As one of the oldest and largest recognized Montessori schools in North America, Alcuin School in Dallas, TX, is nationally known for its exemplary programs and facilities. Alcuin School—an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational day school for students aged 18 months through twelfth grade—provides an environment where each student's innate passion for learning is encouraged through opportunities to engage in thought-provoking, purposeful activities with trained educators. Through their work, students develop academic competency, concentration, responsibility, and self-discipline.
Founded in 1964, Alcuin School serves a diverse community of approximately 575 students, and is guided by the Montessori philosophy as well as both the International Baccalaureate Middle Years (I.B.M.Y.P.) and Diploma Programmes (I.B.D.P.). This combination of these pedagogical approaches and academic standards offers an atmosphere in which students can grow in intellectual excellence as well as personal responsibility.
Families interested in Alcuin School are encouraged to attend a Prospective Parent Meeting to learn more about our community. These meetings are scheduled regularly throughout the year and include information about our philosophy of education, demonstration lessons, a tour of the school, and classroom observations.
Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP)
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS)
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
Texas Dept. of Family & Protective Services (TDFPS)
Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
Enrollment Management Association (EMA)
North American Montessori Teacher's Association (NAMTA)
Montessori Institute of Texas (MINT)
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
Technology Education Consortium (TEC)
American Camping Association (Affiliate)
Educational Records Bureau (ERB)
Independent Athletic Association (IAA)
Independent Schools Management (ISM)
Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC)
Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
Texas Association of Non-Public Schools (TANS)
Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS)
The first female physician in Italy, Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, in 1870. As a child, she attended and graduated from two engineering schools, cultivating a lifelong love of mathematics. By the age of 25, she had become the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School.
Her observations of children as a medical student and her later work with mentally challenged children fed her curiosity about the educational processes of her time. A true scientist, she observed, studied, questioned, and began to create materials for children based on their development. One hundred years later, these materials and the Montessori method continue to provide an innovative and unique educational system.
Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children can freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. A century later, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.
Children are grouped in mixed ages and abilities in three to six year spans: 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, MYP. There is constant interaction, problem solving, collaboration, and socialization. Children are challenged according to their capacities and interests.
Environments are arranged according to a subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. At any one time in a day, all subjects—math, language arts, science, history, geography, art, music—are being studied at all levels.
Montessori materials are designed to physically demonstrate particular skills. Each material is carefully constructed to be both beautiful and accurate. Children are shown how to use materials with respect and care, always returning them to their designated place and making sure they are prepared for the next student’s use.
In order for students to progress to the next material, the previous material must be completed. Each material and each lesson contain an assessment. In addition, teachers keep daily notes and continue to update progress reports throughout the school year. Reports are sent home two to three times per year depending on a student’s grade level.
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking thought-provoking questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment, each other—cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful, and doing social work in the community.
Montessori education inherently builds a group of life skills alongside academic experiences. These skills include self-efficacy, leadership, flexibility, cooperation, independent thought, and tolerance. Academic concepts are built with materials that physically demonstrate each concept by exploring them in kinesthetic, visual, and auditory ways. Alcuin School graduates enter the next stage of their education with a sense of ownership for their educational process; a faith in their capacity to find the answers to problems; a willingness to work with others; and a determination to succeed.
Montessori students are often referred to as thinking outside the box. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business School Journal, “The most innovative entrepreneurs were very lucky to have been raised in an atmosphere where inquisitiveness was encouraged. A number of the innovative entrepreneurs went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity."
Our students will have completed the IB curriculum which is recognized very favorably by colleges and universities. Alcuin seniors will have gone through a complete high school IB curriculum and will graduate from Alcuin with outstanding preparation for college, whether they earn the IB Diploma or not. IB offers academic breadth and depth, colleges and universities value students with meaningful experiences beyond the classroom, is recognized by universities around the world, creates independent learners and strong writers, assesses more than examination techniques, students have proven time management skills, and encourages critical thinking. IB students have proven time management skills and are valued by colleges/universities for their meaningful experiences.
