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Old 02-09-2011, 02:43 PM
2 posts, read 7,211 times
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My family will be moving to Northern VA this June. My 5 yr. old daughter is in Montessori school already and she is thriving so I'd like to keep her in that discipline.

I have looked at Drew Elementary on a few school-review sites but they seem to focus on the Elementary school and not the Montessori program. Does anyone have information, opinions, examples of whether their program is the real deal? Her current school is AMI (Association Montessori Internationale), SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools), and SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).

We hate to leave he school but we need to move where the work is - N. VA. Speaking of that, since I am still reeling over what people pay for rent (we certainly won't be buying a home there!) I don't know how we'd even be able to afford a private Montessori school. Unless we look at moving further out.

So it is - live closer in and have her (hopefully) attend Drew Montessori and pay higher rent or live further out and (Hopefully) pay less but have her attend an expensive private Montessori school.

Any advice? I'm feeling overwhelmed. Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:48 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I've never heard of Drew Elementary. Is it in South Arlington? I just looked it up in Great Schools and it was rated a "3" which means it's state test scores are not all that great. It doesn't mean it's not a good school, but I'd certainly look into it further, if I were you.

As far as where to live. Where will you be working? To me that is the most important question. Personally, I'd rather pay more for rent and be closer to my job than pay for private school. Private schools are pretty expensive around here, and I think living farther out and paying for school would be a more expensive option, not to mention a longer commute time, if your job is in the city or close to it.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:10 AM
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We don't live in Arlington County, but we've heard from friends who do that competition for spots in the county-sponsored Montessori programs is stiff. There are usually more applicants than there are spaces, and they determine who gets in by lottery.

You can read more about it here (http://www2.apsva.us/154010811517413/lib/154010811517413/Primary_Mont_Program_FAQs_Feb2011.pdf - broken link).

Arlington County is one of the most expensive places to live in this area, and I don't know that I'd choose to move there based solely on the existence of a public Montessori program that my child may or may not get into, you know? If you're interested in Arlington for other reasons, then that's different.

If Montessori education is a definite must-have for your family, then certainly at least have a viable backup plan in place in case your daughter doesn't make it into the Arlington County program for next year.

Oh, and welcome to the area in advance! Have a happy move!
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:51 AM
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I'll be working from home through the end of the year, then my contract ends and I'll be looking for work. Not sure where husband will work either - he'll be applying for positions once the time to move gets closer.

I saw that Drew Ele. got a 3 score as well, but I don't know if that is including the Montessori program or not. Thanks for the helpful link, TheMommy. I knew it was a lottery but wasn't sure what our chances would be. Like I said to my friend if 600 apply and 500 get in, ok. But if 600 apply and 100 get in, yuk!

We talked and are committed to keeping her in Montessori. Now it is a matter of figuring out how, and where to live! And whether Drew would be worth the risk.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:55 PM
Location: Prince William County, VA
664 posts, read 1,624,211 times
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Part of the problem of living "far out" in order to afford private montessori, is not all of the "far out" areas have accredited Montessori schools nearby.

Several years ago, we moved here from out of state, where our children had been attending a montessori school, and were really suprised at how few options there were for montessori in the area we chose to buy (Western Prince William County).

We ultimately did find a private, Catholic montessori in Manassas, and though they had accredited teachers and the program held pretty true to montessori methods, the school itself was not actually AMI or AMS accredited.
If the actual accredation is very important to you, you might have a hard time finding what you need "far out"--depending of course on specficially where "far out" you go.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:15 PM
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I would ignore the 3 rating at GreatSchools as that includes both the main school and the Montessori program. Our son was in Montessori up to age 5 and we considered sending him to Drew, but felt he would be happier with his friends at our neighborhood school. We did attend the orientation for the Montessori program at Drew and came away greatly impressed. A warning though. Drew is in a very rough part of S. Arlington. Just drive through the neighborhood to get a feel. Also, the school itself seems pretty divided between the neighborhood kids and the Montessori kids. It almost seems like it's 2 schools in one building.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:33 PM
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I'm not sure if the OP is still interested in this discussion given its age, but you need an adjusted gross income under $80k to have a prayer of getting into the public Montessori programs in Arlington. Also, if you really care about the Montessori philosophy, it isn't possible for a public school to 100% conform to it. The kids will still have to pass standardized tests, which are anathema to the philosophy. There are too many children crowded into a tiny space, so the layout and aesthetics part of the philosophy are challenged. And I've heard stories about the kids not being allowed to use the playground during the week of standardized testing for the rest of the school. In the end, even though it's tough to pay for private school, I'm committed enough to the core philosophy that I want my child away from traditional schooling and all of its compromises, and it's worth having a more modest home to make that happen. To the poster who scoffed at paying for private school when the public schools are so "great" around here---well, if you believe in traditional schooling, then that's true, but if you believe in child-led learning free of curriculum, grades, and homework, then private school is the only valid choice.
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