News Type: Info/Resources About Current Events

Social Justice Webinar Series

AMI/USA is excited to learn alongside our community through a series of four free webinars focusing on issues of race, bias and injustice through a Montessori lens. Listen, learn, share and connect with experts and peers as we work to make Montessori spaces more inclusive and accessible.  All funds raised will support the work of the Black Montessori Education Fund (BMEF). Donate Today: US $50 US $100 US $150 Other Amount Mark your calendars! Monday, September 21 • 7-9pm EDT: De-Centering Whiteness in Montessori Spaces Speakers: Katie Kitchens, Mara Matteson, and Colleen Wilkinson White community members are invited to attend this event prior to attending the rest of the events in the series. Webinars will be recorded for later viewing. Sunday, September 27 • 4-6pm EDT: Remembering Indigenous Voices in the Classroom Speaker: Trisha Moquino Monday, November 2 • 7pm EST: The Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Administrator  Speaker: Amelia Allen Sherwood Sunday, November 15 • 4pm EST: Preparing Ourselves Spiritually and Mentally for Revolutionary Social Change  Speaker: Sheri Bishop

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Fall 2020 Online Conference

Montessori Leadership for Tumultuous Times: Embracing Our Cosmic Task in Support of Universal Solidarity OCT 9 – 11, 2020 INTRODUCTION “Human Solidarity in Time and Space” (San Remo Lecture II, 1949) is a rallying call for Montessori school leaders, administrators and educators to pursue a vision of inclusivity, interdependence and the common good. Dr Montessori reminds us that we can draw on the timeless nature of “human solidarity, rooted in a distant past and extending its branches towards eternity” to provide leadership in a polarized and unequal society. This weekend of virtual sessions will provide expert guidance on issues of identity, diversity and culture, and provide new insights for those who are committed to building schools and communities where all feel welcome. To register, click here!

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Webinar recording available & bonus audio!

If you missed our March 26 webinar with Jesse McCarthy and Karin Ann, the recording is available for purchase, including bonus audio in which both presenters answer additional questions that were posed by attendees during the live webinar. Jesse and Karin took the opportunity to augment the parent communication focus of the original webinar by specifically addressing school concerns during this difficult time. Karin shared how The International Montessori School has been providing distance learning opportunities for their students in Hong Kong.

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COVID-19 Resources

With the spread of COVID-19 impacting our communities, AMI/USA is sharing resources (below) to ensure that everyone is supported during this unique crisis. We understand that the situation, challenges, and questions are changing with what seems like each passing moment, so we are learning with the rest of the country about how to move forward together. Much of what you see below is a result of collaborative work being done with other organizations, schools, and training centers. Our commitment is to mutual support and information sharing. As Canadian film director, Deborah Day once said: “Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” School update: Due to the continued uncertainty around COVID-19, all remaining AMI/USA school consultations scheduled for the 19-20 school year have been cancelled. We look forward to serving those schools during the 20-21 school year. We will continually be updating this page, but please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you don’t see what you need or if you have found a resource that might be useful to others. Check our Facebook page for upcoming distance learning opportunities for school staff and parents. Visit our COVID-19 Resources Page

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Hurricane Recovery Funds Distributed

The Relief Fund established in the name of the four United States AMI affiliates to help schools who were located in the path of the recent hurricanes officially closed Sunday, October 15th.  Since that time the fund has received checks for over $3000 more in donations.  Notably, one of those was from a school fundraising effort championed by the students that netted over $3000.  There were several other donations received as a result of student fundraising – Montessori kids know how to get it done! The current amount in the relief fund is over $20,000.  Congratulations to your organization and its members for supporting such a worthwhile effort.  I will be able to distribute significant amounts to schools that were hit very hard by the storms.  At least one is still working to get back in their space having also lost most of their materials.  Probably the hardest hit was the school in the Virgin Islands.  Happily when I last spoke to them they were getting ready to re-open.  The remainder of the schools either lost materials and furniture or had damage to their buildings. At least one was hoping to be able to support some families so that they can remain in school.  The schools that will be receiving a check from the fund are (in no order):  Bay Colony Montessori, Nederlands Montessori, St Catherine’s Montessori, the Islamic Academy, South Florida Montessori Academy, Clearlake Montessori, and the Virgin Islands Montessori School. They are very grateful for the support. In addition, I worked closely with Dr. Betsy Coe in Houston to help connect many schools with other schools, individuals and businesses to get them help.  Dr. Coe collected both materials and care kits (put together by schools) and distributed them as we learned about their needs.  It was so gratifying to hear from the many schools who couldn’t give a cash donation but perhaps had materials or furniture they were willing to share. We also heard from companies willing to help either with donations or discounts.  Those companies were Maitri Learning, Miss Ronda’s Readers, and Montessori Woods (furniture).  I have thanked them all for their generosity. I have just recently received a contact from Puerto Rico who works with public schools there who are working to become Montessori programs.  Anticipating that schools there would need help, I put aside funds so that we could help when we were finally able to connect.  There are 50 public schools who are working towards implementing Montessori in their schools. I am in contact with a representative of an organization that supports these schools to work out a plan to get funds to them. This was a great effort on so many fronts and brought together not only the US Affiliates but also both AMI and AMS.  It was a pleasure working with Dr. Coe and I appreciate all her efforts.  As we stated originally, the criteria for receiving assistance was need, not affiliation.  Thank you all for your support. Warm Regards, Jan Deason […]

