COVID-19 School Support


May 14 - ISBE's Weekly Message - May 13, 2020


ISBE's Weekly Message

May 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

We have answered more of your frequently asked questions about English Learners on our website. This updated guidance includes information about the ACCESS test, Title III grants, licensure, assessment and placement of students, curriculum, and testing for the Seal of Biliteracy. You can access the new FAQ here.

While we’re on the topic of multilingual students, I want to congratulate the 100 West Aurora High seniors who earned the Seal of Biliteracy, plus another 68 who earned Commendations toward biliteracy this year. Those credentials were earned in seven different languages (Arabic, French, Kamtok, Persian Farsi, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese), and 10 trilingual students earned Seals in two different languages! You can view a video honoring these amazing students here.

I’d like to alert you to some upcoming opportunities to learn more about meeting the needs of our youngest students. The Erikson Institute is offering three free webinars this month: one on social-emotional learning focusing on relationships as regulators (tomorrow at 3 p.m., register here); one for teachers of emergent bilinguals (pre-k through 3rd grade) offering supports for distance learning (May 21 at 3 p.m., register here); and one for family care providers, regarding developmentally appropriate technology (May 28 at 6 p.m., register here). Additionally, the Director of Illinois Virtual School is hosting a free webinar on how to facilitate online discussions with remote learners in grades 6-12 (May 15 at 1 p.m., register here).

At the other end of the spectrum, May is Older Americans Month, and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging all Illinoisans to “Make Your Mark” in the lives of our older adults. Delivering a meal, writing a letter, or just a simple phone call to check-in will certainly bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Today in Illinois, people 85 years of age and older is the fastest growing segment of the older population, and by 2030, individuals 65 years of age and older will comprise almost 25 percent of Illinois’s population. Members of this age group, along with individuals with underlying medical conditions, are among those most at risk for health complications related to COVID-19. Wearing a mask in public continues to be one of the best ways to protect the health of our older community members.

For more information on how you can Make Your Mark, and for programs and services available to assist older adults in Illinois, visit or contact the state’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 888-206-1327) or by email

Today I want to give the royal treatment to the Queen Bee School District in Glendale Heights. Queen Bee is a Tier 1 district where 38 percent of the students are English Learners, and 49 different languages are spoken. As of late April, the district had achieved a 90 percent participation rate and 80 percent assignment turn-in rate for remote learning. They’re also providing remote social services, using the first 10 minutes of connection to speak to a parent and the remainder of the time to video chat with the student. Keep up the great work! 



Dr. Carmen I. Ayala  
State Superintendent of Education  
Illinois State Board of Education


Each week, this section will contain a list of the resources and information posted to the COVID-19 webpage over the past week. Please continue to check the COVID-19 webpage on a daily basis for the newest updates and information.

Messages from the State Superintendent

General Guidance

Special Education

Multilingual Education


PUBLIC ACT 101-0291 REQUIRES PARENT MEMBER AND TRAINING FOR CHARTER BOARDS | Public Act 101-0291, which became effective on Jan. 1, 2020, creates new requirements for all charter boards or governing bodies to be completed by Jan. 1, 2021.These changes include:

  • Each board or governing body must include a member who is a parent/guardian of a current student enrolled at the charter school.
  • Each voting member of the charter board or governing body must complete required annual professional development leadership training.

... Read More


DRIVE-UP WI-FI HOT SPOTS | In order to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois agencies have worked collaboratively to provide this map/list of Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hotspots throughout the state of Illinois. We encourage you to help us enhance this map by submitting your school district’s Wi-Fi hotspots via a brief survey.

... Read More


SEEKING FEEDBACK ON ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION PROCESS | ISBE is exploring potential changes to endorsement grade spans to streamline the current endorsement application process for educators, provide districts with greater flexibility when hiring, and alleviate unnecessary preparation regulations for institutions of higher education. Please take this short survey on or before Friday, May 15. We value your feedback and perspective.

