Construction at Garden Oaks Montessori is gaining ground as the school’s two new building additions are more than a quarter of the way complete and renovations to the existing building are underway.
The construction of the two new additions are a key feature of the $26.7 million project, which is part of the HISD voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. Roof installation is complete on the two-story addition, which is being outfitted with doors and windows. On the three-story addition, steel work is complete and roofing is underway.
Renovations to the library and installation of the steel framing for the cafeteria expansion also are underway, and the new circle drive is halfway done.
Despite a stormy forecast, the weather cleared up just long enough Friday morning for the Garden Oaks Montessori community to officially celebrate the start of construction on their new addition and renovations.
The suddenly sunny skies matched the mood of hundreds of students, staff, and community members who took part in the groundbreaking ceremony.
“We have some sunlight, so let’s make the most of this beautiful moment in time,” Principal Lindsey Pollock said as she kicked off the celebration, which included student performances and a recitation of the Garden Oaks Creed.
More than five dozen HISD science, technology, engineering, and math teachers took part in a summer institute recently that was designed to help boost students’ math and science scores by incorporating more fun into their lessons.
The educators came from 23 HISD elementary and middle schools that received part of a TIF4 STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant also provides resources such as equipment and technology, and participating teachers will receive additional training opportunities throughout the school year and share what they have learned with other faculty members at their campuses.
HISD Nutrition Services is piloting a composting program to help local agriculture by recycling food leftovers. Last fall, the department selected the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, Garden Oaks K-8 Montessori, and Briargrove Elementary to pilot the program, which will help HISD become even greener.
Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel manages the new initiative and is excited about Nutrition Services’ involvement in the program. “Compost soil has super nutrients,” said Lengyel. “Instead of food waste going to the landfill, now it will help grow more food.” Continue reading →
Montessori is a child-centered educational approach that emphasizes independent, purposeful work and collaborative exploration. At Blackshear Elementary School, classrooms are equipped with tools to encourage “discovery” of concepts by using materials rather than by instruction from a teacher. The teacher guides the learning and encourages independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about Montessori is that it’s not structured, and that the kids are ‘free’ to do what they want,” says Blackshear’s magnet coordinator Madelyn Traylor. “It has a rich environment for children to explore, but concepts are taught in a sequenced manner, allowing each child to move through this sequence, and fulfill their academic needs, at their own rates and levels.” Continue reading →