The Spokane Public School Board voted last night to unify the Spokane Public Montessori program at the Community School (aka Havermale; 1300 W Knox) here in Emerson-Garfield. It goes into effect for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.
For the past 26 years, Spokane’s public Montessori programs — public, not private, being fairly unique in and of itself — have been housed within Balboa Elementary to the north (just above Francis) and Jefferson Elementary to the south (on 37th). Unification at this single central location will allow those two previously separate programs to pool their staff, resources, and enjoy a dedicated facility that is better equipped for the Montessori educational method.
The Spokesman-Review has a typically bitty story on the vote and some of the responses to unification. An info sheet and FAQ (PDF file) on enrolling in the Montessori program and the logistics of unification was also issued prior to the school board’s vote.
From a neighborhood standpoint, the even better news is that the Medicine Wheel Academy will remain in the building and the Community School will move just down the road to Bancroft (1025 W Spofford), so Emerson-Garfield does not end up losing these valuable learning programs altogether. (Although, if you’re being pedantic, the move does put the Community School just within the West Central border.)
Representatives from the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council have already sat down with city traffic engineers to see how this new primary school might be a candidate for Safe Routes to School improvements, and they will be pursuing that goal in the coming months. The larger plan is to create a safe, ideally pedestrian-oriented network that will benefit all the schools that are clustered in or near Emerson-Garfield, including Garfield Elementary, North Central, Trinity Catholic and Audubon. If you’re interested in joining that effort, please get in touch.
The increased space that Havermale offers also means that the public Montessori program, which will continue to admit new students by a lottery system, will likely have more spots available for new students.
If you would like to enroll your child in the Montessori program for the 2014-15 school year, you must attend the orientation and registration meeting on either Thursday, February 20 (5:30-7:30pm) or Saturday, February 22 (10am-12pm). Both will be held at Havermale.
So: Welcome to Emerson-Garfield, current and future Montessori parents and students! We look forward to collaborating with you in cool and creative ways to build stronger neighborhood and school communities.