St. Catherine’s Montessori is a coeducational, Catholic Montessori school which works with students aged 14 months to 12th grade. Sisters Edna Ann Herbert and Shirley Owens founded St. Catherine’s (originally Dominican Montessori) in 1966. The school is affiliated with the Association Montessori Internationale. Before moving to its current location in 2006, St. Catherine’s was hosted by St. Agnes Academy’s old building. The school then was hosted by the Holy Rosary Parish and Bering Memorial Methodist Church. In 1983, St. Catherine’s moved to a 20,000 square foot building on Westridge, where the school remains to this day.
St. Catherine’s is part of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and also belongs to the National Catholic Education Association. The school incorporates the Catholic faith into Dr. Montessori’s educational system through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The academic facilities include an atrium where students gather and interact with spiritual objects as a sensorial experience of the Catholic faith. The school’s spiritual goal for its students is “…to offer a pervasive element of Catholic study and experiences within the educational setting.”
St. Catherine’s 7.4-acre campus is located near the 610 Loop between Stella Link and South Main. The school includes a gymnasium, sports field, and gardens. St. Catherine’s is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, meaning that its facilities are considered to be on the cutting edge of eco-friendliness. “Green” features of St. Catherine’s include water use reduction, storm water management, energy from 100% renewable resources, use of recycled materials, construction waste management, and green housekeeping.
In order to receive an application, parents must complete a tour and a classroom observation, in that order. Tours are generally scheduled on Tuesdays from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. Once the tour is completed, the classroom observation is scheduled, usually on Wednesdays from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. Applications are considered in February, with priority given to 1) siblings of current St. Catherine’s students and 2) transfer students from other Montessori schools.
Non-Montessori applicants for grades 10-12 are considered on a case-by-case basis. St. Catherine’s also requires the student’s most recent report cards, progress reports, and achievement test scores. The school will schedule a visit for the student and one of the school’s guides will perform an informal evaluation.
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St. Catherine’s curriculum follows the educational methodology implemented by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1897. In accordance with Dr. Montessori’s multi-age classrooms, the school groups its students together in threes: 14 months to age 3 (Toddler), ages 4-6 (Primary), grades 1-3 (Lower Elementary), grades 4-6 (Upper Elementary), grades 7-9 (Adolescent Community), and grades 10-12 (High School). While the Montessori Method was designed for students up to grade 6, St. Catherine’s continues to employ the method and incorporate traditional American education elements in grades 7-12. While St. Catherine’s curriculum allows for students to take different paths in their education, students still follow a trajectory that meets the expectations of what should be taught in middle school and high school.
No information concerning St. Catherine’s accommodations for students with special needs is available at this time.
For the Adolescent Community, St. Catherine’s offers Spanish I, Spanish II, and Spanish for Native Speakers.
Students attending St. Catherine’s have the opportunity to study liturgical music and participate in the upper school musical production. Students may also join the school’s band and orchestra programs or enroll in dance class.
No information concerning St. Catherine’s classroom technology or technology policy is available at this time.
St. Catherine’s offers a number of after school activities for Primary students and up. Primary students may participate in Construction Camp and Natural Wonders. Elementary students may join Junkyard Wars Junior and Super Science Sleuths. Additionally, Primary students and up may participate in Gymnastics.
St. Catherine’s hosts after-school athletics programs for Primary through Adolescent Community students. Students may participate in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track and field. St. Catherine’s is a member of the Greater Houston Catholic Athletic Association, which is made up of 52 Houston-area Catholic schools.
All St. Catherine’s parents are members of the school’s Parent Service Organization (PSO), which supports cultural programs, field trips, projects, and teachers. The PSO organizes school-wide events, such as Fall Festival and Spring Fling; social events, such as morning coffee and movie night; book club; and Parent Education programs. The school also has a Booster Club, a parent-organized program that supports athletics.