Already, one deadline has passed for parents who want their child to attend Mata Montessori school in the fall. The next deadline, for families in the Woodrow Wilson High School feeder pattern, is next Thursday, May 15.
The school on La Vista and East Grand, which until now has operated as a fourth- and fifth-grade center, will reopen next fall as a Montessori for pre-kindergartners (4-year-olds and possibly 3-year-olds) through second-graders and is designed to give families in East Dallas another academic option. First dibs were given to families zoned to Mount Auburn Elementary, whose children went to Mata after third-grade. Now enrollment has opened to the rest of the elementary schools that feed into Woodrow — Lakewood, Lipscomb, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
The question is whether neighborhood families zoned to these schools will make the switch, especially considering that some are just now becoming aware of the possibility. Dallas ISD board politics delayed the final decision until late April, which played a significant role in the news being slow to spread.
Mata has 368 spots open in its Montessori program next fall, and as of last week, 140 interest forms had been turned in, principal Claudia Vega says.
“We have parents dropping off forms on a daily basis,” she says. “Interest has been high, however, it has been across all grade levels.”
Vega says Mata has received so many requests for additional information meetings that another one has been scheduled next Monday, May 12 at 10 a.m. The school recently updated its website with links to the interest forms and the presentation given at the parent meetings as well as answers to some commonly asked questions about enrollment.
In the DISD trustees’ discussion of changes to Mata, some said that if parents at overcrowded schools in the feeder pattern — Lakewood and Stonewall — opt to attend Mata it would provide relief at these schools and be preferable to redrawing school boundaries. One reason the schools are overcrowded is because of their good reputations (Lakewood and Stonewall both have been named Blue Ribbon Schools), but trustees and other DISD officials believe the popularity and success of George Bannerman Dealey Montessori Vanguard, an elementary magnet school at Hillcrest and Royal, will be a persuasive draw to Mata.
Mata Montessori is the beginning of more “school of choice” options planned in Woodrow feeder pattern schools over the next few years.
After May 15, any remaining spots at Mata would open to students in the entire school district. All parents who turn in interest forms during the initial interest period will be notified no later than June 15, and if spots remain after that point, Mata will reach out to other interested parents who turned in forms after the deadlines. The school also plans to hold additional parent information meetings after June 15 and an open house in August.
Parents with questions can contact DISD’s office of family and community engagement at 972.925.3916 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the school directly at 972.749.7500.
Read more on this topic in our stories about the DISD board decisions on Mata and Mount Auburn, board politics leading up to the vote, details about Mata’s Montessori program and changes for both Mata and Mount Auburn.
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