A friend directed me to this weblink for the Urban Garden Montessori School, which, according to info there, aims to eventually offer non-sectarian education from pre-school through high school.
I’ve left a message at the phone number listed and hope to flesh this out a bit. The website indicates a 2014-15 school year startup for children aged 3-10, with a plan to implement all grades by the following year.
At the proposed school’s blog, founders say they contemplated both a rural and a downtown location, but chose downtown with its many cultural and educational institutions.
Being an urban school was so important to us for several reasons. The downtown of our city is alive – so many exciting things are happening right now in this city of ours! And from that, comes unlimited possibility for our students. As our students begin to explore the possibilities of their future careers, what they will find around them is community. And that is what I want for our school – that we become an integrated and vital part of Little Rock’s community.
The website mentions the school will occupy a former warehouse. I can’t find an address, but the school’s Facebook page includes the picture above. I believe it’s a warehouse on Garland Street, a couple of blocks east of the Train Station, handy to a fairly new townhouse development nearby.
UPDATE: Vera Chenault, 35, a Little Rock lawyer, is heading the new school. She said she’d grown interested in education alternatives as her own elementary-age children grew and saw the greatest need in middle and high school years. She said the school has 20 applications for operation through Grade 4 next year and she hopes to open with 40.
She’s currently doing a feasibility study of the warehouse building, owned by Stan Hastings. If it doesn’t work out, she has an alternative downtown site in mind. It will open in temporary quarters next year in any case, also downtown. The permanent school, wherever it’s built, will have a rooftop garden. She said she wants to be downtown to be accessible to children who might need an alternative most and said he ultimate goal is to have a scholarship endowment that provides help to at least 20 percent of the enrollment. She’s hoping for a school, when all grades are open, with 150 to 200 students. Tuition for the first year will be $5,800 for 10 months.
She has enlisted a number of people for a school board, including former Parkview High principal Linda Brown. That group should be announced next month.