An IPS school will become a Montessori school next year and parents are upset they were not asked for their input before a decision was made.
Montessori schools typically feature mixed age classrooms, encourage children to learn at their own pace and allow children to learn concepts from working with materials instead of by direct instruction. It’s an educational approach first developed by Italian doctor Mario Montessori.
Rachel Cooper, President of the South East Community Organization, said parents were notified about the meeting Friday, which was only three days before the meeting.
"I got calls all weekend saying that they were going to take our kids and ship them to (building) 20 and they were going to make a Montessori school out of this (School 39)."
IPS confirmed School 39 will become a full Montessori school for the 2013-2014 school year. School 20 is about a mile away from School 39. School 20 will become the new community elementary school, which means students will move into that building next year. IPS said they wanted to have an elementary magnet school south of Washington Street. Currently, School 39 is a K-7 school.
"I don't think IPS cares at all. I don't think Dr. White has a clue what IPS is all about," Cooper said.
In an email, IPS School and Community Relations Director John Althardt said, "Change is always difficult, but we will work with our students and parents to ensure a smooth transition between buildings."
Althardt said School 20 has been used as a swing school for several years.
"The community's support for the children of School 39 has been wonderful. We anticipate the same level of commitment to students of both schools continuing no matter where they go to school," he said.
"I cannot believe that this would ever happen to a neighborhood that's so involved with the school and the parents. I would think that's what IPS would want," Cooper said. "There's a meeting at six and it only says the future of (the) school. So, now we know what that future is and we don't like it.”
"I think it's unfair that we weren't notified. We should've been asked our opinions. We should've been told what the plans were,” said Phyllis Borem, parent of a daughter in the 6th grade at School 39.
Cooper said parents and the community have invested time and money into School 39, including building a playground. IPS said School 39 was remodeled last year and that students were moved into School 20 for a period of time. Upgrades to School 20 plan to be made, Althardt told Fox59 Monday afternoon.
"They want to send us to another school that is about six blocks away that is School 20. It's an older school. It has paint chipping off the walls," Borem said.
"That's going to be ridiculous that you are going to take these kids and put them in an unfit school that really should be torn down,” Cooper said.
Cooper said she cannot believe IPS has plans to take away their neighborhood school.
"And if it is a done deal, we're done with school, we're done with IPS totally," she said.
"I just think it's unfair that they're wanting to take our school away," Borem said.