Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School uses the philosophy, methods, and didactic material of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952). Montessori education, based on children’s developmental needs for freedom within limits, mandates a carefully prepared environment. This prepared environment guarantees exposure to materials and experiences that develop intelligence, as well as physical and psychological abilities. The materials are self-correcting, interesting to children, and developmentally appropriate.
We are centrally located in the RTP area with easy access from Raleigh, Cary, and Durham.
Our school is comprised of two separate educational entities. The Academy serves children 3 and 4 years of age, and is a tuition-based program. The Charter School serves children ages 5-14, which includes Kindergarten through 8th grade. Each institution has individualized admissions procedures.
Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School is a diverse educational community built on the Montessori philosophy that fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in its students. At Sterling, teachers follow students’ individual needs to achieve personal academic excellence and to become life-long learners who respect themselves, others, and their environment.
On June 20, 1989, special education teachers Andrea Faurot and Charles Uzzell opened Cary Montessori in their home with one preschool student and their daughter Molly. From this humble beginning, Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School was born. By December 1990, Cary Montessori had grown to 90 students and 14 teachers. This rapid growth necessitated a move to larger facilities – first moving into 201 High House Road, then in 1993 – 1994 moving into two additional spaces in Cary.
As demand for a quality Montessori education grew, Andrea and Charles were challenged to find land or facilities in Cary large enough for the growing school. The first six acres in Morrisville were purchased and construction began on A & B buildings, using “natural lighting” concepts. Shortly after completion of the private school in 1996, North Carolina passed laws enabling the creation of Charter Schools. Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School became a private preschool and public K-8 charter school in 1997.
Sterling’s founders, Andrea Faurot and Charles Uzzell, were teachers and visionaries committed to the quality of the Montessori education the school provided. The non-profit Laura Holland Uzzell (LHU) foundation was started in 1993 to raise money for teachers to acquire Montessori certification, and for students to have access to a Montessori education. Named after one of Sterling’s early supporters, the LHU Foundation Board operates, and is the governing body of, Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School (SMACS).
Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School uses the philosophy and teaching materials of the Montessori Method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Montessori education emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. A student’s work at Sterling is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Montessori education places children into three year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and 12-14), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger children. This represents an entirely different approach to education. Montessori’s educational philosophy is multi-sensory, multi-aged, and child centered.
Sterling’s program is based on children’s developmental needs and creates freedom within limits through a carefully prepared environment. The environment allows exposure to materials and experiences that develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. Montessori materials are self-correcting, interesting to children and developmentally appropriate. The prepared environment is central to the implementation of the Montessori Curriculum.
Sterling Montessori will nurture in its students, a life-long love of learning and respect for themselves and others in a peaceful and safe environment.
- Faculty guide students’ natural curiosity in order to achieve a life-long love of learning, guide by the needs of the whole child in a prepared environment
- Faculty follow the individual need of children, parents, and each other while taking into account the needs of the whole community.
- Parents are educated in the principles and application of the THE MONTESSORI METHOD and are integrated into the educational process of their children’s educational process of their children. Parents are invested in the principles of Montessori and their children’s education.
- In order to create a peaceful community, Sterling Montessori consciously teaches its students to be peacemakers and problem solvers.
- Classes are multi-aged in accordance with Montessori stages of development, creating natural mentorship opportunities and meaningful relationships.
- Sterling faculty will “follow the child,” will understand children and their potential, and will build relationships with them based on genuine caring that creates trust
- Sterling consciously teaches its students to reach out to the local and global community.
The philosophy of Maria Montessori will be the cornerstone of the educational programs at Sterling Montessori, while complying with the requirements of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Office of Charter Schools.
- 100% (vs 75% required) of K-6 lead teachers will be licensed by the state of North Carolina.
- 100% of K-6 lead teachers will be Montessori trained from a MACTE accredited institution.
- 50% of Middle School faculty will be licensed by the SONC
- 25% of Middle School faculty will be Montessori trained from a reputable accredited institution
- 100% of lead teachers will be Highly Qualified (under the requirements of No Child Left Behind).
- 100% of specialists will be licensed in their curriculum area and encouraged to be educated in Montessori philosophy.
- Sterling’s curriculum and instruction will ensure success on required assessments for each student.
- Parents and teachers will form effective partnerships to support students’ becoming life-long learners. Sterling values parents’ diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. Parents are informed about and value, the principles and application of THE MONTESSORI METHOD.
- Sterling will instruct students to attain personal educational goals.
- Sterling is committed to continuous improvement in implementing the Montessori curriculum with integrity.
The Sterling Montessori campus will be artistically beautiful and will be an interactive extension of the classroom by offering a prepared and sustainable environment for students.
