If you’ve been to our conference or one of our workshops, you know we are always talking about collaborating with other education and advocacy organizations. One such group is the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), which is a collaboration of more than 20 national education organizations, including AMS and AMI/USA. During the past two months, MPPI has worked closely with our CAPE colleagues at the national level to advocate around federal guidance for PPP loans and the Education Stabilization Fund, speaking with representatives from the US Department of Education and sending letters to legislators to make sure the needs of private schools are considered. In addition, CAPE has a network of state groups, similar to MPPI, which we have also been plugged into. Participating in calls, often on a daily basis, has amplified our knowledge of how states are handling different issues, such as disbursement of ESSER funds. And recently, one of our MPPI state groups, the United Montessori Schools of Indiana (UMSI), connected with their state CAPE representative who worked alongside them and used his connections to help them get resolution to ongoing issues with their licensing division and Department of Education. We encourage you to connect with your state CAPE, state AEYC, and other organizations working on behalf of children to increase your reach and influence. You can amplify your voice, forge connections with policy makers, and you never know when those connections are going to bear fruit; this past winter, in MD, the head of the MD Family Child-Care Association proactively offered to submit a letter of support for the Montessori Schools of Maryland’s (MSM) legislative efforts to create a pathway to licensure because MSM had established a relationship with her.
Website Updated with State Workforce Registry Information
MPPI is working to add new resources and information to our website on an ongoing basis. Currently, we are adding specific state information for the early childhood workforce registry*. What is the workforce registry? According to the National Workforce Registry Alliance, a workforce registry is intended to support early childhood educators by:
- Promoting and providing a framework for professional growth and development
- Capturing data about early childhood and after-school practitioners in a variety of roles
- Placing individuals on a career level based upon verified educational information
- Recognizing and honoring professional achievements of the early childhood and after-school workforce
- Informing policy makers and partners
Participating in the workforce registry is another avenue for advocating for Montessori education. More specifically, the system of state workforce registries outline and establish the validity of educator certifications, education level, and trainings. This information is commonly found on a document referred to as a state "career ladder" or "career lattice". Advocating with your state workforce registry office to recognize the Montessori credential at the level of a bachelor's degree is critical for our advocacy work. As we continue to add state information, go to our website to check for your state's career lattice. As always, if you are interested in advocacy work around the workforce registry, contact your state representative or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note that we are still adding information. If you do not see any workforce registry information for your state, please check back at a later date.
Opportunities to Expand Your Knowledge
Join MPPI and our partners for a webinars this week on a range of important topics:
Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator Training - On June 17th at 7:00 pm EST MPPI will be hosting a webinar with attorney Janice Gregerson to train your Title IX and Section 504 coordinator(s). The same person can be the coordinator for both programs or you can have two separate coordinators. In our previous webinar* discussing these and other applicable federal laws, the attorney recommended that someone other than the head of school serve as the coordinator, if possible. You can register 3 individuals per registration to allow for coordinator(s) and heads of school, if interested, to attend. The event will be recorded so if you cannot attend live, you can still register and will be given access to the recording afterwards. There is still time to register, you don't want to miss out!
Building Partnerships: Head Start and Ideal Learning - The Trust for Learning is offering this webinar, presented by Dr. Iheoma Iruka of HighScope Educational Research Foundation and Annie Frazer of Montessori Partnerships for Georgia, about creating access through partnerships and funding. This webinar will take place on Thursday, June 18 from 12:00-1:15 pm EST.
Moving Toward Action: Strategies for State Advocates to Operationalize Racial Equity Principles - Join Karen Howard, Senior Policy Director, at the Alliance for Early Success on June 19th (Juneteenth) at 2:00 to 3:15 EST to discuss intentional action items that center equity in your organization. The intended goals of the call (as advertised by Alliance for Early Success) include:
- Provide an overview of principles to pursue anti-racist and equitable policies to dismantle persistent inequities
- Examine concrete actions organizations can take to undo barriers created by systemic racism
- Offer examples and discuss opportunities in federal, state and local policy pursuits
Advocacy Work and Call To Action
Like everyone in the Montessori universe, for the past few months MPPI has been heads down at work on finding solutions to the cascading problems caused by the Coronavirus crisis. We know that for months to come school administrators will have full plates adapting to new policies that will need to be implemented to keep children and staff safe at schools and child care. Still, we are acutely aware that many of you were starting or midstream on advocacy work for policy changes that would enable Montessori programs in your state to operate more freely and reach more children, and we want you to know that we are here to support that work. While we will continue to prioritize assisting Montessori programs in navigating the changing policy landscape in response to the health and financial crisis, we are also designating time to make sure we are available to support advocacy work specific to the needs of Montessori. We have seen in recent weeks that some states are looking at redesigning child care licensing and other systems that were not prepared to handle the current crisis so it is a great time to be watching out for changes and reaching out to be in the conversations. Please reach out if there is something you have been hoping to get to work on, or would like to get back to work with. We are here for you!
Take Action - Advocacy work is often collaborative work. Join the National Women's Law Center in supporting the Child-Care Essential Care Act to fund the child care sector during COVID-19. For more information and to take action, click here.
What's New at MPPI:
New Board Members - MPPI would like to welcome our new board members that join us with a well-rounded and rich history in Montessori advocacy. The following new class of board members join us at an exciting time as we continue to develop Montessori advocacy strategies to move MPPI forward and fulfill our commitment to children.
Heather Gerker: Co-founder Kentucky Montessori Alliance; PhD Student in Education Policy and Teacher Education, Teacher Educator.
Vyju Kadambi: Vice President and Advocacy Committee Chair, United Montessori Schools of Indiana; Founder, Southwest Montessori Academy.
Gracie Martinez: Board Member, Pacific Northwest Montessori Association; Board Member & Finance Chair, Washington Federation of Independent Schools.
Trisha Willingham: President and Founding Board Member, Virginia Montessori Association; Consultant and Student Support Coordinator at Mountaintop Montessori.
We also welcome AMS Executive Director Munir Shivji and AMI/USA Interim Executive Director Alan Preece to our board. And many thanks to outgoing board President, Charis Sharp for her leadership in MPPI's nascent years.
Just like many others, MPPI has had to reconsider how we continue to present our organization's work and provide networking opportunities for Montessori advocates. This year, we are happy to announce we are offering our annual conference virtually this Fall. Stay tuned for a save the date announcement and registration details!
*If you were not able to attend a previous MPPI webinar and would like access, you can retroactively register to obtain the recording and slides. Contact MPPI at email@example.com if you have any questions.