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CMA FEBRUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER
Mission
The Colorado Montessori Association is a powerful voice for Montessori advocacy providing a forum for networking and professional growth in the Montessori community. It is a highly functioning, evolving professional organization, unified in its vision, respectful, purposeful and inclusive.

Raising Caring Children

Friendship
By
Gina Abegg

"Our lives are filled with simple joys and blessings without end. But one of the greatest joys in life is to have you as a friend." - anon

Many schools carve out Valentine’s Day to celebrate friendship. This year consider making the month of February “Friendship Month.” Besides taking a moment on Feb. 13 to invite families to share food, crafts, and music, shelf work can be introduced all month. By consciously stretching the lessons of friendship over time, it is possible to expand the celebration that “we are all friends,” to include honoring our differences, and learning qualities of true friends like honesty, loyalty, and generosity.

February is a good time to make and give gifts to anyone you choose, such as family, friends, and people far away. Friendship bracelets and unique cards can find their way into the art area. Heart-shaped paper on easels lays a background for red and white becoming pink. Writing in frames can have friendship oriented phrases. Contact information about each other, friends who have left the school, and relatives can be included in an address book so gifts can be mailed. Older children can take friendship words and quotes to copy and write about. This is also a great opportunity to offer cutout hearts for the birds made out of toasted bread and birdseed.

It is also important to look at those times friendship is hard, like when someone hurts you or won’t play with you...because you are a girl, or have the wrong color of skin or are littler than they are.  Passing a “talking stick” around the group when real life brings these important lessons home gives an opportunity to help children themselves name values we seek to teach, like trust, inclusion, community, and compassion. Conflict resolution skills can be taught like sharing feelings and needs and making requests.

Here are a few helpful books that support friendship. E-mail me for a larger collection.  
 
Article Submitted by: Gina Abegg, The Compassionate Way

Testing Options for Public Montessori Schools

CMA participated in drafting and signing the following letter to elected Colorado officials intended to start a conversation about testing options for Montessori schools: 

"We write to you as a group of parents and Montessori educators concerned about the current state of standardized testing in Colorado’s public schools. While we see the value in using valid assessments and sharing those results with the taxpayers, we also see that the current menu of assessments is unsuitable and inappropriate for many of Colorado’s schools and families.   We believe our views are in alignment with many of the recommendations made by the 1202 Task Force, based on our understanding of their Final Report shared recently with the Joint Education Committees of the Colorado General Assembly. Our goal is simple: we wish to ensure that accountability is implemented in a way that gives parents and schools the opportunity to do what is right for their children, their school, and their culture.  

As a state with a strong history of supporting diversity and welcoming innovative ideas, Colorado has built an infrastructure of schools that implement a variety of curricula that is responsive to the needs of their students and the needs of the communities in which they are located. We respect that parents know what is right for their families, and our school districts have embraced the choice process as a means of empowering families and ensuring that children are enrolled in schools that meet their unique set of needs. Montessori schools, Expeditionary Learning schools, and many other distinct schools of learning are actively engaging Colorado’s children in nationally and globally recognized educational programs and yet, these same schools are hampered by participating in an assessment system that is based on a prescribed form of instruction (known as the “instructional shifts”), which either invalidates accountability data for the school or places pressure on the school to alter instruction in a way inconsistent with their intentional teaching practices.

After exploring our options, we believe that there is a solution that meets the needs of our group as well as demonstrates alignment with the expectations set forth by the legislature and the Assessment Continuum outlined by the Colorado Department of Education. There is a menu of research-based, valid assessments that are appropriately aligned with the diverse curriculum options available in Colorado’s schools. We propose to work with you to craft legislation that creates a waiver process for publicly funded schools that offer a replacement plan that measures student proficiency and growth against state standards, but in a way that is more appropriately aligned with the educational models of their classrooms. 

Currently, for Montessori schools and others, intentional instructional practices risk being sacrificed for other instructional practices promoted by PARCC assessments. It is a one way trajectory with teachers desperately trying to cover the “right content” for the tests and the right strategies for successfully answering test questions without receiving any support or reward for using the instructional practices that are appropriate for their educational philosophy. When a school is empowered to use assessment tools that are adapted to align with their educational theory, it can be an empowering process that also provides meaningful information that can be used for what our shared goal is - continuous improvement of the quality of learning in our classrooms. 

