Thursday, January 7, 2016


It's that time of year. The one where we list all of things we'd like to accomplish in the New Year. My strategy is to make it a bold list so that even if I make it half way, there will be plenty to talk about by the end.
When I reflect on 2015 at Loyola's Center for Montessori Education, there were a number of notable accomplishments that make me proud of the work that got done. Although the initial list we tried to tick off was long and likely ... overly ambitious, by the end, I was very proud of the landmarks we achieved.

Here's the Top 10.
  1.  The Center added Montessori Northwest's new A to I and Primary trainings in San Francisco to our list of partner locations. I wish I could explain all of the internal compliance and certification processes that underlay the addition of a new site... but if you're like me, you'd rather see the baby than hear about the delivery. Suffice it to say, it took a team and we are thrilled to be adding more students to our graduate program from across the country.
  2. And we didn't stop there - in 2015 we also welcomed the Southwest Institute for Montessori Studies in Phoenix, Arizona. The family continues to grow!
  3. One Hundred Montessori Teachers completed their M.Ed. in Montessori Education this summer. That's one hundred new leaders of our movement that will serve thousands of Montessori Students in the coming years. Ultimately - that's what its all about.
  4. One Hundred New Montessori Teachers began the program in 2015. The journey began anew for so many teachers in so many destinations. I am humbled by the talented young teachers who chose our program.
  5.  This summer Loyola recognized the Inclusive Education course in San Diego as 10 Continuing Education Units from the University; this assists all teachers in showing recognized progress of their continued Professional Growth. This model of recognizing professional learning activities is one we would like to share throughout our Network of Training Partners in the future.
  6. I love all Montessori Associations. They all have a place at my table. However I do acknowledge that the activities of the Center for Montessori Education at Loyola would not be possible without our strong association with AMI and AMI USA. AMI is our True North. All of our training partners have been and will continue to be AMI affiliated programs. Our faculty at the Washington Montessori Institute and our affiliates across the county are a veritable all star cast of the Leadership within the AMI community and indeed the global Montessori movement. In fact, many of our faculty completed their M.Ed. degrees at Loyola. They make us proud everyday. To all of our faculty a tremendous thank you and a debt of gratitude for all you do. I'll see you all in Los Angeles in February.
  7. 2015 marked the first of a now annual speaker series on campus hosted by the Center for Montessori Education. Our first speaker was Laura Shaw who demystified and debunked a number of "Neuromyths". It was important for a group like ourselves that aspires to a model of scientific pedagogy to challenge our own assumptions about what recent advances in Neuroscience are telling us. It was a great night, a big crowd and lovely reception on campus afterwards. The planning for the 2016 speaker is in the works and the details will be finalized shortly...
  8. Two of our 2015 summer graduate students submitted papers for publication! It is a trend that we hope to encourage in the future. In addition an alumni of the Loyola program and now an Affiliate Faculty member in the program, Dr. Andree Rolfe, completed an excellent Independent Study on the topic of Spelling, a tremendous contribution to our field. In addition Dr. Rolfe is participating in additional scholarship around the topic of Special Education inclusion. Well Done!
  9. I have become convinced in the past year that as a Montessori Movement we need to address the need for Leadership Training and Development. I have begun lecturing in Loyola's Department of Educational Leadership and have spoken at a number of venues including the International Montessori Council's recent conference in Sarasota. Myself and my colleague Dr. Peter Litchka are planning a Montessori Leadership Cohort to commence at Loyola in the summer of 2017. Leadership Development throughout all levels of the Montessori movement will be crucial to ensure that Dr. Montessori's work survives and thrives in the next 100 years.
  10. 2015 continued to see an expansion of Montessori Education in the Public Sector. I personally worked with many candidates to secure a pathway to state certification in their jurisdictions. In some states the process was seamless, in others it was a challenge. Still! there exists no Universal, National or Statewide process towards teaching certification for Montessori Teachers; even in states that are proud to claim Montessori pubic schools and charters! This universal recognition is my aim (and the charge of many others), I confess it did not occur in 2015 but new year's hope springs eternal and we will redouble our efforts in 2016. It's been 110 years and our movement lives on ... we're not going anywhere!


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