In addition to earning national acclaim for excellence in education, Clark holds the honor of being the first Montessori high school in the world.
The Montessori method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. Dr. Montessori opened the first Montessori school in Rome on January 6, 1907. Cincinnati became one of the first cities in the United States to benefit from the Montessori movement. The Montessori magnet program at Cincinnati Public Schools began with a K-6 building in the 1970s.
As the program grew from one elementary school to three in the school district, so too did interest in a secondary program. A committee formed in 1992 to develop a Montessori secondary program. After extensive research and planning, the committee submitted a proposal to the Board of Education in January 1994. Approval was given to launch a Montessori middle school program the following year.
The Montessori secondary program began as a school-within-a-school at Jacobs Center on Winton Ridge Lane with about 60 seventh graders. By the fourth year, the program had grown. It relocated to the old Highland Elementary on the Ohio River and added its own principal and a ninth-grade team.
By the end of the fifth year, the Montessori program, now called Clark Montessori after Peter H. Clark, the pioneering African-American educator, had outgrown its first building. The program again relocated, this time to the old Peoples Middle School in Hyde Park, which is our permanent home today. The school underwent an extensive renovation in 2012-13 to better serve the needs of students now and far into the future.