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UK College of Education Partners with New Lexington Montessori High School

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by Brad Duncan

photo of Montessori High School
Faculty from the UK College of Education joined the students and representatives of the newly opened Montessori High School of Kentucky at the school’s ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 18, 2011. Pictured with the students are (L-R) Winni vanGessel, MHS Curriculum Director; Jennifer Pederson, MHS Board President; Martin Mudd, MHS Faculty; Eve Proffitt, Co-Director, Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab; Kelly Bradley, Associate Professor, UK College of Education; Mary John O’Hair, Dean, UK College of Education; Brad Carrington, Librarian, UK College of Education Library; Steve Parker, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Services, UK College of Education; and Parker Fawson, Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction & Associate Dean for International Engagement, UK College of Education.
(click for larger version)

Although Lexington has been the home to four Montessori schools for some time (three elementary schools and one middle school), the city and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have been without a Montessori high school. Actually, there are only 15 high schools in the United States that carry the Montessori name.

However, that has changed as the new Montessori High School of Kentucky (MHS) opened its doors this week, and the University of Kentucky and its College of Education are partnering with the school.

The new high school, located in the basement of St. Augustine’s Chapel on Rose Street near the UK campus, will initially serve 11 students in grades 9 and 10 but will expand to a full four-year high school in the coming years. While following the Montessori principles of education, these students also will have the opportunity to be involved to a great extent with UK and the College of Education.

“This school will provide students and parents the opportunity to continue their Montessori education,” said Mary John O’Hair, dean of the College of Education. “We are excited about the high school students being on campus and the opportunities to collaborate by providing an additional avenue for our education students to observe multiple methods such as Montessori in their field experiences. It certainly is an exciting time for us at UK to be working with this new school.”

The school and its students will benefit greatly from this partnership by being able to use UK’s facilities, including recreational facilities and the UK Library system. UK also hopes to begin offering dual-credit courses that allow MHS students to earn credit at MHS and UK simultaneously.

According to Eve Proffitt, co-director of the Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab, the College of Education and its P20 Innovation Lab will benefit from the partnership in the following ways:

  • Prospective teachers will be able to view another approach to learning;
  • Faculty and students will have additional research opportunities; and
  • The collaboration will help bring speakers and other events to campus in which MHS and UK students can take part.

For more information on the Montessori High School of Kentucky, visit montessoriky.org/. For more information on the Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab, please visit http://p20.education.uky.edu/.