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HS Proposal - Katie Bynum

Page history last edited by Julie E Ruble 5 years, 11 months ago

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Proposal Name: The Next Big Step: Montessori School of Raleigh High School

Brought by: Katie Bynum

Sponsored by: Julie Ruble, Mike Szott, Linda Flippo, Subhash Patel, Nick Smith, Rose Barnett

Date of Creation: October 3, 2014

We bring a proposal to: build a high school that can eventually support more than 200 students by facilitating a unique curriculum.  This curriculum can teach the students attending the high school not only the basic classes (math, science, history, etc.) but also skills that will serve them once they leave the high school and enter the real world.   



The Montessori School of Raleigh was established in 1974.  Just 25 years later, a group of students worked together with Pat Ludick to start a middle school program on the 40-acre plot of land that the middle school is still located on today.  The middle school grew from a population of only about 10 kids to what it is today: a thriving learning environment with close to 50 students and teachers.  Both of these schools are based around the Montessori philosophy, which was developed by Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori based her philosophy on the idea “freedom within a framework.”  After 15 successful years with the middle school, the Montessori School of Raleigh is in need of a high school.  This high school would give children who have had a positive experience at the Montessori School of Raleigh the chance to stretch their experience throughout their high school encounter.  If this were approved by the board, the Montessori School of Raleigh would be able to support children from 18 months all the way up to 18 years.


Mission Statement: 

The Montessori School of Raleigh is the Triangle’s modern embodiment and mindful practice of the time-proven Montessori philosophy, developing agile thinkers, poised communicators, and gracious collaborators -- engineers of authentic and fulfilling lives.


How This Proposal Fulfills the Mission:

  • The proposed science room in my high school has access to an interactive garden as well as access to the wooded area behind the school that would support agile thinkers by providing a space for students to conduct field studies and experiments.

  • My proposed auditorium provides a large space, as well as a theater, which would aid in developing poised communicators by giving students access to an environment where they can have concerts, debates, speeches, and plays.

  • My proposed high school has a separate lowerclassmen area and a separate upperclassmen area with a meeting space in the middle for the whole school, which would aid in producing agile thinkers and gracious collaborators since the students would have time to be alone and develop individually, while still providing everyone with the opportunity to be together as a community and communicate with one another.

  • The extra rooms proposed on both sides of my school can serve as a study area, language rooms,  or a tinker space, therefore enabling the students to go somewhere quiet and study, as well as a place to be creative, which would then support agile thinkers.

  • Since studies have shown that students function better in an area with high air quality, my proposed High School will use environmentally safe methods to ensure good air quality, so that the students can learn to their greatest potential and become agile thinkers.



The school that is being described in this proposal would eventually support 200 students and prepare them for the rest of their lives. If this high school were to be built, it would cost the school roughly $7.5 million.  This school would be constructed and finished by the 2017-2018 school year.  When you first enter the school, there is a front area that leads to a small meeting area, sort of like the current middle school’s refectory.  In a wing off of the meeting area, there is a place for faculty and administration to have offices, as well as a conference room and kitchen.  This office space will allow the faculty to get their work done more efficiently and thoroughly.  The kitchen will ensure that students that go to the Montessori High School are not just getting a basic education, but also obtaining skills that will help them once they leave the high school and go onto greater situations in the world.  When you walk through the wide hallway off of the meeting space, there are 3 places you could go: the 9th/10th grade wing, the auditorium. or the 11th/12th grade wing.  In this school, 9th and 10th graders are together for most of the day and 11th and 12th graders are together.  This will keep with the Montessori philosophy of students aiding in other students learning by providing the lower grades with guidance from more experienced students.  


