Dallas' Alcuin School, which until now has served the educational needs of students in early childhood through the eighth grade, will be adding a fully accredited coeducational upper school program in the fall of 2014.
"The upper school offers the perfect complement to our Montessori Program, ensuring that our graduates will be distinctly prepared for success in college and the changing world beyond," says Head of School Walter Sorensen. "We pride ourselves on attracting students and families who prioritize education through progressive, independent thinking. We want our high school students to have that same passion, that same drive."
Located on the Alcuin School's north Dallas campus, the upper school will feature curriculum from the International Baccalaureate, a world-renowned college preparatory program created to serve the families of the diplomatic corps. The IB Programme emphasizes collaborative learning and student initiative through an interdisciplinary academic core of math, science, humanities, English, foreign language, technology, arts and athletics.
Alcuin's sixth through eighth grades already follow the Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, a rigorous developmentally appropriate course of study that allows students to engage with essential concepts while discovering their own learning styles. The sixth grade program blends the IB framework with the Montessori curriculum, which is followed down through the Toddler level. The Montessori Method incorporates mixed-age classrooms and project-based learning, fostering academic self-sufficiency, and forming an excellent foundation for the critical thinking students need in the IB.
"Like the Montessori curriculum, the IB program teaches critical thinking, not just facts and figures," Mr. Sorensen says. "Our top-notch faculty encourages classroom participation and academic exploration, which prepares students for college and beyond. The world is changing and so is education. We are excited to offer this future-focused alternative to families in the Dallas/Fort Worth area."
Administrators say both the Montessori and International Baccalaureate programs cultivate personal integrity and respect for diversity of perspective.
"Bright students seeking academic rigor and who are curious about the world around them will do well in this program," says Director of Admission Annie Villalobos.
Alcuin School plans to accept about 15 freshman students for the 2014-15 school year. The school will later expand the program, adding one grade level per year to include about 50 students per grade. Upper school pupils will benefit from a low student-to-teacher ratio, a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, and the welcoming, diverse community at Alcuin School.
The addition of the upper school will coincide with the Alcuin School's 50th anniversary.
"It's fitting that we will celebrate our first 50 years of educational excellence with the addition of the prestigious IB Diploma Programme as it signals the future of how Alcuin School will educate its upper school students," Mr. Sorensen says. "This represents a natural educational progression that begins with the early childhood and lower school Montessori program and continues with the International Baccalaureate Middle Years curriculum."
Beginning July 1, 2013, the St. Alcuin Montessori School became the Alcuin School. Acknowledging its namesake Alcuin of York, the 8th-century scholar and teacher, the new name more accurately reflects the school's non-sectarian status and the variety of faiths and belief systems welcome in Alcuin School's diverse community. As one of the leading Montessori schools in the country, Alcuin School remains committed to the principles of Maria Montessori. Alcuin School's early childhood and lower school programs will continue in that tradition.
A vibrant, nurturing, coeducational academic community, Alcuin School uses the Montessori and International Baccalaureate program methods to foster critical thinking and a lifelong passion for learning. With faculty support, students at Alcuin School are eager to embrace change, question the status quo, and prepare for their future as leaders in a global society. For more information, visit www.alcuinschool.org.