Montessori at Samish Woods was established by a group of teachers interested in providing a quality educational program for children. The school has a long history in the Bellingham community, originating in 1992 as Bayside Montessori. In 2009, the school was purchased from the founder by the non-profit established as Samish Woods. Montessori at Samish Woods’ leadership is comprised of teachers who work together as a Teacher Professional Partnership (TPP). The teachers integrate new ideas to broaden and enhance each program while remaining grounded in the philosophical and educational approach of Dr. Maria Montessori. The staff views each child as an individual with a unique background, personality, maturity, and intellect. We encourage a collaborative approach by providing opportunities for parents and staff to work together and learn from one another. Samish Woods is a Washington state certified private school with a limited number of scholarships available.
All staff members are Montessori certified and have extensive teaching and life experience. Classroom assistants are encouraged to grow as educators and learn more about Montessori education. Teachers bring a passion for lifelong learning to their classrooms and believe education is an ongoing process of inviting children toward a deeper understanding of the world they live in, while providing them with tools to attend to their life’s work. We feel strongly about cultivating class cultures that are based on open communication, problem solving, and caring for one another. A positive and healthy classroom supports children in developing to their fullest potential. Classrooms are well-equipped with Montessori materials and the Montessori method is honored by all staff members. Above all we believe that school should be a learning experience children attend with enthusiasm.
Under a Teacher Professional Partnership (TPP) model, the teachers of the school collectively administrate and manage all aspects of the school. The TPP model we are applying to our school is successfully used in a small number of Charter Schools primarily in the Midwest and a few small private schools throughout the country. We all resonate with the TPP model and see it as a logical extension of our personal philosophies and commitment to education. Our experience, high level of involvement, and accountability put us in a position to best support the school.
Under our TPP model, teachers form the decision making body of the school. We delegate and define individual roles making sure all of the school’s needs are met. We may also hire additional staff who then may become members of the decision making team. As part of the TPP structure and our bylaws, we have established clear decision making protocols and ways to solve differences that may arise as a nonprofit. A clear structure for decision making coupled with a high degree of individual and group accountability, help insure that decisions are made in the best interest of the community. As a TPP, we make decisions based on consensus decision making with the option of a vote if consensus is not possible. As a group, we are strong in our ability to communicate, respect and honor differences, and are committed to fully engage in the discussions that will lead to effective decision making.