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Helping Montessori Schools in Hurricane Areas

Over this past weekend, many of our Montessori schools, members, and families were impacted by Hurricane Irma in Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and along the Southeast coast.   This comes just weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the SE Texas region.  In order to provide financial support to the entire Montessori community affected by these recent disasters, the AMI Affiliates are expanding the Montessori Harvey Relief Fund to coordinate funds and resources. The PayPal account established following Hurricane Harvey is still open.  We thank those of you who have donated already, and hope that those of you yet to donate will help us to support those schools and community members now rebuilding following Hurricane Irma.  You may donate using the link below. Montessori Hurricane Relief Fund MAA continues to coordinate the collection of funds into this designated account to be distributed to schools once the storm passes and the damage is assessed.  The AMI Affiliates will act in good faith to use these funds to provide substantive support to as many Montessori school communities as possible. Specific amounts will be determined based on funds available, individual school needs and the larger identified needs of Montessori schools in the Houston area, Florida, the USVI, and other states affected by the hurricane.  We will continue to update you once we determine the process of how and to whom funds will be distributed. If you are aware of schools impacted by the storms, please contact Jan Deason.  She is a past MAA board member and will be coordinating our efforts. Please contact Michele Shane if you have any questions.     AMI/USA                  AMI-EAA                    MAA                      NAMTA Alyssa Schwartz        Allyson Creel            Michele Shane            David Kahn Gretchen Hall            Wendy Tye               James Moudry           Jacquie Maughan

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Letter Regarding Recent Events

Dear AMI/USA Community, Just three weeks ago we came together as a global movement to share Pathway to Peace:  Montessori Education for Social Change.  In the short time since the International Montessori Congress in Prague, we have seen violence and hatred erupt at home and abroad.  The events of the past week reinforce the importance of the work each of you does to create peace in your communities.  As Dr. Maria Montessori wrote, “When individuals develop normally, they plainly feel a love not only for things, but for all living creatures.  This love is not something that was taught; it is the natural result of leading the right kind of life.  …  Love is not the cause but the effect of the normal development of the individual.”  The Montessori education we provide for children can and will change the world, but we must also work together to combat the hate that has emerged. AMI/USA stands with each of you who takes peace education to heart and supports our objective of promoting global peace, human development, and human rights through the application of Montessori principles.  We will not tolerate hatred, anti-Semitism, racism, or fascism in our communities.  May we strive, together, to embody the “genuine qualities” that Dr. Montessori wrote would emerge in the child. As we embark on a new school year, we urge you to make use of the resources available to discuss the events in Charlottesville with the children in your environments – when appropriate.  We do this work because we believe it can make a difference for children, and now is the time to act on this belief.  As we saw in Prague, Montessori education is a pathway to peace.  We look forward to traveling that path with you. “We have reason to believe that all mankind may one day become better.” Yours, Alyssa Schwartz Interim Executive Director On behalf of the AMI/USA Board of Directors

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MPPI Holds 2nd State Advocacy Retreat

The Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a joint collaboration of AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society, conducted its second State Advocacy Retreat in Washington DC this past month. Seventy-five Montessorians from 27 states and 8 national organizations, including the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, Montessori Educational Programs International, Montessori for Social Justice, and the Montessori Administrators Association among others, came together to network and share resources and ideas. Participants focused on a wide range of policy issues including QRIS and rating instruments, curriculum alignment, and teacher credentialing at both early childhood and K-12 levels, and gained skills in strategic planning, lobbying, and publicity. In addition to working together on these topics, Retreat attendees heard from Secretary John King of the US Department of Education (click here to see his video!) and Danny Carlson, from the National Governors Association. As the Montessori Public Policy Initiative begins initiating its strategic plan, under the leadership of Interim Director Charis Sharp, opportunities to work together in person underscore the importance of this work.