- Interior spaces will be consistently functional by developmental level, artistically beautiful and thoughtfully maintained over time.
- The artistically beautiful campus will reflect human diversity, appreciation of art and students’ creativity.
- Educationally prepared outdoor environments will be created across campus that are engaging, enjoyable and encourage both physical and academic development.
- All classrooms will have clearly defined “outside” classroom extension space balanced by the needs of the overall site plan.
- Principles of sustainable design will be used to attractively landscape and hardscape the campus.
- Age appropriate multi-use athletic/activity spaces will be developed that are functionally safe, sustainable and highly available to the community.
- A completed Master Plan will inform all site plan improvements and new construction and will create a sustainable “prepared” campus that brings existing elements together and forms a coherent campus.
Sterling Montessori will be a community where the voices of the students, faculty, and parents are valued equally, and all members of the community are welcome to actively participate.
- Montessori principles of teamwork and collaborative problem solving inform interactions between members of the community.
- Families feel welcome to participate in the life of the school and volunteer at least 15 hours per year per child on campus.
- School-wide information is communicated in a timely and effective manner through the website, which is an effective tool for parents and faculty and for marketing the school.
- Clear and consistent messages will be delivered through diverse communication tools uniquely designed for each constituent group.
- “Pride” messages are communicated in order to create and foster pride in Sterling among all members of the community.
- Faculty members will attend school-wide and section meetings unless engaged by other school activities, and minutes will be distributed to all who are in need.
- PFA membership will be broad-based and representative of all members of the community.
- Student performance feedback will be scheduled and clearly communicated to parents.
- Activities that assist families with level transitions will be planned.
- A freely elected student council will be organized and supported in order for all students to have a voice.
- Community events will be held to develop relationships across the school, foster a school-wide community, and facilitate student, staff and parent interaction between classes and grade levels.
Sterling will have a strong management team, led by the Executive Director, which will create sound procedures guided by established policies that will ensure a safe environment for all.
- The LHU Foundation Board will ensure that policies are in place to support effective and efficient operations and successful administration of the school. Policies will be in compliance with the financial and governance policies of the NC State Board of Education.
- The roles of the Board and the Executive Director will be clearly defined and respected. The LHU Foundation Board will act as the governing trustees of the school, focusing on policy and planning, in alignment with the mission of the school. The LHU Foundation Board will entrust management of the daily operations of the school to the Executive Director.
- The Executive Director and the administrative team will ensure necessary resources are available to support all employees.
- Sufficient and qualified employees will be in place to effectively administer the school.
- The Executive Director will create a unified team around the goals of Sterling.
- The Executive Director and the administrative team will ensure necessary resources are available to support all employees.
- Sufficient and qualified employees will be in place to effectively administer the school
- Definitions of roles and responsibilities of employees will be clear and in writing.
- An employee evaluation system will be established and implemented.
- Communication with the administrative team and all school employees will be open and reciprocal, in an atmosphere of trust.
- Employee and Parent Handbooks will clearly outline expectations and will be disseminated.
- Site plan improvements will ensure safety for all members.
Sterling Montessori will be committed to responsible growth driven by genuine Montessori practices, financial sustainability, and the collective needs of the community.
- The future goal for class size will not exceed 25 students in the Academy and 28 students in Lower and Upper Elementary. Class size in the Middle School will ultimately not exceed 30 students per classroom.
- The total enrollment at Sterling will not exceed 734
- The Sterling Master Plan will be reviewed and revised to include site plan improvements, and will be presented to the Town of Morrisville in 2009.
- Design and construction of additional classrooms will actively pursued to replace the learning cottages.
- Design and construction of a multi-purpose facility will be planned to accommodate the needs of the school.
- All building design will encompass green principles that ensure sustainable construction.
- Sterling will annually allocate funds for deferred maintenance of the campus.
- New revenue streams including public and private sources will be explored to support the strategic initiatives of Sterling.
- A renewed culture of philanthropy will be established across the Sterling community.
- The LHU Foundation Board will aggressively pursue plans to raise private funds to support the campus improvements.
- Sterling will fund its growth by a combination of bond financing, philanthropy and by establishing community partnerships.
- The debt ratio will not exceed 85%.
- All governance decisions will be made proactively by monitoring the Average Daily Membership and its impact on budget and growth projections.
- The LHU Foundation Board will review its performance and the strategic plan annually. The membership will reflect the larger Sterling community, and the board will lead the community to achieve the strategic initiatives outlined in this plan.
- The LHU Foundation and the Sterling administration will assure that necessary resources are available to support the strategic initiatives outlined in the 2009-2015 Strategic Plan