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LIFE CHANGER OF THE YEAR CAPSTONE AWARD | Nominations are now open for the Life Changer of the Year -- The 2019-20 Capstone Award. This award is for school district employees who will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Please consider nominating a special person who has dedicated his/her life to the educational field. Guidelines and a link for nominating someone for the award are now available .

... Read More

ILLINOIS TEACHER OF THE YEAR AND THOSE WHO EXCEL NOMINATIONS | Nominations are still being accepted for Illinois Teacher of the Year and Those Who Excel categories until June 5. We recognize that during this uncertain time there maybe limitations to meeting the June 5 deadline for some schools; we hope this deadline will not need to be pushed back. However, if the need exists, we will be flexible with that deadlineNominations can be submitted through the new online portal found in both the Teacher of the Year and Those Who Excel webpages.

... Read More


CLAIM DATA FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR CAN NOW BE ENTERED IN PTCRS | Please visit our updated Transportation website for the following new resources to assist you in completing your 2019-20 claim in the Pupil Transportation Claim Reimbursement System (PTCRS). Per statute, the Annual Pupil Transportation Reimbursement claim is due to ISBE on or before Aug. 15.

... Read More

SPECIAL EDUCATION DCFS YOUTH-IN-CARE VERIFICATION NOW AVAILABLE | Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) enrollment calculations must account for and deduct DCFS youth-in-care (YIC) who participate in the state’s Special Education Individual Orphanage (Section 14-7.03) and Regular Education Orphanage (Section 18-3) programs. Districts receive full state funding for these students through a separate claim process. ISBE is requesting that all districts submit final DCFS YIC who are special education students enrolled in the district on or before March 1, 2020, for approval in I-Star by Friday, May 15.

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FY 2021 GRANT PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS | The ISBE GATA Department would like to remind grantees of the following requirements needed to apply for grant funds in the 2020-21 school year:

  • ·        FY 2021 ICQ
  • ·        FY 2021 Organizational Risk Assessment
  • ·

... Read More


REQUEST TO COMPLETE THE ILLINOIS EDUCATOR SURVEY | The Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Principals Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and the Illinois State Board of Education request the feedback of Illinois’ teachers and administrators to better understand your needs as educators and employees during remote learning and the anticipated transition back to in-person school. Please complete the Illinois Educator Survey by May 31. Your responses will be anonymous.

... Read More


2020 REPORT CARD UPDATE | ISBE is producing and releasing the 2020 Report Card in the same manner as last year, but with some data collection modifications due to the suspension of in-person instruction. As previously mentioned, this year’s Report Card will not include assessment data due to the suspension of in-person instruction. Detailed information regarding other data submissions and verifications will be available this week in the Report Card Rundown.

... Read More

UPCOMING WEBINAR: EIS 2020 – SALARY, BENEFITS, DAYS ABSENT, EVALUATIONS, REMOVING MISSING POSITIONS & DATA QUALITY | Data Strategies and Analytics staff are hosting a webinar from 10-11:30 a.m. on May 14. The webinar will cover all Employment Information System (EIS) Salary and Days Absent data for 2020 along with correcting Missing Positions. The webinar will also provide detailed instruction on how to identify and correct EIS Missing Position records and submitting Educator Evaluations. There will be a Q&A period at the end of the webinar. Registration is now available.

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MAY 20 VIRTUAL BOARD MEETING | ISBE’s next Board meeting will be held virtually at 10 a.m. on May 20. Click the “Listen In” livestreaming link that will be available at homepage on the day of the meeting to listen.

Individuals who wish to sign up for public participation must complete the sign-up form, which will be available on from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on the day of the meeting. Once you have completed the form, follow the below link to participate.

... Read More


USDA EXTENDS LOCAL WELLNESS POLICY TRIENNIAL ASSESSMENT DEADLINE | The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires all schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to complete a triennial assessment of their Local School Wellness Policy at least once every three years. Triennial assessments must determine, for each participating school under its jurisdiction, 1) compliance with the wellness policy, 2) how the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies, and 3) progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.

