Educator Development Equity IL Practice Place-Based
Project Grant
Lee Montessori
Alex Brown, Head of School, Lee Montessori Public Charter School - East End, [email protected]

Lee Montessori Charter School and J.C. Nalle Elementary School built a cross-sector partnership to improve and expand Montessori programming in DC, focusing their efforts in a predominantly Black neighborhood where nearly 50% of children live in poverty.

Context and Need

DC’s residents have long suffered from opportunity and achievement gaps between White children and children of color. Only 20% of Black students in the District met or exceeded expectations in English compared to 84% of White students; and 15% of Black students met or exceeded expectations in Math compared to 76% of White students. Additionally, there has been minimal collaboration between Charter and District schools. 

Goals and Impact

The goals of this project were three-fold: 1.) improve Montessori programming in both schools; 2) expand Montessori programming in DC; and 3) bolster coordination between District and Charter Schools, especially among Montessori schools. In order to achieve these goals, Lee provided Nalle with 14 coaching and observation sessions for teachers and the principal and a report detailing program strengths and recommendations for improvement. Together, the two schools built a professional learning community. Moreover, Nalle helped Lee to build connections and relationships with the community in which Lee was opening their second campus – enabling them to better meet the needs of their students and families. 

They hope this project creates a template for meaningful, productive cross-sector coordination that can be replicated by ideal learning schools — and others — across DC.

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