In each wing, there is a math and science room that can be combined or separated by a folding wall, and the same with an English and humanities rooms.  The folding wall will allow teachers to combine classes when needed and to separate the classes when necessary.  Each of the science rooms have access to a garden and wooded areas directly outside of the classroom to ensure that the students can become agile thinkers and have access to real world scenarios, such as field studies and labs.  In each wing there are also 2 extra rooms that can potentially be used for languages, study spaces, or tinker spaces depending on the needs of the school.  In the middle of these 2 wings is a large auditorium space with a built in theater.  The auditorium is the largest room in the school so that it can hold many different classes and community gatherings such as pep rallies, plays, and even debates. This area will aid in producing communicators that can later take this skill and apply it in the greater world.  This would also be the area, as well as outside, where children could eat lunch and have social events.  Off of the auditorium is the band and chorus room that could also hold musically related classes for children that are interested in that. On the other side of the auditorium is a dance studio where students can have dance classes and other extra curricular activities.  All of these features work together to create the proposed Montessori School of Raleigh High School.


Environmental Stewardship:

The 4 main green features in my school are the large windows, rain garden, opening windows/ventilation and solar panels.  Large windows throughout the building benefit the cost of the school as well as the alertness of the students.  If large windows are placed throughout the school, more natural light will come in therefore lowering energy costs.  With more natural light coming into the classrooms, students will be more alert. Studies have proven that when students are deprived of natural sunlight, their melatonin cycles are disrupted, which makes them less alert of what is going on around them.  The rain garden in the proposal can help prevent pollutants and can be student maintained.  A rain garden in a flood-prone area of the fields around the school would slow down the water flow therefore allowing all of the pollutants to be removed by the vegetation.  In this system, all of the rainwater that falls on our land will be retained in our land and can be reused.  A rain garden can be easily student maintained.  The students would just have to build a garden in a flood-prone area and purchase native North Carolina plants.  After the initial building of the rain garden, all the students would have to do to keep the garden in fair condition would just be to replace the plants every time they die.  


If the high school were to have windows that opened, fresh air would be allowed into the high school, which would then improve the air quality throughout the school.  The high school will also be equipped with ventilation systems that provide a constant flow of air so that the air quality can be improved, which will allow students and teachers to avoid numerous amounts of sick days as well as enabling them to focus better.  Another way the proposed Montessori School of Raleigh High School will be sustainable is by purchasing solar panels.  Although solar panels are expensive, over the course of all of the years that the high school will be functioning, the solar panels will earn the school more money by producing energy than the money the school will be losing by installing and purchasing the solar panels. All of these green features will help to create a sustainable school.   


Process Review:

To gain knowledge on designing a building, my classmates and I went through a process to design an accurate proposal.  The first step was to brainstorm what was needed in the high school.  I got a sheet and brainstormed all of the ideas that would fit well in the high school, as well as brainstormed the basic layout of the high school I was proposing.  Then, Mr. Jeff Ammons, who is an architect, came in and spoke about the basics of constructing any building.  Now that I knew how to construct a building, I needed to see features that would go in that building, which is why, next, we scheduled tours to different schools around Raleigh to get ideas for features to put in the proposed high school.  We took a tour of Lakewood Montessori School and Carolina Friends School to get a feel for an appropriate building layout.  Lakewood Montessori was an interesting school to go and tour because it showed us what a modern sustainable school would look like.  Out of all of the unique features Lakewood Montessori presented, the ideas that ended up getting used in the proposed high school is the idea to have 2 classes in one room with a folding wall in the middle.  


The Carolina Friends School was also interesting to tour because their school had just built a new wing in addition to the existing school.  The main idea from that school that carried over into this high school proposal is the dance studio.  At Carolina Friends, there was a large dance studio where students could go and use their creativity to come up with a final product.  Since we are trying to make the proposed high school as sustainable as possible, we took a tour of a “green house” which had many interesting green features to consider.  The greenhouse provided me with the information to include the solar panels in this particular high school proposal.  We felt we needed a little more information about green features so we also went and toured a LEED platinum building in Downtown Raleigh as well as the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. One of the main features at the Botanical Gardens was the large windows all around.  This is what urged me to include large windows allowing natural light in in this proposal.   After all of this information gathering, I felt I knew enough about the topic at hand to write this proposal in an educated fashion.   

Suggested Board Motions: 

I would like to propose that the board strongly considers building a Montessori School of Raleigh High School to ensure that our school can prepare students for life and send agile thinkers, poised communicators, and gracious collaborators out into the world.


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