We respectfully request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this idea further. We believe that it is one that is appropriate for Colorado and will be met with bipartisan support and broad citizen support as well. Thank you for your time."



Submitted by: RB Fast, Beeline Consulting

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS:
 
CMA Directors' Network Meetings
 
February CMA Director's Network Meeting
What:       Directors' Network Meeting
Speaker:  Gina Abegg
When:      Thursday, February 19th, 2015, 1:00-3:00 pm
Where:    Montessori Academy of Colorado, 2500 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80205
Phone:    303-623-2609
Topic:      Encouraging Peace
 
Come and join other Montessori Heads of School as we network, discuss relevant issues and support one another in leading our schools.  Don't miss it!

CMA Director's Network Meeting Calendar
Click here for a copy of the 2014-2015 calendar for CMA's Director's Network Meetings.
"Montessori in the Mountains"
Conference Retreat

September 25-27, 2015
YMCA Conference Center and Resort, Estes Park, CO
Registration brochure is online at www.mecr.edu. Click on RETREAT tab.

Join Montessori teachers and administrators from Colorado and beyond for a stimulating fall weekend of professional development and personal renewal in a beautiful mountain environment. CMA will host the Welcome Reception from 7-9:00 pm on Thursday, September 24th.
  • More than 70 workshops and panel discussions.
  • Noted presenters will include: Jennifer Morgan, Louise Chawla, Betsy Coe, Marta Donohoe, Judi Bauerlein, Susan Tracy McDaniel, Tanaya Winder, and Frank Leto, as well as local favorites: Dee Coulter, Alice Renton, Donohue Shortridge, Betsy Hoke, Kathryn Ross, Sonnie McFarland, and Betsy Lockhart. 
  • Sessions for Infant through Secondary levels.
  • Up to 15 hours credit for professional development.
  • Exhibit Hall (Alison's, ETC, Laughing Star, Great Extensions, Bluestem, Big Picture Science, Montessori Foundation, and more!)
  • Schools Showcase
  • Receptions and Dinners
  • Music, Yoga, and and Dance
Register before May 24 for Early Bird rates and the best choice of workshops. 

TEACHER TIP

Love
By Illyce Kaarto

"Nature inspires both parents with love for their little ones, and this love is not something artificial…the love we find in infancy shows what kind of love should reign ideally in the grown-up world. A love able, of its own nature, to inspire; to sacrifice the dedication of  one ego to another ego, of one’s self to the service of others."  -Dr. Montessori

On a crisp winter day, we see them...parents walking their children into our Montessori schools. A stinging breeze fosters a rearrangement of a pink puffy hood around a precious little face in an effort to minimize chills to rosy cheeks. The biting snowflakes against little chubby fingers motivates the holding of hands...And even though those tiny hands are mittened up warmly...the instinct to warm them is so natural. Little children smile up at their parents...and love permeates the cold air.  

What is love? We all have our own unique thoughts, surely. The diversity of definition is, in part, what gives it such rich meaning.

One of my favorite things about the time I spend reading Dr. Montessori's writings is the feeling of renewed faith I find in her strong belief in the order of nature. Perhaps you have observed this last time you were in the woods...the placement of the pine boughs so evenly, the ripples in the flow of the creek so ordered, the dripping of the icicles so perfectly timed. The order of nature is beautifully undeniable if you truly observe. It absolutely exists. It is everywhere. Nature gives us everything we need if we see it...if we listen to it.  

This inherent order of nature, Dr. Montessori believed, will be revealed if we let it. If we let it!  

She observed this order innately in the children...and she knew they would eventually reveal it if we simply follow their individual interests and true beings. She saw it in the child who discovers deep calm found by having the freedom to pour water repeatedly to satisfaction, in the sparkling eyes of the child happily harvesting homegrown tomatoes to feed a hungry community, and in the child who weekly serves a warm bowl of soup to...and chats with...another human being who has been out alone in the cold for too long. When children find this order in themselves, it spreads to us all.

What's funny is that, if you observe adults...you might see this same thing. The flow. The joy and love that comes from taking the time to just be...and to find what you love to do. 

And when we let ourselves, our children, and others reveal this natural order...it reveals the innate natural love between people Dr. Montessori speaks of. The love given by nature that we can see as parents walk with their children into our Montessori schools on a cold and brilliant winter day. Observing that natural love can warm even the bitterest winter day, can't it? 

