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Montessori group files charter school petition with Davis school board

By From page A2 | March 07, 2014

A charter school petition aimed at creating a new Montessori Charter School of Davis was filed with the Davis school district on Thursday. Several dozen parents and their children turned out at Thursday’s school board meeting to show support for the proposed new school.

Jonathan Feagle, speaking on behalf of the petitioners, told trustees that “we are a group of educators, parents and citizens who earlier this afternoon submitted a petition to this school board. … We are here this evening to show our gratitude to this board for empowering the residents of this district through the continued involvement of the community. … We stand here today, and with our collective voice ask that you consider this petition on its merits alone.”

The petitioners hope to open the Montessori Charter School of Davis as early as this fall, serving up to 120 children from transitional kindergarten through second grade. The school then would expand by one grade each year up through sixth grade. A school site has not yet been identified.

The school board now has 30 days to set a public hearing to review the charter school petition. It was not immediately clear Thursday how many of the parents who signed the petition have students in the school district’s existing Montessori classrooms at Birch Lane Elementary School.

If the board decided to approve the petition and issue a charter, the proposed enrollment of 120 students probably would involve five or six classrooms at a site to be determined.

Feagle said the Davis school district has proved the Montessori model is a sound educational program and that the district itself has generated a demand for this method of instruction, as evidenced by the long wait lists for the Montessori classrooms at Birch Lane.

“By all accounts, the Birch Lane program is a top-notch program and has demonstrated beyond any doubt the powerful nature of the Montessori model,” he added.

Feagle said there are “underserved segments of our community” who are not aware of the benefits of a Montessori education, which “is an ideal pedagogical platform on which to deliver a first-rate English learner program. The potential in this situation for increased student integration must not be ignored.”

Acknowledging that there are several different interpretations among Montessori educators, Feagle said, “We do not adhere to the idea that there is only one Montessori model. Each learning community must decide on its own what it means to them. And here in this charter document, we have outlined in great detail just one of the many possible implementations.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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