When San Mateo-Foster City School District leaders opened one of the nation’s first Montessori classrooms in a public school in 1975, little could they know how the program would blossom over the next 40 years. This year, the District’s public Montessori program serves over 600 students from preschool through eighth grade at two campuses in San Mateo. According to the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, there are now over 400 public schools offering a Montessori curriculum.
In November 2015, current and former Montessori students, parents, teachers, and school officials celebrated the program’s 40th anniversary with a carnival, dance performances, and food from local vendors. The event was a collaboration between the Parkside Montessori Parents’ Committee and the North Shoreview Montessori PTA.
The public Montessori program began in 1975 when Ms. Judi Bauerlein was hired as the first classroom Montessori teacher on the Meadow Heights campus. Soon the program was extended to include classrooms at a second campus, Parkside, led by Ms. Phyllis Harrison, while the classrooms at Meadow Heights moved to the Horrall campus. In 1994, the Horrall classrooms moved once again to establish North Shoreview Montessori as a magnet school. Montessori preschool classes were added starting in 2005, and both campuses now have preschool classrooms. Expansion to the middle school grades began in 2008 at North Shoreview, where Ms. Harrison is now the principal. Ms. Bauerlein was named a Living Legacy Honoree by the American Montessori Society in 2010.
In January 2015, the San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the expansion of the K-8 Montessori program at the Parkside campus as well.
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