Murray-LaSaine Elementary to transition to full Montessori by 2020

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District tackled some tough questions Monday about its decision to transition Murray-LaSaine, a James Island elementary school, from traditional to Montessori starting next year.

According to the Charleston County School District, Murray-LaSaine Elementary will completely transition to Montessori by 2020. Until then, it will offer both tracts..

"There are some parents who believe the school should remain dual tract, the board made a decision sometime ago to make the school a stand-alone Montessori," says school board member Tom Ducker.

School district officials say it's to offer parents another option, and the conversion is part of a district-wide plan.

"Dr. McGinley came to the board and asked us to approve a zone concept, and we divided the county into four zones, and her plan was to create a stand-alone Montessori in every zone," explains Ducker.

The district says the Montessori method is more hands-on. Classrooms have students that range in age over a three-year span. Some parents are on board. Others aren't convinced.

"It seems like it reinforces things a lot more thoroughly, not to mention having a multi-age group," says Jason Knight, a father of two. "You always want to be doing what your peers are doing, so you get to look at Bobby who might be bigger than you and you are excited about what he's doing so you want to get to that."

"Why is traditional learning not working at this school if it's excellent for James Island, Harbor View and Stiles Point?"