Article updated at 6:50 p.m. Friday, March 11:
The Lawrence school district plans to move forward with offering a public Montessori education at New York Elementary School, according to a news release Friday evening.
The plan is pending school board approval. If approved, the free program would start in fall of 2022, and it would be open to all kindergartners “with priority placement given to families living in the New York attendance area,” district spokesperson Julie Boyle wrote in the release.
The district announced in December that it was exploring the possibility of offering Montessori at New York. The long-term solution to this issue is to try to attract new families to LPS and increase enrollment, Superintendent Anthony Lewis said at the time.
Lewis explained that if the district were to try the Montessori approach, it would need to be implemented in phases. As the Montessori program grew, the district would eventually phase out the traditional educational approach by grade levels. District staff had shared the idea with New York Elementary’s site council and discussed it with staff of the University of Kansas’ Center for Montessori Research.
Families living in other school attendance areas could apply for a transfer to New York for their kindergartner and elementary-age siblings, Boyle wrote on Friday.
“In addition, a transfer to Cordley Elementary would be available for any New York family choosing a traditional kindergarten classroom environment. The district evaluates transfers on a first-come-first-served and space-available basis. Transportation is not provided,” Boyle continued.
The district will share more information about the new program after spring break and host family informational meetings about the Montessori program during the first two weeks of April, Boyle wrote.
The school board has called a special meeting at 6 p.m. March 22 for a budget work session. The meeting will not include public comment, according to Boyle’s email.