Many families have asked about what we are planning for in high school, and if our students will graduate with a NYS Diploma (or equivalent), in order for them to be prepare for life after Bovina Montessori. The aim of this blog is to share more information about our plans.
The third period goes from twelve to eighteen, and it is a period of so much change as to remind one of the first. It can again be divided into two sub-phases: one from twelve to fifteen, and the other from fifteen to eighteen. There are physical changes also during this period, the body reaching its full maturity.
The Absorbent Mind
Montessori observed that the development of the child takes place in different planes of development. Each of these is divided into 6 year increments (0-6 years, 6-12 years, 12-18 years, 18-24 years), and these are further divided into two 3 year sub-planes.
This September at Bovina Center Montessori School, we will add a class that includes the third plane onto our existing classes in the first plane (toddler and primary) and second plane (elementary). The middle school that will start this year will be the first of two classes for the third plane. It will include adolescents in the first sub-plane (12-15 year olds; 7th-9th grade).
While the vast majority of my work since being hired this year has focused on preparation for starting a middle school this September, I wanted to take a minute to reassure prospective parents that we are also looking forward to opening a high school, when the time comes. The choice to enroll in a new school is a major one, and it is understandable that you would be concerned about the overall vision and trajectory for the school.
The high school will involve the second sub-plane (15-18 year olds; 10th-12th grade) that falls within this third plane of development. While they share many similarities with middle schoolers, there are some differences that will need to be taken into consideration. For one, as they grow older, their propensity for more and more adult-like work grows as well. I have already written about how middle school students will work side by side with their adult guides in doing real world projects on the land. As they grow, their ability for this work grows as well. Students will be given more and more freedom and responsibility to work on existing projects or create new ones based on their interest. By their final years of high school they will be mostly self-sufficient in their work.
Academically, the upper school will be more rigorous. The humanities and occupations, which I have mentioned before in middle school context, will still involve project based learning, but the scope of those projects will increase, and widen to the greater community and not just the school premises. The students will be exposed to more advanced readings and subjects as their level of comprehension increases. They will also continue their work in math, language arts, and world languages. All of this will work to prepare them for their next step in life whatever that might be.
We plan to offer a diploma recognized by New York, to those who complete our high school program. At the moment, the state of New York is looking to revise what they require from all schools in the state in order to grant a diploma (http://www.nysed.gov/grad-measures).
Currently, they are gathering information from teachers, administrators, and other concerned citizens about what this might look like. Sophie and I both attended one of these meetings a few months ago. Hopefully, they will adopt a broad policy that will include more project based work and/or capstone projects and less testing, which is what was the general consensus from many of these meetings.
Whatever they decide on, we will be following their decision process and will make sure that we are able to offer a fully credentialed diploma, while still maintaining the choice and real world work that is the hallmark of a Montessori education for this age group.
If you are interested in learning more about our new middle school program opening this fall 2022 and our plans for high school programming, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our middle school guide and adolescent curriculum developer, Ryan Tucker at email@example.com.