U.S. Summit Stewarding Council Communiqué
February 17, 2014 / Houston, Texas
The Stewarding Council met at the 2014 Refresher Course. At this meeting the Council took the time to re-ground in its mission and key goals identified as outcomes of the Summit. We also discussed the vision of future work and adopted several action items.
Key topics discussed
A. Unifying Purpose
The group reiterated its tremendous respect for the work of the Summit.
Kay Baker has been leading the discussion about the Stewarding Council’s (SC) main purpose. Consensus is growing around the idea that the US needs to double the number of children in quality AMI Montessori schools/programs over the next x number of years. Those responsible for this initiative are the affiliates, their members, as well as all interested parties in Montessori.
The US affiliates and the other Stewarding Council members present re-stated the value of collaborating with one another and reaching out to all those interested in spreading Montessori to work together at local and global levels. Montessori at national leadership level and Montessori grassroots need to be in communication with one another to effect this unifying purpose.
Lynne Lawrence suggested that the US is in the correct position to both become a vision and model for the rest of the world in how to accomplish this purpose as the US has the most established, wide-spread Montessori practice. The effort to identify this goal, develop objectives, and mobilize forces will become a blueprint for how other countries can develop organizational structures for individual and group collaboration.
The members of the Council discussed the need to better communicate what efforts are underway, create opportunities for networking, and develop opportunities for new ideas and initiatives from the Montessori grassroots in the United States.
The group reviewed AMI strategic plan and how the SC and “Montessori grassroots” can take up initiatives and move expansion of quality Montessori in the US forward.
• AMI Strategic Plan – This structure provides Summit workers with goals and objectives around which specific work may be accomplished. The three pillars of AMI’s strategic plan are:
- Legacy (includes work related to research and development)
- Capacity (includes work related to improving training, teacher support, and expanding infrastructure/schools)
- Outreach (includes work with diverse populations, parent and family support, and Educateurs san Frontieres.
• Envisioning the Future – Work continued envisioning a compelling future for AMI in the USA. To assist in this process a 20-year goal of doubling the number of children served through Montessori programs was discussed. Group discussions were held in the following five areas.
20 years from now, in an ideal world, without constraints and history, what we would design as the optimal presence for AMI in the USA:
- Services we would provide
- Impact we would have
- Possible income streams and enterprises
- Departments/Divisions we would have
- Staff we would employ
• Work that has Begun – There are projects being undertaken on a variety of fronts by the SC growing out of needs identified in Affiliate meetings and through the Summit.
Everyone interested in Montessori in the US is invited and encouraged to participate in these areas of work. You may contact anyone in the SC to let us know of your interest and we will enable you to network with others interested in the work.
Areas of Work include:
1. Improving the Capacity of Training Centers in the US.
This work is in response to demand for quality teacher training with the goals of coordinating courses, study and recommendations related to logistical operations, and developing the relationship between US training centers and states for the purposes of accreditation and certification.
Work Begun: Training centers are in the process of being surveyed and interviewed on a variety of fronts. AMI/USA is working with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Executive MBA Program in developing tools to support AMI training in the US. Optimizing search engine capabilities is being funded in an effort to increase training center traffic. People are needed to coordinate efforts and to develop extensive plans to leave “no empty seats” in training centers by networking with university schools of education and others.
To join contact: Alison Awes – Trainer / Jennifer Davidson – MNW / Virginia McHugh Goodwin – AMI/USA
2. Montessori Outcomes
A collective and comprehensive effort to document guidelines and processes related to records, reports, curricula, measurement, and assessment.
Work Begun: Chris and Jacquie are collecting and distilling information from across the Montessori spectrum (public, private, charter, training centers, affiliates, etc.). They are at work developing observable outcomes found at the end of each developmental stage. They have developed a two year timeline and will field test drafts. This group is looking for researchers who can support developing, distributing, collecting, and synthesizing data to create a usable document to be used across the US.
To join contact: Jacquie Maughan-NAMTA / Chris Trostel- EAA
3. Adolescent Development
Goals include continued articulation of curriculum, outcomes, and social orientation at adolescent level; and support and expansion of orientation of adolescent practitioners.
Work Begun: Work is underway to develop an adolescent high school diploma, a rural 12-18 program, implementation in the public sector. Other goals include developing a system of trainers and expanding training outside of North America.
To join contact: Jacquie Maughan-NAMTA / David Kahn – NAMTA /
4. School Recognition
Goals include study of school accreditation processes, creating systems reflecting Montessori standards and external best practices, and working in concert with AMI as it develops international standards of quality.
Work Begun:. MAA and AMI-USA have also conducted a survey about the school recognition process. .. Strengthening connections between schools and training centers needs development. AMI will need to approve the final process. More data collection is needed.
To join contact: Bonnie Beste, Viginia McHugh – AMI-USA / Sue Pritzker-MAA / Alison Awes – Trainer / Kathy Minardi – MAA /
To affirm and expand AMI’s commitment to outreach to diverse communities and families through EsF, the Montessori Institute for the Science of Peace, and other local and global efforts that bring Montessori to underserved communities. This is huge work and enormous potential in this area.
Work Begun: Kathi Minardi will work on AMI becoming a signatory on the UN Rights of the Child. Jacquie Maughan is developing the Cycles in Nature program where schools and communities join to connect to the natural world, effect change in local communities, and impact international fundraising for the MISP progect.
To join contact: Kathi Minardi – MAA / Jacquie Maughan – NAMTA /
Goals include maintaining connection and coordination between our selves and with one another, as well as with potential partners, advocates, agencies, and funders.
Work Begun: The affiliates agreed to link the SC website to their websites. Megan and Chris are at work with ideas for a simple website where connections, collaboration, and communication about all the Summit work can be shared. Ideas and volunteers for this effort are needed, especially in the areas of keeping information up-to-date and supporting networking requests. The possibility of adding a blog function and the need for a person to supervise and maintain it is needed.
To join contact: Megan Tyne – AMI / Chris Trostel – EAA /Adam Lewis – AMI-USA
Two more groups were added at this meeting of the SC.
The intent is to keep Montessori in the US as a quality, authentic experience while inventing and developing creative and fresh aspects and elements to the work, supporting young and enthusiastic teachers and friends of Montessori.
To join contact: Kathleen Guinan – Crossways Montessori
8. Funding and Enterprise
The goals are to swiftly locate – while working toward sustaining – funders to leverage our collective work to support the initiatives identified within this document and others as they develop.
To join contact: Kathleen Guinan – Crossways Montessori / Molly O’Shaughnessy – trainer / Ly Thompson – Parent / Amanda Hallbach – Alumni /
D. Action Items
• The SC has agreed to continue a visioning process toward meeting our unifying purpose/expanding quality Montessori in the US.
• The SC agreed to join the affiliates in adopting the above 8 areas of work to focus upon.
• The SC agreed to volunteer our leadership to the above committees and objectives while seeking and welcoming anyone interested in furthering the goals of the work.
• With AMI’s support, a website for communication purposes will be developed.