Dr. Montessori states that this love is 'the love that should reign ideally in the grown up world". Can you imagine?

So...the question is...how can we, as Montessorians, enable the revealing of the order of the child's nature so this love can shine? 

Of course, each of us will have our unique answers in our unique environments. I wonder, though, if the core would be the same? Would it involve heeding Dr. Montessori's legacy of having unwavering and true faith in each child? Would it mean deeply connecting with them and guiding them in revealing their cosmic task? Or would it be simply letting them find stillness? Or simplicity? Or nature? Would this help us all to reveal our love?

I wonder what the consequences of that would be? I wonder if then, the love Dr. Montessori spoke of would reign the world as she thought it should?

Just imagine if it could..

Article Submitted By: Illyce Kaarto, Montessori Children's House of Denver

Growth of Public Montessori in the United States, 1975-2014

Courtesy of National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (2014), West Hartford, CT
 
The last fifteen years have witnessed a surge of interest in Montessori education. This interest is evident in a rise in research on Montessori, increased mainstream press, and the opening of new Montessori schools. This growth in Montessori programs is evident not just in the private but also in the public sector, where we estimate that 290 new public Montessori programs have opened since 2000. [1]  
 

Using a sample of all public schools reported in the 1986-2012 National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) database, the 1993 NAMTA Montessori Public Schools Consortium Directory, crosschecked with the 2013-2014 USA Montessori Census, we have identified 635 public Montessori school programs that have opened since 1975, including 482 public Montessori schools currently operating. [2]

As the figure above illustrates, during the same period, 153 public Montessori programs were moved to other school sites or were closed entirely. Our data shows that 42% were programs consolidated to other schools in the same city, 35% were district schools, 16% were charter schools, and 6% were federally and state-funded early childhood centers. Although further research is needed to better understand the reasons behind these closures, some of these closures coincided with the ending of court ordered desegregation programs. In other cases, programs were ended due to a shortage of teachers or a lack of support by principals and Superintendents. This points to the continued need for a pipeline of publicly certified Montessori trained teachers, and continued engagement of principals, superintendents, and state and national stakeholders. 

Growth in both charter and district/magnet schools

In the last 15 years, the growth of public Montessori programs has been roughly even between charter and district/magnet schools.  States with the highest numbers of public Montessori schools are: South Carolina, California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Minnesota. Public Montessori has been growing solidly around the country. 

Of the 290 new programs since 2000, 122 operate as schools within larger schools.  This option is particularly popular in South Carolina, where 83% of all Montessori programs function inside larger schools. Other new schools, such as Alighieri Montessori in Boston and Spokane Montessori in Spokane started as schools-within-schools before moving to their own buildings. Approximately 82% of the 168 freestanding programs to open since 2000 are charters. (To view a complete map of US public Montessori programs accounted for on the 2013-2014 USA Montessori Census or to add your school’s data to the censusclick here. )

Historical trends: Four waves of intense interest and growth

The growth of Montessori education in the public sector mirrors the trajectory of the movement as a whole.  We identify four distinct waves of interest in Montessori education, each corresponding to equally distinct political and social climates effecting the development of educational culture.

Phase 1 began in the second decade of the 20th century, with programs that were either fully public or designed specifically to serve high need populations. In 1913, Katherine Moore, opened a public Montessori school in Los Angeles; and in 1915, a free Montessori program in one of New York’s new model open-air tenements was developed through the backing of New York socialite and reformer Alva Vanderbilt.[3]

By the 1960’s, a second wave of interest in Montessori began first in affluent communities. Catalyzed by a new generation of middle-class college-educated mothers seeking “the best” for the children, a rapid expansion of independent Montessori schools quickly extended into the era’s War on Poverty.  Montessori was recognized as an effective model for application in Head Start, Get Start and other poverty-ameliorating programs.[4]

Beginning in 1975, the scope of Montessori in the public sector expanded as the War on Poverty shifted its focus to desegregation. Cities seeking voluntary methods of desegregating schools developed Montessori magnet schools, first in Cincinnati, and then in other urban systems, most notably Milwaukee and Kansas City.

