By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

You know by now that I support public Montessori, a method that has been responsible for some of the highest achieving schools in MPS.

(Note: I say "a" method, not "the" method in response to some talkbacks on my commentary recently on the opening of the new Howard Avenue Montessori School. There are other methods, too, that are doing good things – one's mind immediately jumps to the language immersion schools and the IB programs as examples.)

Today, I visited the former Juneau High School on 64th and Mount Vernon (sorta midway between Maxie's Southern Comfort and Balistreri's Bluemound Inn, for you dining fans out there), and got a tour of MacDowell Montessori from the K3-12 school's principal Andrea Corona.

In addition to the beautiful 1930s moderne building designed by Van Ryn & DeGelleke – my Facebook friends will get to see (or suffer through) most of the photos I took, and I'm posting a few here, too – I had a good chat with Corona, who is still overseeing the move over the summer from MacDowell's previous location at 17th and Highland.

What surprised me most is that the newly relocated school has seats available. Yes, folks, if you're looking for a great public Montessori school option for this year – school starts one week from today – MacDowell has openings at most grade levels. And, get this parents, there will be an on-site day care option for the half-day kids (color me jealous)!

Principal Phil Dosmann tells me there are a few K4 seats open at the new Howard Avenue Montessori, too. They also offer after-school care for half-day kids.

MacDowell was MPS' first traditional public Montessori, though Highland Community School – chartered through MPS – is older still. It's got some of the best veteran teachers in the system and there's also a crop of talented younger teachers, too. Some of them made the move to MacDowell when the Montessori High School (which had been at Juneau, too) closed in June.

MacDowell will be a unique option among Montessori elementaries. Because it is located in a building designed as a high school, there are large classrooms, a sprawling library, a giant auditorium and gym, and plenty of green playfields adjacent.

Today, most teachers were hard at work today readying their rooms, a task made more difficult than normal thanks to the move. Ones who were close to ready were helping others get their rooms together, too.

The mood was cheery, with the hopes that accompany the approach of a new school year, and it was a visit that reminded me how much I love the atmosphere of a good school.

If you're curious, call the school (414-935-1400), meet Corona and her teachers, see the building. Tell her I sent you.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.