cary is the only Montessori school in the district. Kingswood got the program after a sharp drop in the number of applications caused the district to drop the Montessori theme at Poe Elementary School in Raleigh in favor of the Gifted and Talented/Academically and Intellectually Gifted Basics theme.

At the May 19 board work session, school board member Susan Evans made her pitch for having more Montessori schools. Her children attended Poe when it had the Montessori program.

Evans said there’s no clear K-12 pathway for Montessori students like with other magnet themes such as International Baccalaureate. Evans also said the concepts of Montessori match up very well with the movement in curriculum toward critical thinking and less memorization.

“I’d love to see us be able to keep our eyes on that a bit more,” Evans said.

School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said that Montessori could be used as part of a K-8 school.

“If you look at it nationally, Montessori is in demand in districts and we have the one that’s an elementary-only model,” Kushner said.

Beth Cochran, Wake’s senior director of magnet and curriculum enhancement programs, said it will be on the table to be examined. Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for school performance, added that it was good to put the seed on the table.