Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, February 13, 2009

Proposed intergenerational school would save Allison Elem.

Approximately 6 Xavier University educators spoke to the Norwood Board of Education Tuesday evening regarding their proposal to start an intergenerational school for Montessori students at Allison Elementary possibly as soon as this fall. The meeting was well attended by NCS teachers, community members, parents, and all but one of the Allison PTA officers.

So just what is an intergenerational school? Jim Gruber, a social worker, gerontologist, and consultant to Xavier on the intergenerational school, explained the premise is that Allison would become a “lifelong learning center” by recruiting parents, older siblings, grandparents, and community members of all ages to serve as mentors to the children with this added benefit: learning would be two-way. For example, computer savy children can teach computer skills to older adults.

The proposed Montessori school would borrow from The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, a successful inner-city charter school founded eight years ago by Peter Whitehouse and his wife. Mr. Gruber said that unlike the Cleveland school, Allison would actually be a Norwood District school based on a lab model, meaning Xavier students doing internships at the school would share the building with the school. This model would foster the opportunity for published research. He added that Xavier personnel “would not be calling the shots. They would be there to help and support.” Additionally, Xavier’s proposal calls for programs at the lifelong learning center that could include an adults day care center, geriatric neuro-psychological and occupational therapy assessments, and courses in pet therapy, caregiving, philosophy, Medicare, Yoga, and more. The center would be revenue-generating.

This Wednesday Enquirer article has more information, including how the Montessori school would start off this fall. Allison students in grades 3-6 would be moved to other Norwood elementaries. The President of Allison’s PTA asked the BOE to consider providing transportation for these children so they would not have to cross risky intersections of heavily traveled Montgomery Road.

Click here to read Xavier’s proposal for Allison. Next Thursday, Feb. 19, at their regular monthly meeting, the BOE will vote on a memorandum of understanding, committing the school district to working with Xavier. Should they approve it, Allison Elementary may very well be spared from closing.