Pittsburgh school board approves elimination of three grades at Montessori

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

The district already had asked parents of students now in grades 5, 6 and 7 to choose other schools for next fall.

Nearly all applied for another magnet program. Of the 71 who applied, 53 have been accepted to other magnet programs and 18 are on waiting lists. Three others did not apply for a magnet and plan to attend their assigned feeder school.

At an earlier board meeting, Connie Sims, interim chief of school performance, made the recommendation to eliminate the three grades, noting that a total of 48 students for all three grades was projected for this fall.

Montessori, however, historically has had a strong demand in the lower grades.

There are 144 students on the waiting list for next fall, most of them young students. The waiting list includes 48 for the program for 3-year-olds, 47 for the one for 4-year-olds, 26 for kindergarten, 11 for first grade and 12 for the other grade levels.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.

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