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Lakewood Montessori Middle School

Lakewood Exterior

Principal: Sheldon Reynolds
Address: Lakewood YMCA, 2119 Chapel Hill Road, 27707
Enrollment: 300
Phone :
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Lakewood Montessori Middle School’s mission is to be a peaceful, nurturing community where adolescents grow academically and socially through the mastery of real life skills and knowledge.  We encourage students to become independent thinkers, engaged learners, and positive contributors to our society by showing responsibility for each other and the world around them.

This new magnet middle school continues the DPS Montessori experience that students currently have at Watts and Morehead Montessori Magnet Elementary Schools, along with space for additional students from a variety of backgrounds through the DPS magnet school lottery process.


Montessori instruction requires that the students be responsible for their own success and actively involved in purposeful learning.  Students and parents sign contracts for all their classes indicating their understanding of the three tenets of Lakewood: Community, Self and Academics.  Core curriculum areas taught within each of the Montessori classroom communities are language arts, math, science and social studies.  Electives include a second language (Latin), visual arts, physical education/health, strings, band and chorus/theater.  Students learn through discovery, including having their own garden at the school, participating in community service projects and joining one or more of the many clubs and activities at the school.

Montessori principles for students feature:

  • Large blocks of uninterrupted work time
  • A variety of work options
  • Cooperative groups and peer teaching
  • Community building and student leadership
  • Multi-age grouping
  • Integration of disciplines
  • Creation and care of the environment


The school moved into its new location at the Lakewood YMCA site on Chapel Hill Road in December 2011.  The renovations made to this space created an approximately 50,000 square foot, three-story school which is LEED Silver Level Certified because of its environmentally-friendly features.  The facility will ultimately house 300 students, when the final grade is added in the 2012-13 school year.

Highlights of this building include state-of-the-art technology in classrooms, including smart boards, a Learning Commons with over 100 internet connected computers, a science lab, music room, newly renovated gym, classrooms with movable walls and tube skylights, a glass-enclosed conference room which students may use, café-style cafeteria with state of the art food service, several small common areas for student project work, and a roof top garden.

After the YMCA portion of the building re-opens in early 2012, there will be no shared areas between the school and the YMCA during school hours. There are separate entrances and parking areas for the school and the YMCA. The entire facility has camera monitoring for safety of the students.


In April 2008, Durham County Government, Durham Public Schools, and YMCA of the Triangle announced a joint venture initiating the redevelopment of the Lakewood YMCA.  Then Chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners Ellen Reckhow said, “This is a triple win for the community, the school district and the YMCA. Durham County is delighted to partner with the Durham Public Schools and Triangle YMCA to provide an exciting new educational opportunity for middle school students, while retaining the YMCA as a community focal point.”

In the fall of 2010, Lakewood Montessori opened with a sixth grade only class housed at Watts while the building renovations were completed.  With the addition of one grade level per year, Lakewood will attain its full capacity in the fall of 2012, with 300 students.

Montessori in DPS

In 1994, DPS brought the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori to the district when Morehead Elementary School was made a magnet school operating with the Montessori philosophy.  In August 2004, George Watts Elementary School became DPS’s second elementary school operating with the Montessori philosophy.


State ABC Rating :

  • 2010-11:  Did Not Meet Expectations.  No Recognition (67.7)

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