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Wilson Montessori School

Woodrow Wilson Montessori School, formerly Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, is a public K-8 Montessori school in the Cherryhurst Addition subdivision in the Neartown area of Houston, Texas. A part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), Wilson serves as the neighborhood elementary school for a section of Neartown, including a portion of Montrose. It also serves as a magnet school for all of HISD's territory. As of 2014 it is one of three public Montessori programs in Houston.[1] It was the first HISD school to use the Montessori style for all students,[2] as well as housing HISD's first Montessori middle school program.[3] It is named after President of the United States Woodrow Wilson.


The land that currently houses Wilson was previously occupied by the summer house of Mirabeau Lamar, a President of Texas; it was located on the Oak Grove acreage site. The acreage was broken up in 1923.[4] Construction began in 1924 and the school opened in 1925.[5]

For much of its history it was a standard neighborhood elementary school.[1] Tom Behrens of the Houston Chronicle described Wilson as "the showplace school of the city for many years".[4]

From 1986[6] to 1996,[7] Wilson Elementary served a section of River Oaks as the neighborhood program of River Oaks Elementary School had been removed.[8]

In the 2000s Wilson Elementary experienced a decline in enrollment since the surrounding neighborhood had fewer families with children attending school.[1] In 2005 there were 410 students.[2] A group of area parents suggested converting Wilson into a Montessori school.[1] HISD and the group, All Montessori School Project, negotiated for two years to determine how the school would be established. Not all area parents agreed with the proposal; 208 parents had signed a survey stating opposition.[2]

In 2005 HISD announced that Wilson was scheduled to be converted into a PreK-8 school using a Montessori program for all students. Friends of Montessori agreed to assist the effort and signed a two-year agreement to assist the conversion of Wilson; it was scheduled to raise $6,000 to buy the materials used for the Montessori program. All teachers were to be Montessori-certified, and existing teachers staying at Wilson were to undergo training to deliver the curriculum.[9] Parents acquired an additional $345,000 in the period 2003-2008 to convert Wilson into a Montessori campus. The 7th and 8th grades were to be established at Wilson by late 2009.[3]

In 2008 there were 440 students. That year Jennifer Radcliffe of the Houston Chronicle wrote that "Parents rave about Wilson".[3] After the Montessori program was established, enrollment at Wilson increased; in the 2013-2014 school year, the school had 501 students, including 90 middle school students. The expected enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year was 530.[1]

In 2016 groundbreaking occurred for an expansion of the campus.[10] The original building is to be renovated, and a three-story structure designed by Smith & Co. Architects will be added on. The total cost will be $18.9 million, and the campus will have a total area of almost 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2) of space.[11]

Admissions and neighborhoods servedEdit

Wilson serves as the neighborhood elementary school for a section of Neartown,[12][13] including the Cherryhurst main and addition subdivisions,[14][15] a portion of Montrose,[16] a portion of Hyde Park,[17] Mandell Place, Park, Vermont Commons, WAMM, and Winlow Place, as well as most of Audubon Place and portions of Avondale, Lancaster Place, and North Montrose.[18]

In the event that a parent zoned to Wilson is not interested in having his or her child educated in the Montessori style, the administration of Wilson Montessori will assist the parent in selecting a different school. Wilson Montessori functions as a magnet school, and children from outside the Wilson boundary who apply to Wilson are selected on the basis of a lottery.[1]

Student bodyEdit

In 2008 the school had 440 students, including almost 90 learning English as a second language.[3]


All students at Wilson are taught in the Montessori educational style. The school day is divided into three-hour blocks, and students are expected to perform tasks on their own within those three hour blocks. Assignments involve students working in pairs and using flashcards, blocks, beads, and other objects. The school provides Spanish-language Montessori materials, in addition to English-language ones, for students with English as a second language. Each class had a mixture of different ages, and as a result each teacher is required to study, for a period of one year, how to customize a lesson plan for different students. In order to increase relations between the teachers, students and parents, each student stays in the same class for a three-year period.[3] Students are required to take state achievement tests.[2]

Before Wilson was converted into an all-Montessori school, its magnet program was known as the "Woodrow Wilson Multi-Cultural Arts Program".[19]


