MMS: At A Glance

Founded: The school opened in 1964 in St. Michael’s Church at 99th and Amsterdam as a parent cooperative. In 1996, it moved to its present location at 325 West 85th Street and changed its name to Metropolitan Montessori School. In 2014-2015, the school will celebrate its 50th year.

Leadership: Head of School Brenda Mizel joined the school in July 2011, bringing extensive school management experience as head of the Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston, Ill., the Whitby School in Greenwich, Conn., and senior positions in other independent schools. Associate Head of School Bob Reveri has worked for MMS for more than 20 years, serving as a Lower and Upper Elementary head teacher and designing and managing the academic program.

Accreditations and affiliations: Accredited by the American Montessori Society and the New York State Association of Independent Schools. Affiliated with the Black Rock Forest Consortium, Early Steps, the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Grade levels: The school serves children between the ages of 3 and 12 in mixed-age classrooms. The usual entry point is at 3 or 4 years old. The Early Childhood division has four sections of children between the ages of 3 and 5. Lower Elementary has three sections of children between the ages of first and third grade. The Upper Elementary serves fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.

Special features:

  • Outstanding Elementary program for performing arts, including violin instruction beginning in kindergarten and an Upper Elementary musical
  • Outstanding Elementary program for visual arts, incorporating woodworking, ceramics, three-dimensional construction as well as drawing, painting, and print making
  • Science and outdoor education at Black Rock Forest
  • Literacy program based on the reading and writing workshop model developed by Columbia Teachers College
  • Multipronged¬† approach to math instruction using Montessori materials, Singapore math, and other methodologies
  • Low teacher-student ratios, fostering respectful working relationships with children and adults
  • Individualized exmissions program for graduating sixth graders, who attend high competitive independent and public schools in the city

2013-2014 Enrollment: Total: 211
Primary: 96
Lower Elementary: 75
Upper Elementary: 40

Geographic representation: MMS students come from all parts of Manhattan including Harlem, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and Tribeca; as well as Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Rockland County, and New Jersey. The school also has an international population, with students from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America.

Diversity: MMS values diversity. More than 25 countries are represented among our families. More than 30 percent of the faculty and staff is African-American, Latino/Hispanic, or Asian/Asian-American, and many of them have lived and worked overseas. The schools has a Diversity Task Force that organizes events to foster awareness of what diversity means to families and children.

Location/Facilities: The school is located in a renovated carriage house at 325 West 85th Street, between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue. The Lower and Upper Elementary students use Riverside Park for recess. Upper Elementary students go to the Jewish Community Center on Amsterdam Avenue for gym class on a regular basis. Beginning in kindergarten, students travel to Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY, several times a year for outdoor education, science projects, and overnight trips. In 2011, MMS purchased the adjacent building at 315 West 85th St.

Educational philosophy: The school’s program reflects the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, but has adapted its curriculum to meet the particular needs of New York City children in the 21st Century. MMS emphasizes hands-on learning and provides meaningful opportunities for experiencing nature and the natural sciences. It helps children to reach their potential through a strong social, emotional and ethical foundation, and an approach to learning that emphasizes problem-solving skills. MMS works to instill in children the following qualities: independence, intrinsic motivation, confidence and competence, and an awareness of their role and responsibility as a citizen of the world.

Exmissions: MMS graduates have attended many of New York’s selective ongoing schools, including Brearley, Calhoun, Chapin, Collegiate, Dalton, Fieldston, Horace Mann, Hunter, Marymount, Nightingale-Bamford, Riverdale, Trevor Day, Trinity, the Delta Program, and Stuyvesant High School. In the last five years, nearly 70 percent of the sixth grade students have qualified to sit for the entrance exam for the Hunter College High School. You can read more here.

Faculty: Head teachers complete an accredited Montessori certification program in addition to having at least a bachelor’s degree. MMS also employs a full-time school psychologist, and specialist teachers for Spanish, French, art, music, strings, physical education, performing arts, and learning support.

Governance: Directed by a Board of Trustees comprised of current and former parents and community members.

Academic calendar: In the 2013-2014 school year, classes begin September 3 and end June 11. MMS follows the holiday and vacation schedule recommended by the Guild of Independent Schools of New York.

Head of School: Brenda Mizel

Mailing address: 325 West 85th Street, New York, NY 10024

Telephone/Fax: Reception: 212-579-5525, ext. 0; Fax: 212-579-5526

Social media: You can follow the school on Facebook, on Twitter (@MontessoriNY, @MMSNYBrenda), and on Pinterest.