What we know.... Montessorians need to speak with one voice. In Virginia - advocacy efforts are funneled through the Virginia Montessori Association under the guidance of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (the advocacy arm of AMI-USA and AMS). MPPI is the authority on Montessori Advocacy in the United States. They do a great job in presenting the basics in 'Montessori Advocacy 101'.
Virginia is a part of the 'big picture' The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) is the keeper of the Montessori Census. This helps Montessori Schools on a National level to show that we are exist, where we are and how many of us there are. As a group we have a stronger voice.
What makes a school 'Montessori'? The leading training organizations got together to develop The Montessori Essentials, which allows us to present agreed upon criteria for a Montessori school to the world.
The Virginia Montessori Association cares about doing things right and in advocacy, so we serve as a resource to use and a platform on which to stand. All are welcome to join us in advocacy. Bring forth your skills, passions, cares and concerns. Let's move Montessori forward in Virginia. Currently there are a number of issues that require attention in Virginia.
The oversight of Early Childhood is transferring from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Education. Wewould like to see a Montessori Representative involved in this work because we care about the development, health and safety of children.
In addition to this change, Virginia Quality, our version of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) will be implemented in Virginia in the coming year(s). This is a nation wide initiative that was voluntary in Virginia and will soon be required for any school receiving public funds. The standards are here. It is important that we are a part of this movement and allow for Montessori to be seen as the quality program that it is. In Virginia, the CLASS is used as a determinant of the rating of the school or childcare center. Other states that have had QRIS imposed on them before now have had success with providing a crosswalk between Montessori and the elements of the scale used. This is a place we can start. Let's do our work, and be prepared to shine.
Teacher Licensure is an issue for us. If Montessori Teachers want to teach in Public Montessori Schools, their credentials are not recognized. They would have to do traditional teacher training as a part of their employment agreement. They also would have to write an exam to prove their worth. While we are at it, why are there so few Public Montessori Schools? Arlington is the only area that has them. How do we increase the number of Public Montessori schools and share the beauty of Montessori with more children?
Charter School Initiatives. Why is it so hard to start a Public Montessori Charter School in this state? What can we do to change this? Let's dig in and figure it out. Let's help each other.