The school property is located in the Cherryhurst Addition subdivision.[20] It was built on Block 5.[21]

The school park is known as the Wilson Wonderground SPARK Park; the SPARK Park program is a joint City of Houston-HISD program to allow school parks to be used by the wider community. Around 2002 the Wilson Elementary park was developed as a SPARK Park. The condition of the field declined prior to 2012, but Camilo Parra, a parent of a Wilson student, led a campaign to revitalize the field; the proposal to improve the field was incorporated into existing plans to improve the park. Scott McCready, a landscape architect for SWA, designed the park renovation; McCready was also a parent of a Wilson student.[22]

Feeder patternsEdit

Most residents of the Wilson zone[12] are also zoned to Lanier Middle School.[23] Those east of Montrose Boulevard are instead zoned to the Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center middle school program.[24] All residents of the Wilson attendance zone are also zoned to Lamar High School.[25]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Meeks, Flori (2014-05-06). "Switch to Montessori proved pivotal for Wilson school". Heights Examiner at the Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Crowe, Robert (2005-04-19). "HISD to get first all-Montessori campus at Wilson". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  3. ^ a b c d e Radcliffe, Jennifer (2008-02-26). "Montrose campus making Montessori history in HISD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  4. ^ a b Behrens, Tom (2012-03-20). "Wilson alumni sought for April reunion fundraiser". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ "History." Woodrow Wilson Montessori School. Retrieved on March 11 2017.
  6. ^ Berryhill, Michael (1995-04-13). "Class War". Houston Press. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  7. ^ "1996-1997 HISD ATTENDANCE BOUNDARIES." Houston Independent School District. June 30, 1997. Retrieved on September 8, 2009. "To create boundaries for River Oaks ES, Kindergarten to 2nd grade "
  8. ^ Markley, Melanie. "Winds of change alarm River Oaks Vanguard parents."[dead link] Houston Chronicle. Sunday April 2, 1995. p. A33. Retrieved on October 22, 2012. Available on NewsBank (Record: HSC04021265468), accessible with a Houston Public Library card. "Indeed, River Oaks Elementary ceased to be a neighborhood school in 1986. [...] As it now stands, River Oaks children are zoned to one of three schools outside their community -- Wilson Elementary to the east in Montrose,[...]"
  9. ^ Contreras, Leslie (2005-04-27). "Wilson to be all-Montessori next fall". River Oaks Examiner at the Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Wilson Montessori breaks ground on new addition". Houston Independent School District. 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  11. ^ "New addition at Wilson Montessori K-8 to complement historic building". Houston Independent School District. 2016-02-26. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  12. ^ a b "Wilson K-8 School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on March 16, 2016.
  13. ^ "Neartown Boundaries." Neartown Association. Retrieved on March 11, 2017.
  14. ^ Cherryhurst Original subdivision map. Harris County Appraisal District. Retrieved on March 11, 2017.
  15. ^ Cherryhurst Addition subdivision map. Harris County Appraisal District. Retrieved on March 11, 2017.
  16. ^ Map of Montrose. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  17. ^ "Hyde Park Civic Association Boundaries." Hyde Park Civic Association. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  18. ^ "Our Boundaries." Neartown Association. Retrieved on March 23, 2019. PDF version with detail - Individual subdivisions are noted
  19. ^ "Magnet Program." Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. May 1, 2001. Retrieved on March 13, 2017.
  20. ^ Home page. Cherryhurst Civic Club. March 16, 2005. Retrieved on March 11, 2017. "The Cherryhurst Addition is across Fairview from the original subdivision and includes the Woodrow Wilson schoolgrounds bounded by Yupon and Windsor streets." See map of Cherryhurst Addition
  21. ^ Cherryhurst Block 5. Harris County Block Book maps Volume 38 Page 240. PDF and JPG - Indicates "Hyde Park School" (partially) meaning Wilson Montessori School
  22. ^ Behrens, Tom (2012-03-20). "Community unites for park makeover". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  23. ^ "Lanier Middle School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on March 11, 2017.
  24. ^ "Gregory-Lincoln Middle School Attendance Boundary," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  25. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Boundary," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit