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Bold Goal Update

We celebrate the end of summer and return to school preparing for our next steps to realize the bold goal we set for ourselves last February: “to increase our social impact by tripling AMI’s presence in the U.S. within five years.”

Before I outline the next steps, I will briefly summarize the work that has been accomplished by the three work groups, Pathways into Training, Moment of Training, and Placement and Support. Thanks to David Ayer and Jamie Rue for sending summary information.

Pathways into Training:

Work Group One conducted a survey of Current and Past AMI Trainees, distributed through AMI-USA. This has provided a snapshot of who comes to AMI, predominantly women aged 25 to 40 and who live within 35 miles of a training center. They are drawn to Montessori through finding a school for their children, already working in a Montessori school or because Montessori reflects their own personal and philosophical approach to human development.

The survey suggests that AMI’s social justice mission is an important feature and potential means to attract more trainees. It suggests that AMI’s efforts to offer support for housing, stipends and financial aid are important to attracting more students to our training centers.

Moment of Training:

Work Group Two developed the initial survey brief of literature on transformational adult education/training programs. This brief was submitted as part of our first grant deliverable to the Walton Family Foundation.

A summary of the data on enrollment and courses offered at the US AMI Training Centers suggest the need to examine the demand for Montessori teachers, especially in the public sector, and our capacity to meet that demand. The next phase of the Bold Goal work will be to carefully map training centers, capacity, and location of private and public schools in order to develop a strategy to increase our capacity to meet the demand.

Placement and Support:

In addition to the data collected by the three work groups, the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector provided us with data points from the National Montessori Census as well as surveys that they have conducted to understand the landscape of Montessori teacher training and job placement.

Additionally, Work Group Three sent a survey to Montessori schools throughout the country that have been identified through the AMI-USA, NAMTA and MAA mailing lists. This survey provides data on the hiring, training support and professional development practices of Montessori schools.

In general, the data suggests that nearly all of AMI trainees are successfully employed at the end of their training, with most preferring and being hired by AMI schools.

Teachers at all levels in both private and public schools express the need for post-training support – mentoring, coaching, workshops and networking.

All of the data that has been gathered is essential to understanding the current landscape of Montessori in the U.S. in order to inform our strategy to accomplish our bold goal to triple the social impact of AMI.

Moving Forward:

As we determine our next steps, we will be considering a few additional questions:

  • What are the indicators of AMI’s social impact: How would we know? What would we look for?
  • What are obstacles to increasing AMI’s social impact?
  • What are the strengths that will allow this goal to be met?

In early October, the Bold Goal Steering Committee and our facilitator, Kate Hastings, will meet in Amsterdam to begin to move into the next phase of our work. This meeting will be followed at the end of the month when the three work group leaders, Brian Sense, Jamie Rue, Janet McDonell and David Ayer will join us to draft the initial strategy towards implementation of the Bold Goal to be reviewed and worked through by the broader AMI Community.

We will prepare for our meeting with the entire Leadership Group at the refresher course in Austin, TX next February. In the mean time we will continue to send you updates of our work.