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Wilson Montessori School


Woodrow Wilson Montessori School, formerly Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, is a public K-8 Montessori school in the Cherryhurst Addition subdivision in the Neartown area of Houston, Texas. A part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), Wilson serves as the neighborhood elementary school for a section of Neartown, including a portion of Montrose. It also serves as a magnet school for all of HISD’s territory. As of 2014 it is one of three public Montessori programs in Houston. It was the first HISD school to use the Montessori style for all students, as well as housing HISD’s first Montessori middle school program. It is named after President of the United States Woodrow Wilson.

The land that currently houses Wilson was previously occupied by the summer house of Mirabeau Lamar, a President of Texas; it was located on the Oak Grove acreage site. The acreage was broken up in 1923. Construction began in 1924 and the school opened in 1925.

For much of its history it was a standard neighborhood elementary school. Tom Behrens of the Houston Chronicle described Wilson as „the showplace school of the city for many years“. In the 2000s Wilson Elementary experienced a decline in enrollment since the surrounding neighborhood had fewer families with children attending school. In 2005 there were 410 students. A group of area parents suggested converting Wilson into a Montessori school. HISD and the group, All Montessori School Project, negotiated for two years to determine how the school would be established. Not all area parents agreed with the proposal; 208 parents had signed a survey stating opposition.

In 2005 HISD announced that Wilson was scheduled to be converted into a PreK-8 school using a Montessori program for all students. Friends of Montessori agreed to assist the effort and signed a two-year agreement to assist the conversion of Wilson; it was scheduled to raise $6 football tees for women,000 to buy the materials used for the Montessori program. All teachers were to be Montessori-certified, and existing teachers staying at Wilson were to undergo training to deliver the curriculum. Parents acquired an additional $345,000 in the period 2003-2008 to convert Wilson into a Montessori campus. The 7th and 8th grades were to be established at Wilson by late 2009.

In 2008 there were 440 students. That year Jennifer Radcliffe of the Houston Chronicle wrote that „Parents rave about Wilson“. After the Montessori program was established, enrollment at Wilson increased best meat tenderizer mallet; in the 2013-2014 school year, the school had 501 students, including 90 middle school students. The expected enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year was 530.

In 2016 groundbreaking occurred for an expansion of the campus. The original building is to be renovated, and a three-story structure designed by Smith & Co. Architects will be added on fabric battery. The total cost will be $18.9 million, and the campus will have a total area of almost 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2) of space.

Wilson serves as the neighborhood elementary school for a section of Neartown, including the Cherryhurst main and addition subdivisions, a portion of Montrose, and a portion of Hyde Park. In the event that a parent zoned to Wilson is not interested in having his or her child educated in the Montessori style, the administration of Wilson Montessori will assist the parent in selecting a different school. Wilson Montessori functions as a magnet school, and children from outside the Wilson boundary who apply to Wilson are selected on the basis of a lottery.

In 2008 the school had 440 students, including almost 90 learning English as a second language.

All students at Wilson are taught in the Montessori educational style. The school day is divided into three-hour blocks, and students are expected to perform tasks on their own within those three hour blocks. Assignments involve students working in pairs and using flashcards, blocks, beads, and other objects. The school provides Spanish-language Montessori materials, in addition to English-language ones, for students with English as a second language. Each class had a mixture of different ages, and as a result each teacher is required to study, for a period of one year, how to customize a lesson plan for different students. In order to increase relations between the teachers, students and parents, each student stays in the same class for a three-year period. Students are required to take state achievement tests.

Before Wilson was converted into an all-Montessori school, its magnet program was known as the „Woodrow Wilson Multi-Cultural Arts Program“.

The school property is located in the Cherryhurst Addition subdivision.

The school park is known as the Wilson Wonderground SPARK Park; the SPARK Park program is a joint City of Houston-HISD program to allow school parks to be used by the wider community. Around 2002 the Wilson Elementary park was developed as a SPARK Park. The condition of the field declined prior to 2012, but Camilo Parra, a parent of a Wilson student, led a campaign to revitalize the field; the proposal to improve the field was incorporated into existing plans to improve the park. Scott McCready, a landscape architect for SWA, designed the park renovation; McCready was also a parent of a Wilson student.

Most residents of the Wilson zone are also zoned to Lanier Middle School. Those east of Montrose Boulevard are instead zoned to the Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center middle school program. All residents of the Wilson attendance zone are also zoned to Lamar High School.


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