Imagine a school where students enjoy learning, where they come to thrive and learn at their own pace. That school is Muskegon Montessori Academy for Environmental Change.
You see, at our school we don’t just have “high expectations,” we expect greatness from all of our students, families, and teachers. We don’t have a high bar that students can’t reach —we hold each other accountable for doing our best work and reaching beyond the cookie cutter approach to education.
Because at Muskegon Montessori Academy we don’t do whatever other districts do to be good, we expect to be great. It is evident in our school culture and our school data. We have some of the best test scores in our county because our students are being held to a level of greatness that is rippled throughout our school, families, and communities.
From a technical standpoint, our school’s academic success indicator is strong. You can see from our test scores that our students have shown amazing growth indicators in all subjects.
How we work to get students to meet their goals is where we thrive.
First, difficult decisions were made in an effort to ensure that our most important goals are high student academic performance, whole-child education, and environmentally focused experiences were met for every student that attended our school.
Next, we developed an action plan.
Today and every day at our school, we work to build individual academic experiences for every child by recognizing that each child is unique. We use the Montessori philosophy as our pedagogy, blending in the 21st century skills, and Common Core State Standards into our curriculum.
Our students own their education and set daily goals for themselves and have time to reflect on and share their progress throughout the day. I am inspired each day when I walk into classrooms where there are students taking charge of their learning, excited to show others how much they have done for the day. They are truly happy to be at school and love learning because they are able to articulate, design, and develop the work they do within the curriculum standards.
Expectations are held high throughout the school year. Students set their daily, weekly and yearly personal goals and regularly talk about where they are in attaining the goals with their teachers. Our students like to have assessments because they know that it is their time to shine, a chance for them to show how much they have grown.
School feedback and improvement is used to help outline our path. We use data and program evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the programming that we are providing for our students. Not only do our teachers take risks and step out of their comfort zones, but our students do the same because it is modeled for them.
Ali DuBois is a school leader at Muskegon Montessori Academy for Environmental Change.