If students so choose, they may sit for IB exams in May of their senior year, either in all their courses or a few of them. At this point, all the college admission decisions have been made so the only difference between earing an IB diploma versus the traditional high school diploma is whether the students get college credit or not. Should they score high enough, they will either be awarded a certificate for any courses in which they earn a score of 4 or above or the IB diploma if they earn 24 points out of a total possible of 45 for their required 6 subjects.
According to individual college/university policy, an IB student can earn college credits by taking and passing the IB exams. For example, Texas Senate Bill 111 prescribes 24 hours of college credit for any student earning the IB diploma.
The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is for eleventh and twelfth graders. All IB courses provide college level content. The aim of the DP is to prepare students for success in higher education and to be active participants in a global society. It addresses the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. DP has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.
One of the culminating projects of the 12th grade is an Extended Essay, a scholarly research essay of 3,000 to 4,000 words on the topic of interest to the student. Students begin working on the essay in the fall of their junior year and complete it in the fall of their senior year. This component is unique to the IB Diploma Programme and is greatly respected by colleges and universities.
No, Alcuin is not displacing the Montessori Program with IB. Alcuin’s mission statements clearly states:…by providing the ideal Montessori and International Baccalaureate education. Our mission statement is the tenet by which we abide, one that we hold dear as our roots are embedded in Montessori. In the 6th level, according to their developmental needs, students are introduced to the IB Middle Years Program (IB MYP) framework, while still engaging with the Montessori curriculum.
Alcuin offers a pure IB Middle and Upper School, meaning we only offer IB courses. All the students courses will be IB courses (either at the regular level or advanced level) using the Middle Years Program (MYP) or Diploma Program (DP) curriculum. A hybrid is a school that offers regular, AP or IB courses where the student can choose which level they would like to take. These schools do not adhere to the pure IB curriculum; they only offer certain courses at the IB level. Hybrid programs will have a more fragmented approach, whereas Alcuin School will have consistent offerings.
The IB continuum of international education is unique because of its academic excellence. IB challenges students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth. IB aims to inspire a quest for learning throughout life that is marked by enthusiasm and empathy. Students are taught to think for themselves and to drive the learning process. Schools that offer the IB curriculum help students to become well-rounded individuals with character, who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity, and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations.
Alcuin School has for more than 10 years been authorized for the IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP). As an IB Diploma Programme (DP) candidate school, Alcuin School will join 2,795 schools offering the DP in 143 countries worldwide. This continuum of inquiry-based world-class educational programs provides an aligned curriculum and pedagogy which benefits all Alcuin students from 6th level through Upper School. As long as students have good time management skills, love inquiry and collaboration, consider learning fun and aren’t afraid to put forth effort, they will be able to handle the IB programmes. IB is not intended for the brightest students only, all types of students are excelling in the IB MYP and IB DP.
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses offer unique benefits to students, but have different educational goals. AP courses tend to focus intensively on a particular subject, while IB courses take a more holistic approach. AP focuses on the answer whereas IB focuses on the process.
AP programs, which are structured around a curriculum representing introductory college courses, allow students to enroll only in those courses in which they exhibit both ability and interest. In contrast, the IB program combines advanced content knowledge with a focus on the development of critical thinking and an appreciation of global issues. IB is a more integrated program of study than AP, which is more “a la carte” in its offerings. Students can earn college credit with either; however, college credit for IB courses is often prescribed by state law and college/university policy.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is for students in grade 6 through 10. The MYP provides a framework of learning which encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. The culminating project in 10th grade is the Personal Project where the students investigate, plan, take action, and reflect on a topic of their choice.
The Montessori and IB programs are linked by having the same underlying educational priorities of fostering the independence and inquiry of the student. Both programs motivate students to excel in their studies and personal growth.
Alcuin students who successfully complete Alcuin’s 12th grade graduation requirements, regardless of whether they take any IB test or not, will graduate with an Alcuin Upper School diploma. Alcuin School is accredited by Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, which is recognized by colleges and universities as an approved accrediting agency.