... Read More

PANDEMIC EBT APPLICATION AVAILABLE | The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) made the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) applications available for families on May 1. P-EBT is a new special benefit that can help families buy food for their school age children who would normally receive National School Lunch Program (NSLP) free or reduced-priced meals when schools are in session. All families with school-age children who attend schools approved for Community Eligibility Provision are eligible for the benefits as they receive NSLP meals at no charge.

... Read More

PAID LUNCH EQUITY TOOL AVAILABLE FOR SY 2020-21 | The Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) Calculator for School Year 2020-21 is available online under the PLE section, along with U.S. Department of Agriculture Guidance and an exemption form. PLE is a requirement under Section 205 of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 for all schools with pricing programs that participate in National School Lunch Program. The purpose of PLE is to increase paid meal prices to be more equal with funds brought in from free and reduced-price meal reimbursements.

... Read More


FY 2021 TAOEP RFP APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE IN IWAS | The deadline for submitting the TAOEP RFP application via IWAS is 4 p.m. on June 26. Please make sure that your approval groups are properly assigned through IWAS to access and transmit your application. A technical assistance webinar will be held at 1:30 p.m. on May 18.

... Read More


April 20 - Emergency Child Care Webinar Series, COVID-19 Resources for Caregivers

NOW AVAILABLE: State of Illinois Emergency Child Care Webinar Series

In this new reality, emergency child care providers, along with all essential workers, are shouldering an unimaginable weight to keep our basic needs met. Our deepest gratitude goes out to them. They remain a central source of tranquility and stability for children and are helping to build their resilience.


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Erikson's Policy and Leadership Department is creating webinars to support emergency child care providers on behalf of the State of Illinois' Department of Human Services and Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD).


This webinar series helps guide the efforts of Emergency Child Care Providers to create safe learning environments and support the emotional well-being of children during this time. Available webinars outline health guidelines to make a site safe for both providers and children. Closed captioning is available in the video player settings. Additional information is available in this Resource Guide for Emergency Care Providers as well as the GOECD website.

Emergency Child Care Webinar Series: Health Guidance


Emergency Child Care Webinar Series_ Health Guidance (HD)

Emergency Child Care Webinar Series: Child Development

Emergency Child Care Webinar Series: Child Development

Erikson Institute COVID-19 Resources


Erikson's Center for Children and Families (CCF) is ensuring continuity of care for current clientele, in addition to seeking new families to serve. They are offering high-quality, virtual therapy services to parents and caregivers of children 0-5 regardless of their ability to pay. Through our HIPAA compliant video conferencing platform, they also offering crisis counseling and consultations to support caregivers, first responders, and early childcare providers and teachers. Most major insurances are accepted, and services can also be provided on a sliding scale or pro-bono basis. Parents and caregivers can reach out to set up an appointment through the intake line at 312-709-0508 for English and 312-934-6446 for Spanish.


Erikson's Fussy Baby Network is offering free services for any parent with a baby up to age one. Support is offered through the Warmline at 888-431-2229 or email at, video home visits, parent web groups, and Caregiver Corner Zoom sessions.


The TEC Center held free webinars for educators now available on Vimeo:


Erikson's faculty and staff have been in the media providing expert advice on how to navigate during these uncertain times.


Boredom is OK! Here are 13 Ways to Help Your Kids Embrace It

"I'm bored!" It's the battle cry of kids far and wide. But before you armor up to fill that schedule or plot out activities, take a minute to consider the benefits - yes, benefits - of boredom for kids, and help them learn how to get cozy with it.

Read more


Will extra screen time during the coronavirus pandemic...

As teachers and parents navigate how to keep students engaged during prolonged school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, screens seem more essential than ever. Experts say this is probably a time when rules regarding screen time are out...

