Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Amberley's Neighborhood School

When my husband was growing up in Amberley, he attended his neighborhood school for elementary school, which, at the time, was Losantiville School. I attended my own neighborhood schools while growing up in Finneytown. In fact, for most of us, the neighborhood school was our school, unless our parents made a different choice -- say to send the kids to parochial school. In recent decades, here in Cincinnati, the neighborhood school has been replaced by the magnet school. Parents stand in line for days, often in inclement weather, to enroll their children in select schools of choice, because of the perception, often based in reality, that the neighborhood school is unable to adequately meet the educational needs of their children.

When my family moved to Amberley in 1997, I could not tell you what our neighborhood school was. Amberley didn't have its own school and as far as I could tell, where I sent my child to public school depended on what quadrant I lived in. Although Amberley only comprises 3.5 square miles, our children could go to any one of three "neighborhood" schools. Most Amberley parents did as we did and sent their kids to private school.

Things have changed since 1997. The former Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, a neighborhood school in CPS for over 100 years, was rebuilt and re-opened as PRM (Pleasant Ridge Montessori). A very dedicated  group of parents and community volunteers have been working tirelessly since 2006 to make this school a top-performing neighborhood school for Pleasant Ridge, Golf Manor, and Amberley Village. Through the very active involvement of educators, community leaders, parents, and Xavier University, PRM has seen its academic performance indicators rise and its socio-economic makeup become more diverse and more closely resemble the neighborhood where it is located.

Last night I attended a community meeting at PRM where the focus was on the next steps for the school. From my estimation, over 200 community members were in attendance. Most were parents of PRM students, but additonally there were local elected officials from all three communities served by the school, representatives from social service agencies and other interested community members.  This is an extremely involved parent body!  For a community like Amberley, which has not had a neighborhood school to call its own since it was incorporated, we are very lucky to have this rising star of Cincinnati Public Schools as our neighborhood school. The best part is, parents of Amberley kids can enroll their kids in a school where the parents and teachers are as involved as any private or magnet school for free and without camping out for a week.

If you are a PRM parent and Amberley resident, please leave a comment about PRM in the comment section of this post. I'd love to hear your thoughts on PRM. If you are interested in the next steps for PRM, there is another community meeting on May 22nd at 5:30 at the school itself.



  1. My son has thrived at PRM since his very first day five years ago. Not only are the parents dedicated, but the teachers are too.

  2. Thank you so much for participating in the meeting last night. I'm an Amberley Village resident with a 2nd and 4th grader at PRM. I love being part of the neighborhood school, going to the library, grocery store, JCC, and parks and seeing people who are also part of our community. There are many great things happening at PRM, yet this is very challenging times for CPS and it is more important than ever to have a voice in what priorities are established to support our community school, students and staff. Please RSVP for the May 22nd meeting to be held 5:30 - 7:30 pm at PRM.lsdmc.chair@gmail.com with the number attending and the number needing childcare. Dinner will be provided..

  3. I can't believe I forgot to mention the teachers! Yes, everyone involved with the school seems very dedicated and enthusiastic. I tutored a fourth grade student this year as a Be the Change tutor and experienced the dedication of the entire school staff first-hand!

  4. We live in Pleasant Ridge and our son has gone to PRM the past 2 yrs. His experience has been so much better than when he WAS at a magnet school, Woodford. We are buying our first house this month and it's on the west side. All 3 of us are sad to be leaving the PRM family. I hope they keep up the good work.

  5. I'm a Pleasant Ridge resident and we love having PRM as a neighbor! We don't have any kids, nor do we plan on having them, but we recognize the importance of having a strong neighborhood school. We support the PRM students on our street and try to support the school whenever we can. In fact, we'll be supporting the plant sale fund-raiser this weekend!

  6. We had our children at PRM, but were very disappointed in what was available for students who don't fit the definition of "normal." There has been a good deal of turnover on staff since that time, so hopefully things have improved. The biggest problem is that it's still CPS -- we'd love to see it thrive, but given the district's track record, and the fact that PRM is still listed as an underperforming school on the EdChoice list, there seems to be some disconnect between the comments being left on the page and the reality of the situation. I felt it important to balance the comments, and dissuade anyone from just jumping in blindly without gathering all the facts. That said, kudos to all those actively involved in improving things and making this a viable neighborhood school...best wishes for continued improvement!


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