Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Sands Montessori may move to Evanston

School board welcomes proposal

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sands Montessori — a Cincinnati Public School slated to get a new building to replace its crumbling West End facility — could move to the Academy of World Languages in Evanston.

        The idea could be the most feasible solution to one of the district's fundamental facility issues: finding a structurally sound school for a growing Montessori program that displaces the fewest other students and families.

        School board member Harriet Russell proposed the plan at a Tuesday work session at which board members discussed ways to engage the community in upcoming facility projects.

        She suggested:

        • Sands Montessori move to the Academy of World Languages.

        • Students at the international language academy move to Eastern Hills School in Mount Washington, where they would join a Spanish and French language immersion program.

        • Eastern Hills become a K-6 language school, with students going to Withrow High for grade 7-12 language programs.

        “This may be the least disruptive way to go,” Ms. Russell said. “And yet it allows us to combine our language programs.”

        Until now, the district was considering a move that would put Sands Montessori in a renovated and expanded Hyde Park School. Parents and staff at Hyde Park were opposed to that plan, which would redistrict students to Douglas, Hoffman, Parham, South Avondale and Windsor schools.

        Superintendent Steven Adamowski said there are many positives to Ms. Russell's idea. His staff will study the proposal this week.

        “Not having to disrupt Hyde Park and other elementary schools is a big plus,” Mr. Adamowski said. “And this would allow us to fully utilize Eastern Hills, which is at less than half of its capacity.”

        A possible drawback to the idea could be an increased cost to transport students to Eastern Hills, Mr. Adamow- ski said. But if the Sands building closes, the district would see a savings of $150,000 to $200,000 and could use that money to cover additional transportation costs.

        The idea was welcomed by other board members. Sally Warner asked the administration to also study the feasibility of putting Hyde Park students at the Academy of World Languages and Sands students at Hyde Park.

        In other business, the board discussed how to define schools that are community learning centers.

        Eileen Cooper Reed, Children's Defense Fund director, explained how her group works with communities to help plan schools designed to serve the entire community with year-round educational, recreational and health-care services. Such schools have space in their buildings where social service agencies offer services.


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