I would like to respond to recent letters and articles concerning Montessori Borealis as a future public charter school. I have heard it said that the belief that something is wrong can be more of a problem than the possible problem. A major misperception is that the current Montessori programs in Juneau are elitist. As a father who has chosen various options for my daughter (including Montessori preschool, Montessori kindergarten and the Juneau School District elementary Montessori magnet program when housed at Harborview Elementary School), that has not been my experience. Those programs have been choices.
Families that qualify for child-care assistance frequently enroll their children at Juneau Montessori School; JMS provides program and care for children in the toddler age group through their kindergarten year. Southeast Alaska Friends of Montessori also funds kindergarten scholarships for families in need.
Although many in the Juneau Native community have found options with Head Start at the preschool level, the Tlingit Immersion Program at the elementary level and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School; there are Native communities in Portland, Ore., Tulalip, Wash., and the Probilof Islands of Alaska that have found the Montessori methods of education very compatible with traditional Native ways of educating their children. Check out Indian Country Today's "American Indian Philosophy Alive in Native Montessori."
A fear seems to be that something is being taken away from others; rather than the fact that Montessori Borealis has something to offer the families of this community. By offering Montessori Borealis as a future public charter school, the Montessori method of education will be made available to more families who wish to make that choice for their children.
It will be, and has always been, the Juneau School District's responsibility to make all of its educational programs widely known and accessible in the community. Let's work together, respectfully, to provide the best educational climate that Juneau can offer.
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