James Simons Montessori School is located in the heart of downtown Charleston. We serve children three years of age through grade eight with a current enrollment of approximately 400 students. Our staff holds high standards for themselves as well as each student. They are passionate about teaching and learning and have created a positive, nurturing school environment that exemplifies our school mission of providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive community that inspires critical thinkers and life-long learners. Our motto of Peace, Passion, and Purpose reinforces our mission and commitment to grow as a culturally competent community. Our school is helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by implementing the Montessori curriculum. The Montessori approach promotes children’s inherent love of learning by giving them the opportunity to be spontaneous and engage in meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained instructor. The Montessori classroom provides a prepared environment where children can be driven naturally to work and learn. Children develop concentration, motivation, persistence, and self-discipline within this framework. They progress at a pace and rhythm that matches their individual capabilities and propels them forward in their learning continuum. The organized curriculum presents lessons simply and concretely in the early years, and then introduces them again in a more abstract and complex manner during subsequent years.
Professional learning plans are based on a variety of school data and are an essential part of our continued growth as a Montessori school. A Response to Intervention Model (RTI) is fully implemented at James Simons. Students receive instructional support based on data. This school year particular emphasis was placed on minimizing the negative impact on student achievement due to COVID-19. We once again included an accelerated math block in our daily schedule. Reading proficiency goals were regularly monitored by our Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) team. Two new math curricula were introduced and integrated into our Montessori program. Additionally, after school tutoring provided opportunities to accelerate math and reading growth. Daily supports in literacy and/or math afforded upper el and middle school students the data-based, differentiated instruction they needed. Students across the school used digital devices on which to access system supported adaptive digital content in reading and mathematics. Providing differentiated enrichment opportunities for students and maintaining consistent home school communication are key for ensuring students’ academic growth and success.
Social and emotional learning is an integral part of daily instruction at James Simons Montessori. With the support of the school counselor, teachers provide direct explicit instruction on the many topics included in the SEL curriculum, Second Step. Additionally, increased student leadership and decision making is in place through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The PBIS model is practiced school-wide with student recognition for appropriate choices in and out of school. Our goal for PBIS is to improve immediate behavior, as well as provide students with life skills necessary for positive and productive decision making. Our PBIS model is shared with families to assist with the transition of concepts within the home. We look forward to sharing our family matrix with parents/guardians during the 2022-2023 school year.
Collaboration with community agencies continues in an effort to provide assistance for specific student and family needs. Parents are provided information and resources to enhance student learning throughout the school year. Communication includes on-going parent sessions, daily homework folders, monthly event calendars, weekly newsletters, weekly system-wide phone calls and emails, progress reports, report cards, good news notes, and conferences.
James Simons Montessori School is one of four schools in Charleston supported by Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN), a nonprofit organization modeled after the highly successful Harlem Children’s Zone project and designed to ensure that every child and family has supports they need to thrive. A few of the services provided through CPN include medical and health services, family engagement opportunities, and field trips.
Continuous efforts to increase parental involvement include vigorously recruiting parents to attend school events, volunteer, and participate in decision-making teams. We believe that community involvement is a vital component of school success and are proud of our committed partners – two Universities, several churches, our Mayor’s office, and many local businesses.
Christine C. Ryan, Principal
Chris Monoc, SIC Chair