Pittsburgh schools may trim grades at Friendship's Montessori

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Pittsburgh Public Schools administration tonight proposed eliminating the top three grade levels at Montessori PreK-8 in Friendship this fall.

Connie Sims, interim chief of school performance, said the recommendation is based on low enrollment in grades 6, 7 and 8, where a total of 48 students is projected at all three grade levels.

However, there is demand in the lower grades. This school year, the Montessori school, which is a magnet, had 187 families on the waiting list.

The board is expected to vote on March 26.

Parents will be given until Monday (March 10) to apply for another magnet. The magnet school lottery is March 12. Families also could choose their assigned feeder school.

The school also has one round -- basically one classroom -- of each grade level, which the administration said means they are not getting the same course and extracurricular offerings as in other K-8 schools.

The school currently does not offer eighth-grade algebra.

Superintendent Linda Lane said that some of the teachers in the upper grades, while state-certified, do not have a Montessori credential for that age level.

She said the enrollment in grades 6, 7 and 8 declined as the district created 6-12 schools, saying some parents chose 6-12 schools to get their children situated for high school.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-2633-1955.

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