At Clark Montessori High School, students explore the world around them in the classroom and in the field.

Clark, the nation’s first public Montessori high school, is nationally recognized for academic achievement. The school enables students enrolled in Montessori elementary schools to continue the Montessori pathway through grade 12.

Students who attend Clark have the world at their fingertips. All of our students participate in four weeks of off-site field study each year, including a marine biology and cultural field study on Andros Island in the Bahamas in eighth grade. Students in high school continue this journey by selecting from an array of two-week intersessions that allow them to explore their passions in depth.

Our school is best known for its:

  • Field studies and intersessions
  • Community service
  • Thematic work emphasis
  • Seminars
  • Relationship building
  • Music and visual arts programs

Other key facts about Clark include:

  • Classrooms are organized into multi-grade learning communities.
  • Students, families and teachers sign contracts requiring a commitment to the Montessori values of learning, community involvement and respect for others.
  • Community service is required of all Clark students (36 hours per year in grades 7-8; 50 hours per year in grades 9-12).
  • Intersessions occur twice a year for grades 9-12. Students select a two-week, in-depth immersion course to take during the intersession. Past offerings have included studying art in New York City, making a trip to Morocco, sailing and studying marine biology on a coral reef, and exploring the Appalachian Trail.
  • Seniors complete a year-long, in-depth study of a topic of their choice. Students present their final projects to our community during an exhibition night prior to graduation.

Requirements for Entry

There are no academic requirements to enter Clark. Montessori experience is preferred — but not required — for entry. Students and their families are interviewed and are required to sign an agreement as part of their acceptance to the school. The Clark student body is rich with diversity in race, gender, represented neighborhoods, socio-economic status, and academic and personal qualities.

Vision and Mission


Montessori’s essential priorities involve creating an environment that enhances the adolescent’s ability to:

  • Find one’s place in society
  • Understand the connection between finding one’s place in society and the nobility of all types of work
  • Experience and learn the lessons of living in community
  • Believe in the dignity of humans and that the world is a place of hope and progression of the human spirit


To fulfill this vision, our school seeks the highest and most complete academic environment for each student and to form a human community that nurtures an atmosphere of caring and sets a thoughtful social climate. We strive to be a community of adults and teenagers who respect each other’s deepest personal and human qualities.


Through the Montessori Philosophy, we have come to have several goals:

  • Learning — We ask and expect commitment to learning in the broadest sense of the word.
  • Community — We ask and expect commitment to the fostering and nurturing of relationships that build community.
  • Hard Work — We ask and expect commitment to the effort and willingness to meet difficult challenges, both personal and academic.
  • Respect — We ask and expect commitment to manners that show our respect and caring for others.
  • Peace — We ask and expect commitment to building a community that values the complex global and personal aspects of peace.

This We Believe

Clark Montessori teachers are the co-creators of a world that will become more compassionate and that will hold a greater likelihood of sustaining itself if they adhere to the basic belief that “Everybody does better when everybody does better.” They make every attempt to pass this idea to parents and students. It is much to hold, and it depends first and foremost on the integrity of the adults in the school to model the same actions expected of students and parents.

Ultimately, as a community of learners, Clark Montessori is a place in which all members feel safe and valued, and through challenging, fun, exciting opportunities, can develop the skills so that every adolescent will find his or her place in society. Clark Montessori is a beacon for students, guiding them through this work in the passage to adulthood, as it shines a light on the dignity of every person, the progression of the human spirit, and on this world as a place of rising hope.


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.