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Are Hershey Graduates Prepared for College?

Are Hershey Graduates Prepared for College?

An Interview with Hershey Montessori School Alumni

Hershey Montessori School delights in welcoming back its graduates and former students. We love to hear how they are tackling life and college after high school. We seek to know how their Montessori education helped shape and prepare them for the paths they chose. We love learning more about where they are today, and how their skills are helping them on life’s journey.

At the last alumni gathering, Hershey graduates shared with us what course of study they are pursuing and what university they are attending. We then asked them to speak to how they felt prepared for where they are on their journey. Below is what they shared.

 

Ilana Rosenheck ’18, Psychology, University of Cincinnati: “I think the farm, or Hershey or Montessori in general, has really prepared us for public speaking. We all did countless presentations and that really developed a confidence in all of us – or most of us. I feel like if we had an issue or a question, we all felt comfortable with going to our professors and talking to them just because we have that close relationship with the staff here. It’s something I feel like traditional schooling won’t teach their students. Hershey taught us about being a functioning adult. I feel like Hershey really prepared us for life.”

 

Cameron Zona ’18, Theater and Entrepreneurship, Lake Erie College: “Yeah, I have to agree. I was here on campus on Monday and I sat in on a class of Middle School students and they were giving presentations, and I was like ‘these presentations are better prepared and they have better public speaking skills than the students that are in some of my college classes.’ I was very impressed. I definitely think that it is something that when students graduate, they have a firm grasp on.”

 

Makenna Venaleck ’18, Chemical Engineering, Ohio University: “I don’t do a lot of presentations or public speaking in my area of study, but I will say that I felt very prepared to talk with my professors and have a little bit of an up because even though a lot of people in STEM are very good at math and science, they can’t really communicate what they are studying or how they are feeling or talk to their professors or to a potential employer. I went to the career fair and I felt very prepared because I could set aside ‘What are my skills? What are things that I am good at?’ and I could have a conversation with someone that maybe would employ me or was a professor. I felt very prepared for interpersonal communication.”

 

Erin Finan ’19, Journalism, Ohio University: “I think Hershey helped me (or Montessori) in a lot of ways, but especially when I went to college and I was trying to find my friend group. The people I connected with like at Hershey really helped me to know the kind of people I wanted to be around and know how to find my tribe. Taking that to college made it a lot easier to find people and know that these were the people that I wanted to spend time with and be around, and that I wanted to form my friend group with. I mean, college has more people so you have to adjust because of that, but you also have to know that there are people like you and for you at college that you’ll be able to connect with in the same way you connect with people here. You might have to look a little bit harder because it’s such a bigger environment, but like I said, Hershey helped me and a lot of us know who we wanted as our friends and the things we value. When we find those [values] in other people, it’s easier to make those connections.”

 

Elise Spintzyk ’18, Psychology, Ohio State University: “I think Hershey prepared us well because we had a lot of leadership opportunities. I think students who are looking to move forward into a graduate program or even to apply for a job are able to step into a leadership role. While you are in college that is something that is really important and important for your resumé. Already having had a leadership role with experience, I can bring that in as a freshman student when applying for a position on an executive board of a club, something in your department, or looking for a research position if that’s something you’re interested in. Those are things that you wouldn’t already be taking with you from most high schools. I think a lot of students haven’t had the opportunity to do so. When you step into those roles when you’re in college, you are very well prepared for them and you’re able to thrive in that position and keep moving forward.”

 

Thank you, alumni, for sharing how your Hershey Montessori School experience and skills have helped aid you in your college education and beyond. We are please that you were able to take leadership, communication, interpersonal skills, public speaking, real-life capabilities, and tools to navigate and find your way in the next steps of your education. We wish you all the best. We truly look forward to seeing you all again very soon!

