We are small but growing group of professionals who are passionate about the Montessori educational approach. We are unified by our deep commitment to equity; making sure this developmental model is accessible to all students and families, not just those who can bear the financial weight of a tuition-based program.
All students deserve the opportunity to have the education that works best for them!
Our Growing team
While we all support and deeply value our community and the Pullman School District (PSD), we believe additional options for high quality public education in Pullman are necessary to meet the needs of our growing and increasingly diverse community. With that said, we are committed to continue to grow and strengthen our relationship with PSD and share data and opportunities available to us that may benefit all children in our community.
Initially known as The Pullman Charter School Initiative, (PCSI), the founders were a small group of diverse, passionate community members who had experienced, in one way or another, the powerful whole-child educational approach of Montessori. This experience drove the group to investigate what educational needs were specific to our community and how to make expanded options accessible to all families, not just limited to those in the position to pay tuition.
The group dove into state report card data and engaged a community focus groups to gather preliminary data. Data emphasized the need for a whole-child focused
developmental model, like Montessori that would help:
close persistent achievement gaps for at risk demographics,
increase supports for students who struggle,
increase rigor for those students considered to be advanced,
offer more opportunities for project-based and service learning,
offer more student voice and choice, and
provide intense focus on social-emotional learning and life skills development throughout a students education.
The group found that application for charter as the most equitable option for accessibility. This led the team to engage in 2 rounds of application to the Washington State Charter Schools Association School Leadership and Design Fellowship program. The Fellowship provided financial support and guidance for selected teams in designing a high-quality community responsive school.
After a rigorous vetting process, PCSI was accepted into the 2018-19 fellowship program. Laylah Sullivan, a fellow founder, local business owner, and Pullman High School science teacher, was identified for the Fellow role. Ms. Sullivan led the writing of the 795 page charter application (a detailed legal operating contract for the school) and led the team in the 9-month application process.
Application & Approval
Following submission of PCM's application in February 2020, the PCM founding team engaged in:
an intensive Capacity Interview with a council assembled by the Commission, which involved a performance task and 3 hours of intense questioning.
a Commission-hosted Public Forum to offer another opportunity for community input and for commission staff and Commissioners to ask questions.
a final question session by Commissioners at the resolution meeting on June 25, 2020.
On June 25, 2020 Commissioners gave their full support and unanimous approval for the opening Pullman Community Montessori. The schools charters was negotiated and formally accepted on Septembers 8, 2020.
PCM is now in its planning year which consists of numerous deadlines and deliverables including securing a facility, finetuning the design, hiring and training staff, growing the board and committees, and overall logistics.
The formal application writing process took place between July 2019 to February 2020. During the application writing process the Fellow and founding board received monthly professional development and application writing support. Community forums were run in the fall to solicit community input on the design, informing the services we provide, the school councils we will maintain, our mission, and our core values. A number of survey opportunities were provided, for example at the 2019 Lentil Festival, for interested community members to engage in selection of the school name, logo. Prompted by a request from our founding board, a Washington State Charters School Commission staff member hosted a Charter Starter - Community Conversation to inform our community about Washington's unique charter sector. The application underwent multiple internal reviews by our team and Washington State Charter Schools Association staff, was reviewed by key partners, a national review agency and a contracted application specialist, and underwent 2 rounds of copy editor review before submission.