Read more


Food, shelter, safety: A parent's coronavirus checklist

Routines are especially important during an extended school closure, experts say. When the state's mandatory school shutdown is over many area school children will have been away from their ...

Read more

April 20 - This Week at AMS | The Latest Resources

Special Topic: COVID-19

Join our AMS Connect Live! series for resources, generative conversations, and idea sharing. This week's sessions are:

  • Monday, 5:00 PM (ET): Secondary Teachers
    • Topic for April 20: Meeting the social, emotional, and physical needs of the child through distance learning.
  • Tuesday, 3:00 PM (ET): Elementary II Teachers
    • Topic for April 21: What joy are you experiencing with your students and how are you personalizing instruction, especially for those with learning differences?
  • Wednesday, 2:00 PM (ET): Heads of Schools
    • Topic for April 22: A Conversation about Tuition during COVID-19. The link for this Zoom session can be found on the AMS Connect Heads of School message board.
  • Wednesday, 3:00 PM (ET): Elementary I Teachers
    • Topic for April 22: What joy are you experiencing with your students and how are you personalizing instruction, especially for those with learning differences?
  • Thursday, 3:00 PM (ET): Early Childhood Teachers
    • Topic for April 23: How can we stay true to the Montessori philosophy in this new virtual format? Including conversations around social and emotional needs, individualized lesson plans, special events such as graduation and Mother’s Day, and parent-teacher conferences.
  • Friday, 3:00 PM (ET): Infant & Toddler Teachers 
    • Topic for April 24: How do we support families and children with the adjustment to virtual, at-home learning?

Click here for Zoom links. All are welcome to the Zoom sessions. AMS members can use AMS Connect boards to share documents and continue the conversation.


Visit The Learning Network for free resources for bringing the world into your classroom. From The New York Times, the site also includes daily writing prompts.

Professional Development

Refresh your understanding of Montessori’s philosophy on mathematical education in our online class, "The Mathematical Mind," presented by AMS 2018 Living Legacy Michael Duffy. In addition to watching in-depth modules, you'll be able to join a discussion with fellow educators to reflect on what you've learned.


AMS is accepting applications for a new Executive Director. The next ED will inherit an organization that has a passionate membership base, active working groups and committees, a board of highly experienced Montessori leaders, and a growing consortium of Montessori related organizations. Visit our website for more information about the position and guidelines for applying.


Join our Virtual Book Club led by Jill Segerman, AMS's lead online learning instructional designer. We'll be reading The Upside of Stress, by Kelly McGonigal, which offers a surprising new view of stress and explains how to capitalize on its benefits. The next meeting is Wednesday, April 22—though, you can join at anytime. Learn more.


We may recognize the importance of caring for ourselves, the power of being present for our children, and creating routines that support these practices, but sometimes things are easier said than done. Episode 2 of our Care of Self video series will provide helpful guidance.

Looking Ahead  

April 10 - Documents from NCMPS Coaches

April 10 - Sandpaper Letters PDF Available!

New Product & Pedagogy Blog!

Sandpaper Letters PDF and Blog Post

Do you or your families need to make sandpaper letters? We have created the perfect PDF template for you to use. Our template includes not only all 26 letters of the alphabet but also 17 key sounds/phonograms! Beautiful cursive or print fonts, the right size for the young child, detailed instructions on how to craft your own letters, plus an amazing lesson plan full of activities.

To help parents get up to speed, we also made a short video and wrote a blog post with some explanations of how to use the letters. Feel free to share the video and download the free lesson plan.

We know that these are complicated times. We hope this will help.

sandpaper letter pdf download sandpaper letter PDF download movable alphabets

April 6 - Upcoming Crisis Resource & Response Meetings


Urgent News & Announcements

We have developed an area of our website to post timely resources for school leaders, teachers, and parents navigating the uncharted waters during the global pandemic. No membership is needed to join the meetings or access resources created by the volunteer-driven Montessori Response Team.


The following is a list of upcoming events. As events and information are updated daily, we urge you to use the following link for the most current information.


Weekly Webcasts for Montessori Leaders

Save Our School: Emergency Fundraising
during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, April 8 — 1:00-2:30pm EDT

Montessori Family Support Gatherings

Invite Your Families to Join Us

Balancing: Work, Home School, Family Life- Oh My! Part 2
Friday, April 10 — 1:00-1:45pm EST
oin us in conversation as we explore practical ideas and solutions for balancing and reducing stress for the whole family.
Christine Lowry, Montessori and Special Needs, Educator, Consultant


Montessori Town Hall

All school leaders and Montessori educators are invited

Friday, April 10 — 3:00 pm EDT

Meeting ID: 663 230 7856

Montessori Family Support Gatherings

Invite Your Families to Join Us

Connecting Caregivers, Teachers, and Parents
Monday, April 13 – 2:30-3:15pm EST

Jonathan Wolff, Montessori Parent Coach, consultant,
trainer, international speaker, author



Fundraising During a Time of Crisis for Nonprofit Montessori Schools

A free intensive, practical workshop from the Montessori Foundation.

A Series of 4 Mondays: Beginning, April 13th, 2:00 – 3:30pm EST
Dr. Valaida L. Wise, Montessori Educator, Experienced Head of School,
Montessori Foundation Senior Consultant

Tim Seldin, President, Montessori Foundation, Chair, IMC,
Headmaster, NewGate School

Financial Support Team

These sessions will provide support with financial strategies to those independent, nonprofit or private schools needing financial crisis management support in the short term.
Two Sessions per Week for 3 Weeks
Tim Seldin, President, Montessori Foundation, Chair, IMC,
Headmaster, NewGate School


Montessori Family Support Gatherings

Invite Your Families to Join Us

What is a Family Meeting Anyway? Part 2
Monday, April 13 – 2:30 – 3:15pm EST
Lorna McGrath, Montessori Family Alliance, educator,
creator of the “Parenting Puzzle.”

April 6 - This Week at AMS | Stress & Trauma & Your Students


This Week at AMS


Special Topic: COVID-19


AMS Connect Live! is a series of networking sessions that keep you connected during this time of isolation. Join us on Zoom for resources, generative conversations, and idea sharing. This week's sessions are:

  • Monday, 3:00 PM: Secondary Teachers*
  • Tuesday, 3:00 PM: Elementary II Teachers**
  • Wednesday, 1:00 PM: Heads of Schools Human Resources Advice
  • Wednesday, 3:00 PM: Elementary I Teachers**
  • Thursday, 3:00 PM: Early Childhood Teachers
  • Friday, 3:00 PM: Infant & Toddler Teachers 

All times are Eastern. Click here for Zoom links. All are welcome to the Zoom sessions. AMS members can use AMS Connect boards to share documents and continue the conversation.

*The week our Secondary chat will focus on service learning, creating appropriate home/work boundaries during online learning, and building engaging Zoom sessions.

**This week our Elementary chats will focus on the transition from classroom to virtual and home learning. We will discuss the expectations of and for parents, how students turn work in online, and the mechanics of online lessons. 


Check out these 100 activities for Early Childhood students at home and 100 activities for Elementary students at home. Thank you to the faculty of St. Joseph Montessori School and Michelle Jacob for these great ideas. 


Kids for Peace promotes activities to help young children lead with empathy in this uncertain time. Includes self-care tips, peace-focused prompts, and compassion-centered projects for students.



Professional Development

We are all experiencing a trauma right now, including our students. Our 3-part series, "Trauma & Stress," will illuminate different types of trauma that can be present and the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional effects. You will become familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) surveys and their implications. Come away understanding common triggers of challenging student behavior experience and how they affect a student’s learning.

AMS members can use their professional development vouchers to view this series, and earn 4.5 hours of continuing professional development, at no cost.