Hershey Guide Shares Keys to Supporting Montessori Education Online

Hershey Guide Shares Keys to Supporting Montessori Education Online

“For the adolescent, it is critical that we make our learning child-directed and that we continue to make student choices a priority.” ~John Buzzard

Hershey’s John Buzzard recently shared with the International Montessori Training Institute how he’s transitioned his Upper School Integrated Humanities projects to a distance, online education learning model. Below is an excerpt of what Buzzard wrote:

Because we value face-to-face, social interaction and hands-on learning in Montessori education, we must strive to keep these as key elements of the learning process, despite our current social distancing situation. This requires some adjustments, but can still be accomplished. As we consider our move towards working with our students in an online education environment, we should pause to consider how to make this approach as true to the Montessori pedagogy as possible. Even using technology and new methodologies, we know that the truths of Montessori remain valid and will want to design our educational program with them in mind. 

For the adolescent, it is critical that we make our online education child-directed and that we continue to make student choices a priority. Our choice of strategies in the online environment can be shaped by philosophy, and just as in other environments, we find teacher-centered learning and student-centered learning occurring. Because students are working more independently, there are many ways to structure the learning to be student-centered, and we want to take advantage of the computer and the students’ home environment to emphasize these possibilities. 

Creating social elements is also key to making the online learning experience truly meaningful to adolescents. Don’t merely focus on academic interactions – think closely about how to use video, dialogue, discussion, and activities to build connection and social dynamics with the group. Although we accept that this will be a less authentic community experience than actual face-to-face interaction, we must continue to make that element of adolescent development primary.

As always, there is a tension between the need for student-centered learning and the need for a prepared environment. In a Montessori school, guides know that maximizing student choice often begins with carefully constructed environments and experiences. We must shift this thinking to the online world, creating prepared virtual environments and experiences that continue to support student learning without superseding it.

Ultimately it is the three-stage learning cycle that shows us the way to structuring our online education environment. This approach maximizes student choice while providing the prepared environment structure that students need to do their best work. This three-stage cycle is built on three natural stages to the learning process – key lessons, individual research, and meaningful presentation.

This approach maximizes student choice while providing the prepared environment structure that students need to do their best work.

Read John Buzzard’s detailed lay out of the three-stage learning cycle here.

Breaking New Ground

Breaking New Ground

On May 12th, 2016, Hershey Montessori School celebrated the groundbreaking of a new building at the Huntsburg Campus that will house the completion of the Upper School.

“Every time Hershey Montessori School has expanded their programming, it’s because the students themselves want it. They ask for it. They express an interest to continue their Montessori education. The students at Hershey Montessori School, especially at the middle school level, are already very engaged in running small businesses, in growing some of their own food, and solving problems on the land. What will be possible for older students is to continue that work at a much higher, more sophisticated level. This is a microcosm of society on this farm.” – Laurie Ewert-Krocker, Upper School Program Director

The groundbreaking was a historic event because once the building is finished, Hershey Montessori School will be one of the first Montessori schools in the world to serve a complete continuum for infants through 18 years of age. “Education should not limit itself to seeking new methods for a mostly arid transmission of knowledge: its aim must be to give the necessary aid to human development. This world, marvelous in its power, needs a ‘new man.’ It is therefore the life of man and his values that must be considered. If ‘the formation of man’ becomes the basis of education, then the coordination of all schools from infancy to maturity, from nursery to university, arises as a first necessity.” -Dr. Maria Montessori

Already, Hershey Montessori School has impacted 500 schools around the world through people visiting, learning about their practices, methods, and philosophies, and by Hershey Montessori School hosting the AMI Orientation to Adolescence during the summer months at the Huntsburg Campus. With the expansion of the Upper School, Hershey Montessori School will, once again, be on the cutting edge of Montessori education, and will provide a basis for similar programs to model.

As alumni, we can be grateful and excited about the role that we played in the development of Hershey Montessori School – the educators learned from the time that we spent there and the feedback from our parents was important in the growth process as well! Hershey Montessori School’s impact expands far beyond current students and their families. We are part of the growing Hershey Montessori School community and will always be able to return to its campuses and be met with open arms.

Thank you for your continued support of Hershey Montessori School!

Sincerely,

Makella Webster

Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator