About the Montessori Leaders Collaborative
December 2017: Alexandria
The Montessori Leaders Collaborative (MLC) met in Alexandria, Virginia following the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) Symposium. The meeting included reports of ongoing MLC work as well as hearing from guest speakers. New executive directors from AMI/USA and AMS joined the group, as well as a representative from Montessori Social Justice. It was agreed that this is a pivotal time for the MLC. After five years of the Trust’s convening of the MLC, the group will now move forward developing strategy for continued convening and preparation of an agenda that continues to further the movement and model the history of inclusivity and collaboration of the MLC leaders. Significant reflection, looking back, and thinking about future impacts resulted in a celebratory moment for those who made the journey from 2011 to the present. Much gratitude was expressed by members of the MLC to Trust for Learning for their visionary thinking and funding that birthed the MLC in 2011, convening Montessori leaders.
May 2017: Washington, DC
The May 2017 meeting offered an opportunity for MLC members to hear reports and updates on current and new collaborative initiatives, including a research seminar at the MACTE Symposium in December 2017 and a possible cross-organizational listing of Montessori professional development opportunities; review the work and accomplishments of the MLC since its inception in 2011; and learn about the Trust for Learning’s vision for supporting the MLC moving forward.
MLC members visited Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School in Washington, DC and made progress towards developing a web presence for the MLC.
December 2016: Alexandria
Prior to this meeting, the MLC member organizations requested feedback from their constituents about the work that the collaborative has done to date. Participants reviewed the comments and discussed how the MLC would respond to them, as well as how to open up a more permanent line of communication with the wider Montessori community.
May 2016: St. Paul
The MLC examined the responses from a survey of teachers and administrators to identify gaps in professional development services and explore opportunities to fill those gaps. Based on the survey responses, the MLC discussed potential collaborative activities that would address the multifaceted professional development needs of the community. The group was hosted by Montessori Center of Minnesota and visited programs from Montessori Partners Serving All Children.
December 2015: Alexandria
A full year had passed since the last MLC face-to-face meeting, so this agenda was focused on sharing in-depth updates from working groups and other MLC-inspired projects. These reports included the Access Montessori initiative, multiple research projects, public policy work through the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI), accreditation updates from MACTE, Teach Montessori, and professional development for educators.
December 2014: White House Summit
On December 10th, the Trust for Learning attended the White House Summit on Early Education and committed $15 million to increase access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood education models for low-income and at-risk populations in the United States. In a collaborative strategy, Trust partners pledged this investment to dramatically increase the number of public early childhood programs using the Montessori approach to transform classrooms and support families in underserved communities.
November 2014: Denver
The MLC and the Trust for Learning met with a group of eighteen individuals working on the ground to make Montessori education more accessible in the public sector. The groups discussed key issues such as funding for early childhood programs, regulatory issues, and the supply of prepared teachers.
June 2014: Summative Evaluation Report
The Trust for Learning commissioned a summative evaluation report on the work and accomplishments of the MLC to date.
April 2014: Dallas
The MLC met with a group of grantmakers who share an interest in Montessori education and had the opportunity to ask questions and learn what makes for successful grant-funded collaborative projects. Presentations were also shared from working groups on research, birth-to-six community centers, the Teach Montessori website project, and the MLC heard from the Building the Pink Tower filmmakers. Neimand Collaborative presented key messages about messaging for Montessori education. While in Dallas, the MLC visited multiple sites of Lumin Education.
December 2013: Alexandria
Since membership of the MLC had shifted over time, the group summarized past meetings. The group reaffirmed its goal for Montessori organizations to work in communication with each other and for the MLC to continue to serve as an incubator for collaborative projects. Communication challenges, both internal and external, were a major discussion topic of this meeting.
July 2013: Portland
The MLC hosted a panel presentation at the 27th International Montessori Congress. MLC participants signed a collaborative agreement to clarify details about the purpose of the group and expectations for participation.
June 2013: Press Release
The conveners of the MLC formally announced the newly established Trust for Learning, a collective action fund designed to “give voice and support to innovative approaches in education that are grounded in research on brain development and how children naturally learn.” The Trust invited like-minded funders from across the country to work together to support Montessori with streamlined, collective strategy. Stephanie Miller was hired as Executive Director.
May 2013: Cleveland
Working groups that were established in previous meetings shared updates on their work with discussion and feedback from the full MLC. MACTE shared a database of Montessori teacher education programs within the US as well as the common competencies that are necessary for accreditation. An initial discussion was held about creating a collaborative agreement for MLC participants.
January 2013: Austin
At this MLC meeting, participants shared updates from the field and confirmed and clarified the purpose of the collaborative. In small groups, deep-dive conversations were held about birth to six family centers, national research initiatives, and the process of Montessori teacher formation. The conveners committed to engage a communications firm to help articulate a cohesive message about Montessori education.
September 2012: Washington, DC
At this meeting, several new members joined the MLC for the first time and were introduced to the work that had previously been completed. Facilitator Michael Randel led the group in envisioning an unconstrained future for Montessori education. The major topics included birth-to-six family support centers, teacher preparation, mobilizing constituents, research, communication, infrastructure, national strategic planning, and fundraising. Megan Tyne from the Montessori Australia Foundation attended and shared the collaborative work that has been underway in her country.
March 2012: San Francisco
At this second face-to-face MLC meeting, the group discussed how participants would work together, the MLC’s intended outcomes, and the potential for including additional participants. The group further explored the topics that had already been identified as potential common ground including research, mapping the community, and developing a common message or elevator speech about Montessori education. While in San Francisco, the leaders also participated in a panel presentation at the AMS national conference to share their progress with constituents.
December 2011: New York
In 2011, two grantmakers who were well-versed in both Montessori and the mainstream education reform movement were convinced that Montessori was a necessary, but absent, voice in the national education debate. With this in mind, Marianna McCall and Laurie McTeague engaged Stephanie Miller to undertake a landscape analysis of Montessori education in the US. The results of this analysis confirmed that while the Montessori movement was content rich, it was system poor.
In response to their findings, the conveners hosted leaders of six major Montessori organizations with national reach, as well as several individuals who had demonstrated willingness and capacity to work collaboratively across organizational boundaries. The agenda of the first meeting was simply a conversation, a chance to explore common ground and the question of whether the Montessori movement had an appetite for addressing its challenges and assessing its state of readiness for a bolder future.
Following this first meeting, the group named themselves the Montessori Leaders Collaborative (“MLC”) and developed a regular schedule of face-to-face and electronic meetings.