Welcome-back-to-school letter from Director Jeff Groh.

Dear Friends of The New School Community,

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities. “

-Dr. Maria Montessori

Whether you at the beginning, in the middle, or nearing the end of your journey with us, each year is an opportunity to blaze “new paths” into unlocking our individual and collective potentials. As the only school in Cincinnati accredited by the American Montessori Society, we are proud of our dedication to adhering to the principles and philosophy set forth by Dr. Montessori. She understood, over a hundred years ago, that education could not just be about the gathering and memorization of facts but must go beyond imparting information to unlocking the possibilities that lie within us. Education must encourage alternative views and continuously challenge the student to consider, explore, and deeply think about themselves and the world around them.

Forty-five years ago a group of parents, inspired by the potential of this type of education, found a home at 3 Burton Woods Lane.  When they saw the wooded grounds surrounding the remarkable Mitchell Mansion and had an opportunity to purchase it, they thought, “This is the place.”  In honor of that time and the inspiring journey that led us to today, our 45th Anniversary theme for the year is, “This Is the Place.”  Are you looking for a school that understands “education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” then “This Is the Place.” Are you looking for a diverse community committed to critical thought, peace, and global awareness, then, “This Is the Place.”  If you want highly qualified teachers, a lunch program that honors the health and well-being of each child, and an arts curriculum that fosters innovation, well then, you guessed it, “This Is the Place.”  We are delighted you have found us, and have begun or are continuing your own journey with the same thought that crossed the mind of our founding parents 45 years ago, “This Is the Place.”

The 2015-2016 school year marks yet a new beginning and with it includes some new faces, along with familiar faces, in new positions. Last month an email went home to all TNSM families introducing the new staff.  Click here to read again.

Great things have happened here over the summer.  The Growing Room floor has been refinished and looks amazing! Yance Pyle (Facilities Manager) has been hard at work making sure the campus is beautiful and ready for the start of the school year. His hard work is often done “behind the scenes,” so please be sure to give him a big “thank you” when you see him.

In addition to campus beautification efforts, I had many conversations with staff over the summer. We spent a lot of time talking about “the portrait of a graduate”.  In other words, what do our graduates leave with?  As a professional community of educators, we want to remind you of our promise to your family and children in our care.  A promise of academic excellence, character, and service.

  1. We are passionate about Academic excellence and promise to provide a curriculum rooted in Montessori methods. Our program focuses on collaboration, critical thinking, and executive function skills (time management, planning, connecting past experiences with present action, reflection, self-control, flexible mind-set, etc.).  Our goal is to prepare your child for 21st century opportunities.
  2. Dr. Maria Montessori said, “Character is just as important to education as reading, math and science.”  Research shows that certain character strengths are more of a predictor for future success and well being than academic benchmarks (g.p.a, standardized test scores, etc.).  When we meet new families that enroll at The New School Montessori and ask them what type of education they want for their child, we of course hear that they want them to have the academic skills required for the 21st century, but we also hear them talk about, a love of learning, kindness, humor, perseverance, compassion, etc.  Because we understand how important this aspect of education is to the future well-being of our students, we have partnered with the VIA Institute (non-profit), the world’s largest database on character strengths, to train our staff on how to understand our own character strengths as well as encourage the strengths of our students. We promise to honor and foster the self-reflection of each of our students that leads them to a better understanding of the character strengths that lie within them.
  3. Lastly, we promise to create/maintain a culture that promotes and models a commitment to Service.  Again and again we hear from parents, students, and staff about how one of the aims of education should be to broaden our worldview, make the world a better place, instill a civic responsibility, or engage in our community.  Based on this value we will continue to integrate service opportunities for our students throughout our school, however, this year we have added a “service week” (March 21-25).  During this week students will engage in outreach service-learning activities as well as participate in meaningful discussions about the value of service.  We are excited about this new program and will be in touch with more details about how to get involved as a volunteer to help.

The 2015/2016 school year will be a great one, and as the new Head of School I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated staff, supportive family community, and, of course, to be around these amazing children that never fail to inspire me with their optimism and hope for the future.  When my wife, Raphaela, and I think of our own two small children, Lena and Jakob, and dream of the type of education we would want for them to have, we echo the phrase that has now been repeated again and again for 45 years, “This Is the Place.”



Jeff Groh

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