Wednesday, August 31st 2022 at 1:54 PM
Dear City Garden Community,
On Monday, August 22nd, we welcomed 500 children back to school. Our children are so wonderful, and we are grateful to be back in community with them!
Having had our “regular” routines and ways of being interrupted for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a sense of cautious optimism, renewal and JOY present as we reintroduce in-person gatherings and activities, and as we operate with fewer restrictions. I continue to be incredibly proud of and grateful for our entire City Garden team, who has worked tirelessly in the face of enormous obstacles over the past two and a half years to ensure that our students’ intellectual and holistic needs are met, while centering equity and antiracism.
There are a few recent triumphs in particular to highlight:
• During the 2021-22 school year, City Garden made significant headway toward eliminating opportunity gaps among our preschool students in regards to Kindergarten readiness: Readiness scores for our Black students increased from 40% to 84% between fall and spring, and for our White students scores increased from 78% to 86%. Scores for our economically disadvantaged preschool students increased from 48% to 82% from fall to spring, and for non- economically disadvantaged students scores increased from 65% to 85%. These outcomes highlight the power of Montessori early childhood education and the strong work of our guides, staff and families. Narrowing opportunity gaps in early childhood also paves the way for continued progress towards equity in our educational program through the elementary and adolescent years.
• Over the past several years, a top priority has been to invest in Montessori training for teachers, both through our own City Garden Montessori Institute and through our partnership with Hope Montessori Education Institute. We are beginning to see and feel the impact of these investments as we start this school year with a record number of Montessori trained instructors and staff:
• In the Early Childhood Education Center, Principal Crystal Isom and Lead Guides Shannon Adams, Julia Freeman and Emilie Moroney recently completed their Montessori training – congratulations Crystal, Shannon, Julia and Emilie! We also have seven other Montessori certified early childhood guides and two early childhood staff members in Montessori training.
• In the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center, Lead Guides Becky Broshears and Danielle Combs recently completed their Montessori training – congratulations Becky and Danielle! We also have three other Montessori certified elementary guides and five elementary staff members in training.
I invite you to read below for additional exciting updates and opportunities for engagement.
Thank you for your support and partnership in this big work!
Since we opened our Elementary and Adolescent Education Center in January of this year, this month marks the first fall semester in our new facility.
City Garden Montessori School is now 500 students strong across both our Early Childhood Education Center at 1618 Tower Grove Avenue, and our Elementary and Adolescent Education Center at 4209 Folsom Avenue. Check out some photos from our first day of school!
From Lead and Assistant Guides, to administrators and school support specialists, City Garden has welcomed dozens of new staff members to our community this year!
We are so honored and grateful for their hard work this month, preparing classroom and school environments for another successful year. Visit our Meet the Team page to see all of their smiling faces!
This summer marked an enormous milestone for funding equity in the State of Missouri. Charter schools in Missouri have historically received less funding than local school districts, and advocates have been working for many years to equalize funding. City Garden was part of an effort to increase funding for charter schools, so that our students have access to a similar level of resources as students in other public schools, while also retaining the same level of funding for St. Louis Public Schools.
House Bill (HB) 1552 was passed by the Missouri legislature in May and was signed by Governor Mike Parson in July, and it will add approximately $62 million for charter public schools across the state of Missouri.
For City Garden, this will mean an increase in approximately $1,500 per charter school student. This year these funds are supporting equity-focused salary increases of 5-9% for lead and assistant guides and school staff, as well as the hiring of additional support staff for our school buildings.
City Garden will continue to fundraise to close the gap in funding between what our Montessori program costs and what we receive in public dollars and preschool tuition (historically about $3,800 per student) — but this additional funding is a major win! Read more about the funding equity here!
Last spring marked another exciting transition here at City Garden – the development of a mascot for our growing Athletics Program!
Under the leadership of Trisha Anderson, City Garden's Athletics Director, the student body facilitated a nomination and election process to determine City Garden's athletics mascot – and we are thrilled to announce that City Garden Athletics is now the home of the Phoenix!
This school year, City Garden's Athletics Department will offer the following six programs to students:
1. Fall Volleyball
2. Fall Cross Country
3. Fall Soccer
4. Fall/Winter Cheerleading for Basketball
5. Fall/Winter Basketball
6. Spring Soccer
If folks are interested in coaching opportunities, please click here to learn more and complete and interest form!
City Garden Montessori School’s Elementary and Adolescent Education Center will be recognized as a 2022 Missouri Green School Honoree at the Sprout Level for our commitment to improving health and wellness of students and staff, lowering environmental impacts, and providing place-based education!
Big shout out and congratulations Ms. Lauren Denney, our Outdoor Education Specialist, for her leadership and commitment to realizing this vision for our school community!
The next step will be applying for the national level recognition of U.S. Green Ribbon Schools. We look forward to becoming a more environmentally conscious school, with more comprehensive focus on sustainability.
With continued growth across our two school buildings, I am honored to work alongside Principals Crystal Isom and Interim Principal Pat Garrett, employing a new co-principal model at City Garden.
Principal Crystal Isom oversees the Early Childhood Education Center at 1618 Tower Grove Avenue, serving 200 preschool and Kindergarten students.
Interim Principal Pat Garrett oversees the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center at 4209 Folsom Avenue, serving 300 1st through 8th grade students.
Please join me in thanking them for their invaluable leadership, and wishing them well this school year!
Happy birthday, Dr. Maria Montessori!
Dr. Maria Montessori was born on August 31st 152 years ago in Chiaravalle, Italy. Maria Montessori was a pioneering scientist and educator, who has inspired people globally with her genuinely universal approach to the development of the child.
Today, Montessori education is applied across all ages, from birth to eighteen and through to adulthood, in more than 140 countries across the world.
“The child who has felt a strong love for their surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” - Maria Montessori
We look forward to bringing you more timely updates and exciting news over the course of the year. Thank you for your time, and we wish you well!