Hi Matt, I haven't been on her for FOREVER, but I am AMS trained in 6-9, though I hope to start AMI training THIS SUMMER!
I am the director of a Montessori Charter School program in California, which Istarted 3 years ago because when I moved to this area, there were no Montessori schools and I saw my youngest daughter struggling in traditional. I was working at an independent study charter, asked my boss if I could start a Montessori Academy, and whalla...it was born!
We are very funky in that the students attend school 3 days and homeschool 2 days. I know even the AMI purists have been scratching their heads, as Maria never did say that school had to be 5 days a week, nor did anyone else, for that matter, so this is quite a paradigm shift. I have teachers who are AMS trained, AMI trained, and a couple of online training folks who were apprentices to us and came on because it is VERY hard to find someone who has a CA teaching credential AND Montessori experience.
Funny enough, I have one AMS trained teacher who is the most "traditional" teacher I have (and I am gently shifting her to my vision of the philosophy), and one teacher who is just getting her training, but has the spirit that I am looking for. So, her math presentations are more traditional because she is still learning the materials, but she really allows the students to pursue their own interests.
We have students in grades K-7 (soon to be grade 8), and a thriving community of 135 students currently. We have grades 1-3 together, grades 4-6 (with 2 seventh graders because we plan to add a middle school next year and wanted to allow them to stay for that), but Kinder is by themselves because CA law in public school does not allow preschool to be attached to Kindergarten...though that might soon change.
This has been a very big endeavor, my life's work, I suppose. I feel that I was called to bring this to this area of the world, where people are so traditional in their views (I'm in southern cal, but not in the most progressive part of the world). I was talking to an AMI teacher from Texas the other day, who just may come and join us for our middle school classroom next year. I explained to him that, on the continuum, we are not where is school is, or where we want to be, and yet we are so far from where many of these students came from, in traditional settings.
I hear horror story after horror story all of the time about the punishments/rewards, the high pressure, the timed testing, etc. We may not have a 3 hour work cycle, but we have a 2 hour one ( because we share the building with another program and have to schedule lunch in a certain manner...but next year we get our own building....yaay!
. My teachers might not all have the best training from the most amazing centers, but they allow the students to work at their own pace, offer a variety of lessons, and create enjoyable environments where the students are happy and thriving.
We just had a poetry jam yesterday, where students who chose to do so presented works of poetry to an audience...it was grand. I am trying like heck to get away from this area because I'm a hippie/earthy gal, living in a place that sometimes feels like a foreign land, and I feel that I have one more year, and I hope that I can again start a school in an area where I would more like to live. Also, I am a single parent, and am tired of being on my own, would like to find someone to share my life with, and that is NOT happening in this neck of the woods, where it is quite conservative and so forth...
Yes this is long, but I type as fast as I think...
PS..Matt...I have a myspace, though nothing really about my work, more my personal life..I'm gonna look you up!