Pleasant Ridge Montessori, Xavier University Join Forces

February 2, 2011

Pleasant Ridge Montessori (PRM) Elementary School and Xavier University’s School of Education have formed a partnership that could lead to the elementary school becoming a professional development model for XU students.

The partnership, which initially has focused on curriculum development and training for Pleasant Ridge Montessori’s instructional staff, is expected to evolve into a relationship in which PRM will serve as a professional practices school for current and aspiring teachers enrolled at Xavier. The university plans to begin offering courses at PRM as soon as next semester, with a goal of completing its transformation to a professional development model school in two years.

Not only will the school showcase Montessori teaching methods, it also will provide professional development in other teaching specialties, such as educating students with disabilities, according to Gina Lofquist, director of Montessori Education at XU.

Cincinnati Public Schools is home to first public Montessori elementary school in the nation, 35-year-old Sands Montessori, as well as the nation’s first public secondary Montessori school, Clark Montessori. While most of the district’s seven Montessori schools operate as magnet schools, Pleasant Ridge Montessori recently converted from a traditional neighborhood school to a Montessori school.

“Xavier has a long and rich partnership with CPS Montessori schools beginning with Sands,” said Lofquist. “We are pleased to be able to deepen our relationship as we work to meet the unique needs of PRM as a neighborhood school transitioning to a Montessori school.”

Developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori in 1907, the Montessori method features multi-age groups of students, a focus on independent learning, specialized materials and less structured settings than many traditional classrooms.

Pleasant Ridge became a Montessori school as a result of strong support from parents and community members, who remain committed to enhancing the program, Lofquist said. “What’s special is that parents were a critical force in the development of this school, and they’ve stayed with it,” she said.

Pleasant Ridge Montessori Principal Maria McDonough praised the partnership. “Xavier’s work with our staff and parents has been stellar, and we are thrilled at the prospect of becoming a professional development model school,” she said.