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George Watts Montessori Elementary School

George Watts logo

Type of organization:  Public Elementary Magnet School (Durham Public Schools)

Ages served: K-5

Address: 700 Watts Street, Durham, NC 27701

School website
PTA website

9 min walk from the West Duke building on East Campus

Entering the building

About the school

George Watts is a Durham Public Schools Magnet, which means that all students are selected through a lottery. The school is based on the Montessori system. From the school page:

The Montessori model assumes that all children want to learn and respects the individual’s style and pace of learning. Each student is provided with his own work plan that corresponds to his academic needs. Students are provided time to master a concept, building self-confidence.  Classroom communities operate on the principle of freedom within limits, translating into respect for self, others and the environment. These principles are critical aspects of the Montessori curriculum.

Classes are not divided by grade, but into three sections:

  • Pre-K-K (4-6yo)
  • Lower Elementary, grades 1-3 (6-9yo)
  • Upper Elementary, grades 4-5 (9-11yo)

Service-learning students with Duke Center for Documentary Studies have been capturing stories at the school since 2019. Take a look at “Wonder of Watts” here!

Our partner at George Watts

Useful information

Christine Crowley

Volunteer coordinator

Christine will be the main contact and resource for all volunteers.

Students who volunteer at George Watts are asked not to write or speak the names of the children they work with outside of the school building. In any reflections or discussions, please use a pseudonym or an initial.

Sample volunteer tasks

  • Assisting students with designing builds
  • ¬†helping students around classroom as needed
  • Helping students with builds.
  • Asked L to write out various sentences having to do with Mozart since the class was studying him earlier this week. Then L drew several pictures of Mozart.¬†
  • I worked on literacy with students by completing puzzles and sounds out different letters and words. After that we did other grammar, writing, spelling, and reading exercises.
  • I worked with L on the alphabet and connecting the correct sounds to letters!
  • I worked with L on matching words to pictures. After she made the matches, she wrote down all of the words on a separate sheet of paper. Then we had a movement break before continuing work in her grammar book!
  • Practiced drawing letters, learning their sounds and rhyming.
  • Read-aloud, new vocabulary and letter sounds.
  • Reading picture books, rhyming words.
  • Worked with L on her literacy and alphabet skills by writing out short words based on images (ex: the bat was on the hat).
  • Worksheets about colors and some 3 letter words (cat, can, rat, man etc.)
  • I worked with L with her number orders. To make this a more fun and engaging activity we made a calendar for the month of November where she had to write all of the numbers for the days. Then we worked on the alphabet and sounds of letters together by completing various grammar worksheets!
  • Continued working through their worksheets and finished by reading some books¬†together.
  • In/on and pushing phonemes
  • Letter recognition, phonics tutoring, picture book reading
  • Letter sounds in 3-phoneme CVC words,¬†handwriting.
  • Literacy–letter sounds, CVC vocabulary, and sentence formation
  • Met with student I will be working with for the semester; worked on talking about self and family, matching initial letter sounds to pictures, and reading a picture book.
  • I worked with L on her writing, literacy, and alphabet. I had her write out sentences based on a variety of images. L really homed in on her “a” and “t” which she had trouble with during the previous week!
  • CVC word workbook pages