We are accepting proposals for workshops for The Montessori Event 2021, March 4 – 7 in Boston, MA. Your presentations, whether about best practices, innovations, core philosophy, social justice, or anything in between, enrich our community and keep the passion for Montessori alive. Submission deadline: April 13. 







Voting for the AMS Board of Directors elections and Teacher Educators Section elections is still open. The AMS board guides the organization through times of crisis, like now, and thus, your vote is more important than ever.

The deadline to vote has been extended to Monday, April 13. We've already sent you several emails about this that include your unique link to the ballots—and will send a final reminder on Friday.

You can learn more about the candidates during a live forum, hosted via Zoom, today, April 6, at 7:00 PM ET. Use this link to join the forum.



Looking Ahead  

Free parent guide created by some amazing Montessori educators with Trillium Montessori

It is free through Amazon for the next five days!


Resources from Beverly Montessori

Beverly Montessori has put together a packet of information to share with their families, including materials.  AIMS Board member Kelley Ciraulo shared this information on our Heads call today and is making it available to other schools. If you have similar information that you would like to share with other Montessori schools, please forward it to or



Join Us... 

Invite Your Families to join us for

“Montessori Family Support Gatherings”


Monday, March 23 at 9:00-10:00 am EST  

Tuesday, March 24 at 2:30-3:30 pm EST

Wednesday, March 25 at 8:30-9:30 pm EST

Time zone is for the east coast of North America GMT -4

We are here for you and your family during this difficult time. Please join families from around the country and the world at the “Montessori Family Support Gatherings.”

You will have an opportunity to share your needs and ideas such as how to plan for social connections; 24/7 parenting; at-home activities while maintaining your own work schedule energy, and emotional equilibrium.

Join other parents for a gathering of support and sharing of ideas and resources facilitated by leaders in the Montessori community.



"The Courage to put our Leadership Principles into Practice"

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1:00 pm EDT


Join us as our Montessori Foundation panel explores the concepts of courage and leadership during this ever-changing new reality we are all experiencing. This is the time to come together and remind ourselves and each other of the principles and practices that we espouse and how we can implement them in the face of our fears. We will support each other in finding the courage to move forward. 


Montessori Town Hall 

"Navigating the Financial Implications of

COVID-19 in Private Montessori Schools" 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

3:00 pm EDT


This special 90-minute meeting is free and open to leaders of private Montessori School. The outbreak of coronavirus and the declaration of a pandemic continues to create an economic challenge for private Montessori schools in the United States and abroad. Private Montessori schools, large and small, are facing many questions about how to navigate these troubling times. Join us for a special live meeting of Montessori school leaders to discuss topics involving finances, tuition, refunds, and continuing to pay teachers’ salaries. We’ll take questions throughout the meeting as well. 

The first part of the meeting will be addressing financial and HR issues relevant to all private schools. Then we will have breakout rooms for specific groups - small schools (under 50), early childhood only topics, etc.   


Montessori Town Hall

Scenario Planning...Next Steps

Friday, March 27, 2020

4:00 pm EDT


Join us with your questions, challenges, and ideas to share. It’s time for us to address future planning scenarios as we navigate the ever-changing requirements, expectations, and opportunities that lie ahead. 

The purpose of this Montessori Town Hall Meeting is to gain a better understanding of what public and private Montessori school students, parents, teachers, and school leaders are feeling and facing, as they strive to negotiate this unprecedented world event.  

Our intention is to help you stay connected with each other–as the Montessori community comes together to support each other through challenging times. We’ll discuss people and protocols that will enable you to address your school’s most pressing issues - with the overarching goal of helping your learning community achieve a sense of stability and implement alternative modes of educational and business operations. 


We are Here to Help!

The Montessori Foundation and

International Montessori Council Team

From AMS: COVID-19 Resources for Our Community

Dear Colleagues,

The catastrophic developments with COVID-19, including its designation as a pandemic more than a week ago, have required us to make drastic shifts in our lives.

As challenging as our days are, it is vitally important to remember that we are each an integral part of a caring and compassionate community—and together we can discover new ways to keep ourselves, and those whom we serve, safe and healthy.

To this end, below are some resources we hope will be helpful to you in your schools and programs. We will be sharing more in the coming days, with items of special interest for both teachers and administrators, so please keep your eyes on your inbox.

AMS Connect: The amount of activity we’ve been seeing on our online messaging platform, particularly in the Heads of Schools Community, has been unprecedented. Join your peers to read about—and share—thoughts about teacher salaries and tuition during school closures, plans and resources for distance learning, and more. And, in the Teachers Community, join lively discussions about online learning and Montessori in the home. Member login required. (Use the same username and password you use when logging in to the main AMS website.)

AMS Connect Live! via Zoom: Teachers, let’s connect on Zoom to encourage one another and share ideas about applying Montessori principles to our work doing during these challenging days of COVID-19. We’ll break out into small groups so that you can interact with peers in your program level. Facilitated by AMS’s Joshua Shanklin, along with other veteran teachers.

Live Webinar: “Managing Your School Through the Pandemic.” Join us Monday, March 23, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET, for a FREE live webinar. Presented by our friends at Firestorm Crisis Management Solutions, this webinar is open to the entire Montessori community, but you must register.

On-Demand Webinar: “Managing Communicable Illness.” If you missed our live webinar, or would like to see it again, you can now watch a recording and avail yourself of related handouts. Member login required.

COVID-19 Resources for Schools Webpage: Our new webpage, with ideas for remote learning and much more, 
will go live Tuesday, March 24. There will be a callout to it on our homepage in the Connect with Our Community section (beneath the 4 colorful boxes), or, starting Tuesday, just type COVID in the search function.

Please be assured that while our physical offices are currently closed—AMS staff are working from home—systems are in place so that we can continue to provide uninterrupted, robust service to you. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas to share—or even just want to let us know how you are—please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. You are the reason we do what we do, and hearing from you brings meaning to our day.

In peace, hope, and gratitude,

Richard A. Ungerer
Interim Executive Director

Special Topic: COVID-19


Join our partners at Firestorm Crisis Management Services for "Managing Your School Through the Pandemic," a FREE webinar tonight, Monday, at 7:00 PM. Among the topics to be addressed are implications of the crisis, decisions and actions associated with school operation, school facility closure, remote learning, and school reopening. Register by 4 PM (ET).


Earlier in the month, Firestorm presented a free webinar about steps for preparing for communicable diseases within your school. It is now on demand. AMS members can watch the recording on our website (login required).


Montessori is not just for the classroom. Here are some tips you can share with parents to help them make their home learning environments more aligned with Dr. Montessori's philosophy.

COVID-19 Support from the National Association of Independent Schools - OPEN to ALL

ISBE Update and Free Internet Access Opportunities

Dear Colleagues: 


I want to be sure you are aware of the free internet access opportunities from AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast. ISBE has listed these opportunities at Please share them with your students, staff, and communities. We need to be prepared to continue remote teaching and learning both online and off, potentially beyond March 30.  


Belleville Township High School District 201 has also taken a creative approach to ensuring all students have access to the internet. According to WILL, the district “is deploying four school buses equipped with WiFi to serve as Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the community. Drivers park the buses next to seven different parks scattered throughout the community and Belleville’s downtown YMCA, depending on the day of the week, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Monday through Friday.” 


Wow. I can’t say this enough: I’m so grateful for the way teachers, administrators, and families are helping students adapt to this unexpected crisis. 


Today, we also saw staff and volunteers in Libertyville District 70 preparing and distributing Chromebooks and iPads for drive-through pickup, so students can keep learning. We saw Mrs. Latka, a choir director at Forest Ridge, sing a special song to her students via the internet. We saw about a dozen teachers from Goodrich School in Woodbridge using YouTube to lead students through physical exercise. And we saw educators who support students who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, blind, or low vision provide resources, accommodation options, and collaboration avenues for educators and families through email and social media.


