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Mission: We are a community of educators and parents committed to anti-bias anti-racist public and non-profit Montessori education as a vehicle for helping each child reach their full potential, providing educational equity, meaningful racial, economic, religious and special needs integration of students and families, building vibrant neighborhoods, towns and cities. Our Work: Over the last 4 years, Montessori for Social Justice has moved from an email listserv of 50 people to a vibrant community of over 2000 members across the United States. We plan an annual conference and connect several times a year to create plans for building schools which are …

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MSJ Statement on the Election

Dear Montessori for Social Justice Community, The American election results have impacted our children, families, schools and all of us and in many different ways. The messages of hate that many of us heard during the campaign have become real and threatening. Some of us have felt uncertainty, fear, rejection, concern for our physical safety and the safety of our children and our friends. Students and teachers who are more recent immigrants fear deportation and splitting apart their families. Our Native American Montessori colleagues see the irony in American immigrants further restricting access to land that was not originally theirs. …

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Our Big Work: Reflections on being Anti-Racist Montessorians

Tiffany Jewell and Laura Kraby, both Montessori elementary teachers, write the first in a series of reflections teaching anti-bias anti-racist Montessori. Tiffany: I grew up in one of the poorest cities in the country.  Our neighborhood of renters and elderly home-owners was filled with friends of varying shades of light and dark brown skin.  My twin and I lived with our white mom.  Our Black dad lived in Georgia.  Our public magnet school was just a few blocks away and our mom walked us there every morning.  It was our neighborhood school; the ceiling in the gym was crumbling, the textbooks …

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Dismantling the Artificial Obstacles, by Joshua Vogt

Joshua Vogt teaches government at Gamble Montessori High School, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here is the graduation speech he was invited to give in June 2016 by the senior class. You can listen to his speech here. First I’d like to thank our class of 2016 for inviting me to speak at your graduation today. Honestly, what were you thinking? Actually, I am truly honored to be here today in this space with this amazing group of young people. I was privileged enough to share our final morning meeting with this group a short time ago – there is power in …

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MSJ 2016 Conference Keynote Speaker

The Montessori for Social Justice steering committee is delighted to welcome Darcell Butler as our 2016 keynote speaker! Mrs. Darcell Williams-Butler teaches lower-elementary at City Garden Montessori School in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University, and a Masters in Teaching from Webster University. She earned the Pre-Primary Montessori Certificate (3-6) from the Missouri Montessori Teacher Education Program (MOMTEP) in St. Louis, Missouri and the Primary Montessori Certificate (6-9) from Central Ohio Montessori Education for Teachers (COMET) in Columbus, Ohio. Mrs. Butler has taught science, math, sensorial, and language in pre-primary teacher education programs and is considering …

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An opportunity to join the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools

Last week I spoke with Halley Potter, a fellow at the Century Foundation. Halley is the author of recent briefs including A Better Start, on the importance of racially and economically diverse preschools and A New Wave of School Integration, highlighting the 90 school districts and charter schools that are taking steps to be racially and socioeconomically diverse. Halley is also part of a group of educators who have created a new grassroots organization (sound familiar?) called the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools. Unlike magnet schools, which have an explicit mission of desegregation, there are currently few structures in place to …

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Advancing Montessori public policy, expanding access and equity

Katie Brown reports from the Montessori Public Policy Initiative Retreat in Washington DC. Katie is a Doctoral student in Urban Education at University of North Carolina Charlotte and a former Education Associate coordinating Montessori Education at the South Carolina Department of Education. Last month, I attended the Montessori Public Policy Initiative Retreat in Washington, DC. This gathering brought together leaders of national, regional, and state Montessori organizations to discuss how to better advocate for Montessori education. Guest speakers included Libby Doggett from the Office of Early Learning in the U.S. Department of Education, Jolene Ivey of the Maryland House of Delegates, and …

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Linking Montessorians with Progressive Educators

This past weekend I attended the Progressive Education Network conference held in Brooklyn, New York. I was interested to see what connections there were between Montessori and the broader progressive education world. Here’s what I learned: Progressive education is a BIG tent. As a researcher on Montessori schools, I was welcomed enthusiastically. Teachers and the Principal of the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School were some of the organizers of the PEN Conference. Progressive educators I met were excited to learn about Montessori for Social Justice and the MSJ conference in June 2016. Montessori is has a bigger and more organized footprint in …

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Starting a school isn’t a pipe dream

by Rashidah Lovick, North Carolina Montessorian On June 26 and 27, 2015, 75 Montessori teachers, administrators, researchers, and advocates from across the country convened on the tranquil campus of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. This diverse group of dedicated individuals gathered for Montessori for Social Justice’s second annual Public Montessori Unconference, which was hosted by Westminster’s Institute of Montessori Innovation. Based on participant input and expertise, 16 workshops were conducted on topics ranging from culturally responsive teaching to how to start your own school, as well as a day-long NCMPS workshop on Montessori and Assessment. I feel extremely …

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Refocusing the mission

Jen Heeter, a teacher at Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland, CA reports from the 2015 Public Montessori Unconference Red sandstone and scrub-covered mountains grew larger and more clear as we approached Salt Lake City. We circled, revealing downtown and the larger cityscape. We were flying in for the second Montessori (un)Conference, to be hosted by Westminster College’s Institute for Montessori Innovation and Montessori for Social Justice. As is usually the case with conferences, (un) or not, there is an anxiousness and excitement in regard to meeting new people on what I assume to be similar journeys as the one we …

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