Nestled in the heart of Montrose, the Wilson Montessori campus was filled with excitement on Monday as students entered the doors of the newly renovated building for the first day of school.
Final construction work wrapped on the project this summer, with Monday marking Monday the first time that both the new wing and existing classroom renovations were complete and open to students.
“We are truly excited about this new school year in this new space,” Wilson Montessori Principal Shameika Sykes-Salvador said. “Teachers are excited about being in their own spaces and being able to unpack and make it home.”
When Wilson Montessori students came back from spring break on Monday, they returned to a new three-story building addition specifically designed to evoke a sense of nature and the environment.
Soft earth tones color the walls and floors, different types of tiles provide a sense of texture and expansive windows help connect students to the outdoors.
“Montessori goes back to the environment and taking care of the environment,” Wilson Montessori Principal Beth Bonnette said. “As a part of our environment, the concrete hallways are painted brown and blue like land and water, and the students like the ebb and flow that goes with that.”
The Wilson Montessori K-8 campus is beginning to take a new form as crews continue building a three-story addition and gymnasium, both of which are now more than halfway complete.
The Montrose-area school is receiving $18.9 million under the voter-approved 2012 Bond program. The project includes construction of a new three-story addition, as well as renovations to the existing facility, which was built in 1924.
The renovation work, which includes updates to the library, reception area, and other rooms, could be completed as early as this summer. Work on the new addition will continue into the next school year.
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.
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 →