That’s just a few of the amazing things teachers are doing. If you can take the time to share these stories via Twitter with #ILSchoolsStepUp, please do. Those posts inspire others and show your staff how much they and their efforts matter.


It's easy to get stuck in a crisis mindset. As leaders, it is important now more than ever show appreciation for the added hours, the volunteering, and the extra mile. This praise and recognition will be the fuel your teachers and staff need to keep going for as long as the school closure is necessary.   


Please keep preparing to educate students at home and to ensure their nutritional needs are met in the event the closure extends beyond March 30. And please keep taking the time to tell each other and your teachers and staff, thank you.  




Dr. Carmen I. Ayala 
State Superintendent of Education 
Illinois State Board of Education  

Public Montessori Resources and Convening

NCMPS friends,

We, like you, have been deeply impacted by these ongoing unprecedented challenges, and have been working hard to determine how we can best be of help.


We have been heartened and inspired by the outpouring of resources and support from the Montessori community. Lesson plans, home environment guidance, free webinars, daily schedules—social media and our email inboxes have been flooded with the heartfelt work of so many volunteers and organizations.

Many of these resources are oriented towards independent schools, but have relevance for public schools as well.  At this time, a very comprehensive collection, and a lively conversation, can be found on the Facebook group Montessori Teachers

NNCMPS is collecting resources and information that may be particularly germane to public schools. We will let you know as we build the collection and host it on our website for your easy reference going forward. A few that we would like to highlight right away:


We would like to know from public Montessori schools what specific challenges they are facing, what innovative solutions they’ve arrived at, and what kind of help they need most. We would like to provide a forum for connection and fellowship—a place to learn from other public Montessori schools what specific challenges they are facing, what innovative solutions they’ve arrived at, and how we can best help each other.

And, we want to learn the best way to do this. So we’re kicking off with a Public Montessori Convening, primarily for school leaders and leadership teams. This will be a Zoom call Wednesday, March 25th, 11:00–12:00 ET. We’ll ask participants to register for the meeting so we can know the attendance and break out into smaller meetings if needed, and to maintain communication. You can register for the Convening below:


Register for the Public Montessori Convening

March 18, 2020 - Webinar Meetings

American Montessori Society Webinar Friday and Monday:


National Geographic free training today at 4 PM CST:


From the Montessori Response Team:

"How to Zoom Session for Upper Elementary (9-12) Teachers."

   Wednesday, March 18 at 3:00 EDT

    Zoom Link: 


"How to Zoom Session for Secondary Teachers."

   Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 EDT

    Zoom Link:


"How to Zoom For Montessori Infant-Toddler Teachers"

Facilitated by Terri Sherrill

Wednesday, 3-18-20 at 2:00 EDT

Zoom Link:  



"How to Zoom for Montessori Early Childhood  3-6Teachers "

Facilitated by Lori Karmazin

Wednesday, 3-18-20 at 2:00 EDT  



"How to Zoom for Montessori Lower Elementary (6-9) Teachers"

Facilitated by Anya Bartlet

Wednesday, 3-18 at 2:00 EDT  

Resources from Chiaravalle

Chiaravalle Montessori has developed a rich portal of information that is publicly available and AIMS Vice President Robyn Springer has shared it with us. Please feel free to use the information on that page that is relevant for your families.

Resources from AMI

Self-Care: First and foremost, it is easy in times of challenge to forget what we know, which is we will be much more effective in our responses and in helping others if we stay connected to how we are being impacted, too.

Family Resources:

School Resources/Suggestions:

Additional Resources:

Resources from AMS

On the topic of parent concern about what to do with children at home for so many days here are some great links that Melanie Thiesse, Director of School Quality and Accreditation at AMS shared (with credit to Michelle Jacob and Brenda Huth as well) for activity suggestions and websites: