Oxford’s private McGuffey Montessori School started classes Wednesday with the addition of a ninth grade to its program.
“We only have one (ninth-grade) student, so it’s sort of a special case,” said Nancy Hawthorne, the head of school. “Next year we will have more students.”
McGuffey Montessori, 5128 Westgate Dr., Oxford, has 70 students enrolled this year. The school began in 1983 and until now has operated a K-eighth grade program. It decided last spring to start a high school program, and incorporated the one student into the student body this year.
McGuffey follows the Montessori education philosophy which emphasizes independence, self-direction and individualization.
According to Hawthorne, the ninth-grade student will be in class with the eighth graders, but as the Montessori approach explains, each student moves at their individual pace.
“The Montessori education allows the work to be as rigorous as the students require,” Hawthorne said.
Before the school offered the high school schedule, the students who aged out of McGuffey at the end of the eighth grade typically attended Talawanda or other high schools in the region.
“There really aren’t many options for the (McGuffey Montessori) students,” Hawthorne said.
The transition between a Montessori school and a public school won’t exist when McGuffey fully develops its high school program, according to Hawthorne.
“There’s no waiting for the others to catch up at our school.”