Lansing’s Wexford Montessori Magnet School earned the higher MEAP scores in the Lansing School District last year, which will help students if Michigan passes a proposed bill to hold back third-graders who under-perform in reading.
House Bill No. 5111 introduced on Oct. 29 by Rep. Amanda Price states that beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, any third grader that does not score “proficient” on the reading section of the MEAP will not be permitted to move on to fourth grade.
Wexford Montessori Magnet School, a K-8 school, is one of the 24 public Montessori schools in the state of Michigan and is therefore required to administer the MEAP.
According to Michigan School Data, Wexford Montessori Magnet School’s third graders had significantly higher reading scores than most public schools in the district including Lansing K-8 STEM Magnet School. More than 60 percent of third graders at Wexford scored proficient on the reading section of the MEAP, scoring 10 percent higher than most of Lansing’s public school third graders.
Cynthia Ward, school secretary at Wexford, said that they are not worried if the legislation should pass.
“Last year, we had the highest MEAP scores in the Lansing School District,” said Ward.
Ward said that Wexford is the only tuition-free public Montessori school in the area, and it has a strict admissions process.
“Montessori instruction is not for every child, it is an independent learning environment where the students learn the material in the order they choose to that day and at a fast pace,”said Ward. “It would be a difficult learning environment for children with ADD or ADHD because it is not as structured.”
Ward said that their teacher-to-student ratios are also what makes the Montessori difference. Ward said that there are never more than around 20 students assigned to one teacher.
“If there is a class of 40 students, there will be two teachers in the room,” said Ward.
Ward said that parents frequently attribute their children’s later academic success to their Montessori background.
Although Wexford is the only Montessori school in Lansing with superior MEAP results,other Montessori schools are pleasing parents as well.Carrie Cepak is a mother of five and sends her youngest, a second grader, to Montessori Stepping Stones, an elementary school located in East Lansing.
“My youngest is the only one of my children that I have sent to a Montessori school,and I can tell the difference after raising five children,” said Cepak.
Cepak said that after enrolling her shy and introverted son into his first year at a Montessori school as a second grader she is sure that there is a superior difference in a Montessori school.
“Since starting his first year at Montessori, I noticed the difference in my son right away,” said Cepak. “He is more social and his reading level has gone through the roof.”
Cepak said that a lot of children benefit from the Montessori instruction because it is the attention equivalent of homeschooling with the social environment of a school. Cepak said that she would not have to worry about her son meeting the proficient reading level on the MEAP if they were required at his school.
Although Montessori Stepping Stones is not required to meet MEAP standards, many of their students continue on to Wexford rather than a public middle school.
Ward said that students who have had a Montessori background are much more likely to be accepted and do well in the middle school than students coming from public schools.