As the rapid expansion of public Montessori indicates, we are currently experiencing a fourth wave of intense interest in and corresponding growth of Montessori as an educational approach. Beginning with the introduction of charter schools in the early 1990’s, along with the expansion of choice options in many urban districts, a growing community of parents and educators seeking alternatives to conventional public schooling continues to fuel exponential growth in the public Montessori sector.[5]

Colorado Montessorians unite! Support Montessori advocacy in Colorado while also enjoying the benefits of networking, community forums and discounts on events, including great speakers like David Kahn, Jackie Cossentino, Tim Seldin and Phil Gang!  
 
Without members like you, CMA's work to ensure Montessori training for QRIS quality raters, advocacy for testing options for public Montessori schools, and the passing of House Bill 1276 allowing breakable waivers for Montessori schools wouldn't be possible...
 
If you aren't already a member, click here to sign up now. 
ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Member Schools can now sport the CMA "Member Program" Logo on their websites!
If you are a CMA member school or organization in good standing, it’s worth sharing that information!   That you have chosen to partner with other Montessori programs in the state gives additional credibility to not only your school, but Montessori education in general.
 
You are invited to add this “CMA Member Program” logo to your website, or use it in print publications.  We ask that you complete a “CMA Logo Use Application Form”, and send a signed copy to CMA via email to: coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com. Upon receipt of a signed agreement, we will respond to your email with a digital version of the program member logo shown below for your use.  
 
JOB POSTINGS
Lead Teachers
Montessori Children's House of Denver
Denver, CO

Position Description

MCHD is currently accepting applications from Montessori Certified Lead Teachers for the 2015-2016 School Year. Apply now for an opportunity to work within the MCHD community!

Position Requirements
Montessori Certification through a MACTE accredited teacher training program. BA and 2 or more years of lead teaching experience preferred, but not required. Click here for more information about the Montessori Children's House of Denver.
 
Start Date: August 2015
 
Contact
Please email or fax resume to Attn: Michelle O'Donoghue, Executive Director. 
Email: excdirector@mchdenver.org Fax: 303-355-8629  Phone: 303-322-8324 x 121
***************************************************************************************************************
If you have a position that you would like to see posted in the CMA newsletter, please contact us with your position information at:

coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com 


Cost:  $35.00 per month for Member Schools, $75.00 per month for Non-Member Schools. 

Position posting deadline is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.

To become a CMA member school, click here.
CMA NEEDS YOU!
 
Get Involved with CMA... 
Articles & Images Needed - Submission deadline: the 3rd Friday of each month.
  • Are you a published author or photographer? Would you like to be? Submit your original work to CMA by the 3rd Friday of each month with the possibility of having your photographs and/or article selected for one of the future newsletters. Submit photographs and articles for consideration to CMA at coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com with a copy of your article and some details about yourself. (CMA reserves the right to edit all material prior to publication). 
Be a member!
  • If you aren't already, sign up to become a member of the Colorado Montessori Association, by clicking here.  
  • If you are already a member, don't forget to renew your membership now!
POINTS OF INTEREST
 
Terrariums
From Pinterest and Montessori Works Blog
I love this landform booklet idea...
Explore Your Sense of Smell
From Pinterest and Housing a Forest
All About My Feelings: Identifying Emotions with Self Portraits from Still Playing School
Rainbow Ice Tower
From Pinterest and Fun at Home with Kids
Clouds Classified by Altitude
 
CMA Board of Directors
 
Kathryn Ross - President
RB Fast - Vice President

Katy Myers - Treasurer
Rachel Averch - Secretary
Sheila Wolfe
Lyn Mead
Karen Farquharson
Jim Barrett
Martha Teien
Lionel Espanoza

February Board Meeting:

February 24, 2015 * 4:00-6:00 pm
Denver Montessori High School (DMHS)


Contact us by e*mail
Join CMA Today!

Member Benefits:

  • Two program administrators are enrolled at no extra charge.
  • Lead teachers receive a $10 discount on membership.
  • Discounts on admission to CMA sponsored professional development events.
  • Featured on CMA website with a link to the school’s website.
  • $40 discount on job advertisements in the CMA newsletter.
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Would you like to have an article you have written published, or do you have any great photos or noteworthy events that you would like to share in the CMA Newsletter?  If so, please e*mail CMA! The deadline for newsletter submitting is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.
Edited by: Katie O'Neill