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Exciting New Events at the Refresher Course

We are excited to be offering some new activities at the 2017 Refresher Course & Workshops that will offer participants unique opportunities for networking, getting involved in advocacy efforts, and taking care of mental and physical health during this busy and productive weekend! More details will be available in the digital brochure, to be released next month. Morning Yoga Classes Primary teacher and certified Yoga instructor, Sarah Dosmann, will be leading early morning Yoga sessions from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. in the hotel on Saturday & Sunday to help fellow participants become focused and centered in anticipation of the busy day ahead. State Advocacy Gathering Join Montessori advocates from around the country at the bar for an informal discussion and gathering.  Leaders from the Montessori Public Policy Initiative and representatives of state advocacy groups will be on hand to share insights and stories from their important work protecting authentic Montessori. Friday, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Parent-Infant Class For the first time, a parent-infant class will be offered Saturday morning from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Come observe a parent-infant class in session and have an opportunity to speak with A to I trained guides about how to organize parent-infant classes and the benefits for your school School Tours We are happy to announce that local school tours are back this year. We will be touring local AMI schools from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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Parents’ Workshop in Long Beach!

AMI/USA is currently accepting registrations for the Parents’ Workshop, a part of the annual Refresher Course & Workshops!  This one-day workshop offers an opportunity for parents to learn from an experienced Montessorian about how they can support their children at home.  Please click on the flyer for more information and click here to register!

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MPPI Holds First Ever State Advocacy Retreat

The Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a joint collaboration of AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society, brought together 80 Montessorians from 26 states for the first ever MPPI State Advocacy Retreat this October 25-27 in Washington, DC.  The Retreat participants learned from national education figures, learned from each other’s successes and challenges, and had an opportunity to make a commitment to continued work in their states. For more information, or to share this with others in your community, please click here.

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MACTE Accredited Training Approved for Wisconsin State Teacher Licensure

The Wisconsin Montessori Association, WMA, has successfully secured an alternative Montessori teacher-licensing track. WMA sponsored this legislation by hiring a lobbyist, Sarah Archibald, former legislative aide to Senator Luther Olsen. Sarah, along with Phil Dosmann, former WMA Board Treasurer and Montessori consultant for WMA, met with key legislators to advance this legislation. Wisconsin becomes one of a handful of states, including Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina, that recognize a credential from a MACTE-accredited Montessori teacher training for a state-licensing pathway. The Wisconsin legislation allows a graduate from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, MACTE, to apply for a Wisconsin state teaching license to teach in a public or charter Montessori school. Montessori trained teachers who complete a rigorous MACTE-accredited teacher training program that includes lectures, practicums, and student teaching will be eligible. Trained Montessori teachers will need to complete the following requirements: a.) hold a bachelor’s degree, b.) complete a three credit course in special education, c.) earn a passing score on any standardized examinations required by the State Superintendent for a license to teach the same education levels and subjects issued in accordance with existing state law regarding teacher license, including an examination identical to the foundations for reading test administered in 2012 as part of the Massachusetts tests for educator licensures. These tests will include the Praxis I and II.  Candidates will also be assigned a mentor teacher who is an experienced Montessori trained teacher during their first year in order to support their professional development in preparation for meeting the requirements for a professional educator license. Additional details will be forthcoming once WMA and DPI representatives meet to define the requirements stipulated in this legislation. For more information regarding MACTE and MACTE accredited teacher education programs, please contact www.macte.org. –Phil Dosmann On behalf of the Wisconsin Montessori Association

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Nepal Earthquake Relief

Donate to Relief Efforts in Nepal Dr. Montessori wrote, “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” On Saturday, April 25, more than 4,000 individuals lost their lives and countless more were injured or displaced in a massive earthquake in Nepal. It is at these times that the interconnectedness of the world that Dr. Montessori spoke of becomes ever more meaningful. AMI/USA knows that many schools and classrooms are looking for ways to bring safety and security to the children and people of Nepal. We invite teachers, schools, and Montessorians across the country to donate what they can to help with recovery efforts in South Asia. Please make your tax-deductible donation to the Red Cross here. Many organizations are coordinating relief efforts in Nepal: please click here for a longer list of organizations soliciting donations.

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Register for the 2015 Public Montessori Unconference

Montessori for Social Justice, an independent group of Montessorians dedicated to public Montessori education, will be hosting its second Public Montessori Unconference in Salt Lake City this June.  The gathering, held June 26-27, will be an opportunity for those involved in and interested in Montessori in the public sector to network, strategize, and share the successes and challenges of working in a diverse area of education. Also during the Unconference, the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) will present a new workshop on Assessment and Montessori. Thanks to the generosity of the Trust for Learning, participation in the NCMPS workshop will cost a mere $15 (originally a $135 fee).  Please click here to learn more about the 2015 Public Montessori Unconference, and click here to register.

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