“I like coming to school in the morning. My previous school was all about conformity. Here you can be yourself.”
That’s a direct quotation from a Montessori high school student. Last week while John Long and I were visiting two Montessori high schools in California and Colorado, we were struck by the commonalities amongst the students despite the differences in the way the programs looked at first glance.
The student experience of the programs was the dominant feature. In their own words, their experiences are remarkable and they are sensitive to how their school differs from others:
- We want to be engaged.
- Montessori school challenges us more.
- I know everyone in the school, all the students and all the teachers.
- We’re like a big family. We hate each other and love each other.
- The geeks are the jocks.
- No bullies.
- Here you can be yourself.
- People accept each other and their differences.
- There are no cliques; we’re open to each other.
- We learn to see things in a different way, from different perspectives.
- The teachers know our strengths and shortcomings. Their trust in us is inspiring.
- We’re able to find our own talents.
- We’re not taught what to think...but are encouraged to think independently.
- This is the kind of school where everyone wants to sit in the front of the class.
The Post Oak High School faculty will create an environment to engage the adolescent. The students themselves will bring the preparatory work to life when they walk on campus in August of 2012. Until then, we’re asking current and former Post Oak students as well as Montessori high school students in other schools to tell us how to create a school that they’d like to come to every morning.