Former Haverhill Public Schools Educator Trilla Urges Parents to Consider ‘Micro Schools’ for Pre-K

Students take part in learning activities at Haverhill’s Wildflower schools. (Courtesy photograph)

Haverhill parents with preschool aged children are encouraged to attend an information session Monday, February 12, to learn about the city’s new Wildflower micro schools, a Montessori-based alternative to public education.

As Hillview Montessori ESL teacher Graciela Trilla tells WHAV, the Wildflower model mirrors the Montessori method of self-directed, individualized learning.

“The way I came to understand the need for the micro school model in Haverhill has been greatly through my experience in urban public education, which has continued to fail our marginalized communities and our children of color and special education children,” Trilla tells WHAV. “It has institutionalized education to the point where children are practically invisible when it comes to their individual needs.”

Trilla served the Haverhill Public School community as its District Supervisor of English Learner Education until she was fired in 2016 after challenging the administration’s plans to move English Language Learners from Tilton to the Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School.

The city’s two Wildflower schools—called Zinnia and Marigold—provide a Montessori education that puts a focus on family and community.

“They’re supposed to be situated in communities of high need, low-income, so that kids and communities can grow together, rather than the idea of putting them on a bus and sending them to a campus with all the security and hundreds and hundreds of people. This is a very familial home and school connected environment. Just by nature, it is something that is reflective and considerate of the environment, individual rates of growth, freedom to explore, and at the same teaching children how to work within a community and being very collaborative and caring.”

Such an education philosophy is sorely needed in Haverhill, said Trilla.

“There’s a real police state about schools. It’s a lot of adults milling around trying to prevent things from happening. The micro schools bring things back to the family, the community and the neighborhood.”

Trilla and the Wildflower staff invite interested parents to learn about the education alternative at Monday’s open house at Trinity Church, where the Marigold school is housed. From 6 to 7 p.m., Trilla will discuss the application process and school philosophy, including tuition subsidization options.

Parents interested in enrolling their children in a Wildflower school can call 978-361-0793 for more information.