Meet Linda Paz, Director Emerson School
2800 West Bayshore Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Q: Are perspective students allowed to meet with enrolled students or can they observe a class or activities?
LP: Once parents or families have toured our school, those interested in applying are invited to have their child(ren) spend three full days in our program. We allow our prospective students and families the opportunity to get a feel for all of our programs, including Spanish, Chinese, Art, Music, Band, Technology, etc. This three day visit also allows our teachers the time to get to know prospective students, in order to better determine if our program is a good fit for the child and family.
Q: How do you handle discipline issues?
LP: We utilize the Positive Discipline approach in handling issues arising. We have a set plan in place to encourage our students and teachers to problem solve by meeting one-on-one to discuss matters arising. We include parents in this process by having students take home “peace agreements” that they fill in after working through problems with peers or teachers. Our full-day, year-round program allows us the time to properly follow through with matters - Something that other schools on regular academic calendars do not always have the time for.
Q: What is the school’s philosophy and vision? How does it translate to day-to-day life for the students?
LP: The “Emerson Learning” program is an innovative approach to classical education. It builds on the basic foundations of Western Civilization, nurtures the development of essential personal characteristics, and creates a bridge to the future needs of students, including introductions to business, technology, and international cultures. Our mission is to provide an enriched learning environment in which students develop optimally and fulfill their full potential as human beings in all their roles and relationships: as employees, as friends, as family members, and as citizens of their communities and their nation. Most immediately, our graduates possess the intellectual and social skills to enable them to succeed in high school and college settings.
Q: What does tuition include? Are there possible extra costs like uniforms, extracurricular activities?
LP: Emerson School tuition is fully inclusive. We do not charge additional fees for any of our specialty programs, field trips, or other activities. Tuition is based on a nine-hour day, with up to an additional hour of care available for a minimal fee.
Q: What is the student-to-teacher ratio? Is there a maximum class size?
LP: The school is staffed to maintain a ratio of 12 students per teacher in a classroom of 24 students. Some activities (e.g., individual tutoring, small group lessons) require a more intensive use of teachers; others (e.g., silent reading, lunch, playground recess) require fewer teachers. To maintain an average staffing level of two adults in a room throughout most of the day requires three or four individuals.
Q: How do teachers interact with students?
LP: Emerson School follows the Montessori approach of respecting the child as an individual striving for independence. The role of the Montessori teacher is to observe each child carefully and to facilitate learning through the child’s own experiences. The teacher provides order to a child’s learning, not to dictate what should be learned, but to help structure the process by which everything and anything can be learned.
Q: What type of communication is available for parents to teachers?
LP: Communications with parents are an essential component of our program. Some of these come from the teacher, some from the child. Conferences with parents are scheduled in November and May to discuss the assessments of their child’s progress. Parents are invited to call to set up appointments with teachers at other times as well.
Q: Does the school have a homework policy? Is there help available for students?
LP: Being a year-round, full-day program, we expect that our students complete all assigned work on campus during normal school hours. There is no regular homework given. Occasional work may be assigned for special projects throughout the year, such as memorization of poetry or speeches for our formal events. Occasionally, according to student needs (excessive absences or unique learning challenges) we would ask that students work on certain assignments at home.
Five Things About Linda Paz
1. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Barack Obama
2. What book are you currently reading? Forgotten Solider
3. Any scary experiences? Yes, I just came face to face with a Rattle Snake
4. Where would you like to travel to if you had the opportunity? Let’s see, first would be Egypt and then Greece
5. Can you tell us one of your passions in life? Being with my kids