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HS Proposal - Claire Hofelt

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

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Proposal Name: Montessori School of Raleigh High School

Brought by: Claire Simone Hofelt

Sponsored by: Julie Ruble, Rose Barnett, Nick Smith, Subhash Patel, Nancy Errichetti, and Mr. Jeff Ammons  

Date of Creation: 10/5/14

We bring a proposal to:build a strong community-oriented High School that creates a safe environment in which  students can grow and learn. We want students to express themselves in as many ways as they can, while giving back to the community they are part of.  



In 1998, a group of 6th grade students set out to help build a middle school so the next generation of students could have a more fulfilling MSR experience. They went on trips, dreamed, and planned. Just sixteen years later, I, a student at a school that was just a dream for a group of sixth graders, write a proposal with a new dream: a Montessori High School. I want to be part of making a high school that is environmentally savvy and well-designed. I want the students to be pushed out of their comfort zones and encouraged  to unlock their true potentials.


The high school that I envision will admit 200-250 students with 25-30 students present in each class. There will be lots of space outside to teach, learn, and work. It will be a green school, run by students and the community.


When young adults are growing and being told, “No, you cannot,” they need a community that says, “Yes, you can! Let me help you and set you up for success.” They need teachers that make them feel safe and a strong student body to stand by them. Students need a place where they are supported in being their own person. I am proposing this idea because it a amazing feeling of being part of something that will help students in the future.


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:

  • My proposed high school will have all the rooms and resources the student body needs to learn and excel.

  • The school will meet the space requirements of the teachers so that they may teach their students to the best of their abilities.

  • The rooms will be well-lit and will not have distractions that draw students away from their work.

  • The proposed school will have a place where nature is incorporated with learning.

  • The Montessori School of Raleigh middle school will be a place where students are able to excel in their passions.



The entryway/lobby will be the first thing new students will see when they visit our school, so it will be well kept and pleasant looking. When you first walk through the doors you will be greeted with a warm, cozy, entryway. The entryway will also be a meeting place for students to work when they are feeling stressed. This entryway will attach to a conference room and a office space that will be hidden behind a folding cork wall where students can post notes and announcements.  The entryway will lead off to the hallway with classrooms and to the kitchen where the home economics class will be held.


It is important for a student to be able to follow his or her passions, so, elective classes will be held around the school in varying classrooms. I believe that electives are the most important part of a growing student’s life. This is when they find out what they love to do and build communities along the way. Electives or student clubs will be held in classrooms that are not in use. However, there will be some special classrooms for the more popular electives.  


The music room will have good sound quality with cushioned walls and low ceilings. When it is not being used for music, the acting club can use it to rehearse. A music room is important to have in a school because it can be used for many things that need good sound quality such as: band, acting, vocal arts, chorus, and public speaking/debate class.  


The art room will have lots of cabinets to store the art supplies and it will be well-lit with natural lighting so that the students do not feel trapped. This can be used for many art classes and clubs such as: pottery, painting, drawing, fashion design, and other art related clubs. The art room will be very useful because it can also be a hangout for art-centered students and teachers.


The kitchen that comes out of the entryway will be used for home economics class and other cooking related clubs. It will have four islands that have power outlets on the sides. These will be used to plug the cooking utensils into and will not get water spilled onto them easily. It will be equipped with electric stovetops and other eco friendly kitchen supplies.


The high school will focus on the outdoors and there will be many possibilities to go outside. All the classrooms on the bottom floor will have doors leading outside to a shared gazebo. Five miles of nature and bike trails will run through the campus and an outdoor theater will draw out many students for plays written and performed  by their peers.   


The worst thing to feel as a student is trapped, so the Montessori classrooms will have windows leading to the outdoors. The upstairs classrooms will have skylights and windows so that the students feel open and ready to learn. All the touching classrooms will connect in some way, such as a door or even a retractable wall.


This school will take about 2-3 years to build but it should not be rushed. The budget may be high in the beginning but it will pay off after awhile if we use the green features that are described below.  


Environmental Stewardship:

My proposed high school will be a green school with lots of little features that make a big difference. Some of the things I recommend are: renewable water sources, gardens, windows and the importance of natural light, green heating, and smart use of space.


A study done by the University of Minnesota shows that: “During a one-inch rain event 0.6 gallons of water will fall on a square foot of roof and 54 gallons will fall on 90 square feet of roof.” That means if we have 1,000 square feet of roof space, we will let 600 gallons of water go to waste every time we get an inch of rain. Rain barrels are 70-300 dollars each, but they have so many uses it is worth the extra money. Rain barrel water can be used to water gardens.  


Gardens are a great way to get students interested in the environment while also providing the school with produce to sell at the farmers’ market. My proposal has twelve big gardens located all around the high school. Each of the gardens belong to one advisory and they can chose what they want to put in it. This gives students the chance to learn about plants and gardening. All of the students in the advisories can go out and look at the soil type, average runoff, and rainfall to decide what plants they want to grow there. As their garden that they worked so hard to build together grows, the advisory grows together.  


Natural lighting is very important in schools. Many studies have actually proven that the more windows there are in a classroom the higher the student's grades will be. Students feel trapped in a poorly lit room and they tend to hate the class rather than pay attention to what the teacher is saying. When there is lots of natural light and it feels like an open classroom the student feels relaxed and they are more likely to listen to a teacher in that state. Better outdoor lighting also brings down electricity bills because teachers do not feel the need to work with lights on. My proposal has classrooms on the outside of the building so that all of them can have as many windows as needed. Natural lighting also saves a lot of money because if it’s bright outside the teachers do not need to turn the lights in the classroom on. Natural lighting also ties in with making small spaces feel bigger. Windows to the outdoors and windows into student work places. These are places where students can write their ideas and brainstorm in a cool way. That way we are being resourceful with the amount of space we are given and we make the atmosphere more intriguing.


When we are given a limited amount of space we have to learn to work with the amount we are given. That is why in my proposal, there are sliding doors that lead to teachers’ offices. These sliding doors have cork board on them. This allows students to hang their work up and the teachers a way to shut off their room if they need to. Another green idea that we were shown on one of our school tours was paint-on white board. It would be cool to paint a study room with it and let the students do what they want with it. My proposed high school focuses on using what we have to get more. I want this school to show students what they are doing for the environment and how they can do more. With all of the resources and great thinkers that the school will have. I am sure that in twenty years the Montessori high school will be one of the greenest and unique schools in the world.  


Process Review:

In the three months we have been planning this high school, we have talked about it in math, science, and English. In math, we talked about how we wanted the school to look and the number of rooms we could get in the area we are allotted. This was the first class that we planned in.


In science, we went over how to make the school green with different features. We went on the LEED website and we all wrote short essays on the different articles. We all shared our separate articles that we researched while the rest of the class took notes.


In English we did the most. We brought in Mr. Ammons, an architect. He told us about architecture and what steps we should take when planning the middle school. We went to a green house and took a tour and we also went to the Cherokee building (another green building downtown). The next trip that we took was to Carolina Friends and The Botanical Garden. These were all schools with LEED certification. I got a lot of ideas from all them and a lot of their features show up in my plan.


Suggested Board Motions:

We propose that the board pass a resolution to build a MSR high school.


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